Maybelline Eye Studio Color Explosion Eye Shadow Review, Swatches, Photos

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Explosion Eye Shadow is testimony to the fact that you can find Japanese style eyeshadow at your drugstore. When Maybelline ventured into their Eye Studio Collection in late 2009 beginning of 2010 it was a step in a new direction for drugstore eyeshadows.

Let’s face it, can you name a ton of eyeshadows that you’d buy at the drugstore that are actually GOOD?

I can’t sadly. Most are chalky and sadly, lacking. However, drugstore makeup is slowly making small steps towards successfully creating wearable makeup but with those steps comes a huge jack up in price too but I don’t mind, I’ll pay more if I’m getting a quality product.

Eye Studio Plush Silk Eyeshadow Quads from Maybelline were a step in the right direction. Some folks hated these, I personally loved them….speaking as a fan of Japanese brands these are some of the closet style of shadow formula you’ll get in North America that mimic the formula and texture of an Asian eyeshadow purchased in an Asian Drugstore abroad…!

The new range of Maybelline Eye Studio Color Explosion Eye Shadow are pretty much spot on the same concept. These released earlier this year in the UK and they finally popped up on our shores a few short months ago.

Are they any good?


Four shades of contrasting eyeshadow plus a luminizing topcoat for a surge of multi-dimensional color.

Ok, I have to say Maybelline Eye Studio Color Explosion Eye Shadow are a little too close to Eye Studio Plush Silk Eyeshadow Quads for my tastes. Considering I own alot of the Silk Eyeshadow Quads I felt like I could easily dupe most of the shades released in The Explosion Eyeshadow range.

In terms of texture, formula, and color pay off both sets of eyeshadows are pretty much spot on dupes for each other the main different being the Color Explosion Eyeshadow Quads feature a topcoat to give your completed eye look a jolt of sparkle.

Mmm…I love them yes but I can’t help but think what a waste it is to indulge in shadow quads simply because of an overcoat particularly since the shades aren’t unique or special enough to warrant the repurchase. Outside of these rants I do enjoy these.

The formula is pretty much the same thin, silky shadows that are offered in the original quad range. I find the formula has a creamy, silky feel that blends easily onto eyes with minimal fuss. Shades pack very nice pigmentation that can be sheered out or built up in intensity and I just find the product is superior to any other drugstore shadows I’ve tried before and very typical, as I mentioned above, to Asian eyeshadows particularly Japanese ones. One thing you will notice with the Eye Studio line is shades are difficult to define and contrast together. They don’t go muddy but they are so close in color that they tend to blend together without really offering any contrast but with a careful hand you can get things in order sometimes.

The topcoat sparkle is really something that’s entirely personal as some people dig sparkle, some not so much. I personally love it. The palette consists of two contrasting shades of shadow for lid and crease, a liner shade, a highbrow shade, and the topcoat sparkle. Simply complete your eye look using the eyeshadow shades and top the complete look with a bit of the overcoat for a dramatic sparkle. This is a chunky, loosely packed pigment style formula that actually applied easily with minimal fall out. I simply pressed it gently on my lid with a sponge tip applicator and POOF instant sparkly fun for the whole family!

I picked up two of these, I believe there are six total, but as I mentioned I didn’t feel the need to haul them all simply because the shades are just too close to what I already own in the prior quad collection I have.

The colors I got were Caffeine Rush and Forest Fury. Caffeine Rush is worthy of a pick up as it’s one of the few nudes they have in either collection. This starts out with a highbrow highlighter of golden cream, contrasting shades of taupe brown and nude, a chocolate eyeliner, and a white gold sparkle. Forest Fury, it’s a debatable color selection as many of the greens here have already been done in some of the quads but I love green so much I had to have it. Forest Fury consists of a bright chartreuse green, a darker forest-y green, a rich forest green eyeliner, a creamy white gold highbrow highlighter and a topcoat sparkle color of the same shade.

As you can see the colors are particularly vibrant in Forest Fury, offering very vivid color pay off!

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Explosion Eye Shadow has some minor quirks as explained above so I won’t go into greater detail again here.

  • Those who want inexpensive, quality eyeshadow.
  • Those who LOVE sparkle.
  • Those who are interested in trying Japanese style eyeshadow but don’t have the means of getting their hands on it (Maybelline Eye Studio Color Explosion Eye Shadow are close to what you’d find in a Japanese drugstore).

  • Those who dislike sparkle and shimmer.
  • Those who aren’t keen on shadows that you need a little time and patience with (defining and contrasting with these can prove a chore at times).
  • Those who already own the prior Eye Studio Quads (colors are a little too similar in some cases).

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Explosion Eye Shadow are either going to be a major hit with you or a major miss. It really all depends on how you like your eyeshadow formulation. I think fans of Asian makeup from brands like Jill Stuart, Visee, etc…will easily get on board with these however folks who aren’t particularly keen on eyeshadows with alot of sparkle will probably not like them. I personally liked these alot but I did wish that they weren’t so close in color range as quads I already own from Maybelline’s Eye Studio Collection…a little more variety and thought going into the shade selection would have earned them a Muse Approval.

Have you tried these?

Love them?


Leave them?

How come?

Share it!

Available now at drugstores.


This product was purchased by the Muse for review purposes.
Read my full disclosure statement here.

  • 8/30/11 20:08 Jamie:

    These look lovely on you! Particularly the green one. I rarely buy makeup at the drugstore, but I’ve become increasingly impressed with the quality of some of these eyeshadows. I’m going to have to pick up some.


    • 8/31/11 10:43 the Muse:

      aw thanks jamie! they are well worth a pick up imho! ;-D


  • 8/30/11 20:41 Blair:

    Hey, Muse!

    Can I just rave about your promptness into making such quick reviews? <3

    I agree, the shades/finish were a little too similar to the regular Eye Studio quads for me to be *too* excited about, although when I saw the Caffeine Rush one I was sorely tempted, but I decided they were probably too frosty to wear on a day-to-day basis. 😐 Are they, do you think?

    I must admit though, they look GORGEOUS in the advertisements I see them on – whether it be on magazines or TV. Not to mention green is clearly your color – you look amazing! <3


    • 8/31/11 10:42 the Muse:

      aw jeepers blair you’re sweet thank you! ;-D Yeah…sigh…I kinda got disappointed…really it’s the same palette, different shape, with an overcoat…meh. I didn’t think they were frosty at all. I can’t do frost…! ;-D more shimmery! aw shucks thanks you rock girl ;-D and you’re way too kind!

      I’d pick one or to up if your local drugstore has a bogo ;-D they are worthy of it imho!


  • 8/30/11 23:03 TokyoChel:

    I’ve been stalking these shadows ever since they came out (Walmart’s gonna get a restraining order against me haha), so thanks so much for this review. As I have none of the quads, these would be new shades for me and you made them sound great!
    I would love to try Japanese eyeshadows, so knowing they’re so much like them makes me excited to pick up a couple.


  • 8/31/11 3:19 Musebeliever:

    I really don’t like maybelline eyeshadows… My eyes are quite sensitive and these make me cry.


  • 8/31/11 9:11 Maria:

    .Hmmm…I’ve been meaning to try these, maybe I’ll pick one up when they’re back on sale at Walgreens or CVS. They also released some blushes that I REALLY want to try. Thanks Muse!
    By the way, can I say how much I LOVE the fact that you match your headband to your make up? ^_^ Totally made my day! lol


    • 8/31/11 9:26 the Muse:

      morning maria! def go into a purchase on a sale, makes it way more worthy. do you mean the baked blushes? I saw those ;-D very nice. My pleasure dear. Aw shucks thanks ;-D ha…!


      • 8/31/11 10:24 Maria:

        Yup! There is one really nice burgundy color in those baked blushes that Im kind of dying to try. ^_^ Need to check out the sales! LOL Have a great day girl!


        • 8/31/11 10:35 the Muse:

          maria I got a glance of it ;-D kinda reminds me of the Chanel blush recently released! ;-D You too hun! Happy Hump Day!


  • 8/31/11 10:06 telle:

    that green looks SO awesome on you, Muse!

    I also have forest fury and will pick up the caffiene one when they go on sale. i agree with everything you have said about the dupe of these new quads… :( sadness. i hope to see some sweet sweet ltd ed’s with these at some point.
    i think these are a drug store version of the lancome quints if someone likes that concept but doesnt want to shell out to lancome prices.
    i am a big fan of the pigmentation from the forest fury palette, that chartreuse green applies like a dream…usually shades like that, i have found (so far anyway) take a lot of building up to get a good color pay off.

    thanks, as always, for the review, Muse! 😀


  • 8/31/11 21:08 nicole:

    I loooooove these, normally i dont get excited about drugstore makeup because of some bad experiances but I have bought 3 of these so far (i want them all!) and I have created a few killer eye looks… love love love!


    • 9/1/11 14:09 the Muse:

      yay nicole happy to hear it! ;-D


  • 9/2/11 1:07 TokyoChel:

    Ok Muse, I have to tell you, after reading your review, I literally skipped out the door to buy a couple. I ended up getting the green and purple palettes. I was so excited to try them!
    But…I was not pleased with the blendability or the lasting power of these shadows. I used the purple palette today for work and had an extremely hard time getting the crease color to blend and not look patchy. Then, barely half-way through the day, I check my makeup and the colors are already fading out and creasing (I used the same great nyx primer I always use), so I’m wondering…is there a trick to applying these (as you specifically compared them to Asian shadows) that you do differently than for ordinary drugstore eyeshadows?
    Sorry for the long post, I’m just hoping you can give me some advice cuz the colors are gorgeous and I want to love them!


    • 9/2/11 9:52 the Muse:

      aw chel I’m sorry they disappointed you. I use urban decay primer potion before hand I HIGHLY suggest a sponge applicator to pack color on (not the one it came with, that’s too small). If possible use a dense base under them, like mac paint pot in soft orche or benefit lemon aid. Hope this helps!?


  • 9/7/11 11:17 cC:

    these remind me of the Kate es palettes


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