February 9, 2016

What’s the Worst Eyeshadow You’ve Ever Used?

I receive a small commission if you shop through my link.

worst eyeshadow

So what’s the worst eyeshadow you’ve ever used? Maybe it was too sheer or lacked pigment? Maybe it was dry and blended horribly!

Share some of your worst eyeshadow experiences.

My recent one is Revlon Not Just Nudes! Ugh these were horrible. Really dry, pretty sheer, and blended out so muddy! I can’t think of any one brand but five or so years ago I remember mattes being terribly dense, dry, and difficult to apply. Things have improved considerably in the matte world with much silkier formulas but a few years ago even higher end brands had really bad mattes.

How about you?

What’s the worst eyeshadow you’ve ever used?

Or even an eyeshadow palette that was just ALL bad, nothing redeeming about it…

Do share!


I receive a small commission if you shop through my link.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


  • Heather

    I have to say Bobbie Brown. No pigment at all. I never understood why that brand is so overhyped (and overpriced (.

    • Isabella Muse

      I used to love Bobbi’s stuff. Real fan girl! And some stuff I still do! But her shadows lately have really had a quality control issue πŸ™

    • Kimberly Thibodeaux

      I agree–that’s one I was coming on to post–absolutely no color/pigment. I won’t waste my money again!

  • Caroline

    Haha this is a topic I could talk about at great length! But the first thing that comes to mind is a Tarte palette from the EmphasEYES collection that I bought on clearance maybe four years ago. All the shadows in it were absolutely terrible!! There was a really unique army green shade in there that I thought would be great, but it was maybe the worst one in the palette (which is saying something). And as if the shadows weren’t bad enough, the dual-ended brush that came with it kept coming apart and I had to superglue it back together! I ended up getting rid of the palette after using it only a few times. Total waste!!

  • Dev

    My worst were some eyeshadow palettes from Forever21! I’ve found ways to work with a lot of below average ones but these were outstandingly horrible.

  • Kristi

    Reckon cream shadows…and those revlon glittery single shadows. So, revlon in general…lol

  • Cecilia

    This old H&M palette was my first eyeshadow from when I went in there and bought everything cheap for my first makeup bag – and they’re worse than the play makeup I had as a kid, just awful!
    As for “real” brands though, Too Faced’s Return of Sexy was a disappointment for me. It was really difficult to use and didn’t really stick to the brush or my (primed) skin, so there was just glittery fallout everywhere!

  • Carolyn2

    IT was an eye shadow pallete from NYX. It was horrible! Can’t remember the name of it… I think it was Dream Catcher something.. Also – and don’t kill me… the Naked Basic 2. (I know, I know….)

  • Carolyn

    It’s Bobbi Brown for me too. I loved the mauve fall palette that was out years ago. After that, the shadows never seemed the same. Her palettes always look so pretty, and I’m often tempted, but it’s just too much money to be disappointed.

  • Heather

    Another least favorite is Estee Lauder Pure Color Shadow Paint. So beautiful in the jar, but dry and impossible to blend smoothly!

  • Christina D.

    There have been so many that it’s difficult to remember any one in particular.

    While I agree with you about the awful Revlon Not Just Nudes palettes (for that matter, any and all Revlon eye shadows), I wasn’t expecting much from them and probably should have known better than to waste even a few dollars. That said, if an item is pricier and turns out to be awful, I tend to swear off that brand (I’m looking at you, Bobbi Brown). Sometimes it takes me a few disappointing palettes to learn my lesson (Tarte), but my list of brands that make crappy eye shadows is growing.

    • Isabella Muse

      It’s a weird thing as lately I think there’s some sort of crazy mass production going on with these eyeshadows, like Tarte, Bobbi Brown, are they all coming from the same bad formula?! haha!

  • Agona

    I was really unimpresssed with Smashbox’s Full Exposure glittery shades. I got a sample in my Sephora Play! and while it swatched beautifully, I think it was too dense and my fluffy shadow brush only picked up the glitter. One YouTuber suggested using a stiff brush and patting–whatever. Good shadows shouldn’t take that much manipulating.

    Also, I tried a quad sample of Coastal Scent’s Reveal from Ipsy; it was pretty until I tried to blend. Then they blended into mud, and then blended away into nothing. I didn’t think I was an “overblender”. This was with primer to boot!

    Sephora shadows were also a miss for me. I bought 3 of their colorful 5 shadows (quints) and you had to be surgically careful with placement because they wouldn’t blend. Buxom’s old Color Choregraphy’s formula was good; my main complaint is the color coordination of their quints–maybe the combo was too edgy for me, I dunno.

  • Kelli

    Bobbi Brown were by far the worst. Especially for the price point. Hard, chalky, muddy. Makes me sad, as I do love other products of hers.

  • Christina D.

    Oh! I just remembered that awful Jem and the Holograms palette that Sephora put out. It was the only item I have every gotten and returned in the same day. It was that bad. (I’ve had some good luck with other Sephora palettes but not that one).

    Also, a few weeks ago, I had impulsed purchased at CVS the new Salma Hayek Nuance palettes. Once again, I should have known based on the previous eye shadow products in the line that they would be crap. Crap doesn’t begin to describe how lousy they are…so stay away! I returned them ASAP.

    • Isabella Muse

      HOW COULD forget that?! Ugh! Awful! Hated it! It crushed me because I really wanted to love that palette! haha thanks!

  • Staci

    I really disliked Coastal Scents revealed 3. There were a couple ok shades, but most of it was crap. Stila the eyes are the window to the body was pretty bad too. I wanted the teal shade to work so bad, but it just didn’t. I wouldn’t say that these two were the worst I’ve ever tried, that award goes to some cheap drugstore stuff I had when I was younger. These were just the worst recently. $50 for the Stila hurt too.

  • Ruth

    It was ages ago, but it was the Kat Von D duo shadows. There was no pigment, just glittery fall out all over mah face! Her liquid lippies have gotten such great reviews, so i tried those too. They are the worst liquid lippies i’ve tried! they smudge, smear, and need constant reapplication. I’m hesitant to try anything else from her since what I have tried doesn’t work for me.

  • Dee

    Mine was the second IT Matte eye palette that came out, and it was a holiday one. The colors in the palette were gorgeous. But applied they all looked the same. You didn’t have to blend because everything looked muddy and gross. I love the first one, but that one…..big miss.

      • Leah

        That’s interesting because that’s my favorite eye shadow purchase of the whole 2015! I love that palette. I did a ton of research before I bought it and I saw that the reviews were very divided. Some people loved it, some people hated it. I regretted the purchase at first but have come to really love it.

  • lifeintheme

    Aghhh! Bad palettes are the worst!

    At first I had some really bad Bobbi Brown palettes, but I didn’t care too much because I won them. Then I read that using glitter primer with Bobbi Brown palettes helps (on 15 Min Beauty), and now they are very wearable. However, I think that eyeshadow should be wearable without glitter primer.

    One year my husband bought me lots of makeup and nail polish for Christmas. (It was the best!) He bought the NYX Love in Paris palette. None of the colors show up on the skin. You can barely even see the dark brown color when I put it on my eyes. I held onto it for sentimental reasons, and then one day found that the dark brown is perfect for my brows. So $15 for one tiny brown eyeshadow.

    The very worst one is the Lancome quad. I bought one with a gift card that Michelle Phan had demonstrated in a video. This eyeshadow lasts an hour tops. It is a waste of $50! I have tried it on every primer under the sun: UD, EL, ELF, Aritaum… etc. You name it, and it won’t work. I’m getting worked up just writing about it!

  • barbara

    I hate to say these words but it was a wet and wild palette that recently came out. There were I think in the collection and they were all bad. I think there called Into the Wild. They were dry and like concrete. So bad that I took them back to Rite Aide. I felt bad because they were only 2 bucks each, and the couldn’t believe they were bad, so I had her open them and touch them. she was like these are garbage. LOL

  • blee

    Don’t hate me, but MAC are the most difficult for me. I have them and the only ones I like are the mineral ones. The singles or pallets I have some and I just gave up on their eye shadows. πŸ™ But I’m a MAC fan for sure.

  • Anne

    I received a Pacifica double (purple and white) in a subscription box and there was NOTHING I could do to get either shade to show up on my medium-light skin. The worst.

    I have a love-hate with all prefab palettes, though, because I am lazy so I like everything being together, but I always use up my favorite shade and then I’m left with my least favorites.

    • Bethany

      I got that same eyeshadow from Pacifica in an Ipsy bag. Completely useless! Worst eyeshadow ever!

  • Rachel R.

    The worst high end were YSL, followed by the Kat von D Star Studded palette from a couple Christmasses ago (though I like her permanent palettes a lot).

    The really cheap drug store shadows from brands like NYC or LA Colors are the worst, ever.

    Indie — I know I’m in the minority, but I think Makeup Geeks are average, at best, and most of what I’ve tried is awful.

    • CornyMetoka

      I agree – everybody raves about Makeup Geek eyeshadows but I bought ten pans and they were all really below average. They barely stuck to my eyelids (I tried both with W&W Fergies primer and Too Faced Glitter Glue) and even when I managed to keep some on my lids, the shadows were muddy, lacked pigmentation, looked chalky and faded away within a couple of hours. Such a waste of money!

      Makeup Geek eyeshadows and Urban Decay glitter chunky eyeshadows (like Oil Slick) are the only ones I’ve never been able to work for me.

  • Mary Jo DeSario

    I spent a fortune on a Nars shadow duo that was blue and purple. I couldn’t get either of the colors to show up, wet or dry, and ended up throwing it out.

  • Kimmwc03

    I have had bad luck with Tarte shadows and NYX regular shadows (not the prismatic ones) so I avoid shadows from those brands.

  • Leah

    Probably a Stila dry to wet or something split pan trio that I got on clearance in Nordstrom Rack. Horrible, horrible, horrible. It’s one of the only shadows I couldn’t work with.

  • Jessy

    Tarina Tarantino, I have a couple of her single eye shadows and although the packaging is so cute, there’s just no way of getting that dry, stiff mess into a brush. Drugstore wise I remember buying some cream eyeshadows from Rimmel that looked sparkly and pretty in the pan, but creased like a mofo once applied. Sadly, even though I love The Balm (yes, I admit I make way too many choices based on packaging alone, sigh) their eyeshadows are average at best, they end up looking muddy on me and they’re way too powdery. Urban Decay is a hit or miss for me, but I specially loathe the ones with the chunky glitter. They need to stop making those already.

  • Alys

    Maybelline color tattoo. What a glumpy mess. Blech. I have never touched cream shadow since.

  • Stephanie

    It was one of those Smashbox trios. Vignette, maybe. It would not blend. The colours were magnificent though, and I have it too many chaces. I finally gave it to my sister who is a “one and done” shadow girl and she loves it.

  • Christina D.

    Wow…reading this has made me remember how many bad eye shadows I have gone through! I was done with MAC several years ago, then tried again with the Nordstrom palettes — and I love them! I bought the Cool, the Warm, the Naturals and the Finest (all 15 pan palettes). But then I tried the smaller, x9 palettes (Navy, Amber, Purple, Burgundy and MacNificent) and they brought me right back to swearing off MAC again.

    I have been very disappointed with NARS over the years, although I have purchased the newest Toujours L’Amour palette because my favorite beauty blogger said it was the bomb! πŸ˜‰ Hope springs eternal, Sista Muse!

    • Kristi

      See, and I love the smaller Mac x9 burgundy palette! I bought it this Christmas and I just adore it!

  • marioni_leoni

    The molten ones from Maybelline. They had little pigmentation, patchy application, creased , just horrible.

  • Terri

    I got a Pacifica split pan in an Ipsy bag that was unpigmented and very chalky. Worse than a child’s play makeup! On the high end side, I really disliked the Tartlette palette, got really muddy when blended.

  • Andrew

    The new Wal-Mart exclusive ten pan shadow palettes from Wet n Wild. All of them are dry, patchy, and fallout is a major issue. Hated them!

  • Karen

    I have to say anything from Wet ‘N Wild. Every eyeshadow I’ve tried blends horribly and flakes. I hate them!

  • Amy

    Maybelline’s “The Blushed Nudes” is the worst EVER. After using it I remembered that they have a lot of duo, trios, and quads with the Sam terrible formula. Not the Eyestudio Quads- they are good. At ULTA, I constantly try to steer quests away from all if the Maybelline Nude palettes. Waste of $9. No pigment, chalky, colors don’t blend, they crease. You’re better off spending the extra $10 and getting one of the L’oreal La Palette Nudes.

  • Lori

    Let’s see… Most recent fail for me was the Tartlette Tease palette…too warm/orangey, too dark, just too much… Then there was the set from PΓΌr that I found at Kohl’s on sale for $19 (originally $38)…it was one eye shadow palette and one cheek/face palette. Bleh. It went totally muddy on my eyes. I never even bothered with the cheek colors… And the one Buxom had out around Christmas, that came with a mascara and eyeliner? Ummm, no thanks.
    On the drugstore side, Ulta brand shadows don’t do much for me…somebody mentioned those Maybelline color molten things and yeah…those were pretty bad. And the Wet n Wild ones from Christmas-We Are the Wild Ones or something??? Yikes.

  • Valerie

    The Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips (the one that is just for eyes, not the all-over powder). It had about 6 colors that were so sheer and all looked the same when I applied them. I was so annoyed that I threw it away the first time I used it.

  • Joy

    Colourpop. Everyone raved. I bought a bunch. Swatched nicely but when I applied…splotchy and fall out city! Best way, only way, to apply is with fingers. Awful. So disappointed.

  • Carolyn (deux)

    Hi Carolyn! (waves to other Carolyn…I’ll just call myself Carolyn deux…lol). Ok so I bought 2 of the NYX Revenge is Infinite sets (one for me and one for my sis). Now I know some people said they liked the set (maybe it was the cool box???) but I applied and applied the shadows but kept looking in the mirror and it did not look like I had applied anything at all. By no means am I a makeup guru (nor do I even wear makeup that often), but I just thought this was strange. Did anyone else experience this with this set? Anyway, I ended up giving mine set to my sister with hers, lol.

  • Domi

    Recently, I most regretting buying the Covergirl roses nude palette. There is immense fall out and the colour payoff is not great in some of the shadows. A few are ok but not more. Their staying power is the worst. With or without a primer they litterally disapear after 2-4 hours, it looks as if I never put anything on in the first place. This has never happened to me before.

    I find the colour payoff of most Stila eyeshadows to be a bit poor.

    I love MAC but have to agree that the formula in their x9 amber is different from the one in their 15 pan palettes. I think it might be harder pressed so you need to work harder to get some product on the brush.

    I am mystified when it comes to the big morphe palettes. For me they are so unpredictable, a few are ok but some are too dry, some have major fallout and some are chalky etc.

    I like staying power in an eyeshadow. Any suggestions?

  • Linda

    Tartlette Palette. The colors are lovely. However, they were so chalky on my lids, that they highlighted every imperfection/wrinkle. Used it a few times and had to pitch it.

  • Brandy

    I know the Covergirl Trunaked palette has gotten good reviews and the colors are beautiful in the pan, but I can’t get a lot of the colors to show up even with a primer. I bought the nudes palette. I find them difficult to blend on my eyelids and the glitter ends up all over my face. I think I end up with more eyeshadow on my face than my eyelid.

    I also had an issue with the staying power of them. They disappeared within a few hours. Sigh. I think I’m going to have to break down and buy one of the Naked palettes. I’m wasting too much money trying to find the perfect drugstore eyeshadow.

  • Lynn

    Any eye shadow from Bare Minerals and Leslie Blodgett and her little kool aid drinking acolytes. Any thing from that fake line is awful.

    Could we also get that phoney Jessica off QVC????

    Horrible products and horrible people promoting it.

  • Leslie

    Bobbi Brown. I lusted after the Sea and Sand Palette and had to have it! $68 later it lays in a drawer most of the time. Beautiful colors with absolutely no color payoff!

  • genevieve

    Sorry to be late to the party here – but I have to agree with the comments above: Most hates
    Revlon (anything)
    Drug store palettes in general
    Nars – what is the fuss? Just average to me
    Bobbi Brown – way to sheer, colourless and overpriced
    Tarte – they all look the same