Rummage through my makeup bag (and undoubtedly your own too) and you'll notice that all of the warm, earthy, neutral tones that reside in the many eye shadow palettes have been buffed right down to the silver pan—that's how much they get used. All that remains are the perfectly untouched bold shades, the type that for so long gave me goosebumps at just the thought of actually applying them onto my eyes.
I know I'm not alone in this. Most of us have kept bright eye shadows at arm's length for years, avoiding the unwelcome flashbacks from our teen years that they incite. Back then, brights were pallid and diluted—merely wishy-washy excuses for colour. It seems as though times are changing, however, as technology means bright eye shadows are just that: bright.
"Bright eye shadows are typically more pigmented and longer-lasting nowadays due to the quality of pigment. Manufacturers are also sourcing the best, as there's more competition on the market," explains Danielle Roberts, Urban Decay's national makeup artist. And it's got me thinking that it might be time to give those bright hues a second chance.
Of course, it's daunting to face a palette of rainbow tones. The fear of looking like the result of a 5-year-old's scribbled crayon picture is real, but that simply means that trial and error is key here and be sure to start off slowly. "If you're a bright shadow novice, choose one shade and have that as your focus rather than trying to combine colours," suggests Roberts.
While generally, the technology has improved, eye shadows still aren't born equal, so we've sifted through them all to find the best brands to give you a serious dose of vibrancy.
Nyx Professional Makeup
Nyx is the go-to brand for getting out of a makeup rut, as its purse-friendly offerings are perfect for trying out different shades. The silky satin textures in this palette make these bold tones a joy to apply and won't feel like you're drawing on a chalkboard.
This palette is all the proof you need as to why Morphe is the brand of choice for beauty influencers. Its vivid sell-out shades melt as you apply them, so you get a flawless finish as well as a huge spectrum of powders to choose from. This is ideal if you're not quite sure what colours work for your skin tone, as you can play around with all 35 of them.
Whatever colour you're looking for, MAC is guaranteed to have it, and its selection of brights are eye shadow heavyweights. Try the beetroot-like shade Passionate for a deep hit of colour that will be right at home with your summer wardrobe.
You know that pre-purchase excitement of seeing an intense shade in its packaging only to find that once you swipe it over your lids it's dulled down by four shades? Well, Illamasqua won't let that happen to you with its punchy brights. If you're not keen on blending multiple colours, then its single pans can more than hold their own.
When it comes to colour payoff and next-level blendability, you can't beat Huda Beauty palettes. This nine-colour collection gives you dynamic shades of metallic, matte and foil textures. They're warm enough to blend together without fear, but also just look at that fuchsia of dreams in there.
This L.A.-based brand is the expert on colour, so it's no wonder that its rainbow of eye shadow shades is reaching cult status. You can fill up your own palette and select the shadows that work best for the look you're going for with these daring singles.
There's no greater feeling than getting your hands on the latest Urban Decay launch. Successfully adding the newest palette to your basket is akin to bagging tickets to a gig within the first few minutes. But its single eye shadows are just as covetable. This electric pink shade is pigmented enough to work as an eyeliner if you're not ready to go over the entire lid—just use a wet angled brush.
Ready to go beyond the neutral eye shadows in your collection? Well, now you know where to start.