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What Are the Pros and Cons of Cheap Eyeshadow?

T. Alaine
T. Alaine

Cheap eyeshadow generally carries a negative connotation compared to higher-end, professional, or luxury eyeshadows, but there are certainly positive attributes as well. Some common complaints about about cheap eyeshadow are that it is not very pigmented and results in too little color payoff, that it does not have a pleasant texture, or that it is not long-wearing. Contrastingly, some popular advantages of cheap eyeshadow are that it is affordable, that it can sometimes be applied in ways that optimize the available pigments, and that it can be a great outlet for beginners or people who want to experiment with new textures or colors.

Generally, cheap eyeshadow is considered “cheap” not only because it is inexpensive but also because it is not as well made as some more expensive varieties. Most of the cons of cheap eyeshadow are related to the latter, and take issue with the quality of the product. In many cases, the product costs less money because it contains no high-quality ingredients or contains only a small amount of high-quality ingredients combined with low-quality fillers. This is most commonly noticed in the amount of pigment, or color, that is present in an eyeshadow formula.

Woman posing
Woman posing

The less pigment there is in a formula, the less color payoff there will be. This means that the color will look diluted and less vibrant on the skin than it does in the pan. Another con is that cheap eyeshadows tend not to last very long on the skin before they fade and the color disappears. Texture is another possible complaint: complex eyeshadow looks often depend on blending multiple colors, and cheap eyeshadow with poor texture might not blend easily or effectively or feel as nice on the skin.

Possibly the biggest pro for cheap eyeshadow is that sometimes none of the cons are true! There are some very good inexpensive options that mimic the higher-end formulas, and in some cases finding the best ones just requires trial and error. Cheap eyeshadows are widely available and easy to find, and of course, easier to afford. People who are new to makeup might find it helpful to begin with less expensive products until they master the techniques, figure out what colors they prefer and what shades flatter them, or decide if they even want to continue wearing makeup at all. Similarly, people who are curious about a new color or texture trend but are not ready to make a big financial commitment can test out cheap versions before making an investment.

In the event that a cheap eyeshadow is purchased and does not live up to the consumer’s hopes, another pro is that there are some tricks to make it perform better. If the eyeshadow is not wearing well, applying a makeup primer on the eyes will make the color last longer. A dull or sheer color will also benefit from an opaque primer or it can be applied with a moist makeup brush to concentrate the pigment and produce a more vibrant shade.

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