Are there $75 smoky-eye kits worth the splurge? Yes. Do we always want to drop half a paycheck on beauty products to get a red-carpet look? Um, no. Which is why we took a field trip to the drugstore then mixed, blended, swatched and smoked our way to this list of the best sultry shadow kits on the market - for under $10. From classic sooty shades to daytime-friendly bronzes and rose golds, these are the shadows you’ll be wearing 24/7.
1. For the classic smoky eye: NYC New York Color HD Trio Eye Shadow Palette, Skyrise Steel
The super-blendable trio of charcoals provides intense color payoff with just one swipe. Our favorite feature is how the micro shimmer particles liven up the almost-black shade.
New York Color | $3
2. For a daytime mocha smolder Catrice Chocolate Nudes Palette
We love this six-pan palette of warm coffee tones. Perfect for day or night, this mix of creamy mattes and ultra-metallic shades is the perfect palette to stash at your desk. Keep the darker tones in the creases and outer edges, then add a little sparkle before your post-work drinks.
3. For a flattering taste of plum: e.l.f clay Eyeshdow palette in Smoked to Perfection
Try swapping out your usual black and gray shadows for these rich eggplant hues. Not only do the purple undertones warm up most eye colors, but we’re also huge fans of the clay-based formula that makes for super soft shadows with minimal fall out.
E.L.F. | $6
4. For a romantic take on the trend: Wet 'n' Wild Au Natural Palette in Nude Awakening
For a date-night friendly smoky eye, pick these blush, rose gold, and rust tones over onyx hues. The pigmented mix of matte and shimmers are beyond smooth and easy to blend. We love using the deepest brown shade as a liner to define eyes, and a bit of the light taupes and pinks to add depth under our lower lashes.
Wet 'n' Wild | $7
5. For a jewel-toned version: Maybelline The Rock Nudes Palette
This 12-pan palette of steely shades is accented with deep navy, rich aubergine and metallic gold. Try layering a brighter metallic over a deeper cream shadow base really amp up the smoky effect.
Maybelline | $10