A recent search on Sephora.com for "eye shadow" revealed 394 product results. In light of such an embarrassment of choice, you could argue that there are enough types of eye shadows already out there and that we don't need any new ones. But, you would be wrong. Cosmetic companies have released a slew of newfangled formulations that look great, and more importantly, are incredibly easy to use.
Armani Eye Tints, $38, available at Barneys
This product is one of my favorite launches so far this year. (Fine, I know it's only January, but still.) It's the lip gloss of eye shadow, only much more chic and without the goopiness. You apply it with a wand complete with doe foot applicator, and it goes on in liquid form, which is a weird sensation at first. But when it dries, it looks like angels have gently fluttered their wings all over your lids.
The product is truly on-brand for Armani, too. The finish is supposed to look like a Privé gown, and it uses the same technology as the cult-favorite Maestro foundation, according to Giorgio Armani Celebrity Makeup Artist Tim Quinn, which means you can expect a powdery, almost matte dry-down. I love a product that you can just sweep on and forget about, and this is the epitome of easy to use. You can swipe on multiple layers for a stronger look, and you can easily smudge with your finger. It comes in 12 shades, from shell pink to dark obsidian.
Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette, $58, available at Sephora
This product is a veritable work of art in the package, but it's also a miracle of modern engineering. Five different shades and textures -- from matte to shimmer -- are poured together in one contiguous palette. Aesthetically pleasing, yes, but it also makes it easy to blend and mix shades. The shadows are finely milled with an almost creamy consistency, and I don't experience any dusty residue when I use them dry.
Moani Lee, a makeup artist and Hourglass's brand ambassador, recommends spritzing a brush with water (or a facial spray if you're feeling fancy) and then swiping on lids for a more creamy consistency or along the lash line as an eyeliner. I've had fun just running a dry brush across the entire palette and seeing what kind of ombré designs I can discover. The palettes come in seven different neutral shade ranges. There really isn't a bad one in the bunch, but I'm particularly partial to "Color Field," which features green khakis and champagnes.
Maybelline New York Eyestudio Color Molten Duo, $7.99, $6.99, available at Target
I truly feel that Maybelline has been killing it in the innovation and quality departments lately, and that many of their products can go head-to-head (or lash-to-lash?) with those of much more expensive brands. This new eye shadow franchise is one such example.
Color Molten is one of the first products that newly minted Maybelline Global Makeup Artist Yadim had a hand in developing. Watching him backstage at NYFW last season, it's clear that he loves to apply makeup with his hands, and this product doesn't require any tools. It's billed as a "cream-powder" texture and it feels a bit like the brand's Dream Bouncy blush products. There's a bit of give there. At a recent launch for the product, he gave one of the editors present a beautiful smoky eye using Midnight Morph, which contains a gorgeous dark turquoise color. If you can smudge with your fingers, you can use this. Yadim recommends priming lids with Color Stick Concealer prior to use if you want more amped-up color. It's just a great everyday product.