The Surprising Eyeshadow Color That’s Taking Over This Season’s Palettes

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This summer's eyeshadow palettes are confirming six major makeup trends
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Summer 2020 is gearing up to be one giant case study on how vitamin D-deprived, fresh-out-of-quarantine psyches react to a dose of fresh air and sunshine after months of isolation. So far, the research is finding that people are a lot more apt to dip into the brightest shades in the palette. Literally. Intense eyeshadow colors are quickly becoming summer 2020's leading beauty trend.

Bold neons and shimmers are this season's winners, but what's more, they're also being worn in vibrant combinations. The painterly watercolor look that sparked obsession last spring has given way to neon color-blocking and runway-inspired holographic lids.

The idea of compounding eyeshadow colors is, of course, ancient — able to be traced back to Cleopatra's era, even — but the 2020 iteration of it is slightly different. These days, you have highlighter hues, pastels, and iridescent shimmer all happening simultaneously. And it's rare to stop at just one shade.

Ahead, six eyeshadow colors to try this season and the recently released palettes that feature them.

We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Cyanic Blues

Blue eyeshadow broke out of the '90s time capsule with the aid of Kim Kardashian, who made it a dress code requirement at 2018's KKW x Mario launch party. "Can blue eye shadow really make a comeback?" W Magazine wrote in response to the makeup mogul's tweet. The answer is now written on every cool girl's face. Naturally, this bright-blue hue was the centerpiece of Lady Gaga's new Haus Laboratories Stupid Love Eyeshadow Palette.

Iridescent Multichrome

The standout shade of Pat McGrath Labs' new Divine Rose II palette epitomizes the futuristic holographic trend that originated on spring 2019 runways (see: Area). The brand calls it "trichrome," an unprecedented, kaleidoscopic pigment that transforms from pink to green as the lighting changes. Now you won't have to attempt any illusionist blending yourself.

Highlighter Hues

Not long ago, neons eased onto the scene unobtrusively via swimwear and nail polish. A couple years later, highlighter hues are not only singularly face-friendly, they're also worthy of color-blocking. The pinks and chartreuse included in Anastasia Beverly Hills' newest iteration of the beloved Norvina Pro Pigment Palette makes pulling off an abstract Tracee Ellis Ross lid look like child's play.

Monochromatic Pink Cheeks & Eyes

The current fascination with matching lids to lips to cheeks takes today's all-pink-everything trend to a whole new level. Experts say you can get the perfect match by using a single product throughout, whether it be a lip gloss or an eyeshadow, and if you go that route, Ace Beaute Cosmetics' tonal Scarlet Dusk Palette is the perfect place to start.


Watercolor was 2019's standout trend and here it is again, gearing up for another season. A softer take on intense rainbow lids, the watercolor-blocked aesthetic favors delicate blending over harsh lines. Meaning: You don't have to be a modern-day da Vinci to try it. NYX Cosmetics' new Brights Ultimate Shadow Palette contains every shade you could possibly need for this colorful experiment, and it also comes in a limited-edition Pride Month packaging.

Metallic Shimmer

Gold lids have historically been synonymous with New Year's Eve or holiday parties, but Marc Jacobs is suddenly turning metallic shimmer into a summer thing. His entire summer 2020 beauty collection is dripping in gold, including the Eye-conic Multi-Finish Eyeshadow Palette in Extravagance!, which features seven downright regal shades in velvet, satin, silk, and lamé finishes.

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