Why Simple Eyeshadow Looks Are Slowly But Surely Taking Over Your Newsfeed

What do Lily Collins, Lupita Nyong’o, and Millie Bobby Brown have in common? Well, besides the obvious — they’re brilliant, gorgeous, and talented they’ve all rocked single eyeshadow looks lately. Celebs aren’t the only ones loving the simplified style, either. Brands are into it (Pat McGrath Labs and Giorgio Armani Beauty both recently launched single color shadows), Instagram is into it (the trend is slowly but surely taking over your newsfeed), and next, it’s your turn — with a little guidance from pro makeup artists.

Monochromatic fashion is having a moment, and we see this reflected in the beauty space,” Tim Quinn, Giorgio Armani’s Beauty Celebrity Face Designer, tells The Zoe Report. According to the MUA, the look is trending for two main reasons: It’s simple and it’s sophisticated. “Everyone is in a rush, and using a single color is less fussy,” Quinn says. “And a simple, chic, and clean look can elevate an entire ensemble.” It also doesn't require the skill set of, say, meticulously blending every powder in the palette. Anyone can handle a single shadow, even beauty beginners.

“One color can be just as creative as five,” Mary Irwin, a makeup artist who’s worked with Sasheer Zamata, adds in an email to The Zoe Report. When worn in eye-catching shades like lavender, pink, or yellow, this kind of eye makeup harkens back to the swingin’ ‘60s (think Collins’ recent Met Gala makeup); and though it may appear bold, the style is easier to pull off than you think. “Yellow is shockingly wearable,” Irwin says. “As a sheer wash of color or a brightly blocked look, it can be combined with a red lip, a coral lip, even a nude and be super polished.”

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Irwin is also a fan of green eyeshadow, for those feeling extra adventurous. “From a rich forest to a bright neon, green works on all skin tones and with all eye colors,” she says. “It can be elegant, it can be sassy, or can be rebellious — it’s just a great color.” The makeup artist loves pairing a statement-making shadow with a flick of liner and a slick of mascara to frame the eye. If you’re really ready to go for it, add a colorful lip to the mix. “Look at a color wheel,” Irwin advises. “Whatever color is across from what you’re wearing on your eyes will look great on your lips.”


Thankfully, big and bold isn’t the only way to try the trend. Quinn is a fan of a subtler approach, and likes Giorgio Armani Beauty’s rose gold or lilac Eye Tints for a light wash of color. “All you do is stipple on one shade and move it around — these Eye Tints really diffuse themselves,” he explains. When it comes to the rest of the face, Quinn suggests keeping everything in the same color family. “If you are going with rose gold, use a warm brown liner and mascara,” he says. “Lilac, try for a plum liner with black mascara.” As for lipstick? You can’t go wrong with nude.

Ahead, nine individual shadows to add to your collection from Giorgio Armani Beauty, Pat McGrath Labs, Hourglass, and more.

Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow



First, swipe on a single coat of Giorgio Armani Beauty's shimmery shadow. Next, "You have to have your lashes lined with mascara to complete any eye look," Quinn says.

EYEdols Eye Shadow



If Pat McGrath, "Mother" of over-the-top makeup, is embracing the single-color look with her new EYEdols release, you know it's gonna be huge.

Scattered Light Glitter Eye Shadow



With Hourglass' latest shadows, you can go all out (try Foil, a glittering gold or Aura, a sweet pink) or understated (with Smoke or Reflect, shades of taupe and champagne, respectively).

Shape Shift Eyeshadow Palette Stack



This stackable palette from Melt Cosmetics has everything you need — and then some — to create a jewel-toned eye.

Exquisite Eye Liquid Shadow



For those who prefer a subtler approach, look no further than the five neutral shades of Wander Beauty Exquisite Eye Liquid Shadow.

Shimmershade Illuminating Cream Eyeshadow SPF 30



Bonus: SUPERGOOP!'s take on the trend comes complete with SPF 30 to keep your delicate eyelids protected.




These classic single-pan shadows from MAC come in pretty much every color you could want, from Fashion Field (a pink-y coral that's so 2019) to Shock Factor (a lime green endorsed by Irwin).

Hypnotic Lights Eye Topper



Recreate Collins' Met Gala makeup with an application of Milani's affordable Hypnotic Lights Eye Topper in Beaming Light.

GLITTERBABY Metallic-Shift Eyeshadow


Smith & Cult

Take Irwin's advice and match this glittery royal blue with its color wheel opposite — red — on your lips.