Best eyeshadows for dark skin: 5 picks from creamy mattes to flawless shimmers

These are the best eyeshadows for dark skin, tried and tested

Black woman wearing orange eyeshadow
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Among the hundreds of palettes on the market, there are plenty of eyeshadows for dark skin. As the beauty industry evolves, leading make-up brands have become more inclusive with product ranges, taking the appropriate time, effort, and research into creating formulas that specifically cater to and complement a wider range of skin tones, including darker shades. 

Like most make-up products, eyeshadow palettes have historically alienated customers with deeper skin tones as products would often turn out chalky, change color when applied on dark skin, or vanish completely. However, beauty has come a long way and thanks to the growing number of Black-owned brands like Pat McGrath, Fenty Beauty, and Uoma Beauty, as well as efforts by other leading make-up brands to expand their product ranges, shopping for eyeshadows that suit dark skin has never been easier. 

Whether you’re after neutral tones for day-to-day looks or want something more vibrant and colorful, we’ve selected our top five best eyeshadow palettes for dark skin, all of which are perfectly pigmented. 

Best eyeshadows for dark skin: Tried & tested

Best eyeshadow for dark skin

(Image credit: Sleek)

1. Sleek MakeUP I-Divine Palette Original

Purse-friendly and glamourous

Reasons to buy
+Highly pigmented+Pretty colour selection+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-No matte options, just shimmery

Sleek’s i-Divine eyeshadow palette in shade “original” is the ultimate palette for those who love a shimmering look, be it brown and gold hues or bright blues and greens. It is one of few palettes where all the shades complement a mix of darker skin tones and the formula is great too. All of the shades are super pigmented and long-lasting—I always use a lighter shade concealer as a base before applying eyeshadow and with this, I experienced no creasing or ashy texture throughout the day. It stayed put for hours. However, my favorite thing about the eyeshadows (the gold shades in particular) was the illuminating effect they had, which is thanks to the mica particles used in the formula. This is great for creating glam looks and the bright colors are perfect for summer too. 

Best eyeshadows for dark skin

(Image credit: Boots)

2. HUDA Beauty Naughty Nude

The ultimate nudes

Reasons to buy
+Pretty colour selection+Highly pigmented +Creaseless
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

Huda Beauty’s Huda Kattan is known for her flawless filter-like make-up range, from glowy highlighters to flash-sculpting mascaras. One of the beauty mogul’s most impressive offerings, however, is her carefully selected colour patterns in the brand’s eyeshadow palettes. Late last year, the brand launched an updated version of the famous New Nude palette, this time titled the Naughty Nude eyeshadow palette. Made up of warm pink and golden tones, it consists of an array of textures: five high-shine metallics, three multi-reflective marbled shimmer creams and eight velvety mattes – all of which easily glide onto the skin when applying. I found the shade “untamed” – a pigmented matte aubergine colour – to be incredibly flattering on dark skin, especially when blended with “spicy”. It can be hard to find eyeshadows that are shimmery but not tacky, but this palette nailed just that.

The formula was great too as I experienced zero creasing throughout the day. 

Best eyeshadow for dark skin

(Image credit: LookFantastic)

3. UOMA Beauty Black Magic Palette Colour Palette - Poise

The glam palette

Reasons to buy
+Highly pigmented+Deep colours +Creaseless
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey -No day-time colours 

Founded by Nigerian-born beauty boss Sharon Chuter, UOMA beauty launched in 2019 and is a brand dedicated to providing a make-up range that suits all skin tones. The UOMA Beauty Black Magic colour palette is a perfect example of how the brand does this right, with the Poise palette in particular offering a gorgeous selection of deep tones that suit darker skin. I found all of the shades in this to be incredibly pigmented and especially loved the OMO and EJA shades, two creamy matte textures in warm brown/peach shades that easily blended together and complemented my complexion. As someone who tends to go for shimmery eyeshadows, I’m very particular with the matte shades I choose, and found this one to be just what I was looking for. 

Best eyeshadows for dark skin

(Image credit: Urban Decay)

4. Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette

For creaseless warm tones

Reasons to buy
+Soft on the skin+Highly pigmented +Warm tones
Reasons to avoid
-Not a wide range of colours

If you love warm tones then this palette is for you. Made up of neutrals, coppers, burnt oranges, browns, golds and burgundy shades, Urban Decay’s Naked Heat eyeshadow palette is a huge favourite among beauty influencers including one of my longtime favourites, Jackie Aina. All 12 shades are a mix of shimmery and matte textures, with Lumbre and Sauced being my two favourite shades. While Lumbre is more of a night-time look thanks to its shimmery mix of gold and burgundy, Sauced paired with the shade Chaser are great for creating a natural day-to-day look. All the shades are deeply pigmented, which means a little goes a long way and you won’t have to worry about creasing or topping up throughout the day as they stay put. 

Best eyeshadows for dark skin

(Image credit: Nars)

5. Nars Afterglow Eyeshadow Palette

Soft mattes and bright shimmers

Reasons to buy
+Good selection of mattes and shimmers+Highly pigmented+Creaseless +Pretty packaging 
Reasons to avoid
-Limited edition

NARS Cosmetics is another brand that has always been inclusive to black and brown skin tones with everything from extensive foundation and concealer ranges, to its array of eyeshadow offerings. The brand’s Afterglow eyeshadow palette is one of my personal favourites due to its gorgeous colour combination. Not only is it beautiful to look at but it is one of very few palettes where I’ve found myself using every single shade. While I’d definitely say it is more on the glamorous side with bright colours and shimmery textures dominating, there are a few buildable shades that can create a more understated look. The golden hues particularly complemented my skin, while the shimmery purple also looks amazing on darker skin tones. Plus, the super sleek design of the packaging is another highlight for this palette. 

How to choose the best eyeshadows for dark skin 

There are few things to keep in mind when shopping for eyeshadows for deeper skin tones. ”For people with darker skin tones, it can be frustrating when using eyeshadows and they turn out to be chalky or ashy. Luckily the make-up industry has stepped up its game when it comes to eyeshadow formulas,” says an expert at Sleek Makeup, a brand that has always catered to darker skin tones. “Our new and improved i-Divine eyeshadow formula delivers our strongest color pay-off yet, and they’re so easy to blend too.” 

The brand expert also highlighted the importance of prepping your skin before applying eyeshadow to get the best results. “The first step which is important is to prep before applying eyeshadows. This will ensure the full vibrant pigment pops on deeper skin,” she explained. 

“I like to use an eyeshadow primer or a concealer two or three shades lighter than my skin tone first.” 

She then revealed that using a transition shade first to tie all the colors together is a great hack to ensure you end up with a seamless look. “Deep and rich colors such as chocolate browns, caramel, copper, and bronze are great shades to choose from for this. Another great tip is that when using metallic shades, wet the brush or your finger first to ensure the color intensifies. Don’t be afraid to play with color and remember to blend, blend, blend!” 

Sagal Mohammed
Sagal Mohammed

Sagal is a journalist, specialising in lifestyle, pop culture, fashion and beauty.  She has written for a number of publications including Vogue, Glamour, Stylist, Evening Standard, Bustle, You Magazine, Dazed and Wonderland to name a few.