Friday, 25 September 2015

Battle of the High-End Eye Shadow Crayons

Hi, everyone! Eye shadow crayons have been increasingly prevalent in the beauty world for a lot of reasons: they're portable, versatile, and easy to use! They can be worn precisely as a liner, or smudged all over for a more sultry look. Many such handy eye crayons are also touted as bullet-proof long-wear wonders. Given these claims and the popularity of these products, I thought I'd put three higher-end eye shadow crayons to the test! 

Since I have a research background (I didn't get a PhD for nothing, haha!), I tried to make this as valid of an experiment as possible. Here's a breakdown of the controls put in place, as well as limitations: 

Factors that make this a solid experiment

  • I used the same eye shadow primer (Urban Decay Primer Potion) under each of the eye shadow crayons
  • I didn't layer any other eye colour products (eyeliners, eye shadows) with the eye shadow crayons
  • I took all of the "Before and After" photos as close to 10 hours apart as possible. 
  • I applied all of the crayons in the same manner- more densely closer to the lash line/on the lid, blending up towards the crease
  • I didn't use any eye cream on the days I was experimenting
  • I took the "Before and After" closeups on the same eye each time, in case one eyelid is more/less prone to creasing than the other

Limitations to this experiment

  • Clearly, I only tested one shade per formula and there may be variation in quality/longevity across shades
  • I didn't control for my daily activities and/or the weather on the days of testing; thus, some of the days might have been hotter/sweatier than the others

Now onto the products I tested! They are: 

Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Colour Morphing Eyeshadow Pencil in Bronzed Garnet ($27 USD)

Trish McEvoy 24-Hour Eye Shadow and Liner in Glamorous ($32 USD)

By Terry Ombre Blackstar "Colour Fix" Cream Eyeshadow in Misty Rock ($44 USD)

As for the long-wear claims of each product:

Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleons
"A long-lasting, easy-glide formula that smooths on and stays in place for up to 10 hours, or until it's time to take it off" (from

Trish McEvoy 24-Hour Eye Shadow and Liner
"This creamy, pigment-rich, shimmering eye shadow pen glides smoothly onto the lid or lash line for endless shading and eye defining options with maximum staying power. Crease-proof. Long-wear. Colour true" (from

By Terry Ombre Blackstars
"Its "tattoo-hold" stretch texture evens out eyelids with a waterproof radiance-lift reshaping film. Smudge-free formula." (from

Regarding the packaging, the Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleons come in a chubby pencil with a rounded tip that has to be sharpened when worn down. On the other hand, both the Trish McEvoy 24-Hours and By Terry Ombre Blackstars come in nearly identical packaging: metal tubes with a twist- up mechanism. The tips of the products are thinner and more precise than the Colour Chameleons

Now for some swatches! Here is each of the eye shadow crayons swatched on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone), first with one swipe, then layered more heavily:

Now let's let the experiments begin! Here are the same swatches above, subjected to the experiments labelled in the photos: 

As you can see, the Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon holds up much better to the dry finger smudge and water swipe tests, but breaks down much more quickly than the others when subjected to an micellar cleanser.

And now onto the most important tests- how the products held up on the eyes after a 10-hour day! For each, I've included 2 "Before" pictures (a full-face shot and an eye close-up) and 1 "After" shot (a close-up of the same eye). The "Before" and "Afters" are designed to show how the products wore over the  hours in terms of fading, smudging, or creasing. 

1) Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon in Bronzed Garnet

Before- Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon
After- Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon

2)Trish McEvoy 24-Hour Eye Shadow and Liner in Glamorous

Before- Trish McEvoy 24-Hour Eye Shadow and Liner
After- Trish McEvoy 24-Hour Eye Shadow and Liner

3)By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock

Before: By Terry Ombre Blackstar
After: By Terry Ombre Blackstar

So what were the findings of this epic eye shadow experiment? Here's a summery of the main results:

All three of these eye shadow crayons performed wonderfully, with very minimal creasing and fading after 10 long hours.

The Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon was not too creamy nor too dry. It was the most resistant to smudging and sweat, but broke down the quickest when exposed to oil. It faded only slightly during the day.

The Trish McEvoy 24-Hour Eye Shadow and Liner was the most pigmented and least creamy of the bunch. Bold colour, but was most susceptible to getting a bit patchy by the end of the day. It did hold up quite well to oil, though!

The By Terry Ombre Blackstar was the most sheer and creamy of the bunch. It was prone to fading when directly smudged with fingers or water, but evidenced the least amount of creasing and patchiness during the day. 

So while this post might have been more exciting if there had been a real stinker of a product, this was not the case! All three of these shadow pencils pack a high-end price, but also high-end performance to boot! None was perfect, with minimal fading throughout the day, but each still looked perfectly presentable at the end of 10 long hours. 

Overall, I think the Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon looked the best at the end of the day. The Trish McEvoy 24-Hour Eye Shadow and Liners have the most vivid, bold colour and the By Terry Ombre Blackstars are the lowest maintenance and easiest to apply and blend. 

If you've made it to the end, thanks for sticking it out! Hope you found this experiment to be helpful!

What is your favourite eye shadow crayon formula? Which of the ones I featured tempts you most?

Have a wonderful weekend! xo


  1. That CT shade is stunning! I love this post - so informative.

    Daniella | Freshly Pressed Beauty

  2. Great review :)! love all the colors <3.


  3. Cool! But I think these would probably crease on my oily lids for sure. It's rare to find a shadow pencil that doesn't. Yet, I am so drawn to them because they're so easy to use.

  4. First of all, kudos that you took up this experiment! I'm not sure how I feel though, I mean all 3 pencils are freaking expensive and if I pay that amount I want them to stay put forever. But then again, I'm a cheap ass and expects too much. :-P

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  5. You captured my heart with this post, because shadow sticks are the lazy girls answer to eye shadow! The Trish McEvoy has been on my wish list for years... why can't these brands be easier to come by here in Canada?
    Lovely post Jen!

  6. Wow it looks like you put a lot of time and effort into this! I never tried any high end cream eyeshadows but I might try the Charlotte Tillbury one because it worked so well for you!


  7. Oh I'm impressed at how well the Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon did on the smudge test. Is Holt Renfrew the only place you can get it?

  8. Great reviews! Illl have to try your winning picks!

    xoxoxo Sabrina | GYPSY TAN

  9. ahhh misty rock... it's been on my wishlist since the end of time.

  10. Brill experiment! Loved reading this post, as you went straight to the point and highlighted the concern I have when contemplating getting a cream shadow. What's your degree in?

  11. What a review... At least now I know which one is long lasting :) These are really pretty shades too and as always looks great on you. I am so tempted to get CT! Have a great weekend x

  12. Really enjoyed this post - very informative! I have a few of the Charlotte Tilbury shadows but none of the other two brands. Love Charlotte Tilbury! :)

  13. Really enjoyed this post - very informative! I have a few of the Charlotte Tilbury shadows but none of the other two brands. Love Charlotte Tilbury! :)

  14. Really enjoyed this post - very informative! I have a few of the Charlotte Tilbury shadows but none of the other two brands. Love Charlotte Tilbury! :)

  15. Wow I'm really impressed how detailed you went into - that's really great!!!

    And very useful because I've been thinking of splurging on shadow crayon and have had my eye on the Charlotte Tilbury! We don't have access to it here in Montreal (as far as I know) but next time I can get my hands on it, I'm gonna grab one for sure!!

  16. i think i like the formulation of the colour chameleon the best, but the by terry shimmer is SO pretty.

  17. I couldn't get on with the CT-my natural oils just eat through it. As you know I LOVE the TM, I have 4 now including this shade and to me, they are genuinely the best of the best. By Terry is like ok in my opinion, I love Misty Rock on others but it looks awful on me. Great post Jen!

    Stacey | Expat Make-Up Addict

  18. Oh, thanks for this, this is super helpful! And I also love the shades that you used in your comparison, so beautiful.

  19. Very helpful. I love eyeshadows in this format. Misty Rock is particularly pretty x

  20. this was quite thorough, dude! i love and hate these comparisons. i love the results that come out of them and the knowledge we gain from comparing but i hate having to do them b/c its a post that can take FOREVER to put together lol. glad you did it for us!

  21. YASS...COMPARING EXPENSIVE EYESHADOW CRAYONS. The CT one is definitely the best performing of the bunch for me, but I just wish it was in a twist up format instead since sharpening wastes product :(

  22. I love the way you did this experiment! I don't own any of these eyeshadow sticks so this was very helpful for me. Thank you!
    Caked To The Nines

  23. High end shadow crayons...why they all look so pretty! After reading this I realized I don't have red-brown-amber coloured eyeshadows like this..NEED NOW! The Lise Watier eyeshadow sticks works pretty well for me.

    Macarons and Mischief

  24. such an interesting post! Great idea!
    I'm such a huge fan of CT products :) Love this one♥
    Selina | Selinas Inspiration

  25. Misty Rock is my favourite but I still love all three!

    RAYDANT Blog

  26. This was a great review format and so informative!

  27. I was hoping CT would be the winner and it looks like it sort of was! I haven't tried the CT eyeshadow crayons yet, but now I definitely want to! And yes, THIS is what the Ph.D is for!


All of your lovely comments make my day! Thanks for taking the time to share your musings, ideas, and opinions. Feel free to leave a link to your blog- I'd be happy to check it out :)