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Today we’re talking about my top matte eyeshadows – formulations that I would recommend to everyone. Mattes are an absolute staple in my collection, in fact, most of my eye creations are predominantly matte with shimmer accents. As I often say: matte shadows are the key to transforming the shape of the eye.

Note: this post is an excerpt from my Matte Eyeshadow Smackdown (which will go live in a week or so!) but I figure I’d post it separately for easy reference ;)

Best Matte Eyeshadows (Affordable & Luxe)

Viseart Mattes (Pictured: Neutral Matte Palette) // A good mix of deep, medium and pale shades, the Viseart Neutral palette does run a little warm so keep that in mind if you’re a cool lover. It’s bloody expensive but definitely a must-have if you’re a makeup artist because the shadows are reliable and offer spectacular impact/opacity from the first swipe. They’re also easy to blend and all that good stuff, perhaps my only critique and I’m grasping for straws here – when this formula is built heavily, you can start to see ‘product’ on the skin, particularly if there are dry patches or texture on the lid.

See it in action here. US stockist here. AUS stockist here.

Kat Von D Mattes (Pictured: Shade & Light Eye Palette)* // I adore the Kat Von D and Viseart mattes equally. Many have asked me to compare the two so here goes: while the Viseart formulation is identical between shades, the Kat Von D shades vary a touch in opacity. This is not a bad thing, in fact it’s a rather clever addition, the paler shades are less pigmented than the deep shades and this prevents the textural buildup that can occur with Viseart mattes. FYI: the large taupe pan makes for a brilliant facial contour shade. Overall, the Kat Von D formulation is more user friendly and suited to any makeup lover, while the Viseart is geared towards makeup professionals.

See it in action here. US stockist here. AUS stockist here.

Burberry Mattes (Pictured: Assorted singles) // I’d really love to depot these because single compacts receive little love from me but I’m pretty sure there would be casualties (NO NO NO). Burberry mattes are more emollient/buttery to the touch than the two aforementioned formulas and the brand boasts a range of nuanced neutral tones. They’re so easy to blend that you could practically do it with your eyes closed. Cons: pricy and housed in brick-heavy-compacts, undeniably luxurious although somewhat impractical.

See it in action here. US stockist here. AUS stockist here.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Mattes (Pictured: Assorted Singles)* // It was actually when I discovered RBR shadows that I realised the importance of matte shades and the love affair continued from there. The range is rather small and decidedly neutral but what few shades they do, they do very very well. I’d recommend them to the eyeshadow beginner or someone seeking daytime shadows – they can be built to smoky looks but the payoff is a touch softer so ideal for natural definition. Like the Burberry, they feel like silk to the touch and I can’t fault them!

See it in action here. US stockist here. AUS stockist here.

Makeup Geek Mattes (Pictured: Assorted singles)* // Out of the more affordable options, Makeup Geek Mattes receive the most love from me. They’re very comparable to the the MAC matte formula, although perhaps the quality is more consistent between shades. While not silky to touch like RBR or Burberry, they do blend effortlessly and the colour range is spectacular – my perfect warm eye consists of Peach Smoothie, Creme Brûlée, Cocoa Bear and a touch of Bitten (I’ve used this combo in quite a few tutorials).

See it in action here and here. International stockist here.

Hopefully this answers your questions, feel free to leave additional queries in the comment section so we can chat!

xxkarima

* Denotes products sent for consideration. I’m always honest when reviewing products :) Some of the above links are affiliate links.

Complete list of products mentioned

Shade & Light Eye Palette
Shade & Light Eye Palette
Wet & Dry Silk Eyeshadow
Wet & Dry Silk Eyeshadow
Neutral Palette
Neutral Palette
* Denotes products sent for consideration. I’m always honest with my reviews :)

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  1. Hi Karima, I was wondering if you could tell me if Blackpepper Jay is similar to Mac Smut at all? I use Smut all the time, but I’m currently transitioning my kit to cruelty-free. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for writing this. I already own the Kat Von D Shade and Light palette and a bunch of MUG matte shadows, but I was so tempted to get the Viseart too. This is the most informed opinion I have found.

  3. Hi Karima, I wonder if you have ever tried Stila matte eyeshadow palettes.I am between Viseart and Stila. Any recommendation.

  4. Hey Karima, do you have any thoughts on how well the Viseart would work for medium-dark complexions? I prefer the array of shades to the KVD, but I’m worried that they might be a bit chalky on my NC40-42.

    1. Hmm I think, out of the two, the KVD might be better suited to a deeper skintone. The Viseart has quite a few pale shades that will register similarly on your skintone and that’s a bit of a waste. The KVD has a stronger array of dark shades.
      xx

      1. Thanks, Karima! My hesitation with the KVD is that I think those three cream shades will probably look identical on me. I may just have to wait until I can see them both in person. I appreciate you taking the time to reply, by the way — I’ve learned so much from your blog/videos :)

  5. You are brilliant! I ADORE your channel and blog! You have made makeup not only fun for me but you’ve taught me how to be strategic. OfficialLyla one of my favorite teachers and you tubers, of course :)

    Stay lovely

  6. Hi Karima! I love the Viseart Matte Palette, I ordered because of you and I canΒ΄t thank you enough. I trust your opinion, so I have to ask, should I buy the Kat Von D too? I donΒ΄t know if I can justify the splurge… I have the Kat Von D Monarch palette and itΒ΄s beautiful, high quality pigmented shades, have you tried this one? Thanks, Karima! Love from Spain!

  7. This is awesome.
    I have waited for this post FOREVER (well, for the smackdown, but I’m generally more interested in the positive than the negative, so this is great).
    I love reading your smackdowns, you are very thorough.
    Thanks for all the hard work you put into these!

  8. Forgot to say that I am really surprised to hear that you like the Kat Von D as much as Viseart as everyone acts like the matte 01 palette is far superior in quality to anything on the market. Just to be clear, you really think the quality is the same? Or are you taking the price difference into consideration?
    The other thing that surprised me is that you said the Kat Von D palette is user friendly. The only criticism I’ve heard about it is that the shadows are so pigmented that it’s easy to overdo it and hard to correct mistakes.

    1. Quality is a subjective measure, in my experience, purpose is far more important. The Viseart is more pigmented (hence, the Kat Von D are actually easier to work with) so I wouldn’t say it’s ideal for slap and dash application. That’s why I’d recommend it for experts or those who are well versed in blending.

      The Kat Von D shadows are absolutely pigmented and I can see how some might struggle to blend them, I’m simply comparing the ease-of-use to the Viseart. Both palettes are fabulous, I reach for them equally and that is not taking price into account (this would be a ‘blind test’, so to speak).

      xx

  9. Karima, first let me say that I hope you don’t pay any mind to T. She was quite nasty and she needs to realize that makeup wears differently on people because we are all individuals.
    I have a question that I asked in a previous post but your post didn’t answer it. I’m so sorry to bug you. I’m trying to decide between the Viseart matte 01 palette and Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage. I know Viseart has a lot more shades but I’m not concerned with that. I’m more interested in how the formulas differ and which eyeshadow quality is better. You mentioned Viseart here but not Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage which I know you love.
    So my question is: If Viseart matte palette was a quad with similar shades as CM, which one would you get and why?
    Also, it seems like you like the Burberry single shadows more than Viseart but they’re not as convenient. Is this true? If Burberry shadows came in a palette like Viseart, would it be a far superior palette? I’m asking because everyone acts like Viseart is the best eyeshadow quality you can get.
    Thank you so so much, Karima. Your answer will help me so much as I have been saving my money to be able to buy the best matte shadows I can possibly get because my eyelids are a problem.

    1. If I remember correctly, I think I mentioned that my Matte Eyeshadow Smackdown (not yet published) would provide clarity on Cocoa Mirage but I’ll touch on your questions here anyway.

      The Viseart, to me, is a performance palette. It’s my workhorse palette that I use for more complex eye looks like cut creases because the shadows are most pigmented (not necessarily a benefit to everyone, some might find them harder to work with for that reason).

      The Cocoa Mirage is a pleasure palette. It’s easy to work with and requires little work to blend but the formula is so silky that it’s best suited for hazy placements, as opposed to complex looks. I go into more depth in my Matte Eyeshadow Smackdown.

      The Burberry are also very emollient and silky, like the Cocoa Mirage. Another pleasure product that doesn’t perform as well for very complex placements.

      So it comes down to this: what sort of eye looks do you most often create? Soft hazes or complex looks where placement is crucial? CM is ideal for the former and Viseart is better suited to the latter.

      Hope this clarifies :)
      xx

      1. I’m sorry I didn’t catch that you would answer this in the smack down. I think I got too excited about your reply about this post and didn’t look below.
        Thank you so so much. You provided all the detail I needed and as always explained things perfectly. That is what sets you apart from other beauty reviews, you really get into the nitty gritty.

  10. I love MUG shadows, especially the mattes! Cocoa Bear is one of my all time favorite eyeshadows EVER, I think everyone needs to own it, & I adore wearing warm browns & rusty colors in my crease. I just think it looks so flattering & makes other colors pop. I’ve really been dying for that Kat Von D one-imo, you don’t see all matte palettes often enough, & I love how it’s in 3 groups of neutral, cool & warm. Usually I hate when palettes make eyeshadows unequal sizes (because it always works out that my most used will wind up being the smallest when that’s the case!), but the 3 large ones are colors I go through the most of-I always lay down a base of something close or the same as my skin color, & I use a matte peach as a transition shade generally 99% of the time, even in cool toned looks. And the taupe does look like it’d be a great contour shade for a paler person! The Viseart ones look so amazing, I especially would love the one you have (though the Dark Mattes, Cool Mattes, & the Bright Editorial I’d love to have as well!). $80 is alot though, but I’m sure it’s a great investment, as palettes like that tend to last a very long time.

    1. Cocoa Bear is awesome! Very similar to MAC Brown Script but cheaper. Judging on your comment, I think you’d really love the Kat Von D palette, your thinking is well reasoned ;)
      I have a few of the other Viseart matte colourways but I’m wanting to use them more before I feature :)
      x

  11. I like some of MAC’s mattes. The ones I reach for the most are Omega (very versatile; good for crease work and, as you mentioned in a previous blog post, contouring for us palies), Malt (nice transitionish shade for us palies), Copperplate (another versatile shade; I’ve used it for crease/transition work, to fill in my brows, and for more concentrated contouring), and Typographic (great off-black to use if full-on black is too scary). This all said, the Matte2 formula is much superior to their regular Matte formula, IMO.

    And I shall join you in being “full of crap” *g* and giving Makeup Geek’s mattes a thumbs up, too. The ones I reach for the most are Unexpected and Barcelona Beach (Unexpected moreso). I also want Baby Face; it looks like another great transition colour for palies. Not to mention some of their other recently-released mattes look like they’re right up my alley. And, of course, there’s the epically black Corrupt.

    These aren’t around anymore, but Victoria’s Secret had some beautiful matte eyeshadows. Pigmented, easy to work with, very smooth.

    1. I mention the MAC matte formula in my matte eyeshadow smackdown – I do love them but seem to get use out of my Makeup Geek, for whatever reason.

      AND is Corrupt not the best black eyeshadow on the market?! Yes, there is fallout but that is to be expected with such a pitch black eyeshadow. I adore it <3

      x

  12. I finally got the Viseart Neutral Matte palette in December, when it was on sale, and adore it. As someone who loves and uses a lot of mattes, it is my perfect palette, in terms of both colours and performance. The shadows blend like a dream. I own a lot of MUG shadows as well, and the ones you mentioned are my favourites (although I’d add Beaches & Cream as a great base/all-over lid colour, and Frappe, which is a nice middle ground between Creme Brulee and Cocoa Bear). I love them and recommend them to everyone – and no, I’m not on MUG’s payroll. ;-)

  13. I haven’t tried Kat Von D, or MUG, or Viseart or Burberry yet…but my favorite out of the ones you have mentioned thus far are the RBR ones. I actually bought some at your recommendation and WOWIE – I love. The pigmentation, blend-ability, texture and the wear of the RBR matte eye-shadows is aweesomeee! I’m SO interested in the Burberry ones but am trying to save my wallet from damage :D Also, I know this one is harder to get for you in Australia, but have you tried the Sonia Kashuk brand matte palettes? Next time, you’re the US, stop by a Target store and try one! THE NEUTRAL MATTE PALETTE IS AWESOME: Link here: http://soniakashuk.com/wp_old/eye-couture/

  14. Hey, Karima!
    I recently found a european website who sells makeupgeek (europeans pay really expensive toll on productd bought outside of EU over a certain price ) which means I can finally try the shadows, woop woop, but which ones to buy?.. so I’d love to hear your favourite makeupgeek shadows :D

      1. Thank you! I seem to have missed that one because I couldn’t really buy them before, but I’ll definitely check them out now! You’re such a great help Karima, love everything you do!

  15. Make up, like many things in life, are relative and subjective. I believe we can have dissenting views without being rude or accusatory.

    On a more pleasant note, I am loving mattes from RBR, Shu Uemura and Burberry. Mattes take a bit of practice to get right but once you do, it can look so beautiful – simple and polished. Thank you once again for your recommendations Karima.

  16. What a load of crap. MUG mattes are horrid to work with, not even close in quality to the MAC shadows, and if you want to talk about texture problems resulting from building up product, these shadows are the hands down winner for adding 20 years to your eyelids.
    I guess MUG has you on her payroll, too. Too bad. I used to like your blog.
    Seriously disappointed.

    1. Everyone is different. Just because you experienced this with MUG shadows doesn’t mean everyone else will. Also, Karima is young so she wouldn’t have that much textural issues. The only reason she mentioned it with the Viseart is because it’s an expensive palette so she was being harder on it. she was offering MUG as an affordable alternative. And MUG doesn’t pay me and I agree that for the most part, their matte shades are better than MAC.

    2. Sorry you feel this way, T.
      In instances where I like/dislike a product and your experiences differ, it is not a reflection of my honesty, it’s a reflection that people have different preferences.
      I am on no payroll, many of the Makeup Geek products I own were actually purchased with my own money. My review stands, I enjoy the Makeup Geek matte shadows.
      x

  17. I’ve always been scared of working with matte shades because the ones that I’ve had were really not that easy to blend and I had less of practise and tools at the time. I’ve got a neutral palette as a gift this year and it has a few matte shades- three of them the darker ones- so I really look forward to try and wear them more often. I’ve seen a few tutorials using the Kad Von D palette and I have to say that I would love to have this palette, it seem to be really useful for day and night wear. My other wishlist point is Burberry eyeshadows. I’ve heard many good reviews on them but they are a bit too expensive. Maybe one day, who knows? :)
    Thanks for your review!

    1. If you’re hesitant about mattes, I’d recommend the RBR, they’re great for a beginner and very forgiving. The Kat Von D are on the more pigmented side, so ideal for those who are well versed in blending :)
      xx