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What Is Baked Eyeshadow?

By T. M. Robertson
Updated May 21, 2024
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Baked eyeshadow is a type of eyeshadow baked in the sun during its processing. By heating the compounds in the sun, the color pigments are allowed to set in, and a smooth texture is achieved. Two completely separate looks can be achieved with this type of eye makeup. A wet application will create more intense color and lend a more dramatic look, and a dry application will create softer color and lend a more natural look. A variety of different colors are available, including many with marbled and metallic finishes.

Several different baking techniques may be used to make baked eyeshadow, but generally the makeup is simply set out in the sun for a time, usually on terracotta tiles. The purpose of baking eyeshadow is to give it an easy texture to work with and to set the pigments so they will last a lot longer. Typically, several different shades of color are included in one palette, giving the eyeshadow a swirled or marbled look. In addition, many of the baked eyeshadow colors on the market include iridescent or metallic finishes that give them a lot of shine and enhance their appeal. After the eyeshadow finishes baking, it is pressed into cakes and packaged to be sold.

The biggest benefit to using baked eyeshadow is that two completely different looks can be achieved with the same eyeshadow. For a more daring and dramatic look, the eyeshadow can be applied wet. The best method for this application is to dip a makeup brush into some water, cover the tip of it with the color, and then apply it to the eyelid until the desired look is achieved. To create a more casual and sheer look, the eyeshadow can be applied dry. For this application, just cover the tip of the makeup brush with the color and apply it to the eyelid.

A full range of cosmetic companies sell their own versions of baked eyeshadow, from low-end brands sold in local drugstores all the way to high-end designer brands sold at malls and department stores. Almost all formulas include minerals and mica pigments as ingredients. Some brands may contain more filler materials, such as talc, than others, and generally the fewer fillers used, the more intense the color. Darker shades can also double as an eyeliner when applied with a wet liner pencil. Anyone can use baked eyeshadow because it's a universal product that works well with all skin tones and skin types.

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Discussion Comments

By YesSuccess — On Apr 13, 2018

Can baked eyeshadow cause corneal irritation and infection like glitter and powder eyeshadow?

By anon300164 — On Oct 29, 2012

@Orangey03: This sounds absolutely beautiful! What brand and color is it? I'd like to try it.

By Sara007 — On Nov 29, 2011

@Mae82 - I really like the make up eyeshadow from the Physician's Formula baked eyeshadow collection. The color does hold as well as they say, though I find that the wet application is best. I like how dramatic the color looks on me.

As far as colors go, I actually prefer the Baked Sands or Baked Sugar palettes. I think that color choice is really personal though, as it depends on how you think it looks.

What I like about this brand though, is that it is totally safe for contact lens wearers, so I don't have to worry about hurting my eyes just to look fashionable. I hated having to forego wearing makeup around my eyes to prevent irritation.

By Mae82 — On Nov 28, 2011

Has anyone tried out anything from the Physician's Formula baked eyeshadow collection?

I have been looking for a hypoallergenic eyeshadow that really holds its color with both wet and dry use. I like that the product advertises that it is baked on terracotta tiles as it seems very natural, but I wonder if this is really just a marketing ploy that doesn't really have any effect on the product.

Right now I am torn between getting the Baked Berries or Baked Gingersnap as far as colors go. I can imagine both would look great if the color actually holds. Does anyone have any other colors that you would recommend?

By OeKc05 — On Nov 28, 2011

I was shopping with my young cousin when she spotted some beautiful baked eyeshadow palettes. The colors were so bright, and they would look super intense on her eyelids.

I made a mental note to get her some for Christmas. The ones she had seen were in a department store, and they were very expensive. I found some that looked just like them in a dollar store, and I figured she wouldn't know the difference.

When she tried to put the makeup on, it would barely glide across her lids. She applied about five coats of it, and it wasn't intense at all. I felt so bad!

I took a closer look at the package and didn't see anything saying that the eyeshadow was baked. Does baked eyeshadow always say “baked” on the label? If so, this probably could have prevented my blunder.

By cloudel — On Nov 27, 2011

@Perdido – One other thing about making eyeliner from wet baked eyeshadow is that you will lose lots of the shimmer in transition. The wet liner will look more matte on your eyelids than the rest of the eyeshadow.

I have some beautiful metallic purple eyeshadow that I decided to make a liner with, and I put it on before applying the same shadow to the rest of my lids. It kind of fell flat in comparison.

I suppose that having a solid liner and a shimmery shadow could provide a good contrast, but to me, it just dulled the look. I will probably buy a separate liner with some shimmer to it so that I can have maximum shine.

By Perdido — On Nov 27, 2011

I wet my baked eyeshadow and use it as eyeliner. I have always had trouble with eyeliner pencils, because they tend to skid and skip around, leaving blank spots.

If I moisten a fine-tipped makeup brush and then sweep it across a corner of the baked eyeshadow, I get instant eyeliner. It goes on so smoothly, and I can correct mistakes easily by just wiping it off with a damp cotton swab and reapplying it.

I get a really intense color when I wet the eyeshadow. I only use one corner of the eyeshadow for this, because once it has been moistened, it won't be any good for regular use anymore. It will take on a slick texture, and you won't be able to scoop it up with a dry brush.

By orangey03 — On Nov 26, 2011

Baked eyeshadow is so pretty in the container. I have one that is a swirl of purple, deep gray, silver, and beige, and it reminds me of the milky way. If I look closely, I can what looks like millions of stars in it.

When I put it on, my eyelids look absolutely magical. This eyeshadow is just too pretty for everyday use. It seems more appropriate for proms, weddings, or playing dress-up.

I put some on my daughter this past Halloween. Her costume was a princess, and the shimmery eyeshadow went so well with her pretty pink and purple dress. It gave her a very fairytale look.

By SarahSon — On Nov 25, 2011

@honeybees - I always have trouble keeping my eyeshadow on all day long too. I do have more success when I apply it wet instead of using a dry application. It seems to take a little bit longer to put on wet eyeshadow, but it does stay on longer too.

The only thing I didn't like about it is that I felt it was too dark for work. It can be hard to find something that looks good and lasts all day long.

A friend of mine recommended I try some Urban Decay eyeshadow. She said this will last for her all day long. I haven't tried any yet as I think I need to use up what I have before buying more eyeshadow.

By honeybees — On Nov 25, 2011

I was getting tired of my usual eyeshadow makeup routine, so decided to try something new.

I bought some baked shimmer eyeshadow in a color that I wear quite a bit. I was jut not used to using an eyeshadow that had so much glow and shimmer to it.

I applied this in the morning before going to work as usual. In the evening I was working with some junior eye girls, and one of the girls noticed my eyeshadow.

I was so surprised that she would notice and comment on something like that. Usually by that time of the day most of my eyeshadow has worn off and you can barely tell I have any on.

This definitely lasted much longer than the eyeshadow I had been wearing before. I just bought this at Target and it wasn't a real expensive brand either.

This was applied dry, and I am wondering how long it would last if I had used a wet application.

By burcinc — On Nov 25, 2011

@ysmina-- I've tried Milani brand baked eyeshadow which is another affordable drugstore brand. I do like it, but I think that the light color tones are not very good. It's also not pigmented unless I apply it wet.

I like the fact that most baked eyeshadows are made in Italy and baked on teraccotta tiles, but every brand doesn't have equal performance.I prefer higher end brands which are equally pigmented and don't cause as much fall-outs.

If I couldn't afford the higher end ones though, I would still purchase the drugstore brands, but in the darker shades. If I apply it carefully and use a wet eyeshadow brush, the color is decent and I can avoid fall-outs.

By suntan12 — On Nov 24, 2011

@GreenWeaver- Baked eye shadow is popular but I think that it may be difficult for some women to know how much to apply and the look might be too severe. I know that Clinque has a few eye shadow base colors that you can apply as a baked eye shadow which does not look bad because the colors are really light and it is hard to overdo, but there are some cosmetic lines that use really rich colors and with those you have to be careful.

What I normally do when I apply my makeup is decide what my focus is going to be. For example, if I want to make my lips the focus and wear a deep rich color on my lips then I will put that color on first in order to balance out my face.

If I want my eyes to appear more dramatic then I will apply my eye makeup first and then tone down the blush and use a nude lip color. This way I avoid looking like a clown.

By GreenWeaver — On Nov 23, 2011

I think that eye shadow makeup looks best when you use an eye shadow primer. I always apply a liquid to power shadow that I have in a tube in order to enhance the application of the powdered shadow that I put on top.

These eye shadow primers are usually in muted shades that serve as a base and make your eye shadow makeup last longer. I like to use a beige tone and a pinkish- brown tone when I work with violet and mauve tones.

You can also use concealer on your eye lids as an eye shadow primer and it essentially does the same thing. The only downside is that you won’t have that hint of color that you will have if you use an eye shadow primer.

If you can you should also try liquid eye liner which really will enhance your lashes if you apply it correctly. If you start at the outer corner of your eye lid and apply a line that becomes thinner as you go into the corner of your eye it should make your lashes appear thicker.

The nice thing about liquid eye liner is that it makes the eyes really stand out and really enhances the look of the eye shadow.

By ysmina — On Nov 23, 2011

Baked eyeshadow is actually baked in the sun?! I'm really surprised, I thought it was all done artificially. That's actually really neat.

@turkay1-- I think the best part about baked eyeshadow is that it is very pigmented and it's not chalky and sheer as most regular eyeshadows are.

I know the price is a bit more, but even drugstore brands' baked eyeshadows do a really good job. So it's cheaper to buy those than to buy regular eyeshadow from really expensive brands like MAC or Inglot.

And if you use an eyeshadow primer before applying baked eyeshadow, it remains pigmented all day and you don't have to reapply it at all.

I think it's definitely worth trying. If you love makeup, I'm sure baked eyeshadow will become a staple in your makeup bag. I have several baked eyeshadows and also a baked blush that I love and use almost daily.

By candyquilt — On Nov 22, 2011

I've seen basically all of my favorite brands come up with their version of baked eyeshadow in the last year. I haven't tried one yet because the price is a bit higher and I thought they were the same as regular powder eyeshadow.

They really do look very beautiful though. I especially love the ones that come in two or three swirly colors. If I got one, I think I might be scared to use it because I don't want to mess it up.

Aside from the fact that it lasts longer and can be used both dry and wet, are there any other advantages of baked eyeshadows?

Do you think I need one in my makeup collection?

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