New for 2012 – Milani Powder Eyeshadow review

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Let’s call it a comeback! A dozen new pressed shadows shades hit the shelves.

photos: we heart this

That’s right ladies – Milani’s pressed Powder Eyeshadows have been missing from the drugstore scene for a couple of years, but now they’re back in action! Here at we heart this, we’re huge fans of the affordable Milani, and have given them rave reviews for lots of different products ranging from highlighters to nail polish and mascara to lip gloss.

My favorite thing about Milani Cosmetics is how they are raising the bar – it’s hard to find inexpensive brands that have a magnificent range of colors (including brights) and also an incredible array of products. But Milani totally hits every mark, especially when it comes to their pressed powder eyeshadows.

As with all Milani products, these Powder Eyeshadows have an incredibly affordable price tag (they can be found for less than $5 at CVS). And the latest collection, with a dozen pressed powder eyeshadows in pearl and matte finishes, has a color for everybody.

The Pearls…

Just Perfect

Gold Dust

Tickled Pink

Just Perfect – medium teal with gold sheen

Gold Dust – warm yellow gold

Tickled Pink – warm pink with heavy gold sheen


Purple Shock

Caramel Brown

Pearl – light champagne

Purple Shock – pink-toned purple with cool blue pearl duochrome

Caramel Brown – warm bronze brown

The Mattes…

Shocking Pink – bright pink; practically neon

French Vanilla – bone ivory

Pitch Black – the blackest black I’ve ever seen, says Stef

Brown Stone – medium chocolate brown

White Lie – bright white

Olympian Blue – almost neon cyan

As for the shadows themselves, they boast that they are “silky smooth and highly pigmented,” as well as “crease proof” and “silk-like.” I found that this varied greatly from color to color, and how I applied them. Almost all of them swatched beautifully, but would barely show up when applied with a fluffy eyeshadow brush. Fingers, or a flat eyeshadow/concealer brush, or a sponge tip applicator worked best.

Of the bunch, my favorites pearls are Purple Shock and Just Perfect from the mattes; Shocking Pink and Olympian Blue. The pigmentation is very good (although Olympian Blue takes a little work to build up, and can stain slightly), and they’re probably some of the most difficult colors to find inexpensively.

Pearls Tickled Pink and Caramel Brown are buttery in texture, and mattes Pitch Black and Brown Stone are fairly pigmented for matte shades, but I feel like I have a dozen colors just like them. These colors would make great picks for those looking to build their basics or makeup newbies.

White Lie, French Vanilla, Pearl and Gold Dust are the least pigmented of the bunch. If you’re looking for subtle color, or a highlighter these should do the job. Many of the colors creased even with primer, but it depended on which primer I used.

I also am a huge fan of the packaging. These Powder Eyeshadows pans are housed in sturdy plastic cases that open and shut fairly easily (unless you sprained your thumb flopping onto the bed like a dork…yeah, that really happened). I like that the clear lid lets you easily see what color is inside, AND the back label is color coded as well (I swear, someone at Milani must totally know my pet peeves when it comes to packaging, because they addressed them all!) It’s a tad bit bulky, but there’s also a TON of product inside (about twice the size of the regular MAC eye shadow pan).

A look using White Lie in the browbone, Pearl on the lid, Olympian Blue and Just Perfect on the crease and lower lash line, and Pitch Black as liner.

All in all, I’m impressed by Milani’s latest reinvention.

we heartsters and Testers – are you excited to see Milani’s Pressed Powder Eyeshadows back in stores? What is your favorite color of these new shades?

Marilyn is a makeup maniac and slow but stubborn runner. She loves color coding her day planner, reading celebrity gossip and drinking good wine. Marilyn blogs about makeup and fitness over at her blog, Lipgloss and Spandex.

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.


  • Marilyn

    Marilyn is a makeup maniac and slow but stubborn runner. She loves color coding her day planner, reading celebrity gossip and drinking good wine. skin tone: NC25 Skin type: oily, acne-prone Favorite beauty product: eyeshadow


  1. I’ve loved a lot of the Milani products we’ve tested, but these shadows are possible my favorites! I tried two, French Vanilla and Tickled Pink. Billed as a matte, French Vanilla has a bit of a gleamy undertone and I’ve been using it as a highlighter with pretty much everything. It is the perfect ivory shadow! Tickled Pink has such a pretty golden pearl undertone. I’m applying both with a flat eyeshadow brush and have no complaints about their pigmentation when used this way. And you’re so right about the packaging, @lipglossandspandex – I LOVE the solid construction and the chunky lid, and they stack beautifully, too. My only complaint is that I want more of these and can’t find them yet in my local stores. Hopefully that will change soon. 5 stars.

  2. I love the pearls, nice sheen to them. Gold Dust, Tickled Pink and Camel Brown are my favorites.

  3. I love, love, love the packaging and the price. But I’m kind of torn–while I’m absolutely in love with a few of the colors (Olympian Blue, and Shocking Pink), and some of the colors are quite good (Tickled Pink, Just Perfect, Pitch Black, Brown Stone and Purple Shock), a few of them are disappointing. And then there’s the application, which is tricky. And the fact that it creases (sometimes but not others). For the colors I love, I’m willing to work with the drawbacks, but for the other colors, I’m steering clear. Three stars.

  4. I had the pleasure of testing out 4 of these shadows and I too found another great Milani product. The shadows have a solid amount of pigment, are soft, apply beautifully, and come in a good sized pot! Pearl was my favorite, a light shimmer that worked perfect as a base and under the brow. Pitch Black IS a shot of intense black and I like it best as a liner too, which I do a lot with intense colors. I need to try what you did @lipglossandspandex with Olympian Blue, because it too was very intense for me, but added as a small touch, with other colors, looked great on you! Bone white is best under the brow and was really bright for my skin tone. All in all, these pots are a solid, affordable option in shadows. I will be trying more colors for sure, and give the shadows a solid four stars!

    1. Olympian Blue is SO pretty, but definitely bold. A good way to wear it during summer is to do a gold/bronze lid (like Gold Dust) with Olympian Blue on the lower lashline. :)

  5. Beautiful color palette and very on trend! (especially the neon/brights)

  6. I got to try Gold Dust, Purple Shock, and Pitch Black. I was nervous by how bright Purple Shock was, but then the swatch seemed lacking in pigment, but then over primer, it came out to the perfect level of color for me. I loved it with the Gold Dust as a highlight and Pitch Black on the outer “v” of my eye. Definitely be light-handed with Pitch Black as a little goes a LLLLOOONNNGGG way! As in, Peyton Manning-Hail Mary-last minute of the Super Bowl long. Purple Shock & Pitch Black looked familiar to me and so I dug around and they are dupes to Babe & Lucifer in the discontinued Kat von D True Love eyeshadow palette. Although True Love is discontinued, you can get Babe in her Poetica palette & Lucifer is in her Sinner, Ludwig, & Beethoven palette. Pitch Black is a little more pigmented than Lucifer, but that may not necessarily be a good thing if you’re as not-careful as I am. Black eyeshadow can go from mysterious, smoky to raccoon very easily. I wouldn’t purchase these if you have the True Love palette, no sense in having 2 of the same. But if you missed out on the Kat von D, go for the Milani!

    1. I agree about Pitch Black–careful not to over do it! I also like using it in the outer v, but have to be careful not to pick up too much shadow on my brush. I sweep it on the pan, then lightly tap off the excess, and even then, the intensity of the color can be a little difficult to manage. It’s great if you want a REALLY REALLY black color and work carefully.

  7. I only tested one of these hues, but now I’m jonesing for Olympian Blue – such a pretty color. (Plus I am freaking out over the upcoming London Games and the US Trials going on this week! Tonight’s day 1 of the womens gymnastics – whee!)

    Anyway, I tested French Vanilla and will echo what @turbotep said – it’s the perfect highlighting, below the brow shadow. I’ve been using it almost every day since I got it as the finishing touch to any shadow combination. It gives my eyes a wide open, clean brow look and is not too shimmering or sparkling. Love it. At this price, this shade is a total 5 star product for me.

  8. Pearl is definitely my favorite color! I would highly reccomend putting it on with your fingers or a sponge. Without doing that the color is just a light shimmer.. That goes for the Tickled Pink color too. I really did not like the white color. I rarely use a white eyeshadow and just didn’t like it alone.Maybe try blending it with another matte color. All and all this is a great bargain of an eyeshadow. I give it threeand a half stars.

  9. I’m late to the party, but I have to give five stars to the Milani colors I got to try; Shocking Pink, Just Perfect, Purple Shock and Caramel Brown.
    Shocking Pink is CRAZY pink, but I found if I used a seriously light touch (using my fingers and not a brush) I could get a sheer wash without it being TOO bright. Just Perfect is a lovely teal with a pretty sheen to it; and Purple Shock was surprising with its blue duochrome that doesn’t have show up as much in the pot. All three are unusual for a drugstore brand, with Caramel Brown being the most typical but still gorgeous with its soft fawn color.
    I didn’t have issue with staying power on any of the shadows, but I’ve been mostly indoors lately and didn’t subject it to heat or humidity that much. My only real issue was that Shocking Pink stained a bit, but with a color that neon I find that to be typical.

    Shocking Pink is the most unusual and though it’s not a color I’d gravitate to, it is DEFINITELY one you should pick up if you are longing to be an adventurous eye shadow junkie but haven’t taken the plunge. It reminds me of the vibrancy of Sugarpill (a brand STILL on my want list….).
    With Just Perfect and Purple Shock being pearls, I knew they’d have some sort of nice sheen but I was surprised at how complex the colors seemed to be. The gold sheen to Just Perfect warms it up really nicely and that blue duochrome for Purple Shock reminds me of a MAC pigment or shadow that I cannot for the life of me figure out. However, the sheen is hard to see in the pans, so some might be disappointed if they wanted the straight color and weren’t looking for a pearl.
    Caramel Brown is the most standard, but is crazy versatile because it is VERY close to my skintone and I even dabbed it on my cheeks for a nice bronze-y wash of color on day. :-)

    Overall, even with little quibbles, I can’t give these anything less than 5 stars because of their price and size. Milani allows you to go outside your comfort zone without making you feel like you’re wasting your money, I love it! (Tickled Pink is now on my to-buy list!!!)

  10. I got to test out three of these shades. I will be honest and say that I half-tested them. I swatched them on my wrist and then quickly removed them. I’ve recently had allergic reactions to a Milani lip product with shimmer and a Milani creamy eye shadow with shimmer and I never have had allergic reactions to eye products before, so I was too nervous to test out the staying power of these b/c there is some shimmer involved. I’ll do almost anything in the name of beauty, but swollen, itchy eyelids ain’t one of them.
    The shades I received were French Vanilla–a perfect creamy yellow/beige shade that’s a perfect base shadow; Caramel Brown–a medium toned brown/bronze with shimmer; and Brown Stone–a deep chocolate brown that looks great as a liner. The textures are dreamy–all are finely milled and resemble the quality of more expensive shadows. The colors are gorgeous and great for a basic eye or a smoldering brown-based smokey eye (my preference). I ended up reducing a point because when I swatched these, they wiped almost completely away with one swipe of a dry tissue, which makes me doubt the staying power on my lids. Overall, 4 stars–these would be great if you’re looking for either an affordable trendy shade or an affordable basic.

  11. @lipglossandspandex – Great Review! I love how you are so through in your review. I got to test Brown Stone and Carmel Brown. I really liked both colors and found that they enhance my hazel eyes. I used primer when testing these eye shadows and it held up for a good 4-6 hours in the oddly humid yet rainy Pacific NW. I really like the solid packaging of this and you do get a bunch of product for the price.

    4 stars.

  12. Such a great overview of these shadows! I am so happy to add the Just Perfect, French Vanilla, and Caramel Brown hues to my shadow collection. I completely agree that the packaging is perfect; it’s great to be able to see the color right away. The pigmenting is amazing–so deep and rich! Both Caramel Brown and Just Perfect have a touch of sparkle to them which is nice. I used the three together: French Vanilla on the inside corner of my eye, Just Perfect as an accent in the crease, and Caramel Brown in the outer corner. Blended together, it was a great variation on the smokey eye!

  13. I tested out two pearls: Just Perfect and Gold dust, as well as two mattes: Shocking Pink and Pitch Black.

    Just Perfect and Gold Dust are certainly the more wearable of the shades that I tested. The pearlesence makes them just as effective as a light wash as when worn with full on color. They’re super build-able and the shadow itself is downright creamy without the usual fall out I tend to get with pearl shadows.
    Shocking Pink is just that- shocking! It can be worn as a light wash when applied with a super light hand, and can even be worn as a lip color when mixed with balm! (Okay, so I don’t know if that last one is really that safe, the product was not developed to be used near the mouth, so buyer beware.) It’s a great foray into crazy colors and I really enjoy using it as an accent color. Pitch Black is a perfect, super dark matte black. I’ve used it as an eyeliner, a light wash for depth, and for a slight goth look. There is some fall out with this one as the matte shades can be a little dry and if you’re not careful it can smear a bit on the face so I recommend applying carefully and perhaps with a tissue or scotch tape on hand!

    Overall I’ve got to say that Milani continues to knock it out of the park! 4 Stars- where else can you get such fantastic colors for such a fantastic price?!

  14. I’m really bummed that these Milani shadows are so hard to find–all the CVS’s I’ve been to only carry 2-3 shades. I really want Caramel Brown!!!

    1. @Jenifar–You can buy all of the shades at for $5.99 each or for $7.79 each.

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