Eyeshadow Finishes and Textures

I just wanted to post a guide for when you are choosing eye shadows. Every eyeshadow has a finish or texture. Many women make mistakes when applying eyeshadow because they only pay attention to the color and not the finish or texture of the eyeshadow. Other women are disappointed in the way their look turns out because they weren't aware of how to best work with the shadows that they chose.

This guide will give a complete description of the most common eyeshadow finishes and textures that you will see. These descriptions are found on MAC's website and many of the finish/texture names are unique to MAC and not used by other brands, but still helpful when understanding eye shadows. This is not all of the finishes/textures that are out on the market but the most commonly used. I hope this helps. If you want a more detailed description check out this post from a fellow blogger.


A Matte eyeshadow has a high color pay off and no shine. Produces a flat, almost air-brushed finish. They do not reflect light and are very true to color. You will get the most intense color from a matte finish. Matte eyeshadows are notorious for being chalky (dry, powdery and patchy) but tend to work well with a good base and brush. A Matte finish is great for contouring and shading since it does not reflect light and can be used to produce a shadow effect.

A Frost eyeshadow provides an iridescent shine. The Frost finish has reflecting particles throughout that produce a pearly (shiny) effect. Since this finish reflects light it can draw attention to or highlight certain different areas of the eye - inner tear duct area or arch of the brow. On the flip side it can also accentuate flaws in the skin such as wrinkles or creases. Some Frosts can be extremely shiny and metallic while others may give a subtle sheen. It all depends on the brand and the formula.

The Satin finish is true to its name and mimics the look of satin fabric. It produces a very soft subtle sheen rather than an intense frosty effect. It's a happy medium between matte and frost. It can be used to highlight because of the sheen but is not overpowering like a Frost. It can also pack on great color but is not likely to be chalky like a Matte.


The Lustre finish is similar to frosts but with a sparkly effect rather than a pearlized finish.  It is smoothly pearlized and intensely frosted. Lustre eyeshadows provide the most shimmer of all the finishes and uses finely milled sparkles for the intense frost effect.

Veluxe (VX)

Veluxe eyeshadows are spuer fine and rich in pigment to give a silky smooth matte finish. This is a super creamy version of a Matte that does not produce as much color intensity. Benefits are the same as Mattes but with less of a color punch and much smoother. Again unique to MAC.

Veluxe Pearl (VP)

The Veluxe Pearl finish is somewhat of a refined Frost. It is vibrantly toned, soft like a velvet and provides a shimmery metallic effect. It has the benefits of the Veluxe finish since it's super soft and smooth (feels buttery) and produces a great pearlized effect like a Frost. The pearlized effect is more metallic than frosty for Veluxe Pearls and the colors are soft and shimmery. Again unique to MAC.

Velvet (V)
The Velvet finish can be tricky. It can range from a matte to satin finish with subtle glitter to full on glitter bomb. The issue with these are the glitter that is infused within the eyeshadow - it may not adhere very well to the skin - and the color payoff which can be very patchy. This finish name (not necessarily the texture) is unique to MAC but other brands use the same concept with many of their eyeshadows - matte finish infused with glitter.

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