Best Cruelty-free Smoky Eyeshadows

If there’s one staple every makeup lover needs, it’s some range of smoky eyeshadows. Whether they be a selection of singles or a palette, or even just a few easily-smudged eye pencils, they can transform some of the most simple makeup looks into something dramatic!

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Urban Decay ‘Born to Run’

Yes; we all own at least one of the UD ‘Naked’ palettes. They’re cult favourites – especially the original, which the brand has shocked the world by discontinuing – but it’s worth noting that most of them lack matte shades. They’re full of satins, shimmers, glitters and generally non-practical shades that can’t exactly be used alone. The reason Born to Run stands out to me is that there are a few matte shades of different intensity, meaning any look can be built up in the crease without looking ridiculously glittery. If you only want one set of cruelty-free smoky eyeshadows, which are versatile and don’t need to be used in conjunction with any others, this palette is the product for you.

born to run palette


e.l.f ‘Everyday Smoky Eyeshadow Palette’

This palette is a much cheaper option; but still fairly good quality. I think this is a little less dramatic than most smoky palettes, and so a good option for someone who is new to makeup and would rather try something subtle. The shades range from light to dark, and there’s a good ratio of mattes to shimmers, making it so that this palette can create the perfect look on it’s own.

elf palette


Hourglass ‘Grafik’ Palette in Expose

The palettes mentioned so far are neutral tones, but it is possible to go smoky with warm colours. Expose combines soft blushes and plums for a range of shades that will flatter absolutely any eye colour – though they will probably look most stunning on green eyes, due to the colour wheel and all that. These shadows can be built up to give a glamorous smoky eye. I would definitely be running the darker shades through my crease and along my lower lash line to define and bring out my eye shape.

graphik palette


Rosie for Autograph ‘Cream Eyeshadow Stick’ in Sparkle & Magic

A summary of cruelty-free makeup post of mine is rarely complete without a product from Rosie’s line, and today I get to share one of my favourites. This eyeshadow stick is strongly pigmented, and glides onto the lid smoothly without much creasing (I do generally set mine down with powder shadow though, as my eyes are so hooded). It’s easy to blend and adds a beautiful smoky olive sheen to any look. This shade is cool toned and can pull a little more silvery, but she has a few others which I do believe could also be classed as smoky eyeshadows. I saw in M&S recently that the shade Almond Eyes has won an award. What it was, though, I can’t remember; I can’t seem to find it online either.

cream shadow


Zoeva ‘Premiere’ Palette

Was there ever a time more glamorous than the 1920s? This palette brings together all the rich jewell-toned shades loved by women of that era, into a beautiful smoky eyeshadow combination. Zoeva shadows have a smooth and buttery texture, and the shimmers are almost foiled they’re so intense. The mattes also blend out and build up with barely any effort. I have to say, Zoeva hit the nail on the head with pretty much every product they sell. This palette is strong and smoky, but also can be used subtly as there’s a range of neutrals – meaning it’s a worthy purchase in the long term!

premiere palette


Anastasia Beverly Hills ‘Sultry’ Palette

Anastasia shadows are one of a kind: smooth, powdery and so easy to blend. After using a palette by this brand I can immediately tell the difference when I go back to another one. There’s just something about the Modern Renaissance palette that makes it my favourite ever, in terms of colours and quality. The Sultry palette is a more recent release, and hasn’t seen as much exposure as the Modern Renaissance. That doesn’t mean it’s any less impressive, though; theres a mix of dark smoky eyeshadows with a couple of bright colours to liven the combination up. This would be a great pick if you are interested in investing a little more money into your makeup bag, as it can work for your makeup on a multitude of occasions.

sultry palette


That’s it for my cruelty-free smoky shadow recommendations – do you have any you would add? I love how smoky palettes tend to cater to almost any look, due to having a whole host of matte and shimmer shades. I definitely feel that once a good smoky eyeshadow palette is purchased, you’re probably set for life!


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2 thoughts on “Best Cruelty-free Smoky Eyeshadows

  1. Urban Decay is under L’Oréal, which sells in China (makes animal testing mandatory), so I wouldn’t really consider it cruelty-free!


    1. Hi Vivian,

      You can read my personal definition of cruelty-free here: I know where you’re coming from, but my fear is that if I don’t support these brands who are under animal testing parent companies, they’ll move to China as well looking for customers! Hopefully that makes sense haha.



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