Short Attention Span Sum up:

  • Makeup Geek products are cheap as hell and SUPER high quality
  • Has eyeshadow, blushes, and highlighters that are highly pigmented, extremely blend-able, and have staying power
  • About 140 different shades to choose from
  • Cruelty-free
  • Cons: Mostly for purchase online, packaging (i.e. a compact) is not included, and powders tend to break easily

What is Makeup Geek?

Makeup Geek is a makeup company owned by Marlena Stell.

Courtesy of

She is almost annoyingly positive (I’m bitter), sweet and wonderful. If you were in deep with the beauty community on YouTube years ago, you most definitely would have heard of her. However, she isn’t talked about as much now because she doesn’t constantly release flashy promotions and sales for YouTubers to chat about.

Nor is she involved in crazy YouTube beauty drama like some people…

Marlena’s story

Back in the day, before she built her $10 million dollar empire, she was a music teacher who loved makeup. Then she started her Makeup Geek YouTube channel, comprised of makeup reviews and tutorials. She became so successful that she eventually quit teaching and started her own brand called Makeup Geek.

She spent years researching how to make beautiful products she would personally want to use, be proud of, and that were affordable. During her research, she discovered that a $14 Mac eyeshadow (now $17) actually cost $1 to make. THANKS MAC. So she made the decision to make department-store quality makeup everyone could afford.

You can genuinely tell she loves what she does, takes pride in her products, and is honest. These are qualities so rare and lacking in companies and personalities nowadays…

I discovered her because every freaking YouTuber, from influencers to professionals, were singing the praises of her products. Learn more about her in an interview with Forbes here.

But enough about her. Let’s chat about what you came here for!

Pros and cons to Makeup Geek

Pro #1: Price

The absolute best part about the MG eyeshadows is that they are cheap. They generally cost $6 a pop for 1.8g of product, depending on the formulation. The foiled eyeshadows are a bit more expensive at $10.

Saving so much money on makeup, think I’ll buy Miss Piggy an engagement ring!!!

For the sake of price comparison, L’oreal eyeshadows range between $9-$14, Mac eyeshadows $18-$21, and Urban Decay eyeshadows $20-$22. What the heck is in Urban Decay and Mac eyeshadows, spun gold?

So if you’re looking to get a bunch of eyeshadows and don’t want to break the bank, MG is the option for you. So are NYX, Wet n’ Wild, and e.l.f., but I personally don’t believe their eyeshadow quality is on the same level as MG.

Pro #2: Pigmentation

Pigmentation is the amount of color in a product. If you have an eyeshadow that requires multiple applications (I’m looking at you Mac!!!) and layering to show up, it’s not very pigmented. If you have an eyeshadow that takes one swipe to show up strong and bright, it’s highly pigmented.

Eyeshadow swatches from Makeup Geek
This is some AMAHZING pigmentation folks.

Once I tried some MG eyeshadows, I immediately began investigating if they had dupes for all my less pigmented, yet extremely pricey, eyeshadows. You barely have to touch MG shadows and your finger is covered in color. Alternatively, Mac eyeshadows require multiple layers to show up on the eyes.

I am NO beauty guru, but I tried to do a few swatches of my Mac and MG shadows so you could see my point.

Some of these shadows are very light (and I am white as hell) so they’re hard to see, but there are 10 swatches in the image.

As you can see (hopefully), some of the Mac shadows didn’t even swatch all the way or are barely visible cuz they’re so, for lack of a scientific term, poopy. And before you ask, I swirled each shadow 8 times with my finger so the swatch would be fair.

God my swatches are terrible. You guys are just gonna have to trust me…

Next, I swatched blushes from Mac and MG. The pigmentation seemed about equal, but the MG blushes squeaked out ahead with a bit more pigmentation and evenness. Though this battle was pretty close, the Mac blushes cost between $20-$35, and the MG blushes cost $10. So…there’s that.

Pro #3: Usability

The MG shadows are extremely freaking soft and easy to blend. Some of them, such as the foiled shadows, are so squishy soft they feel almost creamy. They glide on effortlessly and I’ve never experienced issues with creasing or fading.

Pro #4: Color selection

MG has about 140 different shades to choose from, ranging from neutrals…

Neutral eyeshadow colors

…to rich blacks, taupes, and purples…

Rich taupe and purple eyeshadow

…to brightly random colors such as green, peach, and blue:

Brightly-colored eyeshadow

Eyeshadow finishes include mattes, satins, or shimmers. There are also loose pigments, and duochromes (eyeshadows that appear to be two colors in one).

Makeup geek eyeshadow

But my personal favorites are the foiled shadows:

Makeup geek foiled eyeshadow

MG pretty much has everything you need in regards to shadows.

But this is a fair review, so let’s get into the cons!

Con #1: MG is mostly available online 🙁

I HATE buying things online because I’m a lazy person who doesn’t like to return items and I need to “try before I buy.” Makeup is personal and unique, so colors will look totally different on you than they would on someone else. Unfortunately online shopping eliminates your ability to try on items.

However, Marlena recently made some items available at Target this year. So if you’re not sure you can trust me, head there and test out some items!

From Marlena’s Twitter

Con-ish #2: The eyeshadows don’t have containers

This can be a pro or a con depending on how you manage your makeup. The eyeshadows come in the pan ONLY and are wrapped in cardboard packing. So there’s no plastic pop-up container with a mirror and handy sponge brush (that crap brush you never use that always ends up in the trash).

Makeup geek eyeshadows in packaging

You’re going to need to purchase a magnetic pallet to provide a cozy little home for your beautiful new shadows.

Z Palettes are just one of the many types you can purchase on amazon!

For some, this is a “pro” because you don’t have to go through the painful/messy process of de-potting eyeshadows to make custom palettes. Palettes allow you to create personalized looks that can easily travel with you anywhere. Then you don’t have to carry around five different eyeshadow palettes just because you like one eyeshadow from each.

For those who don’t care to make their own palettes, or just want to purchase one eyeshadow, this can be a pain in the butt. However, you can purchase palettes from MG from $5-25 bucks, or purchase them on amazon here. Individual MG eyeshadows fit in all types of palettes, so if you already have a Mac palette, these will fit perfectly.

Con-ish #3: They’re easily breakable

When I say these shadows are soft and almost creamy, I ain’t kidding. This is great when you’re looking for blendability and pigmentation that’s through the roof! However, it’s not good when you’re looking for stable eyeshadows that won’t break or get nicks in them.


It’s especially not good if you’re a clumsy ox such as I who leaves palettes on the edge of the sink, knocks things over constantly, or carelessly throws palettes into gym bags while tossing shoes on top. I have had a few shatter and others chip. Just know you can’t treat these carelessly like other eyeshadows.

Treat them well and the payoff will be great!

Final Thoughts

MG eyeshadows (and blushes) are some of the cheapest, softest, easy-to-blend, pigmented products out there. They’re made by a woman who truly lives and breathes her product, strives to deliver high-quality and affordable shadows, and is transparent about how her products are made. In addition, all of her products are cruelty free!

Cute fuzzy bunny
Baby bunnyThank you Marlena!!!

I highly suggest you either go to Target to test out a few or purchase a couple online. Your wallet and your face will thank you!


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