| Review | Tom Ford Aqua Metal Eyeshadows

| Review | Tom Ford Aqua Metal Eyeshadows

My favorite makeup season has come around, summer! I love summer collections, they're always full of glowing and beautiful textures. The colors are always so bronze and fresh. Tom Ford always seems to come out with the products that are the epitome of summer. This year, they've launched metallic liquid eyeshadows, which look mesmerizing in the tube but do they perform as beautiful as they appear? Read on to find out.

The Tom Ford Aqua Metal Eyeshadows retail for $46.00 USD and are available at Sephora and other retailers. These molten liquid shadows are packaged in a beautiful simple clear tube with a white cap. The look is very sleek and luxurious. These liquid eyeshadows come with a fairly long sponge applicator that is really soft. I really appreciate how soft the sponge is and it feels like you're using a brush on your eyes. The extremely flexible tip of the applicator also acts a lot like a brush, gently gliding the product on the lids. It's actually quite a unique applicator because of its flexibility. I was actually worried that I had broken it but when I realized it was designed to be flexible, I was very impressed.

These new Aqua Metal Eyeshadows come in three stunning summery shades: 

Reflect Gilt - This is a true yellow gold shade with multi-dimensional rainbow flecks throughout. 

Venus Rising -  This shade is a metallic peachy pink with a strong peachy shine. 

Violet Argente - This shade is a very bronzey champagne shade with a barely-there hint of violet. It's quite a unique shade because it's slightly taupe but quite bronze with a shiny rose gold and champagne finish.

Swatches from top to bottom: Violet Argente, Venus Rising, Reflect Gilt

Swatches from left to right: Reflect Gilt, Venus Rising, Violet Argente 


These shades are similar and in some cases identical to previously released shades in the Tom Ford range. I wanted to some comparison swatches to some of the Cream and Powder Eye Duos that I own because there are very similar shades in this range.

Reflect Gilt VS. Sun Worship

I would say Reflect Gilt has stronger yellow gold reflects and is, in general, more yellow. Sun Worship has a warm almost-goldenrod undertone and it is slightly deeper.

Swatches from right to left: Reflect Gilt, Sun Worship

Swatches from top to bottom: Sun Worship, Reflect Gilt 

Venus Rising VS. Golden Peach VS. Paradiso

I would say of the three, Venus Rising is the pinkest shade and it is also the lightest shade with more reflective qualities. The Golden Peach is clearly very warm in tone and has a lot more peach tones in it. Paradiso would be the closest dupe, however, it still has this gold reflect and a much peachier base.

Swatched from left to right: Venus Rising, Golden Peach, Paradiso

Swatched from top to bottom: Paradiso, Golden Peach, Venus Rising

Violet Argente VS. Naked Bronze VS. Spice 

Violet Argente is significantly lighter and more coppery than Naked Bronze or Spice, however, these were my closest matches in the Tom Ford range.

Swatched from left to right: Violet Argente, Naked Bronze, and Spice 


This formula isn't easy to use. My first experience playing with these, I applied an eye primer and some powder eyeshadow in my crease. I attempted to paint a little bit of the liquid shadow on my lid and use a brush to blend it out but then I gave up and started using my fingers. With my fingers, it seemed to blend our much easier but it still left patch areas all over my lid. I continued to try to layer on the product and blend with my fingers but it continued to be patchy. I eventually just used the applicator to brush on a fairly heavy layer and let it dry. At this point, the layers of liquid shadow were quite thick and it made my eyes look crackly and wrinkly. It looked very heavy on my lids. 

Attempt number two, I applied my crease shade and I applied the Aqua Metal eyeshadow with the applicator and let the shadow dry before blending. DON'T DO THIS! While it applied evenly and smoothly, it didn't blend after it dried! I had to go back in with a brush and a little bit of the aqua shadow and blend the edges. This worked out well, except for the fact that I initially applied the liquid shadow very messily and it made it hard to fix.

Attempt number three, I applied a matte cream shadow as a base and I applied the Aqua Metal Eyeshadow to the center of one eye at a time with the applicator. This ensured it applied smoothly and evenly. Then I took a brush to blend out the edges. Unfortunately, the shadow dried quite quickly and I still ended up having edges of the metal shadow look very harsh. I had to go back in with a little bit of the metal shadow on a brush and blend the edges.

Attempt number four, I used the applicator to apply most of the product on my lid on one eye and blended out the edges with a fluffy blending brush. I noticed some of the edges were a bit patchy, as well as my lid color. I attempted to layer more product on my lid but this made the look crinkly and heavy. I took a bit of the Aqua Metal Eyeshadow on my brush and added more to the patchy edges and it did fix it. I wanted to add more depth to my look since I only had the Aqua Metal Shadow in Venus Rising all over my lid and crease, so I used my Tom Ford Virgin Orchid Eye Quad (full review here). Unfortunately, because the Aqua Metal Shadow is so heavy and crackly on the lid, the deep plum powder shadow didn't apply well on top and in turn, also looked patchy and uneven. I did notice when I applied the rose shade to blend out my crease, it applied very well on top of the metal shadow. I have a feeling that this Aqua Metal Eyeshadow is just meant to be worn sheer, which is disappointing to me. This attempted surprisingly looked like one of my best attempts to make this product work.

Attempt number five, I decided since this formula doesn't work well applied heavily, it's time to go for the "Glossier Way", I'm referring to the sheer and effortless style of makeup that the brand Glossier embraces. So this time, I applied about two small swipes of the product on the center of my lid and took a fluffy blending brush and blended the shadow out in stippling and sweeping motions, blending up to the crease. This worked perfectly! However, the overall look is very sheer and not very metallic at all. For science sake, I applied one more dot to see if I could layer the product to get more pigment and intensity, it works, as long as you don't have too much product and you blend quickly. One of my eyes turned out really well, while the other got a bit patch because unfortunately, I applied too much product and it does not layer well. This attempt when I used powder shadows on top, it worked really well because the layer was nice and thin. The powder shadow adhered well to the eyes and blended out evenly.

So I finally figured out how to use this product, was it worth it? No! It was incredibly frustrating and you don't get that cool molten metal look at all.


I have to say that this formula is quite difficult to work with. The liquid shadow is very lightweight and has a serum-like texture. It feels very nice and cooling on the eyelids upon initial application. A little bit of this product goes a very long way but don't let this discourage you from using the applicator to apply the shadow. This formula is best applied with the applicator because it dries so quickly and because it can get streaky and patchy very easily. The sponge tip applicator really allows you to apply the liquid shadow evenly and really paint the shadow on without causing any patches. While this formula may feel quite wet on the lids, it dries quite quickly. I recommend applying the product to the area where you want the most color, then immediately go in with a brush and only blend the edges. This will ensure you get an even application but also a seamless transition and blend. When this shadow is dried, it looks like molten metal! It is extremely reflective and shiny!

Once this formula dries, it is BULLET-PROOF! Seriously, it doesn't budge or fade at all! So get your blending done when it's still a little wet. I have worn these shadows without a primer and they did not move all day long, beyond 8 hours of wear! I pretty sure if I didn't remove my makeup, it would still be on my eyes long into the next day. That is what I find most impressive about this formula is that it really stays put, doesn't crease, and it is extremely long wearing!


These are probably one of the most difficult and most frustrating eyeshadows I have ever used in my life! They just dry so quickly and leaving very little time to manipulate the product. While this is great for lasting power, it makes application a very cumbersome experience. I feel like I went through the fives stage of grief with this product, seriously! Denial, "This has to work and look metallic. How about if I try it this way? Nope. Ok...how about this way? Nope. Umm... I could apply like this..". Anger, "Why won't you layer without looking like crap! Wtf?! Ughh.. maybe I'll just throw some eyeshadow on top. That's worse?!" Depression, "Ok, I think this product just sucks and I need to return it. It looked so promising... why can't I get it to work"? Finally, acceptance, "I guess it's just meant to be worn sheer and it's just not going to be that molten metal look I wanted".

I really have a serious love/hate relationship with these liquid shadows. I think because my expectations were so high and they didn't meet my expectations at all, I was extremely disappointed. These shadows are meant to be worn quite sheer and will not give you that metallic look that it implies. Plus, they can apply unevenly and patchy. However, once I finally accepted these for what they were, they are quite beautiful. They make a lovely long-lasting base color and look quite nice worn alone. I personally prefer using them with other shadows because I like a more complex look with a lot of depth. Would I recommend these? NO! For the extremely high price tag, these should apply easily and perfectly with the applicator and deliver a bold metallic finish. I think the Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes or the Cream and Powder Eye Colors are way better than this formula and they not only have similar shades but they do offer a somewhat metallic finish. Though I have gone back and forth many times about returning these, I have come to enjoy them enough to keep them. If you really want one of these, I personally think Violet Argente is the only one worth getting. It is the most pigmented and applied the most evenly of all the shades. The color is also more unique to the Tom Ford range and in general. Overall, I am extremely disappointed in this formula and if you would like something similar, I recommend getting the Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadows because these actually deliver on the metallic finish and they are easy to apply evenly.

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  1. I love the look of these, but I wish the color selection was more "unique".. I don't feel like I NEED these, you know?

    xx Laura / Laura Loukola Beauty Blog