Monday, 20 December 2010

My Favourite MAC Eyeshadows

Although I don't buy so much MAC these days, I still have quite a lot of products which I use regularly. I thought it might be useful to share with you my favourite MAC eyeshadows. I will also mention some of the colours that didn't work for me or I think are overrated. It took me a while to learn that the popular colours weren't always a good choice for my colouring.

I apologise that this is a such a picture heavy post. It took me two goes to try and get these swatches, it's the only downsides to liking so many duochrome shades.

Natural light


Stars N' Rockets
This isn't strictly speaking a duochrome in the true sense of the word but it does look different depending on the light. It's a pinky lilac and there's something about it that makes me think of ultra violet light. It's a fascinating colour but it is a little sheer. I sometimes find it needs a bit of packing on. One of my favourite ways to wear it is in the crease with Vex on the lid.

One of my earliest and most used MAC eyeshadow. This is more of a work-horse for me. I always like to have a flesh coloured beige in my collection. I use it as a base to even out the lid. I use it as a lid colour with something like Omega in the crease for a simple defined eye look. One of the ways I use it most frequently though is to blend out hard edges and as a natural highlight. I have Orb eyeshadow which is quite similar but I favour Brule as it's closer to my own skin colour.......which obviously makes it a nightmare to swatch!

Stars N Rockets, Brule, Vex, Omega, Trax, Club

This was also very difficult to capture in photographs. Thid is a duochrome shade which is a pale green in one light and a beautiful opalescent peach in others. I failed to really pick up the peach colour but you can see the opalescent sheen. In true poor workman style I'm going to blame the winter lighting and not my lack of photography skill!

Vex, Omega

The first time I spotted this at MAC, I swatched it, thought it was a bit meh and walked away. I regretted it as soon as I got outside in full sunlight and really saw the duochrome. I've already mentioned that I like wearing this with Stars N' Rockets. I also wear it with Club which makes a really interesting eye look as they're both duochromes. If you need anymore ideas on pairings you should take a look at Love Audrey's excellent post here.

This isn't much to look at as a swatch it has to be said! It's a little non-descript but like Brule this is a bit of a work-horse for me. It works well as a natural crease colour. I also use it as a brow powder when I'm not in the mood for a pencil. I suspect it is similar to Wedge but I don't have it compare to. It's a matte beige brown, it's not going to light any fires but it's proved to be good purchase for me.

Vex, Omega, Trax, Club

Vex, Omega, Trax, Club

This is a colour I picked up on a whim when I spotted it at Bicester. This is another that isn't a duochrome but it can look quite different in colour depending on how you apply it. It's a plum with bronze shimmer. You can play up the bronze by applying it over a bronze cream base (you can see a Pixiwoo tutorial here though I confess I bought and parted with Powersurge pencil). It seems to have a bad reputation but I can't remember if the complaints were about colour or consistency. It is a little sheer which you can see from the swatches but I do like it from a plum smoky eye.

Omega, Trax, Club

I have posted looks with this before and I think this is probably my favourite of all of my MAC eyeshadows. It's described as a reddish brown duochrome with opalescent green shimmer. I use this in the crease sometimes but my favourite way to wear it is on it's all over the lid and up in to the crease. It makes a really easy sultry eye. There a few good dupes out there too. I know MUA and Accessorize both have really similar colours. They're worth investigating if you're looking for a cheaper alternative.

Satin Taupe
I've completely forgotten to include this in the photos but you can see swatches in my recent post here. It's a really popular shade and what can I say, you didn't think you'd get away without me including at least one taupe did you?

Satin Taupe is on the right

And finally the ones I don't get..

Woodwinked -This frequently appears on MAC must have lists. I think it really depends on your colouring whether this will work for you. On me it looked truly terrible. It's a beautiful colour but if you struggle with golds this might not be for you.

Carbon - I have this and I don't really understand the hype. I think it's quite chalky and sheer and I'm sure there are better black eyeshadows out there.

Gleam - I bought this with the promise that it would make my blue eyes 'pop'. I think it's too warm for me plus it's a lustre finish. The lustre finishes are so annoying: they're glittery and have virtually no pay off. I learned a lesson after buying this. Always check the finish before going to the till!

Naked Lunch - Another very popular colour. On me this is just ok. I don't reach for it often and I much prefer Boots No.7 Wheatsheaf if I'm looking for a light, shimmery neutral.

I hope this is useful. I have a feeling this end bit just makes me sound like a grumpy so and so! Do you have an extensive MAC collection? Which are your favourites and do you have any that makes you go meh?


  1. Haha I have none of the ones on your list but all of the ones on your 'don't get list' does that make me a freak?!

  2. No, not at all. I have all the ones on my I don't get list with the exception of woodwinked which just had to go! Most of it is down to individual colouring and I think that's why must have lists are so tricky. I often wonder with Carbon whether I just got a dud! xx

  3. Great post, thanks for the mention, I do LOVE Vex!! I cannot get Trax to work for me at all, which I could it looks like it should be pretty doesn't it? You've got me wanting club now, sounds and looks gorgeous.

    Woodwinked looked awful on me too, it was an early MAC purchase of mine that was swapped away very quickly! Seemed to bring out any red in my skin, not a good look at all.


  4. They are all lovely shades, and I must add fab swatches. Stars n Rockets is gorgeous!

  5. Club is always one I want to get. But an MUA talked me out of it and said it might be a bit much with brown eyes. And yet, still I want it!! lol x

  6. This is so useful! You have such good taste Jane! I think I need Club eyeshadow in my life after reading your review. I love the look of Trax too (and a few others in you last RBR post) but it might be a bit sheer on me. Glasses require pigment!

    I own all the MAC eyeshadows that you 'don't get' and I agree completely. Woodwinked is too yellow, Carbon just sits in my pro-palette virtually untouched (so chalky and difficult!), and Gleam and Naked Lunch are just 'meh'.

    Thanks for the review! I might do something similar myself! x

  7. Very much in agreement with your "I don't get it" list... Carbon has always been crap in my opinion!

    Love this type of post, maybe I'll do one soon? I love all of your favorites except Stars n Rockets, and that's probably only because I'm too chicken to wear it. Must get my hands on Trax and Omega soon. I have Wedge, which is a bit warmer and I think Omega would suit me better!

  8. I have all of the ones on your 'don't get' list too!
    I do think carbon is overrated, but i'm yet to find a matte black that is butter soft AND pigmented, so it's the only one I tend to reach for.
    Maybe this is my mission for 2011!

  9. I adore club too! Your post makes me want to get Brule and Omega now :)

  10. Great post, mm I think Vex needs to be added to my collection, I have omega and club which I adore :)

  11. I love all your choices, esp. Club! I'm also actually a big fan of the majority of your'don't get' list but I do have to agree on Carbon. It's okay but not the best black out there. I think I found my favorite dark matte black in the new Urban Decay Black palette.

  12. I like the look of Vex a lot! I have to say I agree with carbon, everyone is always like its the blackest black, for me it comes out grey.

  13. This is a great post, your swatches are very helpful! I don't own a lot of MAC eyeshadows, but my favorites are Satin Taupe and Club and in the boring-but-essential I really like Cork and Blanc Type.
    I agree that Carbon is nothing special - I always get confused when people say how smooth and black it is. Do you have any suggestions for a smooth black shadow?
    x Klara

  14. Ooo I love brule and trax too :) There are a few I've not yet tried, thanks for sharing!

  15. I do so love stars n rockets! It's the first MAC shadow I ever bought! I'm wearing it today after the little bit of Twitter banter about it last night! :) Some great swatches m'lady! I've now added a couple more more items to my 'want list'.

  16. Superb post! I have Brule and Club (use Brule often). I have always loved the name of Stars and Rockets =)

    There is that wicked Satin Taupe again.... it just taunts me. x jeanie

  17. The power of swatches, Vex, Omega and Trax dont appeal at all in the pan but swatched they are a whole other story and I will have to check them out next time I am at a MAC counter. I really like your eye shadow choices and will certainly be checking your reviews before my next major eye shadow purchase, got myself a Pixi palette for xmas that I am dying to play with!

  18. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful comments. This post was a bit of a labour of love but the comments really make it all worth it. I really hope that these swatches are helpful

    @loveaudrey: You’re welcome. I really love Club, it’s actually one I got in a swap and I’m very pleased to have it. Woodwinked was the same on, it accentuates the colouring I want to hide! I parted with it too.

    @Charlie: Stars N Rockets is lovely, MAC do some really great unusual shades.

    @Leanne OCD: It is lovely, maybe try one of the dupes and see how it goes. I’ll admit to not knowing why it would be “too much” on you.

    @dempss01: I’m glad you enjoyed. I think it’s helpful to hear how the colours work on different colourings. I’d love you to post something similar :). Good to know other people struggle with the ones I’ve mentioned too.

    @MLBB: Omega is a great all rounder for me. Have look at some of the other reviews for Trax. I know that it’s not universally popular. I really like it though and find it works with quite a few different colour combinations.

  19. @WBB: I think it’s great that there’s a mix of thoughts on the ones I don’t get. It just goes to show how colouring and skintone effect how the colours work. I know it’s a problem you encountered when looking at RBR swatches. Let the hunt commence for a Carbon replacement too!

    @Get Gawjus! Brule and Omega are great for a defined eye with dramatic liner or a bold lip. I love that they are multi-purpose too.

    @Jadegrrrl: Definitely have a look at Vex. It works so well with a number of combinations. It’s great for when you want a light shimmery shade with a little hidden something!

    @Michelle: I think it’s very interesting that some you can work the ones I struggle with. Colouring definitely comes in to which colours will be right for a person. It’s where I went wrong when I was initially hunting for the must haves. Mind you, it’s always fun to do the research ;). Thanks for mentioning the UD black, I’ll have to investigate.

    @Kelsey: It comes out charcoal grey for me too. I’m interested in Michelle’s recommendation for the UD black though. Vex is lovely, on first glance it’s nothing special on a bright day it looks amazing!

  20. @Klara: I have Cork too and use that when I’m after something a little darker than Omega. I have often wondered about getting Blanc Type, it’s quite pigmented isn’t it? I don’t have a personally recommendation for an alternative Black but Michelle has mentioned one from the UD Black palette. Maybe it’s worth a look? Of course, I’ll admit to being tempted by some of the dark RBR eyeshadows!

    @Hell Candy Make Up: You’re welcome, I’m so pleased to hear you like brule and trax too.

    @Ms. Wedgie: Yay! I’m so pleased it inspired you to get it out. I think it’s a really lovely colour.

    @jv: Brule is such a handy colour to have. Brule, my 224 and 227 are my special secrets for tidy eye! You know I’m going to keep going on about Satin Taupe until you crack? ;)

    @Debbie: Hello! How are things? And more importantly, how have you been coping with all the snow? I look forward to hearing how you get on with the Pixi palette. I have looked and been tempted by a Pixi purchase many times.

    I have a habit of picking out some of the deceptive MAC eyeshadows. Vex in particular is like that but it’s worth swatching and walking outside with that one. Look out for the MUA or Accessorize versions of Club if it’s one you like the look of. I’ve seen Oxford Jasmine and Beauty’s Bad Habit use both of the dupes to amazing effect.

    Jane x

  21. Hi, Jane!
    Blanc Type is quite pigmented but it's not chalky at all and it doesn't look ashy when applied - considering it's a matte (which can be very problematic) it's a very useful and easy to use colour.
    I might check the UD Black palette (thanks Michelle!), although I'm still even more tempted by the Naked palette.
    Thanks for all the suggestions!

    x Klara

  22. Not much of a surprise here for me, we seem to equally love Vex, Club and Satin Taupe! ;)
    Agreed on Carbon, I only have it in a pre made palette, and it's enough for me, surely there's better blacks out there to add to one's collection!

    I 'd love to look into the rest of your favourites (Brule and Omega)...! :)


  23. Thanks Klara, Blanc Type sounds good.

    Hi Tina, glad to hear you like them too. Definitely check out Brule and Omega. They're not exciting maybe but they are great staples.

    Jane x


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