My Top 15 MAC Eyeshadows – Neutral Colours

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April 6, 2013
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April 10, 2013

God I love eyeshadow. Cream, powder, sparkly, matte, it doesn’t matter, I love em all! It was hard to narrow this list down to 15, initially I wanted to make a top 10 list but I just couldn’t decide!  Plus, 15 fits into the larger palettes so hopefully this might inspire you if you are considering making one up for yourself.

Neutral colours are not the most exciting ones to look at, especially when you go to the likes of  MAC or Inglot; I know my eye is instantly drawn to the bright colours, but lets face it, for most of us, neutrals get the most love everyday.

As you might guess from my videos, MAC is the brand I favour when it comes to eyeshadow, I really think they are fantastic in terms of colour selection, texture and payoff. Of course they have some dodgy ones in there, not every brand does everything perfectly, but overall the quality is fantastic.

So lets get into the list! There are swatches of all of these colours at the end of the post.

Mac Eyeshadow all that glitters1) All That Glitters

A rose gold frost texture with a metallic finish. I love this as an all over lid colour, and sometimes as a highlighter on my cheekbones (only if I have fake tan on though). Its a very soft texture that goes on really pigmented and it’s very easy to blend.

MAC eyeshadow blanc type2) Blanc Type

Apologies for the state of this one, as you can see colour gets a lot of love from me! It’s one of the more pigmented matte highlight colours from MAC. Its a really creamy bone shade, with a slight pink undertone (the picture looks a little more yellow than in real life). I love this as a brow highlight, sometimes as a highlight elsewhere on the face, and as a base colour.

MAC eyeshadow  Carbon3) Carbon

It’s not that this one is one of my favourite colours, it’s just that it is such a useful colour to have. I know a lot of people are terrified of black eyeshadow but there is so much you can do with it! Carbon is not the softest most pigmented black out there, but that’s kind of the reason I love it. I find I have a lot more control over how heavy it applies and I’m better able to blend it out because it’s not too pigmented.

copperplate MAC eyeshadow 4) Copperplate

Gah! I love this colour so much! It’s a matte texture, super soft and really pigmented, and it’s oh so easy to blend. It’s a gorgeous warm grey with a kind of mauve undertone that works well with silvers, black, purple and cool browns. Luuurrrvve.

MAC Eyeshadow Cork5) Cork

This another colour that gets a lot of love from me! Its a beautiful mid toned warm brown with a matte texture, that works well as a crease colour, blending colour, brow colour, or even blended all over the eye for a gorgeous soft smokey effect. The warmth in this eyeshadow really makes blue or green eyes pop.

MAC Eyeshadow Knight Devine6) Knight Divine

This is a great colour for those that prefer cooler tones on the eyes. It’s a frost texture, which means it has a metallic finish, but it’s not super shiny which makes it very wearable on just about any eye (mature included!). Very soft and pigmented, it’s my favourite colour to use in a grey/silver smokey eye.

MAC Eyeshadow Mystery7) Mystery

Another essential in my kit, this bad boy works amazingly as a crease colour in brown smokey eyes. It’s a cool almost grey toned brown that is amazing as a brow colour, eyeliner and just for getting that really dramatic dark eye look. It’s very soft which makes it really easy and smooth to blend.

MAC Eyeshadow Nylon8) Nylon

Nylon is a great highlighter to have in your collection. Don’t let the colour in the pan deceive you, it actually comes out almost white on the skin. It’s very very shiny and metallic, added to that the fact that it’s really soft and it’s very easy to go overboard with this colour. However, if you apply it with a fluffy brush, like a 217, it gives a beautiful pearly shine that really brightens the eye area.

MAC Eyeshadow Omega9) Omega

I use Omega in just about all of my tutorials, and if it’s not Omega, it’s a dupe for it. This colour is one of the most boring ones to look at in the pan, but probably the most versatile one to have in your collection. It’s a mid to light toned cool brown, with a very ashy almost grey undertone. I use it through my brows, as a crease colour in natural eye looks, as a contour under my cheekbones, to blend out eyeshadow under the eye for a really smokey look, I could go on and on.

MAC Eyeshadow Patina10) Patina

This is one of my go-to everyday eyeshadow colours. Its a burnished golden brown with a very subtle shine that goes with everything. It’s warm enough to bring out the blue in my eyes, but not at all orangey or brassy on. It’s very pigmented and just a pleasure to apply. I usually wear it all over the eye, blended slightly past the crease and finish with lots of mascara, easy peasy.

MAC Eyeshadow Satin Taupe11) Satin Taupe

Satin Taupe, why are you so fricken beautiful? I have yet to find a dupe that comes close to the loveliness of this eyeshadow. It’s a minky taupey colour that crosses the lines of purple, grey and brown. It literally goes with everything. Everytime I wear it I get compliments. Beautiful.

MAC Eyeshadow Shale12) Shale

This is a colour that deserves a lot more love than it gets. I used this all the time when I worked at MAC. It’s a great neutral alternative to brown and can be worn in a smokey eye as the base colour, or a more natural eye in the crease. It’s a very subtle  cool silvery purple and looks amazing on everyone, especially ladies with mature skin.

MAC Eyeshadow Tempting13) Tempting

Just look at it! So pretty…Tempting is a lustre which means its metallic but with bits of sparkle through it, I think you can see that from the picture. Usually lustres are a  bit of a nightmare to work with because they don’t stick to the skin that well and can look patchy, but not Tempting. It’s a dream to apply and really pigmented. The colour is a bronzed brown, but it’s not too orange.

MAC Eyeshadow Vex14) Vex

This is another colour that doesn’t get as much love as it deserves. Vex is an unusual colour, it has light silvery grey, pink and very subtle green tones through it. I love to use it as a light colour with cool purple toned eyeshadow, like shale or satin taupe. It also makes a beautiful all over base colour on pale cool toned skin, the pink undertone works really well. Also, don’t you think it looks like the moon in this picture?

MAC Eyeshadow Woodwinked15) Woodwinked

I saved the best for last (well the alphabetic order did, but it’s still my favourite!). When I worked at MAC, Woodwinked was the best selling shade in the entire world. That’s pretty amazing! I can totally see why though, it’s the softest most pigmented gorgeous gold colour I have ever used. It almost feels creamy it’s so soft. It’s the perfect golden shade too, not to yellow and extremely metallic. I heart Woodwinked.



Blanc Type, Tempting, Woodwinked MAC Eyeshadow Swatches

MAC Eyeshadow Swatches

MAC Eyeshadow Swatches

MAC Eyeshadow Swatches

MAC Eyeshadow Swatches

What are your favourites? Let me know in the comments!

Blanc Type *
Nylon  *
All That Glitters *
Vex *
Omega  *
Cork *
Patina  *
Tempting  *
Woodwinked *
Shale *
Satin Taupe  *
Mystery  *
Copperplate *
Knight Devine  *
Carbon *





Sharon x

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  • MakeupOverMind

    Such pretty swatches! I need to invest in some more MAC eyeshadows…I used up Satin Taupe and never replaced it, but I really need to! Same with Amber Lights! Bootiful! x

    • sharon

      Thanks Orla! I love Amber lights too! I think I’ll have to feature that in another favourites post.

  • Megan

    Are you planning on doing another list of favorite MAC shadows that are non-neutral colors? This is a great list so I was just curious. x

    • sharon

      Yes, I’ll do a second one next week featuring my favourite brights. Glad you liked it! xx

  • Linda

    I have VEX and I have never liked it, but now I see how you swatched it over Carbon; It’s beautiful. I see Vex in a whole different light. Gonna give it some more work starting tomorrow! Thanks

    • sharon

      It almost looks like fish scales, (in a good way!)

  • Bridget

    This was so helpful! I always feel like Im missing something in my collection and you have filled in the blanks! Thanks!

  • Kelly

    Now I know out of all my MAC colors that I am missing some necessary ones!!!!! Some of my faves are Sketch, Malt, Soft Brown and I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for ricepaper. Although there are sooo many I have and don’t use. Any chance you’ll ever put together a list of combos for MAC eye shadows??

    • Loretta

      I second this!

      • Julie Butler

        I third this!!

  • Loretta

    Holy shit, mixing vex and carbon together is so fn beautiful! Who would have thought? Thank U!

  • Vanita

    Could you do a list of the perfect wedding palette?

  • perle

    Well, I could never make Woodwinked work with my red hair and fair skin.. Although I really loved the color 🙁 Looking fortward to watch you using it!!
    Carbon and Vex, ha? Great swatch!
    Thx so much for sharing with us!

    • sharon

      No problem! I had to include that swatch, it shows how you can totally change the look of duo chrome eyeshadows!

  • Sarah Atherton

    Can you recommend a good bridal very soft yellow gold please? Almost an ivory gold if that makes sense?! Thank you! Satin Taupe and naked lunch are gorgeous but I love them all!

    • sharon

      Ricepaper sounds like exactly what your looking for!

  • Edel

    Quick question. Do cool and warm eyeshadiws suit different skin tones or eye colours? For example if have cool toned skin with blue eyes should you go for warm toned eyeshadows to balance it out?

  • Rhiannon

    I have both Satin Taupe and Shale, but find both of them to be extremely hard and difficult to get any significant, rich color payoff (your swatches have me green with envy!!). I have Vanilla too, which I often use as an all over base, and again… it seems to be hard as a rock. Is there anything you can recommend to make them softer/easier to use?

    P.S. You are one of my absolute favorite make up artists!! I love watching your videos and love the variety of the looks/tutorials you do!

  • Xaris

    I love your shots. I especially love the idea of putting Vex underneath something like carbon. I kinda hate the fact that I don’t use my Carbon as much as I thought I would. This could be a way to use it up. Thank you!

  • Fatema

    I lovvve them all + haux and honey lust ♥♥♥

  • Mimi

    Ahh if I can steal a minute of your time! I saw your video and you’re the most knowledgeable about MAC eyeshadows AND colour so I wanted to ask!

    Satin Taupe pulls VERY purple on me… and I have NO idea why, I mean, it’s probably my undertone, but I thought (and I was told at counters) I was yellow-tone so it doesn’t really make much sense? It looks just like Shale looks on you, and that’s a lilac basically!!

    So I wanted to ask for recommendations of a browner, redder, bronze-er maybe, taupe eyeshadow… without it being TOO orange/red, so still in the taupe brackets! I’m told I’m between a NC20 and an NC15 if that helps! Anyhow thank you for both the video and the blog post, they are very helpful!

  • alexiss

    could you pretty please post a top 15 of warm colors? coppery, red, and orange colors please 🙂

  • emily

    hey sharon 🙂
    love your youtube but only just got around to reading your blog. i always look forward to your tutorials you are one of my favourite beauty gurus! you seem so knowledgable. could you tell me roughly how much a palette of 15 shadows would cost from MAC?

    big love,


  • Shay

    I loved this post! I don’t own any MAC shadows, but I’ve been playing with the idea of buying some. The only suchish thing is that I don’t live near a MAC counter at all (the closest one is in a different state!) and I’m hesitant to shop online.

  • Shreya

    I love all that glitters

  • Ashlee

    These are stunning! I love mac shadows and actually just posted my favourites on! Would love you to check it out and let me know what you think! Xo

  • Nancy

    This is an amazing post!!! Thanks for posting this info!! It’s incredibly helpful!! 🙂 Thank you! (I’ve added many of these to my shopping list!)

  • Annette

    Hi Sharon. I was wondering if you could help me out with choosing only about four nude shadows I should get. I wish I could afford all of them right now because they all look great! I have dark brown hair and Brown eyes that have a hint of green to them. I just feel lost in all the many colors there are, That I’ve no clue which to get. if you could help me out that would be so great! I love your videos and now love your blog! Thanks for all the great advice!

    • slim1one

      Hi Annette, I’m not sure if you received a reply but if not I have a gorgeous 4 colour combo that works great for me so might be good for you too. The colours are:

      Lid – all that glitters (or naked lunch if you are cooler toned)
      Blender – cork (or soft brown if you are cooler)
      Crease – Swiss chocolate
      Highlight – Brulee (or blanc type if you are cooler)

      An good 5th optional colour if you want to smoke out the outer V a bit is handwritten.

      Hope this helps!

  • Priscilla

    Hi Sharon ! I’m one of your French subscribers on youtube (noideatoday) This is basicaly my first comment on your blog (that I love) just because I really want to show you that we are more visiting your blog than you are thinking

  • Yusra

    I love all these…including patina…which I don’t know but for some reason doesn’t gets picked up on my brush nor does it show at all on my lids…I don’t understand if I just have a bad shadow pot or is the eyeshadow in general like that….it swatches great on my fingertips but I cant get it on a brush or on my eyes 🙁 a shame really because I like it so much.

    • Brazos Hazel Wolf

      have you tried using a wet brush?

  • Great list Sharon. I have been using a few of those for a while now and love them too – Patina, Satin Taupe and Vex. How underrated is Vex? Did you answer Mimi’s question above? I had a client a few weeks ago who had the same problem, she wanted a taupe eyeshadow but it ended up pulling quite purple on her (I didn’t mind it but it bothered her). I mixed in a bit of a warm brown to try to counter-act it but not sure if there is just a better eyeshadow shade to use in the first place. Dxx

  • Great list Sharon. I have been using a few of those for a while now and love them too – Patina, Satin Taupe and Vex. How underrated is Vex? Did you answer Mimi’s question above? I had a client a few weeks ago who had the same problem, she wanted a taupe eyeshadow but it ended up pulling quite purple on her (I didn’t mind it but it bothered her). I mixed in a bit of a warm brown to try to counter-act it but not sure if there is just a better eyeshadow shade to use in the first place. Dxx

  • Great list Sharon. I have been using a few of those for a while now and love them too – Patina, Satin Taupe and Vex. How underrated is Vex? Did you answer Mimi’s question above? I had a client a few weeks ago who had the same problem, she wanted a taupe eyeshadow but it ended up pulling quite purple on her (I didn’t mind it but it bothered her). I mixed in a bit of a warm brown to try to counter-act it but not sure if there is just a better eyeshadow shade to use in the first place. Dxx

  • Great colours im a sucker for eyeshadows love to just look at them too!

  • Hi Sharon!

    I really wanted to like Woodwinked, but it just does not look amazing on me. Does not matter what primer I use or how I apply it, it doesn’t have that metallic gold sheen that so many people describe – and that I’ve seen on your videos. Have you come across people it does not suit? Would Tempting be a better one to try – or is it too similar to Woodwinked?

    Really enjoy your blog & YouTube videos! 🙂

  • Jolyn

    Heya Sharon!

    I know you have posted this for a while. But would like to find out what’s a dupe for Mac’s Omega? I’m in Singapore, and unfortunately they don’t carry this shade in any Mac outlets 🙁

  • Missyrocks

    Very helpful

  • Angelique Tzanakakis

    I use all that glitters as a highlight shade and it was the 1st one I hit pan on EVER:’)

  • justkelly

    This is so beyond useful, I can hardly stand it! I promptly ordered 5 shades based on your article. I wanted to say that another great M.A.C. go-to shadow is Sable. It’s so versatile and flows so beautifully with everything you pair it with. Many of your colors listed here are beautifully enhanced by a base of Sable. Cheers! 😉

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