MAC Eyeshadow Guide

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MAC Eyeshadows have had a cult following ever since the brand emerged in the 1980s. A visit to the MAC counter or store (or if you live close to one, the PRO store *gasp*) leaves even the most conservative wild with awe at all the drool-worthy shades of eyeshadows in colors more plentiful than ROY G BIV. Very rare does a bright-eyed and eager MAC fan leave the store without the iconic black plastic bag with the brand’s name embossed in clear letters filled with the little black flip top pots of eyeshadow glory. So much in love with MAC Eyeshadows that I, as I type these words, feel a colorful chill go up my spine…lol.

What I love most about MAC is that I can walk in there with a posse of multi-cultural hotties and all of us can walk out with makeup to suit our varying skin tones. I also love the pigments and color payoff I get from their eyeshadows and the fact that when compared to other department store brands, I don’t have to sell off my first unborn child to be able to afford it!

This is a guide so that you, my lovely readers, can zero in YOUR colors on the multi-hued eyeshadow display.

To begin, read over the following posts:

Make Your Eyes Pop
All About Eyes Part 1
All About Eyes Part 2

MAC Eyeshadows come in the following finishes:

An iridescent shine that adds a highlight to any colour.

Smoothly pearlized; intensely frosted with deluxe ultra-fine “conditioned” finish.

Hi-colour pay-off in a no-shine matte finish.

Intense, opaque matte finish with exceptionally rich colour payoff.

Pure colour in a satin-style finish. Provides a soft subtle non-frost, light-refractive sheen.

Superfine pigment rich and very luxe. Supple to apply. Provides silky smooth matte finish.

Vibrantly-toned. Velvety soft. Shimmeringly metallic. Veluxe eye shadow, now overlaid with high-shine pearl.

Soft look finish with high-colour intensity. Has a plush velvety look and feel.

Find the celeb pictured below whose skin tone is closest to yours. I’ve listed a few shade suggestions under each picture. Keep in mind that you can wear any hue, but it must be in agreement with your undertone and intensity (bright or muted). To make sense of undertones, check out Foundation 101.

Dita von Teese

Neutrals: Vanilla, Dazzlelight, Phloof!
Evening/for fun: Electra, Crystal Avalanche, Pink Freeze, Black Tied, Filament, Greensmoke, Nehru, Knight Devine, Beautiful Iris, Crystal

Heidi Klum

Neutrals: Malt, Grain, Naked Lunch, Soft Brown, All That Glitters, Soba
Evening/for fun: Satellite Dreams, Swimming, Parfait Amour, Print, Purple Haze, Stars and Rockets

Giselle Bundchen

Neutrals: Soft Brown, Kid, Tempting, Bronze, Amber Lights, Era, Woodwinked, Retrospeck, Omega, Bamboo
Evening/for fun: Sumptuous Olive, Gorgeous Gold, Greensmoke, Beauty Marked

Jennifer Lopez

Neutrals: Soft Brown, Soba, Era, Honey Lust, Bronze, Espresso, Patina, Bamboo
Evening/for fun: Greensmoke, Humid, Deep Truth, Satellite Dreams, Creme de Violet, Hepcat

Rosario Dawson

Neutrals: Omega, Soba, Wedge, Charcoal Brown, Arena, Cork, Romp
Evening/for fun: Sable, Beauty Marked, Nocturnelle, Bronze, Sumptuous Olive, Humid, Hepcat, Nocturnelle, Plum Dressing, Cranberry

Zhang Ziyi

Neutrals: Orb, Malt, Vanilla, Grain, Omega
Evening/for fun: Crystal Avalance, Knight Devine, Black Tied, Beauty Marked, Silver Ring, Electra, Idol Eyes

Lucy Liu

Neutrals: Orb, Malt, Vanilla, Grain, Omega, Soft Brown
Evening/for fun: Mystery, Parfait Amour, Shadowy Lady, Print, Purple Haze, Contrast

Freida Pinto

Neutrals: Soft Brown, Bamboo, Charcoal Brown, Era, Cork, Soba
Evening/for fun: Nocturnelle, Hepcat, Cranberry, Stars N’ Rockets, Sushi Flower, Beauty Marked, Naval, Purple Haze

Padma Lakshmi

Neutrals: Grain, Bamboo, Omega, Patina, Soba, Cork
Evening/for fun: Sumptuous Olive, Patina, Retrospeck, Sketch, Cranberry, Gorgeous Gold, Graphology

Lakshmi Menon

Neutrals: Charcoal Brown, Soft Brown, Mystery, Grain, Soba, Bamboo, Bronze
Evening/for fun: Hepcat, Cranberry, Parfait Amour, Nehru, Plumage, Sketch, Blackberry


Neutrals: Soft Brown, Charcoal Brown, Grain, Bamboo, Bronze
Evening/for fun: Expensive Pink, Da Bling, Twinks, Parfait Amour, Shimmermoss, Amber Lights

Tyra Banks

Neutrals: Charcoal Brown, Wedge, Woodwinked, Cork, Tempting, Bamboo
Evening/for fun: Hepcat, Parfait Amour, Amber Lights, Steamy, Humid

Kelly Rowland

Neutrals: Twinks, Soft Brown, Corduroy, Swiss Chocolate, Mulch
Evening/for fun: Knight Devine, Purple Haze, Star Violet, Humid, Nocturnelle, Contrast, Beauty Marked

Alek Wek

Neutrals: Mystery, Espresso, Concrete, Handwritten, Soft Brown
Evening/for fun: Humid, Deep Truth, Star Violet, Beauty Marked, Nocturnelle, Nehru, Carbon

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About Danielle

A former finance girl, Danielle is a New York City based freelance writer and fashion and beauty expert. She's a Hofstra University and Fashion Institute of Technology grad with an obsession with fashion and beauty which she loves to tell you all about every weekday on her award-winning blog. Think of her as your style and beauty entourage all wrapped up into one bubbly brown package. Danielle's work and expertise can be found in print and across the web in Cosmopolitan for Latinas,, and more! She's also appeared as an on-air style and beauty expert on The Real, CBS New York's "The Couch" and WPIX11's Savvy Shopper segment.

16 Responses to MAC Eyeshadow Guide

  1. Pingback: Danielle

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  3. vanessa r. says:

    Hi Danielle!
    I’ve been reading your blog for the last couple months, and I have to say I’m addicted. In this article in particular, I love how you show a guide to all different ethnicities. As a woman with brown skin, I feel as if magazines/websites only show makeup guides for women with fairer skin colours. Their under the assumption that their demographic is just white women. Although it’s frustrating, it’s refreshing to see your blog provide inspiration to women of all shapes and colours. I really appreciate it!
    Thank you!

    • Danielle says:

      Awww…thanks, Vanessa!

      I subscribe to a ton of fashion and beauty magazines, so I know exactly how you feel. I could never understand why those mags would only show makeup guides for one type of woman (maybe budgeting, fear of losing their base? I don’t know). They are slowly getting better with representing women of all shapes and colors, but they’re not there yet so I try to fill in the gaps with my blog.

      Thanks for reading :)

  4. Kamikak says:

    Thanks so much! I love makeup and I especially love context. Thanks for putting all the shades of beauty and the shades of makeup colors in context. Never once have I seen a such a simple and concise guide. You’ve helped take the guesswork out of getting “the look” for my complexion.

  5. sophia says:

    Hey danielle! Quick question if I am a nw45 do I get deep dark blot powder or just dark?

  6. sophia says:

    Okayyy so love love love this mac eyeshadow guide…
    One of my favorite mac eyeshadows is RICEPAPER I use it almost everyday as a highlighter.
    Could you give me a list of great MAC highlighters?

  7. Carla says:

    Danielle, you are clearly THE BUSINESS! This blog is great!!!

    You seem to be a phenomenal woman part renaissance lady with interestes from finance to funky!

    Thank you for all your articles, they are certainly a big help and an inspiration to me.

    • Danielle says:

      Carla, you are so sweet! Your comment got me all teary-eyed…lol. Thank you so much. Glad you like it around here—I put a lot of my blood, sweat, and tears into this site :)

  8. Carla says:

    Comment@Danielle: @Danielle:

    I had to let you how awesome you HAD to be! I hope to be like you! lol

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