Last month MAC Cosmetics held a 5-day 25% off event for their Select members and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to refresh my custom palette eyeshadow x9. One of my very first “big” beauty splurges was a custom MAC eyeshadow palette and since then it’s become a tradition to treat myself to a new palette either every year or every other year depending on how fast I went through the pans. A lot has changed in a decade though and I find the current options overall much better than what they previously were. Pro-Palette refills at MAC stores were reduced to $6 per pan, making them much more accessible. MAC also launched new palette sizes and inserts in the recent years that allow you to mix and match products. I really love the concept and I’ve been a long time fan of MAC products. You can find all the MAC Pro Palette Options on their website right here and of course at MAC Stores. Since I just received my new custom palette literally days ago, I thought I would share some swatches today!
While some of us are perfectly content purchasing pre-made eyeshadow palettes, there is a majority of us that find we don’t put every single shade within the palette to good use. I, for one, am one of those people. Throughout the years I have bought my fair share of pre-made eyeshadow palettes and always end up only using 50-75% of the colors offered, rendering anywhere from 25-50% of the palette virtually untouched and useless. That’s where creating your own custom eyeshadow palette is a great idea. In certain circumstances it may be a little more costly to create your own versus a pre-made, but long-term it’s less wasteful. Investing in a custom palette is the best way to create a series of eye colors that are completely tailored to your own personal preferences – not to mention will consist of shades that will all be equally used and loved. When it comes to venturing out in custom palettes, I always suggest to start with a small quad to help decide if you like MAC eyeshadows enough to want to upgrade eventually to one of their larger size pan palettes which can go up as high as 30.
MAC’s custom eyeshadow palettes start as small as two and go up as large as 30. As mentioned briefly in prior paragraph, I feel the best way to start off making a MAC eyeshadow palette is to begin with a small quad to get a feel for texture, pigment, color, finish, etc. MAC has an overwhelming selection of shades to choose from, all of which hold different textures, finishes and colors. A rookie mistake is to either purchase every single color offered because we want all of the MAC shadows, or to go solely on what is voted popular within the online community. Yes, MAC’s most popular shades are popular for a reason, but they also have plenty of unsung heroes that deserve much more recognition than what they are getting. This is where I think having experimental playtime is of the essence. Visit an actual MAC store and start swatching colors that capture your eye right off the bat. See which shades would look the most flattering on you and you would feel confident wearing daily. Start with a small quad, but if you feel that more colors are naturally calling your name, go to the next size.
As you can see, the tone of my palette is completely neutral. As many of you babes already know, I’m a hardcore neutral makeup lover – especially when it comes to eyeshadows. I don’t like to experiment much outside of that box and prefer to default to safe colors because I know they would suit me the best. Besides my comfortability with neutral colors, there are a few more reasons why 9/10 times you will only see me wearing bronzes, rose golds, champagnes, golds, browns, taupes, etc. An essential tip that has always stuck with me came from a MAC Pro artist and that was to factor in eye color – keeping myself to this whisper of wisdom has made all the difference in how I do my eye makeup and it has changed my life in the meantime. I have hazel eyes and they often shift in color from a brown to a green, or a mix of both and have a dominant golden undertone. Since I have a lot of golden undertone in my eyes, I tend to want to balance that out. For hazel and brown-eyed girls the most flattering colors are neutral shades like chocolate browns, bronzes, coppers, golds, rose golds, taupes and certain champagne tones depending on the frost level. Don’t worry, while neutral shades flatter us best that doesn’t mean we can’t wear brighter colors either, including: teals, blues, purples, and pinks, once again, the latter depends on the frost level. Obviously, also factoring in skin tone helps to determine whether you should lean more towards warm or cool-toned shades. My skin tone is medium and has pink undertones. While my general undertone is considered cool, my overall skin tone is warm and after experimenting with both warm and cool-toned eyeshadows at the hands of that same MAC Pro artist, it was determined that warm neutrals suit me the best.
But why? Because warmer colors the likes of aforementioned neutrals add a bit more depth and warmth to the general eye area. They also help to play up the spectrum of various over and undertones featured in my eyes, bringing about balance while enhancing their natural characteristics and beauty. In return, flattering my complexion and face as a whole as well. For instance, she first tried a cooler-toned ashy brown on me and it instantly washed out my face. My eyes looked grey and rendered my complexion very dull, colorless and flat. I almost looked sickly. Her second option was a warm golden bronze and the results were transformative, to say the least. It was as if my entire face came to life within that moment.
I started out my MAC eyeshadow collection with basic everyday neutral shades recommended by my Pro artist and over the years took it upon myself experimenting with more colors and textures to familiarize myself with the virtual endless plethora that is MAC’s eyeshadow library. Within the range of palette sizes, I always revert to the x9 because for me it’s just enough to play with – plus, I like the challenge of trying to curate what I perceive to be the perfect palette specially outfitted according to my preferences. This year, just like any other that came before, the shade range does not consist of the same contenders except for a select few that to me are absolutely necessary. I love to switch up shades as often as possible because there’s always something new to discover at MAC. Overall I find that MAC eyeshadows are some of the best in terms of quality across the board. Most options have smooth textures and finishes, not to mention are very long-wearing and virtually have no fallout. Compared to some pre-made palettes like those of Urban Decay, MAC’s eyeshadows are not as buttery soft – that being said, they are professional-grade made to be long-wearing and build up color really well. Pigmentation can be hit-or-miss sometimes and while I do think some colors should be more creamier or pigmented, on the daily I reach for my MAC palette more than any other because I know I can always rely on them for the best possible eye look outcome.
So let’s take a look at the palette, shall we?
A look at the color selection and descriptions as I see them.
All That Glitters (0.04 oz – 1.3 g) – is a warm copper and has a veluxe pearl finish.
Bronze (0.05 oz – 1.5 g) – is a warm golden brown with gold-bronze shimmer and has a frost finish.
Brule (0.05 oz – 1.5 g) – is a warm beige and has a satin finish.
Era ( 0.05 oz – 1.5 g) – is a warm beige with gold flecks and has a satin finish.
Naked Lunch (0.05 oz – 1.5 g) – is a warm peach with pink undertones and has a frost finish.
Satin Taupe (0.05 oz – 1.5 g) – is a warm taupe with a hint of silver and has a frost finish.
Soft Brown (0.05 oz – 1.5 g) – is a warm soft brown with peach undertones and has a matte finish.
Wedge (0.05 oz – 1.5 g) – is a warm brown and has a matte finish.
Woodwinked (0.04 oz – 1.3 g) is a warm golden brown and has a veluxe pearl finish.
Swatched on the arm
The final result.
And that concludes my custom MAC eyeshadow palette roundup. If you’ve been looking into creating your own palette, I hope you found this post helpful! With MAC eyeshadows there are so many options to try – whenever I’m due for a refresher I will spend weeks researching colors and building mock samples before I finalize a purchase. It does take a lot of time especially when looking into trying new colors. Brule, Bronze, and Wedge are colors I have tried and loved for a long time, the rest of the colors in this specific edition are new-to-me and so far I’ve been head-over-heels with every single one. I would say that this year’s palette is one of my best.
If you have any favorites and recommendations, please share in the notes! You can create your own custom MAC palette online right here as well as in their stores.