15 MAC Eyeshadows to Start Your Collection

If you are anything like me when I first started purchasing MAC, you are probably overwhelmed by the 165+ eyeshadows that MAC currently offers. If you are just starting your makeup collection, you may be wondering where to begin. There is a wide spectrum of colors and finishes to choose from. I tried to provide not only a variety of colors, but of textures as well.

This list will provide a well-rounded start to your soon to be makeup addiction!

1. Vanilla
Shade Description: Soft pale peachy-ivory flecked with shimmer
Finish: Velvet

2. Carbon (eBay)
Shade Description: Intense black
Finish: Matte

3. Goldmine (eBay)
Shade Description: Intense gold with shimmer
Finish: Frost

4. Satin Taupe (eBay)
Shade Description: Taupe brown with silvery bronze shimmer
Finish: Frost

5. Espresso (eBay)
Shade Description: Muted golden brown
Finish: Matte

6. Sumptuous Olive (eBay)
Shade Description: A subdued khaki with metallic coat
Finish: Veluxe Pearl

7. Flashtrack (eBay)
Shade Description: Bright midnight blue with silver reflects
Finish: Veluxe Pearl

8. Satellite Dreams (eBay)
Shade Description: Deep dirty plum with violet/blue reflects
Finish: Veluxe Pearl

9. Cork (eBay)
Shade Description: Muted golden brown
Finish: Satin

10. Expensive Pink (eBay)
Shade Description: Pink with gold duochrome
Finish: Veluxe Pearl

11. Samoa Silk (eBay)
Shade Description: Polynesian peach
Finish: Veluxe

12. Rule (eBay)
Shade Description: Vivid orange
Finish: Matte

13. Humid (eBay)
Shade Description: Intense vivid green with shimmer
Finish: Frost

14. Plum Dressing (eBay)
Shade Description: Subtle pinky-plum shone with metal
Finish: Veluxe Pearl

15. Silver Ring (eBay)
Shade Description: Cool mid-tone grey with silver sheen
Finish: Veluxe Pearl

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CEO of Makeup Geek and Makeup Educator


Comments are now closed on this article.

Can you explain the differences between the frost and velvet and pearl finishes on the MAC shadows it is difficult to reallt tell online if they are shimmery or just shiny? It is a bit overwhelming!!
Thank you so much!!

Hi Laura :)
The frost eyeshadows are just that- frosty, shimmery finish.

The velvet eyeshadows are more smooth and almost satin-like. These are great for blending or putting under the brow if you have frosty e/s on the lid.

Veluxe Pearls are the most popular and well-liked. They are not as shimmery as the frost e/s, but they still has some shine and are easy to blend. If I were starting out, I would get this texture :) Just make sure to mix your finishes some, but I wouldn’t recommend the lustres that much as the color payoff isn’t great.

I hope that helps some! Have a great week!


I love love love your site and your tutorials! Keep posting please!
You are very talented with make-up and I’ve learned a lot. Thanks. In addition you are very pretty and authentic.

I would be very happy, if you could post some pics of your make-up-collection (especially MAC ;))! I think it would be very exciting to see the collection of such a “geek” :)

Manny greetings from Frankfurt!

Just stumbled upon your website and I think it’s fabulous. Would you be able to do your top 15 eyeshadows for NYX for those of us who can’t afford MAC products? I also like the idea gallery and found it especially helpful when you included descriptions of your application technique vs. just listing the shadows that you used. I’m just starting out with shadows and wonder if there are any tips on how to choose your color combos? Great site, keep up the good work!

Hi Audrey :)

You’re already ahead of me :) I am working now on top 10 list actually of favorite NYX eyeshadows. I will also do a video on how to choose color combos, how to pair up finishes, and basic construction of where to put the shadows :)
To hold you over until I get the video done, I generally pick 2 colors to work with. Depending on how “dramatic” or “subtle” I want the look, I will either pair a color with a neutral or pair 2 different colors. Then, you always want to mix your finishes- satin with frost, or matte with shimmers, etc…

Hope that helps at least a little :)

Hey Marleana love watching your videos on youtube and your website is awesome! Anyway, I was wondering if you used Bare Escentuals and if so could you do a tutorial using their shadows? I seem to have collected so many of them recently and don’t really know how to apply the loose powder or how to create a look with them. Thanks so much for your expertise and kind spirt! Can’t wait to see more of you work!


omg i love your site. im the type of person that doesnt put make up on becuse i dont know how to put the make up on.but since i found your site i am so happy. please post more things,that would really help me out.

peace and love

Hi Marlena, i heart heart your site. Its very helpful especially for me. Im a student of make up here in HK. Thank you for being helpful. Please post more tips. :)

Big kiss

Hey Marlena!
I found one of your tutorials on youtube and I got completely hooked!!!
I am a true makeup-lover and I haven’t had much time or money lately to indulge in my addiction, since I’ve been a poor student for some time :P I guess I just kind of “forgot” about my passion for makeup.
Well let me tell you…its BACK!! :D
Thanks for wonderful and easy tutorials, awesome tips and inspiration. I can only dream to have your talent one day :)

A fan from Sweden

Hi Marlena, just wanted to let you know that you are doing an awesome job. You know your stuff! Is there any way you could show us your makeup collection. I think it would be fascinating to look at. Thanks for all the great tips and please keep them coming.

Thanks, Lizette

Thanks, I can’t wait to see it. I Just purchased all the mac eyeshadows that you recommended. I also bought a palette to put them in. And I also bought 15pc. brush set from MAC as well. I graduated last week so I have a lot of graduation money but I think I’m done buying makeup. Thanks for all your input and keep bringing it on!

I found your site through Youtube. Great info you have there, and here! Love it!
I have a question. I’m a devoted Mac-ite, but I definitely can’t afford all of the eyeshadows I wish I could have. Is it possible for you to look at a picture of me and tell me which combo would work best with my coloring? I’m trying to create a signature look for myself.

hi marlena!

just curious… where can i buy the mac palette?! ive been looking for it.. but most of the ones on ebay are soo expensive! Thanks much!

my hubby just gave me a $100 limit for today’s make-up shopping online – and I am very very excited that i’ve been reading your website/watching videos the entire afternoon!

looking forward to the reply!


hello everybody!!!! i’m brand new in this site and i gotta say u rock!!!
i have only seen a tiny part of all the tutorials and i’ve loved them.

i wanna say that it is a really good list over here, when i first saw the mac’s multitud of shadows, i kinda freaked out.
how to choose them?
luckyly i had bought similar or the same shadows that u recommend and i gotta say i agree with u, u can’t really do any good look without the natural , purple, blues, pink, white and black shadows, are the base of it all.

finally i congratulate and thank for the article.

bye makeup geeks!!!

p.s. i’m sorry if i misspelled any word, i’m learning english. greetings from mexico :D;)

Hello Marlena,

I have to be honest with you. I am terrified of eye shadows! I don’t know how to put it at all. I came across your u tube tutorial video and I was amazed how easy you apply on your makeup. I cant get enough of your tutorials on the website! I build up some courage to purchase some eye-make up, But I have questions about MAC. I notice that MAC has eyeshadows in palette, others in a black case, and pigments (jars). Are they all the same? I mean like if I buy a color like “silver ring” would the color be available in any of these? Or will it matter in which way they come in? Sorry, I feel like I am asking a stupid question? lol


Hey Marlena.

I LUB your vids :) Of course, you are drop dead gorgeous so anything you put on looks great LOL

Anywho, I was wondering if there are NYX counterpart to this list (like the ones you posted on the NYX list). There are some of these that look really nice and if I could afford them I would get them all, but maybe I can get some of them in NYX and avoid ending up in the poor house LOL

Hi Marlena,

You are so talented!!!! Thanks so much for teaching us all =o)

I have just a quick question — how would your recommend using satin taupe?

thanks again sweetie!! =o)
<3 gabby

hey Maelena thanks a lot for the shades..it’s really helpful..as i like your tutorials and shade colours I’ve written the names of the Shadow… hey my skin colour is kinda browny..light dark shade i’ll say.. so could you just suggest me which Blus colour will suit me.. or could you just make a tutorial on that or an article about the Blush.. Specially Mac…thank you…

thanks for this. you are really helpful…could you suggest some blush for my skin tone… it’s medium Beige tone. thanks

Hey Marlena!! I just found you on utube and I must say you are amazing!! I love makeup but haven’t been wearing it much lately, but now your videos have inspired me!! Is there anyway you could post a few videos using these 15 eyeshadows and doing various looks?? I already would know what to do with the neutral colours but I haven’t a clue how to use certain colours mentioned in this post like: humid, satellite dreams, flashtrack, silver ring!!….. thanks so much! u are amazing!

WOW! This is the article I have been looking for! I am thinking about buying the MAC 15 pan palette and 15 eye shadows. I wanted a well-rounded palette so I am glad to find your web site! Are these colors flattering for my olive skin, black hair, and dark brown eyes?

Hi Marlena, I absolutely LOVE your website and tutorials!! I’ve never really known how to apply eyeshadow but I just seemed to keep buying more and more and now I can accually wear them! My olnly thing is how to decide what three or four colors should go together that will blend well and have a nice finish…I am an olive color if that matters….Thanks!

Hi Marlena! First of all I love your website and tutorials, they have helped me so much. I bought the Mac shadow SOBA and I haven’t found the right look for it. Its a very pretty neutral color (sort oif like Sumptous Olive, I’m guessing..) Have you used it in any of your tutorials? Thnx!

really cool suggestion…i want tell you that your site has helped me soo much ..your tutorials are just so amazing…m a beginner with mac cuz we got mac in india jus a couple of months back…we receive the collections pretty late..not as you guys get..for eg we jus got blonde bruneete and redhead now..and we will be getting hello kitty in april soo its kinda sad as i see ur videso and i get tempet to try it….but any way sjust wanted to tell you that that oyur articles are great and help me a lot… thankyou for your sweet efforts plz let them come cuz we appericiate them sp much

neha (india)

Neha: Just because we get the collections.. doesn’t mean we (I) can afford them!!!

Thanks Marlena :)

Hi Marlena i am from Greece i see you the last four months,you are the best!I start too by mac but it s so expensive.Please do make up matt natural with maccosmetics.Sorry for my English….thanks.


thank you so much for your tutorials! I just start playing with make up and would love to learn more.
Could you please recommend some daily make up for the office, as well?

Thanks a million and keep posting pls!!!


Hi Marlena,

I love your tutorials! You are super talented. I was wondering are the MAC eyeshadows in pots the same as the refills. As on the MAC website the same shades look different.


PS I read you are planning to go to the UK for Asian bridal make-up. Who have you selected to teach you?



Ive always been curious about MAC eyeshadows but the single colours confuse me as ive always used the pallettes that have corresponding colours in the one eyeshadow container. Can you tell me what colour out of this list would you put together? ie: lid & crease etc. If i know what eyeshadow to use together out of this list i just might go and buy them all haha.

Thanks, Bec

Veluxe pearl are my favorite finishes theyare so soft and feel amazing on the skin as well as looking amazing. I’m a huge fan of mattes aswell I know not many people like the texture to work with but if you keep at it they are beautiful x

Hey Marlena. I love your reviews and tutorials. I was just wondering if you had a video or something written about colour combinations for MAC eye shadows as well as NYX eye shadows. I think it would be really helpful because sometimes I get confused as to which colours would look great together. Also another helpful video would be if you could do looks based on eye colour as well as skin colour.


Katie! :)

i thought i had the whole frost, satin, pearls and velvet dominated, until i saw that JUXT – a light green color- had supposedly a SATIN texture :S it looks pretty frosty to me … So, anyone knows whats up with that?