Showing posts with label comparisons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comparisons. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Guide to MAC's Matte Brown Eyeshadows

I don't know about you gals, but I do A LOT of my shopping online. There isn't a MAC store near me and the counter is about 45 minutes away -- not to mention it is the busiest counter I've ever seen, and it drives me INSANE. I like to buy the pan form of eyeshadows so it makes much more sense for me to buy them online. Before purchasing, I frequently tried to find reviews/blogs describing and comparing MAC eyeshadows to one another in the permanent line, i.e. Saddle vs Texture, Cork vs Wedge, etc. I'm not looking to buy a bunch of dupes! I never really found anything that was detailed enough, so after collecting nearly every matte brown MAC has, I'm writing what I was looking for -- an ultimate guide to MAC's matte brown eyeshadows.

I will also discuss some of the Satin finish shadows that are commonly compared to the Matte shades. These are not ALL of MAC's Matte browns -- but nearly all of them. Whew! Now that I've got all that out there, lets begin!!!

I am NC15 -- for swatching reference!

Left to Right: Wedge, Cork, Soba, Texture, Saddle, Soft Brown

Left to Right: Soft Brown, Era, Omega, Kid, Malt, Wedge, Cork

Left to Right: Brun, Espresso, Brown Down, Embark, Handwritten, Swiss Chocolate

WEDGE: Wedge is a beautiful slightly warm mid tone taupe brown that can be used for transition or in the crease. One of my most used eyeshadows! Wedge vs Kid --Wedge is very close in color to Kid but slightly cooler and darker. I do not think owning both is necessary. Of the two I would choose Wedge because it is more versatile and has a better texture -- but I go back and forth between the two.

CORK: Cork is a "muted golden brown" and technically a Satin, but it appears Matte on the eye. It works beautifully in the crease on lighter skin, and as a transition color for tan skin. Wedge vs Cork --  Cork is darker and cooler. They are similar, but not dupes. I think it is justifiable to own both... but that's just me.

SOBA: Soba is a "golden brown with gold shimmer". It is super pigmented and buttery. This eyeshadow has a lot more shimmer and luminosity than most other Satins. It is almost a muted mustard/camal color, if they makes any sense... not the most flattering color on some skintones. I would try this one before purchasing. Soba looks beautiful when paired with Era, very pretty work appropriate look. Soba vs Cork -- often compared as dupes but I could not disagree more. They give a completely different look on the eye. Soba vs Patina -- I think they are similar, Soba is more pigmented and a darker gold.
SOFT BROWN: Soft Brown is a warm mid tone brown that is best used as a transition color. Some will find this to appear a bit orangey... but I happen to like it, even on my extremely fair skin.

SADDLE: Saddle is a warm orange brown. It has excellent pigmentation and is easy to blend. This is a beautiful transition shade for women of color. Saddle vs Soft Brown -- they are definitely in the same family, but NOT dupes. They are gorgeous when used together -- Soft Brown as a transition, Saddle to Deepen the crease.

TEXTURE: Texture is a Velvet, a "peachy-brown with shimmer" according to MAC. I would call this a straight up orange brown. It applies to the eye nearly Matte. There is a tiny bit of sparkle that helps it blend like a dream. This is also another great transition color for woc. Saddle vs Texture -- close in color but differ in texture and use. I don't think it is necessary to own both if you are beginning your MAC collection.

SWISS CHOCOLATE: Swiss Chocolate is a girl's best friend... it is absolutely beautiful in both color and texture. A warm muted medium red brown, I don't think there is a dupe in the permanent collection.  I have seen this used as a transition for tan skin but I've never used it for such.

HANDWRITTEN: Handwritten is a Matte2 (matte squared) finish and extremely pigmented. It is a dark warm brown. I think while the Matte2 shadows are super pigmented, they are a pain to blend and Handwritten is no exception. I typically use Handwritten for liner.

BROWN DOWN: Brown Down is a warm medium-dark brown that is VERY close in color to Handwritten -- a much drier, less pigmented version. Brown Down has recently been discontinued, so if you were looking to purchase it, look no further than Handwritten.

ESPRESSO: Espresso is a cool toned medium brown that is very popular, but has rather lackluster quality. It has so-so pay off and it's somewhat of a pain in the ass to blend. I don't use Espresso as eyeshadow, but I do use it to add depth to my brows -- Love it for this!

BRUN: Brun is a very cool toned dark black brown that leans on the ashy side of things -- which makes it great for filling in dark brows. I love Brun as a liner as well. Brun vs Mystery -- I personally do not own Mystery so I cannot say either way. I have heard they are dupes so many times that I have avoided Mystery all together. You tell me... are they dupes?

EMBARK: As you can see in the swatch, Embark is somewhat of a tragedy. It is a dark red brown that has a dry texture and sub par payoff. I used to love Embark, and this is my second pan... maybe this one is a dud. Handwritten and Brown Down are close in color to Embark.

Guide to MAC Transition Colors (click HERE) for a more in depth description of Malt, Kid, Era, and Omega along with Wedge, Cork, Soft Brown.

Guide to MAC's Eyeshadow Finishes (click HERE)

Hope that as helpful! If I acquire anymore browns from MAC I will be sure to update the post.

What is/are your favorite brown eyeshadow/s?  Mine are Wedge, Saddle and Swiss Chocolate!

Cork vs Wedge, Soba vs Cork, Cork vs Soft Brown, Soft Brown vs Saddle, Soft Brown vs Texture, Texture vs Saddle, Handwritten vs Brown Down, Swiss Chocolate vs Handwritten, Embark vs Handwritten, Brun vs Mystery

Friday, April 12, 2013


I can't believe I haven't written a post in nearly a month! Life just got incredibly busy and I haven't had the time... also, I have been on a "no buy" which has left me slightly uninspired -- Until today! I have been toying with different gel liners over the last couple years and I decided to do a comparison... I will be rating categories on a 1-5 scale, 5 being excellent.

MAC Blacktrack and Dipdown Fluidline

These two were my first gel liners and I must say that they were great in the beginning. Both are amazing for the first couple months -- creamy, smooth, apply with ease, and deeply pigmented Then a sad sad day comes -- the day you try to put on your eyeliner and then it flakes into your eye, becomes impossible to work with, and looks like total crap. My biggest complaint with MAC's Fluidlines is that they dry out WAY too fast or become troublesome at about the 5-6 month mark.

Pigmentation: 4
Smudge proof: 5
Wear: 4
Ease of Application: 3
Shelf Life: 2

Overall: C+

Clinique Cream Liner in True Black

I want to emphasize that this is a cream liner and not gel... although you apply them in a similar manner they are quite different to work with. To me this liner is a cross between a gel and a liquid. Because it is more viscous I find it a little more difficult to work with. It takes longer to set than other gel liners so I don't think it would work for ladies with hooded eyes.

Pigmentation: 4
Smudge proof: 4
Wear: 4
Ease of Application: 2
Shelf Life: 5

Overall: B+

Maybelline Eyestudio Gel Liner in Blackest Black

This is my most recent purchase... I bought it because of all the hype on YouTube. As of right now, it is my favorite of the three. I've only had it for about 2 months, so I'm not sure how it will behave in the coming months. I will be sure to do an update. I love how black it is, and I really like the texture. It is very comparable to MAC's Fluidline (before it starts to dry out). I do notice very minor fading and minimal smudging when I do a dramatic flick. I have very oily lids, but still slightly disappointing.

Pigmentation: 5
Smudge proof: 3
Wear: 4
Ease of Application: 5
Shelf Life: unknown

Overall: A-

Recently I have been loving winged eyeliner on the outer half of the eye. It helps to make them appear more wideset! Sorry about the picture quality -- took it on my phone.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!!! Don't forget to leave a comment below and make sure to follow my blog. I recently added a follow button on the top right corner!!!

MAC vs Clinique, MAC vs Maybelline, Maybelline vs Clinique  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

MAC MELBA VS PEACHES -- Blush Review and Swatches

Melba has a matte finish and is extremely pigmented. In the swatches above I only did two passes on my arm to get that degree of opacity. Not only is it super pigmented, but I find that it blends easily and stays put all day long. As compared to Peaches, Melba has more brown and pink tones. Unlike Peaches, I don't think this blush appears too orange on super fair gals.

Peaches is a Sheertone blush -- meaning you have to build up the color. In the swatch above, I did about 10 passes to get the color shown. Because it isn't as pigmented, you can be a bit more heavy handed and not look like a fool. This blush is a true peach when applied. I think it is gorgeous on most skintones but can look a little too orangey on very fair ladies.
Honestly I love Peaches and Melba, but I don't think it is necessary to have both. If I had to pick just one, I would go with Melba. The main difference between the two is pigmentation and staying power. You can get very similar results using either of them... you just have to adjust your technique. I think Peaches is great for beginners because it is hard to mess up. Melba, on the other hand, can be easily overdone -- and nobody likes 80's style clown streaks! Or maybe they do...
 Do you have Peaches or Melba?
I hope this was helpful and don't forget to subscribe!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013


I ADORE taupes... every time I see one I try to justify why I need another. While doing this post I have decided that I am on an official "NO BUY" for taupes until I use up two of these completely! There are a couple close dupes... I hope you enjoy!


From Left to Right: Tarte Bamboo, MAC Satin Taupe, UD Stray Dog, Wet N' Wild Nutty, Loreal Infallible Bronzed Taupe, UD YDK

Here's the verdict: Tarte's cream eyeshadow in Bamboo is an exact dupe to Loreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Bronzed Taupe. Wet N' Wild's Nutty was a very close dupe to UD YDK but YDK has a lot more glitter -- they are both the warmest taupes. MAC's Satin Taupe has a purple undertone, and UD Stray Dog is the brownest of the bunch.

Who's the winner? My favorite is MAC's Satin Taupe because the purple undertone really brings out my green eyes. The runner up is Bronzed Taupe by Loreal -- I just LOVE the texture of the Infallible Eyeshadows and the color of this one is just gorgeous!


I hope this was helpful and don't forget to subscribe!


Saturday, February 2, 2013


After making my guide to MAC Transition Colors (click here) I decided to make another for their highlight shades. MAC has an astronomical amount of highlighters and I am only reviewing the ones I personally own -- which is all but four depending on your skin tone. When purchasing highlighters you in no way need this many! I would recommend having at least one matte and one shimmery highlighter to begin with. It's nice to have one neutral, one yellow based, and one pink based highlight -- but not entirely necessary!

Personally I prefer a matte highlight, so in regards to the shimmery shadows I will try to remain unbiased!

I hope that you find this helpful in your search for the perfect highlight! The pictures may seem a bit dark, but it is the best way to capture their true color without washing them out. Please click to enlarge!

Guide to MAC Matte Brown Eyeshadows (click HERE).

Guide to MAC's Eyeshadow Finishes (click HERE)

Top Left to Right: Gesso, Blanc Type, Vanilla, Mylar, Brule
Bottom Left to Right: Shroom, Dazzlelight, Naked Lunch, Nylon

GESSO (Matte)

Gesso is a matte stark white and definitely has its place my kit. I like to use this when I want a very strong highlight, or if I'm wearing purples or greens. I think they changed the formula because it is a bit dry and you really have to dig your brush into it to get a good amount of pay off. If you would like one similar to this with shimmer I would go with Crystal Avalanche or Vapour.


Blanc Type is a creamy beige with incredible payoff! I used to find this eyeshadow a bit too powdery, but I have been reaching for it a lot more lately because it does a great job of covering up any discoloration under the brow.

VANILLA (Velvet)

Vanilla is an ivory with slight pink undertones. I absolutely LOVE Vanilla for fair, light and even medium skintones. It is by far my favorite of all. Holy grail status! There is a tiny bit of sparkle in the pan, but it doesn't really translate to the eye. Orb is similar but more pinky/peachy.

MYLAR (Satin)

MAC describes it as a creamy white with shimmer but it is more like a subtle sheen. I really like Mylar and I think it is great to wear when you want to do a natural "no makeup, makeup".

BRULE (Satin)

Brule is a soft creamy beige, which is a close match to most light skintones. I love to use it as an all over wash or a very subtle highlight. Although MAC calls it a Satin, Brule appears nearly matte on the eye.

SHROOM (Satin)

Shroom is a beige with shimmer and although MAC considers it a Satin, I think it is much more like a frost. This color is extremely popular but I do not love wearing it myself. It is a very neutral highlight, meaning it does not lean pink or yellow. If you like shimmer in your highlights Shroom may be a great option for you!

DAZZLELIGHT (Veluxe Pearl)

MAC says Dazzlelight is a neutral with shimmer but I think it leans slightly yellow. With that said, it is my favorite shimmery highlight in their permanent line. I love to wear it in the inner corner! This and Vanilla are my top two recommendations!

NYLON (Frost)

Nylon is a pale gold with shimmer according to MAC. I would call it a whole lotta shimmer with some pale gold mixed in... My Lord, it's the frostiest eyeshadow I have EVER seen. I only use this on occasion when I want a very bright inner corner highlight. This is Dazzlelight's crazy aunt twice removed!

MAC calls Ricepaper a peachy gold with shimmer, and I agree with that description. This is too dark for me use as a highlight on my skintone, but is gorgeous for gals NC40 and above. I typically use it as a lid shade. Definitely has great texture and is smooth as buddah!


Described as a minimal pink with shimmer, Naked Lunch has quickly become on of my new favorites! I typically wear it as a lid shade, but it makes a great highlight, especially if you are doing a look with other pinks!

So that's it for my highlights... I hope that was helpful! Which is your favorite highlight? Please leave a comment below!


Vanilla vs Blanc Type, Vanilla vs Gesso, Vanilla vs Mylar, Gesso vs Blanc Type, Shroom vs Mylar, Blanc Type vs Brule, Vanilla vs Brule, Dazzlelight vs Nylon, Dazzlelight vs Ricepaper, Nylon vs Ricepaper

Thursday, January 31, 2013


I'm obsessed with transition shades... is that weird? Maybe. Nonetheless, I'm writing this post to help explain the small differences between the MAC transition colors. Although the eyeshadows may seem very similar in the pan, each one will give you a totally different look when applied.

So what is a transition color? In the most simple of terms, it is the shade that helps blend your crease shade into your brow bone highlight. Typically it will be a matte shade 1-3 shades darker than your skin tone. The first step when applying eyeshadow is your transition! With a big fluffy brush you want to blend it from crease to right below your brow bone. My favorite brush to use is the 224 from MAC but there are plenty of big fluffy brushes in most brush lines.

I am only reviewing the shades that I personally own -- which are all the transition colors for skin tones NC10-47/NW10-35. If you are unfamiliar with MAC foundation colors, that range is from very pale skin to medium/tan skin.

EDIT: If you are a woman of color or the eyeshadow you are looking for is not in this post, please see my Guide to MAC Matte Brown Eyeshadows. I wrote this post before aquiring the eyeshadows best used to transition darker skin.

Guide to MAC Matte Brown Eyeshadows (click HERE).

Guide to MAC Highlight Eyeshadows (click HERE)

Top Left to Right: Malt, Kid, Wedge, Soft Brown
Bottom Left to Right: Era, Omega, Cork

From left to right: Soft Brown, Era, Omega, Kid, Malt, Wedge, Cork
Please Note: Although they may look patchy in swatches, they do not appear that way when applied to the eye!

MALT (Matte)

Malt is a soft pinky beige and only works for VERY fair ladies. I have found the best way to apply this one is to use a more densely packed brush and really work it into the crease/above crease. This is by far the most subtle, but I have grown to like Malt quite a bit!

KID (Veluxe)

Kid is a warm peachy brown shade that is perfect for ladies NC5-NC25/NW10-NW20. Earlier this year MAC discontinued this one, and now it's available again... Kid is a Veluxe so it has a very unique texture. The best way I can describe it is silky pigment that seems powderless.

OMEGA (Matte)

Omega is a muted beige ashy taupe and a much cooler transition color than the others. I find that it can be a bit blah looking by itself, but I love to use it mixed with Kid or Wedge -- to make the perfect neutral transition! Omega also looks amazing when used on eyebrows!

WEDGE (Matte)

Wedge is a soft warm beige taupe. Another great option, and one I would recommend this for ladies that kind Kid a bit too light or warm. I think this color looks lovely on light and medium skin, but may be just a bit too dark for fair skin gals (when used as a transition). I love to use Wedge as a crease color.

ERA (Satin)

Era is a soft golden beige with shimmer and a great transition for beginners because it has a little sparkle to it -- which makes it a lot easier to blend. Don't worry, it isn't frosty!
CORK (Satin)

Cork is a muted golden brown and although it is considered a Satin, Cork applies matte. I think it is a perfect transition for tan ladies with skintones around NC40/NW35 or above.  On my light skin it looks great in the crease!


Soft Brown is a soft golden peachy brown that I think looks great on a lot of skin tones -- from very fair to tan! Some lighter skinned gals may find that it pulls a little orange on them, but I think it's a gorgeous color and has definitely become a favorite of mine.

The warmth in shades like Kid and Soft Brown can seem a bit scary, but that warmth is what will totally transform your look into something amazing!

I hope this was helpful!  Which transition colors do you use?




Malt vs Kid, Kid vs Soft Brown, Wedge vs Cork, Kid vs Wedge, Soft Brown vs Cork


Soft Ochre, Painterly

Soft Ochre and Painterly are matte eyeshadow bases that also act as a primer and eyelid concealer. In MAC terms Painterly is NW (cool toned) and Soft Ochre is NC (warm toned). The reason I am doing today's comparison is because I think that there is a lot of confusion when it comes to these two!  Should I match it to my undertone? Should I use a particular one based on the eyeshadows I'm using? Hopefully I'll answer those questions and any others you may have.

I originally bought Soft Ochre a long time ago because I am slightly yellow toned, and I thought it would be a better fit. After acquiring Painterly, I realized you can wear either one of them regardless of your undertone.

Roughly speaking, yellow neutralizes red and pink neutralizes blue. If you have a lot of redness on your eyelid and you would like to cover that and brighten up the eye, Soft Ochre may work better for you. On the other hand, if you have a lot of veins or bluish discoloration on your eyelid, Painterly may be the better choice.

Overall I much prefer Painterly for myself and most other skin tones -- unless you have extremely yellow undertones, in which case Painterly looks very pink and strange. Soft Ochre has a drier formulation and can appear dry on the skin (you can see this in the eyelid pictures below). Painterly, on the other hand, applies much more smoothly.

Because they are both skin colored, they don't change the look of the eyeshadow. Some say if you are doing a warm look to use Soft Ochre and for a cool look use Painterly. I don't think they are different enough to justify purchasing both just for that purpose.

Paint Pots make eyeshadows pop and help them to appear true to the color in the pan. They also keep the eyeshadow from creasing on most people; If you have very oily eyelids, I would recommend Urban Decay Primer Potion over these. I also wouldn't recommend Paint Pots for use on mature skin as it may tug.


NO MAKEUP -- I had just removed my makeup so my eyelid is a little redder than usual, but I definitely have some discoloration!

SOFT OCHRE -- Does a great job at covering up redness but doesn't do much to cover my blue veins.

PAINTERLY -- much less ashy looking and does a better job of covering up veins.

I hope that was helpful!  Do you use Painterly or Soft Ochre?


Monday, January 14, 2013

Comparison of MAC's Black Eyeliners

Which black is the blackest black? That is usually the oh-so important question that determines which liner we buy, and so in today's post I decided to compare MAC's Ebony, Engraved, and Smolder. Can one black be blacker than the other? Most definitely! With these swatches you can see the major differences in the way the liners appear, and later I will explain the differences in how these liners apply and wear. Ebony vs Engraved vs Smolder... I will be rating these on a scale of 1-10 describing how dark the shade of black is. LET THE SHOWDOWN BEGIN!!

From left to right: Ebony, Engraved, Smolder
EBONY: Ebony is called an "Eye Pencil" by MAC but it is drugstore quality disguised in MAC packaging... what a huge disappointment! The color is so light that it isn't even black. It also is a very dry liner so when used on the eye lots of pulling and tugging -- NOT cool! When you finally get it on, the wear isn't very good, and just forget about trying to get it on your waterline! Fail. Rating: 1
ENGRAVED: Engraved is called a "Powerpoint Eye Pencil" by MAC which basically means that it is waterproof and longwearing. It has medium darkness, but it is a total neutral black, not leaning cool or warm! What makes Engraved special is it's wear. I love that it won't smudge or budge, but that's also what I don't like about it. That may sound crazy, but hear me out... because it wears so long it applies sticky. When used on the waterlines, it feels especially so. I don't like for my eyelids to feel like they are sticking together everytime I blink. Some people love this liner, but personally the stickiness is a deal breaker. Rating: 6
SMOLDER: Smolder is called an "Eye Kohl" by MAC, which means that it is a soft-on liner that is very pigmented and great to smudge out. This is my favorite of the three and I highly recommend it to anyone! It's amazing on the waterline, and stays put most of the day. Ladies with oilier lids may need to set it with a black eyeshadow on the upper lashline. This one is definitely the deepest of the three, but has the slightest blue undertone. This liner smudges when I want it to, sets quickly, and stays where I put it. LOVE.  Rating: 9

MAC makes a couple other blacks and occasionally they'll even come out with limited editions. My next purchase will be Feline, which is considered to be the blackest of them all! I will be sure to do a review. I passed on Graphblack, their twist up black, because I'm not a fan of twist up liners. I hope this post was helpful! Don't forget to subscribe!