How to Build Your Own MAC Palette - Mac Eyeshadows For Brown Eyes


Some of us are perfectly happy with our pre-made eyeshadow palettes, but some of us don't find that we put every single shade within the palette to good use. I for one and one of those people. So that's where creating your own custom eyeshadow palettes is a great idea. It may be more costly than a pre-made palette but it's less wasteful. The great thing about pro palettes is that you can also depot other eyeshadows and apply a magnetic strip. Starting a custom palette is the best way to create an eyeshadow palette full of eyeshadows that will all be equally loved and used. I always suggest starting off with a small quad ( which are also travel friendly ) to help you decide if you like MAC eyeshadows enough to want to invest in a large 15 pan palette.

Mac is a cosmetics company that sells pan version eyeshadows and they also have their own palettes. As mentioned briefly i feel the best way to start off making a MAC eyeshadow palette is to begin with a small quad, which is currently the the second from smallest palette that MAC does. You need to decide if you are more of a neutral, cool-toned, or colourful eyeshadow kind of person. I'm very much a neutral eyeshadow lover but i do have a few pops of colour in my mac eyeshadow collection, in case i'm feeling a bit more daring. Most of us make the mistake of buying every colour of the rainbow, but not every eyeshadow colour is going to suit us or will be used. This is where i think it is important to really experiment with a cheaper palette first to see which colours not only look the most flattering on you, but are also shades you would feel confident wearing. Having experimental playtime, along with researching which shades suit your eye colour the best can really help you to decide which eyeshadows should be incorporated into your MAC palette.

I have put three of my most worn everyday quads into this post in the hope that it might help or inspire anyone else with brown eyes. Us ladies with brown eyes are pretty lucky that we can wear most colours. Obviously bringing your skin-tone into consideration helps us determine whether you should lean towards more warm or cool toned shades. I have a warm under-tone and warm and neutral eyeshadows seem to suit me the best. I have a lot of red undertone in my very dark brown eyes, so i tend to want to balance that out. For brown-eyed girls the most flattering colours are neutral shades like chocolate browns, bronzes, coppers, and taupes. Then brighter shades like teals, blues, purples, and pinks to really make our eyes pop. I have found the best shades that flatter my dark brown eyes and my light-medium warm skin tone ( besides neutral browns and creams ) are Bronzes, Purples, Silvers and Blues, especially deep royal blue or Teals.

I started adding MAC eyeshadows to my collection four years ago when i first started lifestyle blogging. I didn't actually start beauty blogging until 2014 when i created Back then Makeup Geek was only in the process of creating samples ( some i actually still have today ) but MAC was the company that had the monopoly on the 'build your own palette' game. Overall I find that MAC eyeshadows have pretty much no fall out and they have amazing staying-power. Compared to eyeshadow palettes like those of Too Faced, Urban Decay and Lorac, Mac eyeshadows aren't as buttery smooth but they are professional eyeshadows that are made to be long-wearing and build up colour well. MAC eyeshadows can be hit or miss, and i do feel that some MAC eyeshadow shades really could be creamier and more pigmented.

I started out my MAC eyeshadow collection with the basic everyday neutral shades like Cork, Wedge and Brule and soon started adding more colours and textures into my collection. Now i have accumulated around 45 eyeshadows within a range of palette sizes. My favourite Mac eyeshadow finishes are the Veluxe Pearl & Matte²but I also really like Frost finishes ( though some of them can be hit or miss for pigmentation ). I just find these finishes to be the smoothest and most pigmented. I don't mind some of the matte and satin formula's but i do find some are not that rich in pigmentation. So, lets take a look at my eyeshadows quads...

Best Neutral Everyday Mac Eyeshadows for Brown Eyes


Palette 1: The Neutral Everyday Palette

MAC Eyeshadow: Nylon - Cork - Brun - Tempting. The Perfect Neutral Everyday MAC palette.

Why Browns and Bronzes.....? Bronze eyeshadows add a bit more warmth and depth to the eye than a standard brown eyeshadow. Brown eyeshadows flatter brown eyes, but they can also blend in a bit too much and not stand out. Bronzes add a that little bit of je ne sais quoi creating mystery. I find adding a taupe or purple eyeliner in the waterline, or adding a duo-chrome shadows with a hint or either blue, pink, purple or teal in the inner tear duct really helps to bring out the brown and make the eyes pop, in a subtle way.

Nylon - (Frost Finish) - Nylon is described as a Pale gold with icy shimmer, it has a golden-yellow undertone, but transfers as an almost silvered white on the skin ( which is good as i really don't like yellow based golds ). It is a beautiful high-shine metallic eyeshadow that is super smooth and very pigmented and is my all time favourite eyeshadow to highlight the inner corner of the eye on every skin-tone. I actually own three of them.

Cork - (Satin Finish). Cork is one of my most used transition shades, it looks like a Matte shadow but is actually a satin finish, with a slight sheen to it. I use it's purpose as my transition/crease shade. It's such a smooth shadow that builds up colour really well and blends out perfectly. Cork is described as a medium golden-brown. I don't find that it leans too warm nor too cool, so it compliments most neutral eye looks and skin-tones.

Tempting - (Lustre Finish) - Lustre finishes are some of my favourite Mac eyeshadow finishes. They are super pigmented, soft and give the most beautiful sheen. Tempting is described as a sinfully rich cocoa, i would describe it as a medium-warm bronze with tiny gold micro-shimmers. Tempting adds a lot of dimension to the eye and is stunning all over the lid on every skin-tone. Definitely one of my all time favourite shades to use on myself and clients.

Brun - (Satin). Brun is another shade that looks matte but is actually a Satin finish. It is described as a muted blackish-brown and is a neutral dark smoky-brown. It's the perfect shadow for filling in dark eyebrows, and i love using it on clients. I use Brun to deepen the outer corner of the eye and it also great for smoking out the lower lash-line.

Swatches: Mac Brun - Mac Tempting - Mac Cork - Mac Nylon.


Quad 2: The Smoky Eye Palette

MAC Eyeshadow: Ricepaper - Behold - Silver Ring - Typographic  | The Perfect MAC Grey Smoky Eye Palette.

Why Silvers....? Because silver is such a cool toned colour, it provides a beautiful contrast against the warmth of brown eyes. Any silver colour looks amazing with dark brown eyes and really helps them pop. Think gunmetal greys, platinum & metallic silvers. I would say to be careful wearing silver under the eye though, ( the lower lash-line ) especially if you have dark under eye circles; as silver can enhance under eye bags which really isn't flattering!  

Ricepaper - (Frost Finish). Ricepaper is a very demure warm-toned peachy-gold shimmer. It is not as pigmented as other Mac highlight shades, but it is perfect at highlighting a dark smoky eye and really compliments the grey. I love this as a highlight on deeper skin-tones and it's not as stark.

Behold - (Veluxe Finish). I have seen some people refer to this as a dirty brown. Behold is a mix between a brown and a grey therefor giving it a kind of taupe effect. It is perfect at giving a daytime smoky look without it being too harsh. Behold really flatters other cool toned eyeshadows especially purples and blues. Sadly behold is now discontinued but can still be found through sites like eBay. Omega is probably the closest you can get to Behold, or Coquette which is just a bit darker. 

Silver Ring - (Veluxe Pearl Finish). Silver ring is a medium grey with a silver sheen. It is stunning packed all over the lid and gives that extra dimension ( i think you are starting to see a pattern with the lids shades now ). It is very buildable and the most beautiful on dark and deep skin-tones.  

Typographic - (Matte² Finish). Mac describes Typographic as an Asphalt black. I would say it is a subdued black that leans a very deep charcoal grey. It's the grey counterpart to Carbon. I love this because it's wearable for the day without it being too harsh of a black and it really flatters cool toned eyeshadows. This is one of my favourite shades to smoke out the lower lash-line when creating a smoky eye. 

Swatches: Mac Typographic - Mac Silver Ring - Mac Behold - Mac Ricepaper.


Quad 3: The Colourful Palette

Mac Eyeshadow: Naked Lunch - Quarry - Fig.1 - Sable.

Why Purples.....? Purple in my opinion is the most beautiful colour on Brown eyes. It is also the most universally flattering colour to wear ( besides neutrals ), because it goes well with any eye, hair or skin colour. Purple is a contrasting colour on the colour wheel so is especially great with brown eyed girls and really makes the eyes pop. I personally find warm-toned purples flatter me the most.

Naked Lunch - (Frost Finish). Naked Lunch is a very demure champagne peachy-pink with a subtle sheen. I find this a perfect highlight shade with more purple eyeshadow shades as it really brings out the purple more. It is not that pigmented as other highlight shades but is perfect at highlighting an already metallic eye look. It's a beautiful all over lid shade on lighter skin-tones.

Quarry - (Matte Finish). Quarry is a proper matte shade which can be slightly chalky in texture. It is a pretty Lilac based Taupe and is a perfect crease shade for slightly cooler -toned eye looks. It flatters silvers, purples and taupe shades. I do find it can look a bit ashy on deep skin-tones, and find it the most flattering on lighter complexions. 

Sable - (Frost Finish). Sable is another one of my favourite Mac shades. If you Love Urban Decay toasted  then you will love this shade. Sable is a bronzed plum with a touch of gold,  it's super pigmented, soft and gives the most beautiful almost metallic finish to the eye. I love the dimension that Sable gives to the eye, it is such a perfect lid shade and really helps to compliment the next shade.

Fig.1 - (Matte² Finish). Fig.1 is my Perfect purple shade and was actually one of the first eyeshadows i got from Mac. The Matte² formula is a lot dryer than the regular mattes but i find them easier to build up colour. I would describe Fig.1 is a warm medium-dark eggplant purple. I love how it changes shade, on the lid it is more of a warm bright purple and in the crease it's comes off a deep eggplant purple. This is a favourite on dark and olive skin-tones.


Swatches: Mac Fig.1 - Mac Sable - Mac Quarry - Mac Naked lunch.


Swatches of all of the shades together
Swatches of Mac Eyeshadows (L-R): Nylon - Cork - Tempting - Brun - Ricepaper - Behold - Silver Ring - Typographic - Naked Lunch - Quarry - Sable - Fig.1.


Each MAC Pro-Refill Eyeshadow Pan retails for £10/$10 each. The Quad costs £5/$8 each and already comes with the insert. Once your collection gets bigger and you need a bigger palette MAC offers the options of a 6, 9 and 15 pan palette - which you have to buy the inserts for. You can depot any eyeshadow singles you may have by applying a magnetic strip to the back of them. All products are available from and


Mac Pro Refill Eyeshaow Pan £10 or $10
Mac Single Eyeshadow £13 or $16
Mac Eyeshadow Duo £5 or $5
Mac Quad £5 or $8

I have more MAC eyeshadow posts to follow soon....
What eye colour do you have? What MAC eyeshadows do you like wearing?

Thanks for Reading Lovelies

Jamey xo

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