Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

7 Must-Have Gray/Black MAC Eyeshadows

About the Temptalia Must-Haves Series

A series of posts showcasing must-have products from MAC Cosmetics’ permanent line of products. Selections are based on quality, universality, uniqueness amongst the line, and the like. Limited edition shades are deliberately excluded to make buying easier. Readers’ comments act as a supplement to these lists of their favorites and must-haves. You can find the entire series here.

Silver Ring eyeshadow is a medium-to-dark shimmery, silver-gray color. It’s one of my favorite colors to use for a classic smokey eye!

Electra eyeshadow is a bright silver that works really well to brighten up a look, because it’s not so dark like Silver Ring.

Print eyeshadow is a deep newsprint gray. It’s a great shadow to add dimension to a look beyond just smokey eyes. I just love the smooth texture of this shadow.

Carbon eyeshadow is a must-have matte black eyeshadow. It’s pretty black, though not the blackest shadow I’ve come across–but it’s the right shade of multi-use black. It can be softened while it can also be built up into a darker black.

See three more, plus pairing recommendations!

Forgery eyeshadow is another bright silvery shade, but it has a glittery texture as it is a lustre. I feel like it is a more workable lustre than the average one, and the subtle shimmer is excellent for layering over dark shadows.

White Frost eyeshadow is a shimmery white shade, and the reason why I mention it here with grays and blacks is because you can use it to help modify the shade of gray or black to the perfect one for you!

Typographic eyeshadow is a dark gray matte shadow. It’s extremely smooth, pigmented, and pretty blendable, because it has a newer matte texture.

Pair these shadows with…

purples (like Parfait Amour), blacks (like Carbon), silvers (like Silver Ring), golds (like Nylon), greens (like Humid), blues (like Freshwater)

Check your stash for a few awesome limited edition finds…

Garcon Gray, Black Gold, Gentle Fume, Night Owl, Suspicion

What are your favorite purple eyeshadows?

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of great eyeshadows — these are shades I personally think are worth getting as a whole. I also only list permanent eyeshadow colors (and eyeshadows only–no other eye products, *just* eyeshadows for this list), which is why limited edition colors do not make the list.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

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101 thoughts on “Best Gray/Black Eyeshadows: 7 MAC Eyeshadows

  1. Great recommendations – I have Carbon and love that I can deepen the intensity. The one addition I would add to this group of shadows is Scene – it’s a classic gray that is great for a smoky eye.

    • Saira

      Yeah, I agree – I’d definitely add Scene as well. It’s a really great satiny grey colour. I was really glad when I found this shade, as I had been looking for a true grey eyeshadow for a while and this one fitted what I was looking for perfectly. It’s pretty versatile – I sometimes use it for a smoky look by putting it on the lid, with darker colours in the crease or I use it more subtly in the crease with a lighter colour on the lid.

      UD Strip is also a great silver colour – I think it’s pretty similar to Mac Silver Ring. I got Knight Divine a while ago and really like it – it’s a really nice, shimmery dark grey colour.

    • Scene! Argh, I don’t have that one!

      • Violet

        I have scene and it is horrible to work with. Creases with UDPP and TFSI. You really have to pack it on too.

        I love the way Scene looks on the lid with UD Fishnet and Carbon in the crease! <3

  2. xD.

    looove all the colors,
    smokey eyes are my fav. πŸ˜‰
    [[rose romance is online!]].. πŸ˜€

  3. one grey i REGRET not buying is SMOKE N DIAMONDS…i regret is more, because i don’t have sweet sienna…which is supposed to be potential dupes…

  4. liz

    what about black tied?!

  5. Neena

    As far as purples go I love fig.1, sketch, nocturnelle, and plum dressing

  6. I love Black Tied and Cloudburst.

  7. Tahnee

    I love Charred too

  8. Natalie

    What a great list Christine!! I also love Pincurl and Knight.. Don’t have Forgery though, so I should check it out at MAC! πŸ˜€ How does Rose Romance Silverthorn rate against these great shadows?

  9. Jenn

    I know it’s limited, but Smoke N Diamonds is AMAZING!!

  10. cloudburst

    I like the sounds of Night Owl – I wish I owned it!

  11. I love Carbon e/s! One of my most favorite e/s to use with a smokey eye look! I’ve been eying on White Frost, Print, Typographic, Silver Ring and Electra for sometime! Divine Night in the Wisteria Trio is amazing to pair with Carbon!

  12. Liana

    can anyone let me know which shade is nicer, im on maccosmetics.com right now and im not sure which one to get a Rose Romance Silverthorn e/s or Silvering e/s ?

  13. Lee

    Vex is also an interesting one – I tend to wear it with Greys (as well as everything)… and Smoke and Diamonds.

  14. Bananarchy

    Grr at no Black Tied

    • I never reach for Black Tied. I just always use Carbon — I find it a better black and if I want shimmer, I’m probably already wearing it with another shadow!

  15. niknik

    Where’s Knight Divine?
    I looove it!

  16. Leah

    I second Knight Divine! That’s one of my faves in addition to print, vex and carbon. What collection was Black Gold from? It sounds gorgeous.

  17. Elle

    Print and Silver Ring are my two faves for a smoky eye. I also love Artic Grey and Mont Black from last winter’s Chill collection.

  18. Jenny

    Black Tied is for sure my absolute favorite black.

  19. how come there is no Black Tied, or Beauty Marked? Hah…
    I have Carbon and White Frost..

  20. mars

    My favorite black/grey smoky eye is Phloof, Vex, Copperplate, Satin Taupe and Carbon.

  21. Ricci

    I have black tied I love it!!

  22. Brenda

    what about concrete??

  23. Theresa

    I would add Knight Divine, Smoke and Diamonds, Charred and Vex to the list you have going there!

  24. abby

    I have black tied and i love the colour and the texture but never wear it because i dont really know how to :( maybe carbon is better?

  25. I’m suprised to see Knight Divine wasn’t there!
    My fav grey would have to be Pandemonium because it’s a really dark grey!

  26. Brenda

    Mmm I like Copperplate and Knight Divine!

  27. Arika BH

    Silver Ring, ElectrA and Carbon aRE must haves! I want Typographic. My favorites for purples are Beautiful Iris, Nocturnelle, Trax, and Shadowy Lady.

  28. Victoria Maria

    Well…..I have a very old MAC eyeshadow called ISSUE, it’s the most amazing light grey colour with very subtle silver and blue shimmer in it, it’s a satin! Why they have never repromoted this is really beyond me….I’ve have 14 other grey ones from different brands, but I just cannot find a dupe! I just finished my grey/black palette this weekend, and I love Mont Black…black with gold glitters :-)

  29. carriespooner

    I co-sign Carbon. It’s beyond <3. Im so intrigued by black gold.

  30. coco72

    I love Smoke & Diamonds and obviously Carbon

  31. AbbyL

    Hey I have a question for all of y’all! I have SO much trouble with black eyeshadow. I want to a DARK black smokey eye but I cannot get the black shadow to go on correctly. Do you have any tips for bases or techniques that work for you? Thanks!!

    • Stephanie D

      If you have the Blacktrack Fluidline, put it all over your lid as a base and then do the smokey eye. It really makes it look more intense and stays on alot better. HTH!

    • Nathalie

      You can also use Blacktrack paint pot as a base, then apply Carbon over it. It will have an excellent staying and great intensity (that’s what I do when I want dramatic intense black eyes and it works!).

    • Jennifer

      A good way to help the black more intense with staying power is to use Sharkskin shadestick underneath your shadow. It intensifies any color and it would really make your black smokey eye the darkness that you are looking for. HTH!

  32. IZzySA

    Copperplate and apres ski are great grey shades

  33. Nicole15

    Black Tied is a great black too just because it has the slight shimmer effect that Carbon doesn’t since it is totally matte. Black Tied is great for dramatic “night-out” looks.

  34. Nicole15

    Christine – have you swatched Silverthorn yet from A Rose Romance?? Pics have it looking a bit like Silver Ring, but I’m not sure. Maybe you can give us some insight on this newbie.

  35. Nice


  36. Coffee

    I, too, am also shocked that Knight Divine didn’t make the cut. I need to stock up on more blacks and greys…

  37. Amy

    What about smut?? I use it all the time

  38. gilnar

    how about when you want to create a soft morning smokey look with brown colors? what eyeshadow colors are to be used, and can you explain also on the applying techique please christina?

  39. Kate

    Silverthorn (greenish, warm grey) – excellent for green & blue looks
    Smoke and Diamonds (dirty grey) – good for brown and smoky looks
    Knight Divine (a darker version of Silver Ring)- awesome for smoky looks to deepen the crease
    Idol Eyes (silver with purple sheen)- nice for brightening inner corners

  40. i love this silver gray color. looks great on my sister

  41. Nicola

    Knight divine is no silver ring, silver ring is much nicer, if you want a darker silver ring go for knight out of blonde brunette redhead! <3

  42. Sarain

    Hey so I’m putting together a smokey eyes quad.
    So far I have Idol Eyes and Black Tied.
    I’d like to get Forgery too but I’m missing a grey color.
    I don’t want something too dark or shimmery.
    Any suggestions? Thanks.

  43. CB

    I’ve been wanting to try a dark grey eyeshadow for awhile now (Typographic could be the one), but I was wondering: can people like me, with warm medium skin (yellow undertones!) even pull off a grey like this? (P.S. This reminds me..can yellow undertones wear reddish browns? I’m at loss with what I can and cannot wear when it comes to these simple shades – I never thought about it before!)

  44. ari

    hi i don’t know which one is better
    Mount Black

  45. Hepcat288

    No Copperplate :(

  46. Vannie Lee

    my biggest question is about “carbon” from M.A.C. is that does it move around? I only have 2 things from M.A.C. Studio Finish concealer, and Burnt burgundy pigment.I’ve been wanting a perfect Matte Black eyeshadow, and i noticed most I’ve used have moved around. I would take a stuff angle brush just to but on the outer part of my lash line, and it would transfer to the outer corner of my eye, then to my socker/crease area.

    Does Carbon do that?

    And btw, yes, I use primers, and suitable bases for underneath my matte black eyeshadows that I’ve used.

  47. Stephanie

    I am obsessed with silver, grey and charcoal eyeshadow, so I am so please you posted this. I’ve got Electra, typographic, and print, also knight divine. I’m working on purchasing the rest.