Saturday, July 18th, 2009

Eyeshadows: Filament, Era, Soba, Cork

MAC Eyeshadow Swatches – Browns

This post contains swatches of MAC’s permanent brown eyeshadows! :) Lots to see!

Eyeshadows: Era, Soba, Cork, Woodwinked

Eyeshadows: Cork, Woodwinked, Tempting, Espresso

Eyeshadows: Romp, Bamboo, Arena, Soft Brown, Texture

Eyeshadows: Romp, Bamboo, Arena, Soft Brown,

Eyeshadows: Bamboo, Arena, Soft Brown, Texture

Eyeshadows: Soft Brown, Texture, Saddle, Folie

Eyeshadows: Soft Brown, Texture, Saddle, Folie

Eyeshadows: Swiss Chocolate, Antiqued, Wedge, Kid

Eyeshadows: Antiqued, Wedge, Kid, Honesty

Eyeshadows: Wedge, Kid, Honesty, Honey Lust

Eyeshadows: Honesty, Honey Lust, All That Glitters

Eyeshadows: Mulch, Bronze, Quarry, Sable

Eyeshadows: Quarry, Sable, Twinks, Brownscript

Eyeshadows: Sable, Twinks, Brownscript, Handwritten

Eyeshadows: Sable, Twinks, Brownscript, Handwritten

Eyeshadows: Omega, Patina, Charcoal Brown, Mystery

Eyeshadows: Patina, Charcoal Brown, Mystery, Copperplate

Eyeshadows: Charcoal Brown, Mystery, Copperplate, Courduroy

Eyeshadows: Mystery, Copperplate, Courduroy, Embark

Eyeshadows: Coquette, Concrete, Smut

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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138 thoughts on “MAC Eyeshadow Swatches – Browns

  1. Tina

    thanks christine!

  2. Honey Lust looks pretty!
    I have none of these :)

  3. Thanks Christine! This is really useful.
    Honesty, Honey Lust, and All That Glitters look quite the same, but which one do you prefer in color and application?

    Keep doing the thing you do best, this 😉

  4. Valerie C.

    Thanks for showing the browns! This answers questions I had about a few shades….especially charcoal brown. I always used “symmetry” in the crease. After they discontinued it, I never found a replacement…..I’m going to try charcoal brown now :o)

  5. MC

    I just finished looking at all these swatches and I want to say thanks, Christine! Whenever MAC offers free shipping online (which is like, every other week with all these new collections coming out) I want to order pan refills of eyeshadows (because all I have near me are MAC stands– no freestanding stores) for my palettes. I rarely do it, though, because I don’t know on the spot what the colors REALLY look like. This is extremely helpful, you have no idea. I’ll be the proud owner of about 10 new shadows next time free shipping comes around! Thanks!

    • I’m really glad it helped you out, MC! Which new will you be getting? :)

      • MC

        Blanc Type
        Sumptuous Olive
        Plumage or Prussian
        Stars n’ Rockets

        … not all at once, though. And probably after I check out Love That Look in person, to make sure none of those LEs aren’t similar-but-prettier.

  6. Diabla

    Christine, you magic little fairy. I’m currently preparing an online order and had bad time trying to find swatches of brown colors and what was the difference between all of them. What a surprise to find swatches of mac eyeshadows this morning! As if you read in my mind or something. 😛

    Anyway, that’s super useful. Thank you for all the swatches. :)

    I still don’t know what to get but eh, I have a better idea. I adore Omega, I wear it all the time and I try to find a darker brown shade for the crease (a cold brown). I don’t know if I should pick Concrete, Charcoal Brown or Cork. Also I want a warmer and more vibrant version of Omega. Maybe with a satin finish, I don’t know. Soba or Wedge?

  7. Natalie

    Christine, What would be the top 5-10 brown shadows that you use the most? I don’t have Corquette, Bronze, Espresso, Cork, Folie, Swiss Chocolate, Wedge and Area and I wonder if I am missing on a HG shadow lol.. I normally don’t like warm chocolate browns.

  8. AYHM

    Thanks, this is so useful – I am an NC45 but I do love the browns, I just have to make sure that I get the ones that show up on my skin.

    • I found pretty much all of MAC’s permanent eyeshadows, with only a few exceptions (which were just okay, not terrible), showed up fairly well on my underarm (which is as light as I can get). And of course, these swatches are without a base, so if you use a base, they should all show up no matter what your skin tone :)

  9. I love Era, Antiqued, Tempting and All That Glitters!! Bronze, Honesty, Honey Lust, and Woodwinked are so gorgeous!

  10. DanielleO

    Thanks Christine! I just got Mulch yesterday, but looking at your swatches now I’m thinking I should’ve gotten Era or Woodwinked.

  11. Jessica

    Thanks for posting this! I recently decided to expand my brown collection and this will help a lot in my purchases.

  12. badfish

    These swatches are so great! Thanks a bunch!

  13. aradhana

    thanks for this series christine–it’ll be a great resource!

    it would be cool if other people also post these swatches on their own (different) skin tones…
    i have some of the shades, but somehow not very many…seems i have a lot of LE’s…

    btw, how did you make the swatches? is it just pure product or did you use any medium and/or base on your skin?

    • No problem, Aradhana! I would love people to do that, but unfortunately I haven’t had anyone submit anything to me :(

      It’s pure product. I try to think of what I’d want as a potential buyer — I want to see how the product performs by itself with no extra help.

      I don’t swatch heavily (I only do one or two swipes), because I think it’s extremely misleading. When you swatch with a finger or a sponge-tip applicator, you always get more product than you would a typical brush, so swatches are already heavier than what you might see on your eye. I want to know if a shadow has poor color pay off, and if it takes 20 layers to get it to be bold, that’s a waste to me. I’d be so disappointed to buy it only to find it was SO sheer unless you piled it on, you know? Most eyeshadows can be layered or intensified by packing on color. Just like color will be brighter/bolder/more intense on lighter skin tones vs. my medium-toned skin.

      I don’t use a base, because again, I think it’s really important to see how the product performs on its own. A base will always help an eyeshadow look smoother and appear bolder/brighter/more opaque. I’m all about a good eyeshadow, not one that makes me work hard to get it to show up decently. If I see a shadow looks gritty, doesn’t give solid color, etc. when I swatch it, I know what I’m getting myself into, at least :) No disappointments.

      • aradhana

        thanks for your very thorough response! i totally agree with you…i was just surprised at how consistently pigmented most of the swatches were…but i guess that’s mac for you! 😉

        i might try submitting some of my swatches…but i’ll have to play around with the settings on my camera a bit to get the colour accuracy a bit better!

        • Surprisingly, MAC’s permanent line-up is pretty consistent — it’s just all the LEs they keep putting out… some of them are terrible, others are just okay.

          Definitely send ’em over when you’ve got some you’re happy with!

          • aradhana

            i’ve never quite sorted out what mac intended with the lustre finish…i would love if idol eyes was just frost…and there are a few other pretty dodgy ones…i think you mentioned sketch in one of the previous swatch posts….

  14. Brenda

    UGH!!!!! Now I have the BIGGEST urge to go get a new 15x palette (i need one anyways) and add like 5 more browns!!! As if i don’t have enough brown!!!! I’m so eyes, brown hair, love the brown/gold eyeshadows. LOL!!!

    And i have to agree on the preference for All That Glitters. One of the first e/s from MAC i ever bought, and I always go back to it with black liner for a simple super sexy look. Amazing payoff…not a fan of the lustres either.

    Thank you so much for doing all this Christine!!

  15. hi

    Is Woodwinked more of a golden brown or an antique gold? I’ve been looking for a nice gold that doesn’t have much yellow or orange – just a teeny bronze undertone, like an antiqued shade.

    • It’s not really an antique brown, IMO. Patina is much closer to antique brown, though not the best MAC has come out with, but the best available in the permanent line.

  16. AndreaMarie

    Thank you so much for these!!!!!

    Made the switch over to the 15 pan palette today!

  17. jenny

    thank you so much christine! made my day! my week!

  18. BaDKiTTy

    Thank you, this is very helpful.

  19. Sally

    Thank you!!!!! This is sooo helpful. Makes me want to get Patina even more now. :)

  20. This was very comprehensive – thanks!

  21. Janette

    IS there a big difference between soft bown and wedge i want a good blending color and can’t decide

  22. Tammy

    Hi Christine!!

    Just curious how ‘soft brown’ compares to ‘tete-a-tint’ ? I have Tete-a-tint and want a blend out color for the crease that is still warm but not as orangey/peachy…thanks a lot!!

  23. Mia

    WOW – Totally what I needed to see – THANK YOU!!!!

  24. which browns/bronze do you suggest for an NC 37 girl with a bad under eye dark circle so that the brown doesn’t accentuate the dark circles? also if i wear deep purple it looks very bad.. thanks!

  25. Elizaebeth

    Are Era and Patina quite alike? Would ou recommbed softbrown or texture for blending out the crease?

  26. Laura

    I LOVE these swatches! I am trying to put together the perfect on-the-go quad, so I can just grab a colour and a liner and have a bunch of looks. I am going to get shroom, and i am thinking wedge, satin taupe and bronze…is that too unbalanced? Would cork be better than bronze? Or will satin taupe be too purple and is there a better neutral colour that will give the same frosty effect??


  27. Kristen

    Christine, I absolutely love your MAC Must Have series – they’re so helpful and useful! I’ve honestly looked at other sites and yours is always so much more in-depth and thorough – great work!

    Anyway, I don’t wear a lot of make-up on a regular basis and when I do, I pretty much stay quite neutral. I need a brown eyeshadow that I can wear daily that will help to enhance my light brown eyes. I was looking at either Soft Brown or Cork, which one would you recommend and are there other possibilities?

    Also, I was looking at getting Nylon as well since it seems to have positive and rave reviews about being an overall great highlighter, but I already have Ricepaper and Soft Force (LE), is it worth it for me to get Nylon considering that they seem to be fairly similar, what do you think?

    Thanks a lot in advance!

    • Soft Brown for sure :) If you want to wear it as an all over color, I’d probably go a little lighter – like Gleam, Retrospeck, or Ricepaper, but Soft Brown is nice in the crease.

      If you have Soft Force, you could probably skip Nylon!

      • Kristen

        Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated! I’ll be getting Soft Brown for sure, but now I’m debating between Gleam and Retrospeck 😉

        • Gleam has a better texture – it’s a little peachier than Retrospeck (which is more like a whitish-yellow champagne gold).

          • Kristen

            You’re awesome, thanks again Christine!

            • My pleasure, Kristen! Let me know what you end up getting!

            • Kristen

              So I’ve made my final decision of what I’m going to buy, thanks to your feedback and from reading the previous comments. I’ve decided to get the following:

              Soft Brown
              Amber Lights

              I also have dark circles under my eyes so I’m taking your advice from a previous post and getting the last three eyeshadows as well. That should hold me off for a while 😉

              Can’t thank you enough Christine, you’ve made it easier since there’s so many to choose from! Honestly, LOOOOOVE your site!

            • Those are all great shades — I own them all :) Bronze, Amber Lights, Shroom, and Woodwinked are shades I’ve owned for YEARS! — in fact, Bronze, Shroom, and Amber Lights were three of my first four eyeshadows! (I think the fourth was Goldmine.)

  28. Lily

    Hi Christine,

    Thank you so much for doing these swatches! I’m hoping to compile a Neutrals palette, gradually.
    I’m NC27-30 with yellow undertones and I’m looking for an eyeshadow that is a couple shades darker than my skin tone. I currently own Romp, Espresso and Tempting but these are dark brown shades. Would you suggest Bamboo, Arena, and Soft Brown for me? I would like to have a good collection of light to dark browns. =) Thanks!

  29. CB

    Hi :)

    So glad I found this! Browns are my favorite to work with and I always have a hard time comparing swatches, so thank you very much!

    One question, though, if you don’t mind. I’m having a hard time distinguishing MAC’s Brun from Mystery. I originally wanted Brun, but Mystery is looking very similiar. Can anyone else help me spot the difference/tell me which they would prefer?

  30. Katherine

    Hi Christine,
    out of Espresoo,Swiss Chocolate and Handwritten, which one would you recommend when it comes to texture and pigmentation?

  31. Kai

    I am a NC45 . I can’t decide if Era or Arena will be a better highlight for me . Any suggestions?

  32. marta

    I’m trying to put together a quad and so far i’m thinking amber lights, woodwinked, all that glitters and i need to throw in a matte brown that i could use in the crease as well as for my brows. so what brown color should i choose – keeping in mind that i’m blonde and quite pale (NC25)?

  33. Amanda Enn

    This helps a lot, thanks!

  34. Callie

    Hey thanks for these. SO SO helpful. What shadows would you recommend wearing with all that glitters?

  35. Tricia

    I am in need of a dark brown crease color. I was thinking Handwritten, Smut, Mystery or Conrete. I am NW20 for reference. What you suggest?

  36. Hi! I’m only just really starting up my makeup collection and I already have Satin Taupe, but I’m looking to get another eyeshadow in a brown shade-I like Woodwinked, Sable and Tempting. I also like Arena although that quite a lot lighter! :) Which of those 4 do you like the most? Or think would go best with satin taupe? I don’t want to get one too similar just yet since I only have a very small collection so far. I have sin, smog and chopper from the Urban Decay Ammo palete and I don’t want to get one too similar to those either? Based on that what would you recommend? Sorry if this is quite long or confusing :S I love your site and I always find it so helpful :) xx

  37. Denorlisa

    Thank you so much for swatching these mac eyeshadows 😉 Very helpful for deciding which ones… problem is they are all pretty haha.

  38. ashley

    hey, do you have any recommendations on any brown that is suitable for everyday look? something simple and will like would look nice by itself. and i also already have bronze. should i still go for satin taupe?

  39. Casey

    This is sooo useful! Thanks! I can take my time to decide on which colors I want to get now (I don’t like spending an hour at the store staring at a bunch of colors)

    • Casey

      btw, I have Woodwinked but I want to get 2 more colors to compliment it, can you please suggest them for me? I know Sable is popular but I don’t think I care too much for it. I like Twinks, Romp and Swiss Chocolate (but I don’t think they go well with Woodwinked?) Please hellp!!

        • Jen

          Hi Christine. I have no MAC stores near me, and I’m having a terrible time choosing. I want most of the browns. I don’t know how to structure this question w/o it being terribley long. I guess what I want to know is which to get, because several look so close in shade. I guess I need to get a list for you. Off the top of my head, these are the shades I am considering.

          swiss chocolate (I want a pretty red-brown)
          amber lights
          soft brown

          I’m also having the same problem with highlights. I would like only a couple. I am thinking ricepaper, nylon, shroom, naked lunch,, brule….etc…
          See, I’m lost. thanks for any suggestions you may be able to provide, and sorry this is all over the place.

  40. hey christine,

    I’ve noticed you’ve been amazing at replying with people’s concerns regarding which colours are better etc, so I was hoping you could help me with mine?

    I’m currently struggling to find a nice natural warm brown to use in the crease and as a transition colour. I’ve found that many of the light browns I have are too ashy when blended with other colours?

    So I was thinking whether you reccomend soft brown vs. texture. I love the warmth of texture with the light reddish, orange tint, and was wondering how soft brown compares? Also i have pretty tanned skin (Nc42) so i was wondering if it would show up well?

    Also how does brown script compare with brown down and embark? and as a dark outer-v/deep crease colour, which brown would you reccomend? esspresso? embark? anther colour i have not mentioned?

    thank so you much in advanced for reading this and hopefully you can reply back for some feedback!


    lovely swatches btw!

  41. Amanda

    Hi Christine!

    Like many others have said, I am looking for a good blending/transition color. I have light skin with neutral undertones (with a tendency to pull warmer). I don’t own any MAC liquid foundations, but I can wear both Light Medium and Medium MSF Natural, and I am a 120 in MUFE Mat Velvet+. Hope that gives you a decent idea about my skin tone! So as far as the color I’m looking for, would you suggest Wedge or Kid? Or any other colors?

    Thank you for all that you do!! 😀

  42. Mady

    do you think Era and All That Glitters are too similar? I already have All that Glitters and I just ordered Era, are they colorwise the same?
    Thank youu!

  43. decembergirl

    Hi Christine!

    This is SO helpful!

    For browns so far I have kid and satin taupe and club(if that counts). If I wanted to do satin taupe on my lid, kid in the crease, but then acentuate the outer V with a darker brown, what would you suggest. I have fairly light, cool toned skin.


  44. Moncerratt

    Hey Christine:) I have a question about what neutral colors I should get since I have the Urban Decay Naked palette and I don’t want similar colors. The only color I have from MAC is Star Violet. My skin color is medium and have brown eyes and hair. I was thinking on Satin Taupe or some type of brown color but am not sure. I would really appreciate your help:).

  45. Thank you! Thank you! How fantastic. I’m putting together a 4 palette set of browns, which would you suggest?

  46. jenniet2002

    I’m putting together a 15 pan “Dream” palette and really appreciate all your hard work with these swatches. If you have time, I would love to hear your idea of the ideal 15-pan palette! =)

  47. Alicia

    Thank you so much! <3 This helped me so much , MAC swatches on the website don't help at all. I think I'm going to get woodwinked , smut , bronze , patina , honesty & antiqued. Still mourning the death of my all that glitters eye shadow. D:

  48. Devi

    When I see this post, I weep and remember that dream I had where I had every MAC eyeshadow. ;_; How I wish it were true… applying eyeshadow is such an art, but you can only use the same colors/palette so many times before getting bored. Kinda makes one wish that they had the entire permanent line of MAC eyeshadows… the possibilities are endless!

    Thanks so much for putting these up! It helps some of us make those decisions as to what colors we should and shouldn’t get. :)

    Also, why does Honey Lust look so… I’m tempted to use the word gritty? It sorta looks like shimmery brown sugar towards the end of its swatch. xD

  49. Janet

    Hi Christine!
    I have been looking for a dupe for UD Buck, which would you think would be closer to it: soba, cork, soft brown or texture? i would really appreciate the help. i’ve hit pan on mine already and i’m beginning to panic 😀

  50. Nicole

    Hi Christine! Thanks for this post, it’s super helpful! But I’m not really sure which color would be the best for me. I’m a teenager and I would like a brown for the crease area that isn’t too noticeable. I’m thinking of getting maybe soft brown or saddle? I’m not really sure. And I also want it to be a matte finish or somewhat close to a matte finish. Could you help me out? :)


    Hi Christine! I think that sable andtwinks are more in the gorup ofplums/purplesthan in the group of browns. At least that is how they look on my fair skin.
    And two questions: Do you use/prefer satin taupe as a lid or as a crease colour?
    Do you prefer bronze to mulch, are they similar? If not, how are they different? Is bronze similar to coppering?
    I love your blog!Thanks in advance!

    • Neither are plum on me, sorry!

      I use Satin Taupe however – there’s nothing I use it more/less for :) Mulch is warmer, lighter. Bronze isn’t like Coppering at all – Bronze is brown, Coppering is red/orange.

  52. Krittika

    Hi Christine!

    Super helpful post! Needed a bit of advice – I was looking for a light brown eyeshadow as a lid colour, something matte, but which brightens up my lids (already got soft brown)… Do you think bamboo will work? Or wil it not show up on my lids? I am warm toned, NC 35-42. Still new with eyeshadows and stuff so having a bit of difficulty figuring it out… Thanks in advance! :)

  53. Katelyn

    it may just be mine, but my Wedge is no where as pigmented as yours is swatched here. mine is actually quite sheer and so i just use it to blend out Espresso.

  54. aliza

    I really like Era, but I just cannot find a dupe for it, do you know any?

  55. DianaC

    hey Christine,
    maybe you know online stores, where i can buy MAC products which ship worldwide:(

  56. reema

    hey Christine….. love ur swatches..i have cork which i bought to use as a blending color but its making my crease area really dark. so which will u recommend as a good blending color. my skin colour is medium.what do u think abt soft brown and bamboo…………

  57. harini

    Saddle has been discontinued! Can’t find one anywhere…can u pls tell me an alternate to saddle and also what would go in the crease with amberlights?

  58. Hawinnn

    Just want to thank you for your blog and a-ma-zing reviews. Especially from MAC. Your swatches helped me picking out the right colours I liked! So thanks for that, and please keep up the good work you do ! 😉

  59. FaerieEvenstar

    Do you have a swatch of MAC Truce anywhere? I cannot find a swatch of the eyeshadow ANYWHERE on the whole interwebs, but there is a photo of it in the pan, on your blog here: 

    I really want to know what it looks like in a swatch. I found someone selling one in a MAC selling/swapping community, but I have no idea what it actually looks like and for once, the internet does not know!  The seller describes it as a “greige”. Help!

    • Those photos were provided by a reader!

      • FaerieEvenstar

         @Christine (Temptalia) Thanks for replying. I’m really stuck for a swatch of Truce anywhere! I know it’s not a current MAC colour, but I’m baffled that there are no swatches I can find in the entire enormous expanse of internet! Ah well.I just thought if anybody has a swatch of a MAC eyeshadow, it’s Christine of Temptalia! I think I’ll pass on buying it as I can’t find swatches, but I’m so baffled by it- I didn’t think it was THAT old!  It think it’s from Haute Voltage 2001.
        I like a challenge… 😉

      • FaerieEvenstar

         @Christine (Temptalia) I think it’s fromt this collection but I still cannot find a swatch anywhere (I’m not just searching your site, but it does seem to bring up Temptalia first on most searches!)

        •  @FaerieEvenstar Yeah, I have only been buying MAC since maybe 2004 or 2005? Madame B. was my first collection!

        • FaerieEvenstar

           @Christine (Temptalia) Wow. I think of you as the make-up and MAC guru and I’ve been buying it for longer than you?! I think you still know more about it in general than I do! I always come here for your swatches before I buy things. My first purchases weren’t from any special LE collections, they were just perm eyeshadows- Steamy and Parfait Amour and my dad bought them for me in I guess about 2002 or 2003- though it’s hard to date as they weren’t LE ones. But not that long before your first purchase. I still have both of the eyeshadows and oddly they both still have product in! I was just about addicted enough to MAC by 2006 when I got married to kit myself out totally in MAC make-up for the day, and it’s been an on and off love affair ever since. I’m currently torn as they keep throwing the new LE collections out but they’re not thinking about the content, and quality, just getting more and more out there :( It’s a shame because most of us got addicted to MAC because of the quality, and they’re lacking that nowadays… Thanks for your response anyway! I’m waffling on now sorry! 

        •  @FaerieEvenstar Aww, thank you!! :)  
          I hope they improve in the next year!