Best Purple Eyeshadows: 9 MAC Eyeshadows

9 Must-Have Purple 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.

Stars ‘n Rockets eyeshadow is one of my all-time favorite eyeshadows–from any brand, any color family–because it is absolutely stunning. It’s a vibrant fuchsia-purple color with soft shimmer. The sheen of it is both fuchsia and purple, which makes it very much like a duochrome. Seriously, if you do not have this in your collection, move it to the TOP of your list. I don’t care what new collection is coming out next, THIS outranks it!

Plum Dressing eyeshadow is a pretty mauvey-purple color. It has a little bit of red tones to it, which makes it not just a cool-toned purple. If you find cool-tones hard to work with on your skin tone, consider mauve/red-based purples instead. Let me make a note and say that Plum Dressing and Hepcat are very similar, and you probably only need one. I prefer Plum Dressing’s texture, but I love Hepcat’s name πŸ˜‰

Hepcat eyeshadow is similar to Plum Dressing (read above!), though I’d say it runs a little redder. It’s a very pretty shade of mauve-purple with warm red tones in it. It looks awesome with Stars ‘n Rockets!

Parfait Amour eyeshadow is a medium-bright blue-purple, almost a violet shade. It’s fairly cool in tone, but it’s not overly cool. I love to wear this with golds, pinks, and silvers. It’s a well-pigmented shadow with a frost finish.

See five more must-have purple eyeshadows, plus get pairing ideas and some limited edition recommendations!

Satellite Dreams eyeshadow is a warmer medium purple shade. It has more plumminess to it, and the texture is a veluxe pearl, so the finish is smooth and the color extremely blendable.

Beautiful Iris eyeshadow is a pearly lavender-purple color. Overall, it leans on the cool side, but it’s not too cool for warmer skin tones to use without much trouble. I love the pigmentation and texture of this particular shade; it’s incredibly easy to blend.

Nocturnelle eyeshadow is deep plummy purple color with a frost finish. It’s a nice shade to darken the crease with, or use all over the lid for a really dramatic look. It also works well as liner.

Contrast eyeshadow is an absolute must, must, MUST haves when it comes to dark colors. It’s a deep purple-blue shade that reflects differently depending what it’s layered with. It’s extremely rich in color and very soft when used. If you find it’s too pigmented, try using a crease brush (like the 222, 224, 226) with it.

Crystal eyeshadow is a soft, barely-there purple shade. It’s a duochrome, which means it’s fascinating in how it plays with different lights. I think this is a great color for highlighting the inner lid or brow bone, especially with other purple shadows. Digit eyeshadow is similar to Crystal, though slightly softer but purpler at the same time. I’d recommend either or, but you don’t have to have both.

Pair these shadows with…

pinks (like Passionate), golds (like Goldmine), silvers (like Electra), teals (like Shimmermoss), grays/blacks (like Carbon)

Check your stash for a few awesome limited edition finds…

Cinders, Purple Shower, Romping, Mancatcher, Stomp, Endless Love, Fertile

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.


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TSafari Avatar

Try Stars ‘n Rockets packed on with #239 over Smolder smudged up to the socket line with #219 – it goes a gorgeous purpley-violet that looks amazing!

cloudburst Avatar

I don’t have Stars & Rockets, guess I’ll add it to my list! Contrast is one of my favourite MAC shadows ever & Crystal was one of my very first MAC purchases – it looks amazing with Cranberry.

mlou Avatar

Contrast is amazing -one of my hg’s also. Seems overlooked many times too.

Other favs:
MAC Digit
MAC Shale
MAC Poison Pen (amazing & was surprised when they DC’d this great matte2)
MAC Memorabilia (same as above – matte2)
MAC Violet Pigment
MAC Lovely Lilly pigment
MAC Quiety pigment

I look ill w/ some of the more redtoned plums, so I have to include some favs which are LE.

Erin Avatar

I agree with all of your picks. I LOVE Stars N Rockets. It’s the only shade that I hit the pan with. Beautiful Iris is my other favorite MAC Purple.

In terms of Contrast (which I also love), I find that is a lot more blue (on me) than purple. I will have to look closer to see the purple-ness of this color.

Shortiee31 Avatar

I actually picked up Contrast but then exchanged it for Fig.1 as I wanted a true dark purple! It was just to much of dark blue/purple mix for me! – A bit like Urban Decay’s Ranson I guess! Stars n Rockets reminds me of UD’s Fishnet eyeshadow.. πŸ™‚ x

Liana Avatar

hey i noticed that stars and rockets does look like ud fishnet too. I have fishnet comming in the mail. i wonder how diff or the same they are?

evangelia Avatar

that’s why i don’t have stars n rockets, because i have fishnet and it’s so similar.

loooooove ransom!

and creme de violet didn’t make the cut?

Nicole15 Avatar

MAC’s purples are too die for, but i also love the ones UD puts out. Fishnet, Ransom & Asphyxia are all amazing purple shadows. Love them too!

lizzii Avatar

Right?! UD is just dajfkhdsfhad!!!!!<3 haha, even though MAC has an obsceeeeeeene amount of purples. Violet pigment has to be my all time favorite purple.

Teresa Avatar

LOL! I love Shadowy Lady, too! It was my first MAC e/s! I love Nocturnelle as well. I’d love to try Stars n Rockets.
I’ll certainly be checking out these colours. Thanks, Christine!

Tania Avatar

I third that emotion! Shadowy Lady is amazing. I use it as an eyeliner topper and it just gives the eyes oomph! Satellite Dreams rocks too. I’ve been meaning to buy Stars and Rocketts as well as Nocturnelle. Thanks for the list Christine!

sshortiix33 Avatar

I thank you for this! I’m trying to build up my mac pallete but I really don’t know what else to get. Some of them I already have though. It seems like there’s no related post? Would you give me all the link for the best mac eyeshadow you did?

Thank you!

Dana Avatar

definitely with you on Crystal, Beautiful Iris, Nocturnelle, Parfait Amour, and Contrast…

I also love Idol Eyes — a lot of people probably consider this more of a silver shade, but for me it tends to come off silvery-lavender.

Also for a very dark and sparkly violet shade I love NARS Santorini. πŸ™‚

kat Avatar

I have Nocturnelle (which I’ve barely touched) and stars n’ rockets (which I used to use but not so often anymore) I guess purples not huge on my list haha!

slick Avatar

Purple is my favorite color! Here are my fav purple shades:

Satellite Dreams
Violet Pigment
UD Purple Haze
UD Last Call – which I find to be a MUCH better version of Stars n Rockets
Moth Brown – yeah its a purpley netural, but it looks AWESOME with purples
Vellum – great highligher w/purple shades

Not a fan of Nocturnelle – I have issues with the texture.

Star Violet is my most used MAC shade, but I classify that more as a pink!!! I wear it with browns mostly, lol. It is a bit plummy I suppose but if I want pinky-plummy I go for UD Last Call πŸ˜‰

Kharina Avatar

I’m wondering the same thing…
maybe she meant Last Call to be comparable to Star Violet and not Stars N Rockets? Those two are closer in shade in my opinion.

Ada Avatar

Purple’s my fave too! I only have a couple: Satellite Dreams and Crystal, and Lovely Lily pigment. I’m waiting for Rose Romance to get Contrast in a quad.
Thanks for the list Christine, now I know what else to look at.

Jacquelyn Avatar

I love Stars N Rockets and Parfait Amour!! I’m waiting on getting A Rose is A Rose quad from RR so that I can use Contrast for the first time. I’m eying on Beautiful Iris, Crystal, and Satellite Dreams since I’m going to start getting some purples.

jamie Avatar

no cranberry shadow? i love it!!! it is probably my top 5 of all of their eyeshadows. i just love the tone to it, sooo pretty.

i totally agree on satlelight dreams, beautiful iris and plum dressing! i always have troubles putting plum dressing with my other shadows. what would you pair it with? i think my other shadows are more cool purples so they dont really work well with it!

abby Avatar

Thank u for doing ”the must have eyeshadows” I find it very useful, especially when i am not so sure which ones to buy. I absolutely love stars n rockets, parfait amour or combining vellum with beautiful iris and purple haze!

Lucky Avatar

I got sooo excited when i saw this post πŸ™‚
I never thought i could wear purple shadows, but one day a MUA at MAC used Beautiful Iris and Nocturnelle on me… And, i loved it!!
I recently bought Stars n Rockets…
Im glad my fave 3 make ur list! πŸ™‚

Amanda Avatar

My favorite is: I believe it may be called Trax – Its a smoky purple with gold glitter to it
I just bought Stars and Rockets and its in the mail – so I can’t wait!! I hope everyone hasn’t hyped it up too much.

Saira Avatar

Awesome! Purple is my favourite colour family for eyeshadows, so it’s so cool to see some ‘must have purples’ listed. Happy happy me :o) !

I love Fig 1. – such a great deep purpley colour. It looks really cool with Stars N’ Rockets. I really like UD Ransom as well (I’ve nearly finished this though, so this will help pave the way for me to get a new mid-dark purple eyeshadow, perhaps Parfait Amour ;o) ). I’m on my second Beautiful Iris eyeshadow – it’s quite hard finding a pale lilac with good pigment but Beautiful Iris has great colour payoff, so really glad to have found it :o) . I haven’t tried Hepcat or Plum Dressing before – eyed them up a few times at the Mac counter so might have to add them to my wishlist ;o) .

Mel Avatar

I have more purple shadows than any other colour – was glad to see almost all of them on this list! – Contrast (although I agree it does look just dark blue on me unless i mix it with other purple shadows) Satellite Dreams, Parfait Amour and Stars n Rockets but I also love Illegal Cargo from the Naughty Nauticals collection last summer – I believe its similar to Shale?

Jessie Avatar

Omg one I didn’t respond to! lol

I paired Silverthorn, Electra, Hepcat, and Nocturnelle together today. Looks amazing!

I’m not the biggest purple fan, because of my skintone. But, I do have Star Violet, Stars n Rockets, Top Hat, Hepcat, Nocturnelle, Beauty Marked, Crystal, and Thunder.

niknik Avatar

Finally got Plum Dressing, it’s soooo beautiful! Thankfully I’m NC37, and it doesn’t look like I got punched in the eye with it on LOL

christina Avatar

Hi, is any of the above purple colors you recommended similar to Stylin’ from lucky tom palette Hello Kitty collection? I just dont want to end up with two of similar colors. TIA!

molly Avatar

I would have to say that I LOVE PINK PEARL PIGMENT over Stars “n” rockets. It’s a gorgeous hot pink/purple duochrome that looks wonderful on eyes, lips, or nails. This is a brighter, more vibrant version of Stars ‘n’ Rockets e/s. It looks amazing with pinks, purples, and blues

Bettina Avatar

I never know what to with Trax or Shale..anybody ever have super cool pairings with those??

I have a ton of purples now from idea what my true favorite shade of it is just yet because I just now got nocturnelle and have yet to find out how many things to do with that one. It does look pretty cool with sumptous olive I have to admit. I guess if I had to pick my current fav it would be stars n rockets.

Mia Avatar

I FEAR purples… they tend to make me look sickly. I’m an NC37. I own and love contrast which is much more blue on me, use it mainly for crease and to line.

I recently ventured into pink (with a great deal of hesitation) and have found I really like Sushi Flower with Goldmine, ends up being amazingly wearable.

That said – which purple should I get? I was thinking Nocturnelle wouldn’t be too scary for me πŸ™‚

Amy Avatar

I’m at present trying to decide between Parfait Amour, Beautiful Iris, Stars and Rockets, and non-purple, Retrospeck. So many choices… so difficult!

Aritsia Avatar

Does anyone remember ‘Little Minx?” I am close to running out and it is one of my favorite purples. As far as permanents go, I like:

Star Violet (I find it looks great with my green eyes)
Sketch (although its classified as a burgundy)
Satellite Dreams
Parfait Amour

Phoebe Avatar

Hello from the UK,
Marvel with Parfait Amour looks lovely especially when the sun catches,very reflective IMHO.
We have so many purples and duochrome shades they are so difficult to describe.We could never mention the colours of the rainbow so easily now.Bye for now.

AnneN Avatar

How do you get stars ‘n’ rockets to show up? It’s beautiful in the pot but when I swatch it on the back of my hand with my finger or my brushes, and when i put it on my lid *POOF* nothing!

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