MAC Spellbinder Shadows Reviews, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

MAC Spellbinder Shadow
MAC Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Spellbinder Shadow ($22.00 for 0.02 oz.) is described as “black, ionized pigments [that] are magnetically charged, fusing the loose powder together so it magically maintains its form and dimension” and will “cling to lids like pure velvet.” Per “usage,” MAC actually says they are “best” when used over their 24-Hour Primer, so the wear and application are rated as they performed over primer (I also tested without primer, as I was not sure what the claims were going to be, so you will still see that information below). It feels like velvet if you touch it with a fingertip, as the powder is finely-milled but “fuses” together, so there is less mess in the pot. They are supposed to be as pigmented and as intense as loose eyeshadows but in an easier-to-use format. They are less messy in the pot, as the pot seems to have a magnet within it, but I don’t find that it is particularly less messy during application as I still had some fall out while working with it; in some ways, it was harder to tap away excess as the product did seem more inclined to stick to itself on the brush initially. If you push the product too close to the rim of the jar, it will creep over the edge and is too far from the base to stay in. The powders do maintain their wavy pattern, even as you push and move the loose pigment around.

I am, personally, a big fan of MAC’s regular Pigments, as they have more to them that give them better binding and adhesion on the lids, so I find them easy to work with, pigmented, and longer-wearing. I liked the fineness and smoothness of the Spellbinder Shadows, but the black base made the harder to blend and diffuse on the lid. These worked best as lid colors, where one can use other products for crease/transition shades, blending around the edges, and so forth. I did not see anything in the press copy about using them damp, but as most loose pigments/eyeshadows can be used that way, I did try some of these with a damp brush, which I thought was useful for really bringing out the depth and sheen of the colors overall. They perform better over primer, as the fineness of the powder seemed to apply somewhat unevenly and was more prone to appearing patchy over bare skin, as some particles would adhere well but not diffuse.

They seemed quite pigmented, but the texture seemed more prone to sheering out when I applied it to dry lids; there was a faded, slightly translucent quality to the majority of the shades when applied to bare skin. The wear was average at seven to eight hours without primer and no signs of wear after nine and half hours of wear (I did not test further). Primer seemed to help primarily with getting more even, true-to-pot coverage, as the product didn’t sheer out as easily, and of course, the wear, but it did not help as much as was needed for blending out the colors. I think the deeper colors and the finer shimmer makes them worth checking out, but it’s a product where I could see just one or two shades being necessary. They will also come together better when mixed with other shades, as together, they can run together as they have a similar depth and base color.

As a note, it really does contain only 0.02 oz. of product, which is definitely on the low-end for loose eyeshadows, and it is particularly low when compared to MAC Pigments (0.10 oz. for the same price).

MAC Retrograde Spellbinder Shadow ($22.00 for 0.02 oz.) is a deep gray with cooler, bluish pearl. It had good color coverage with a soft, silky texture, but I noticed that some of the color would stick more readily to some areas, and then it would not want to diffuse much from there, so the end result was somewhat patchy. I had better luck when I used it over a primer getting more even intensity but did not experience easier blending. It started to crease after seven and a half hours of wear on bare lids, and it had no signs of wear with primer after nine and a half hours. Make Up For Ever 28 Anthracite Black (P, $21.00) is more shimmery, darker (95% similar). Tarina Tarantino Silver Shoes (DC, ) is lighter (95% similar). Hourglass Graphite #4 (PiP, ) is lighter (95% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Caviar (P, $45.00) is darker (95% similar). Urban Decay Redemption (LE, $19.00) is lighter (95% similar). MAC Deep Cravings (LE, $17.00) is less shimmery, cooler (95% similar). Marc Jacobs Beauty The Parisienne #1 (LE, ) is lighter, cooler (95% similar). MAC Hint of Sapphire (LE, $21.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Illamasqua Android (P, $25.50) is more shimmery (95% similar). Urban Decay Gunmetal (P, $19.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). NARS Smash It Up (LE, $25.00) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (90% similar). Pat McGrath Black Metal (PiP, $25.00) is more shimmery, more muted (90% similar). MAC A Sprinkle of Blues #4 (PiP, $21.00) is lighter (90% similar). Urban Decay Ace (LE, $19.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Giorgio Armani #1 (DC, $33.00) is more shimmery, cooler (90% similar). NARS Give In Take II (LE, $29.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). LORAC Slate (PiP, $19.00) is lighter, cooler (85% similar). Bobbi Brown Silver (LE, ) is more shimmery, lighter, brighter (85% similar). Giorgio Armani #21 (DC, $33.00) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Tarte Beat Drop (LE, ) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (85% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

MAC Aphrodisiatic Spellbinder Shadow ($22.00 for 0.02 oz.) is a deep, blackened navy blue with lighter medium blue pearl that gives is a more pearlized finish. It had semi-opaque pigmentation with a fine, smooth consistency that was soft to the touch but had a tendency to sheer out a bit on the lid and look a bit uneven. I highly recommend using it over a primer as a result, which helped even out the coverage a lot. The color lasted for seven hours before creasing on me, and it had no signs of wear with primer after nine and a half hours. Pretty Vulgar Wing It (PiP, ) is lighter (95% similar). Marc Jacobs Beauty The Parisienne #2 (LE, ) is lighter, brighter, warmer (95% similar). bareMinerals Climax (P, ) is more shimmery, lighter, brighter (95% similar). Bobbi Brown Blue Onyx (LE, ) is less shimmery, darker (95% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Night Sky (Cream) (LE, $45.00) is less shimmery, darker (95% similar). MAC Blue Storm (LE, $21.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). MAC Thru the Night (DC, $21.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). Clinique Massively Midnight (P, $17.00) is brighter (95% similar). Givenchy Bleu Soie (4) (P, $23.00) is less shimmery, cooler (90% similar). Sephora So Demure (LE, ) is less shimmery, lighter, more muted (90% similar). Pat McGrath Underworld (PiP, $25.00) is warmer (90% similar). Chanel Apparition (LE, $32.00) is less shimmery, lighter, more muted (90% similar). Colour Pop Baby T (LE, $6.00) is brighter (90% similar). Burberry Midnight Blue (DC, $29.00) is cooler (90% similar). MAC Naval Blue (P, $21.00) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). Jouer Midnight (PiP, ) is lighter (90% similar). Sydney Grace Moonlit Kingdom (PiP, $6.00) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (90% similar). Urban Decay Danger (LE, $19.00) is lighter, brighter (85% similar). Urban Decay Goddess (LE, $19.00) is lighter, warmer (85% similar). NABLA Cosmetics Baltic (P, $8.00) is lighter (85% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

MAC Blue Karma Spellbinder Shadow ($22.00 for 0.02 oz.) is a medium-dark green-leaning teal with subtle, cool undertones and warmer green-gold and bluish-teal pearl. It had semi-opaque pigmentation that applied fairly evenly, but it had a translucency that made it appear faded and more subdued. The consistency was soft, felt velvety in the pot, and it blended out fairly well on the lid. It wore well for just over seven and a half hours, and it had no signs of wear with primer after nine and a half hours. bareMinerals Deep Sea (LE, $14.00) is darker (95% similar). Make Up For Ever I300 Pine Green (DC, $21.00) is less shimmery, darker (95% similar). Chanel Road Movie #1 (PiP, ) is warmer (90% similar). Natasha Denona Deep Teal (19M) (PiP, $29.00) is more shimmery, lighter, brighter (90% similar). Urban Decay Junkie (LE, $19.00) is more shimmery, lighter, brighter (90% similar). Makeup Geek Sea Mist (DC, $6.00) is lighter (90% similar). Milani Mix It Up (P, $6.99) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). Smashbox Pacific (LE, ) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). NABLA Cosmetics Babylon (P, $8.00) is lighter (90% similar). Colour Pop Fishy (LE, $4.50) is lighter, cooler (90% similar). Too Faced Sequin (LE, $16.00) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). Fyrinnae Sleepy Hollow (P, $7.00) is brighter (90% similar). MAC Rain Drop (LE, $32.50) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Natasha Denona Deep Pacific (03V) (PiP, $29.00) is darker (90% similar). Coloured Raine Forbidden (P, $6.99) is darker, warmer (90% similar). Too Faced Too Glam (LE, $16.00) is more shimmery, lighter, brighter (85% similar). MAC Emerald Cut (P, $20.00) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (85% similar). MAC Tonight's the Night (LE, $22.00) is darker, cooler (85% similar). Marc Jacobs Beauty The Night Owl #5 (PiP, ) is more shimmery, lighter, brighter (85% similar). Kevyn Aucoin Impulse (LE, ) is cooler (85% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

MAC Cosmic Clash Spellbinder Shadow ($22.00 for 0.02 oz.) is a blackened brown with cooler, emerald green pearl that gives it a slightly metallic finish overall. It had medium coverage, which was somewhat buildable, but I struggled to get true-to-pan intensity without using a damp brush or patting it on two to three layers over a primer. The color was harder to blend out evenly and tended to look patchy and dotty over bare skin as some product stuck and did not want to budge, and it was somewhat improved over primer but still finnicky. It wore well for seven and a half hours on me, and it had no signs of wear with primer after nine and a half hours. Urban Decay Loaded (P, $19.00) is less shimmery, darker (95% similar). MAC Woodsmoke (LE, $17.00) is warmer (95% similar). Smashbox G*psy (LE, ) is lighter (95% similar). MAC Clarity (LE, $21.00) is warmer (95% similar). MAC Legendary Lure (P, $20.00) is warmer (95% similar). NARS Heartbreaker (DC, $25.00) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). Bobbi Brown Forest (P, $28.00) is brighter (90% similar). bareMinerals Max Volume (LE, ) is less shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Make Up For Ever ME302 Peacock (DC, $21.00) is brighter (90% similar). Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Poison (DC, $14.00) is brighter (90% similar). Tarina Tarantino Very Wicked (DC, ) is lighter (90% similar). Urban Decay Floss (LE, $19.00) is brighter (90% similar). Makeup Geek Envy (DC, $6.00) is less shimmery, brighter (90% similar). NARS Snake Eyes (P, $25.00) is brighter, warmer (90% similar). Colour Pop Disco Ball (LE, $6.00) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (85% similar). Fyrinnae Jaguar (DC, $6.75) is brighter (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

See more photos & swatches!

MAC Spellbinder Shadow
MAC Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Spellbinder Shadow
MAC Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Spellbinder Shadow
MAC Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Spellbinder Shadow
MAC Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Spellbinder Shadow
MAC Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Retrograde Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Retrograde Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Retrograde Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Retrograde Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Aphrodisiatic Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Aphrodisiatic Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Aphrodisiatic Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Aphrodisiatic Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Aphrodisiatic Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Blue Karma Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Blue Karma Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Blue Karma Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Blue Karma Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Blue Karma Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Cosmic Clash Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Cosmic Clash Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Cosmic Clash Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Cosmic Clash Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Cosmic Clash Spellbinder Shadow

MAC Spellbinder Shadow
Blue Karma, Aphrodisiatic, Cosmic Clash, Retrograde

MAC Spellbinder Shadow
Blue Karma, Aphrodisiatic, Cosmic Clash, Retrograde

Where to Buy

Current Sales & Deals

  • NordstromExtra 25% off clearance (shop markdowns), ends 7/19. Current gifts with purchases viewable here, ends 12/31.
  • SaksFree shipping with code FREESHIP, ends 12/31.
  • Ulta$3.50 off $15+ qualifying purchase with code 822190, ends 7/17. Free shipping on $50+ orders, ends 12/31.
When you purchase through our links above, you help support Temptalia. Thank You!
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

About the Reviewer

Reviewer

Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

Compare Any Two Swatches

Curious how two shades compare to each other? Type in the shades below to get instant side-by-side swatches!

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

51 Comments

Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Oh dear, I already use industrial strength primer, so blending regular powder shadows is already a challenge, these sound even harder to blend evenly . And with dark shadows, blending is key. I want to get at least 1 for my collection, since I think it’s kind of cool the product maintains its wavy pattern in pan. I will wait for your reviews on the lighter colors, in hopes the blending issues are better, or if not, any unblended shadow will look less obvious on the lids. Love your bold eye look!

I like them over the lid, and then using something else in the crease and to transition. I think that’s the key from my experience!

I’ve been so curious about the MAC Spellbinder shadows since I saw your pic on Instagram. I also want to see a video of these in action =) Seems like it will be cool to grab a shade just to have it in my collection, but since there’s a lot more product in the regular pigments for the same price, and the regular pigments seem a bit easier to work with, I’ll probably go for more of those. Thanks for this review!

“They are less messy in the pot, as the pot seems to have a magnet within it, but I don’t find that it is particularly less messy during application as I still had some fall out while working with it; in some ways, it was harder to tap away excess as the product did seem more inclined to stick to itself on the brush initially. I”

It’s purely for insightful gems like these that yours is the only beauty blog I follow seriously.

I really love the way the swatches look. I purchased Gravity’s Pull this morning. I bought it planning on using it as a lid shade (which seems that based on this review is a good thing). I also intend to try application using my UD Moondust shadow brush with wet application. I may go back and get Aphrodisiatic since I had saved it in my favs and your swatch looks especially pretty.

I used MAC’s Moondust shadow-equivalent brush (the one they use for Pressed Pigments, which are similar to the Moondusts) for these!

Very pretty eye look Christine, thank you so much for this very honest review, because I normally don’t use primer, so very glad you tried it without primer. Thanks a lot.

No problem! I was not sure… and I have been trying to test new formulas both ways (at least a few shades, to ensure they will improve/play well with primer). Glad I tested both, LOL!

these both confuse and intrigue me. That dark blue and the dark green are STUNNING. will keep a lookout here in the UK…hopefully Selfridge’s get them soon.

Sucks a weird packaging component, the way you describe the powder gather in this wave pattern remind me it the magnetic nail polish patterns you could but. But this one is way more extreme. O_o

I don’t own any dupes for Blue Karma but knowing there are some permanent ones on the market makes me want to get one now as the shade really caught my eye.

It’s sooo heavy for a mere 0.02 oz. of product, haha. They are very hefty – probably some of the heaviest packaging I’ve seen by MAC.

The color scheme and now they work remind me of the Style Black Mineralize Eyeshadows.

Hmmm…. I might actually check these out. If I do purchase any, it’ll be the first time in years I’ve bought anything on MAC. Hoping they swatch as well on me as they did on you!

Sorry, Christine, forgot to ask this in the first comment I posted ?

Do these actually ‘set’ once applied? I didn’t notice any mention of that in the review. I’ve been looking for a beautiful deep charcoal shade like the one above that can be used for for smokey eyes, but it’s absolutely got to set. Every single type I’ve tried ends up smudging & moving around during wear (Chanel’s was worst), making me look like a jacked up clown in a matter of hours, even with primer. I’m hoping these stay where applied throughout the day/evening.

Thanks very much ?

They are loose product, so they aren’t wet or creamy – I don’t know that I’d say they “set” as a result, does that make sense? They look like a powder eyeshadow on, and I find they stayed in place, but you could absolutely rub your eyes and smear the powder on your fingertips. I could definitely accidentally rub my eyes once or twice without it getting everywhere/disappearing. Hopefully that helps!

Thanks Christine ? The problem I was having with smearing was without me even touching my eyes. The stuff traveled all over the damn place, even with primer.

Guess I’ll have to give these a try & test them out myself. Thank you again ?

I was torn about these thinking they sounded all too gimicky, but loving the description nonetheless. I think the colours I like would run too dark for me for eyelid application and therefore trickier than I want to deal… pass

I like that they do seem more likely to stay in the pot, and the wider opening makes it easier to work with than some of the pigments MAC has – plus it’s so wide and has a heavy base, you’re more likely to fling it across the room than knock it over!

I had a feeling the magnetic thing was a gimmick and wouldn’t really help with wear. I am not surprised to hear the powder wants to stick to itself because of the magnetization. I do think so me of the colors are gorgeous, though.

I kind of see what they were going for, but the black base makes them a bit harder to work with despite having some positives, I think.

I just want one or two of these to have at my desk to play with when I get frustrated at work. Just push the shadow around a little bit and watch it reshape, lol!

You explained the magnetic aspect, you brilliant person! Think these would be too hard for me to work, added to black-base that I have problems with…boy, would I be annoyed to get a few and have them look pretty undifferentiated. Think I had better pass, but I really want to eye swatch in store, just for the experience. These could be great fun/great looks, for folks who do well with black-based shades. You look amazing, and we can see every shade. Def not beginner product, imo.

That eye look gives me serious nostalgia for the smokey eye heyday (about 10 years ago when I first started wearing makeup!), back when a dark smokey eye was the only thing I would wear out. I feel like I might actually pick up one of these in a shade that I’ll use regularly.

I may be just ignoring the obvious but…I’m confused. Everyone seems to be talking about some wave pattern the eyeshadow are forming, but all I see are stripes?

These are really gorgeous shades, but the application and fall out lets them down.
By looking at the Dupe list, I have found that I have many dupes for these colours, mainly from UD and without the hassles.
Beautiful eye look Christine.

Easily one of the prettiest intense smokey eye looks I’ve ever seen! Seriously gorgeous!
But…I am still bummed over the puny amount given in those jars.

I really like Aphrodisiatic. It will be interesting to see how part two does. I like MAC pigments a lot, the only thing I don’t like is the small opening on the small bottles that’s been in some holiday editions. It also takes longer to do my eyes, as I’m always weary of the bottles falling when I dip the brush.
I will get at least one or two of these, unless they sell out before I can get them.

They look nice but I am a real stickler for easy to work with shadows. Being that I have deep set and almost hooded eyes, these sound like a nightmare.

HI! I know they are gimmicky, but I really love the purple shade. I was at MAC a few days ago, and happened to be wearing a TF’d PB&J eye look w/purple being the main lid color.. I must say, I wanted to dab that purple on top of the purple I already had on 🙂 . I will blow the $22 for the purple shade, but that’s it. So velvety..

Is the order of the shadows how they are applied the same as the order of the names below the picture? I mean on your lid in the last two pictures 🙂

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!