MAC eyeshadows, worth the hype?

20 Oct 2014

A picture of MAC eyeshadows
Building a MAC palette was something I wanted to do for a very long time, but I was seriously put off by the price. Whereas ready-made eyeshadow palettes don't always include the shades you'd personally chose, they're created to suit a multiple of looks and needs, usually at a fairly realistic price. Eyeshadow palettes can be the most budget-friendly way to build your shadow collection, but there's always at least one shade in a ready-made palette that you're not too keen on or won't get much use out of. I love the idea of building your own palette from scratch, using only the shades you want to include, and so after 2 years of putting it off, I decided to start building my very own MAC palette.

The first few MAC shadows I picked up, I wasn't all that impressed with. In fact, it made me regret my decision to start a MAC palette and I was beginning to wonder how anyone could rave about MAC shadows. They felt dry and very firm to the touch, difficult to apply, even more difficult to build up intensity or blend. But whenever I told fellow MAC fans about my first impressions, everyone said the same thing; stick at it, MAC shadows are my favourite!

I decided to change tactics, maybe the brushes I was using weren't great? So I tried different brushes, and after a bit more use the shadows were a dream to use. I thought changing my brushes was the key to why I hadn't been getting on with them from the get-go, but when I bought more to add to my collection I encountered the exact same problems. Simply put, MAC shadows are incredibly firm when they are new and they take some 'breaking in' for you to use them with ease. Once you get past the first few uses, the shadows are beautiful in formula, and it's just those first initial uses which can be harder to work with. I don't know if everyone who has MAC shadows has experienced this - but I'd say I've experienced it with 9/10 MAC shadows now.

That said, I am a big fan of MAC shadows. I've built up quite the collection now including different finishes and quite a variety of shades. When you're past those initial first uses, the formula is great - velvety soft with intense pigmentation and beautiful to both apply and blend. The longevity is perfect for eyeshadows, I can apply in the morning and by the time I take my makeup off before bed, my eye makeup still looks freshly applied. There's no budging or smudging when on, and no risk of fall-out when applying either. Shade range wise, MAC easily has one of the most expansive shade ranges for their products and their eyeshadows are no different, with dozens and dozens of different colours to suit any tastes, and a nice selection of finishes to choose between. 

Building a MAC palette is expensive, so if you have just a couple of MAC shadows you have your eye on, there's no harm buying them individually rather than working towards filling a palette. At £10 a shadow (refill, without the pan), and the 15-pan MAC palette itself costing £16.50, my bigger MAC palette is worth £166.50. Little bit sickening when you think of it like that! There are much, much more budget-friendly ways to build your eyeshadow stash, like ready made palettes or more purse-friendly brands who offer build-your-own-palettes, such as Inglot. Would I build another MAC palette? Maybe, but only if the shade range hugely expanded, as I'm very happy with the shades I have already and I don't find myself drawn to any others within the range. 

What are your thoughts on MAC shadows? Did you get on with them from the get-go or have you had the same difficulties I had at first? Are there any must-have shades you think I should have? Let me know!