Monday, October 19, 2009

Comparison: MAC Smoke & Diamonds, Stila Diamond Lil, Benefit where there's smoke, MAC Assemblage, NYX Smokey Eyes, Stars Makeup Haven Metro

Firstly, please accept my apologies for the picture heavy post. I really wanted to have some clear images that show the differences and similarities of the eye shadows I'm comparing here. I just hope that everyone enjoys them. Now to the good stuff!

Below: MAC Smoke & Diamonds Eyeshadow, depotted

MAC Smoke & Diamonds (S&D) eyeshadow has been one of the most sought after limited edition eye shadow's from MAC to date. I've seen it go for as much as $35 USD on Ebay, when it retails for $14.50USD ($17.50 CAD). Much to my dismay when it was originally released in the Starflash collection, I was on a bit of a makeup ban. I only picked up what I thought I needed and made do with a few items. However, the makeup ban is over. So with all of the hype surrounding Smoke & Diamonds and my new found makeup obsession, I searched high and low for anything to be a close dupe. Since I didn't have it and I wanted it badly, my possible options resulted in a growth in my stash of taupey smokey silvery frosty eye shadows. (Of course when it came out with Love That Look, I picked it up though. ;)

Below: MAC Smoke & Diamonds Eye Shadow with the competition.

My search came up with the following eye shadows:
  • Stila Eye Shadow, Diamond Lil
  • Benefit Velvet Eye Shadow, where there's smoke
  • MAC Mineralized Eye Shadow Quad , Assemblage - silvery taupe shade (Limited Edition)
  • NYX For Your Eyes Only 10 Color Eye Shadow Palette, Smokey Eyes - top row, second eye shadow
  • Stars Makeup Haven Eyeshadow Single, Metro
All swatches are done with clean MAC 239's or similar brushes. Dry and with no base. Pictures are taken with natural lighting, no flash, macro mode and either auto-white balance or cloudy setting. Pictures are click-able for a larger image.

From my swatches up close and when worn from, I think they're all pretty close in appearance. Some are a little bit darker, some have more taupe and some have more silver. As well texture and performance changes from product to product.

Below (l-r): Stila Diamond Lil and MAC Smoke & Diamonds

The closest eye shadow to S&D would have to go to Stila Diamond Lil. It's pretty close in pigmentation, frostiness and over all shading to Smoke & Diamonds. It is not chalky, it is in fact creamy and easy to work with. It blends well with other shades. I used this once with Stila Kitten on the inner third of the lid, Diamond Lil all over and above the crease and MAC Carbon in the crease. It worked well and set nicely over top of MAC Painterly Paint Pot.

Below (l-r): MAC Smoke & Diamonds, Stila Diamond Lil and Benefit where there's smoke

From the NYX Cosmetics Smokey Eyes Palette, the second shadow from the left on the top row is a close dupe as well. I wouldn't rule it out for those wanting something on the low end. It is not as frosty or as taupey as S&D, but it is a pretty silver with a bit of taupe. I have yet to use this in a look to give it a good test run. However, in the several palettes I have used, I find NYX eye shadows do need a base for staying power being a few hours and no sweating.

Below (l-r): NYX Smokey Eyes Palette and MAC Smoke & Diamonds

Stars Makeup Haven Eye Shadow Single in Metro is another great low end buy. (Mine was slightly damaged with an unfortunate palette mishap, oops!) I find it creamy and smooth to work with. It also has great staying power and high pigmentation. I've used this many times before I picked up S&D and I adore it. Metro is a tiny bit darker and isn't as taupey as Smoke & Diamonds, but at only $4.95, I wouldn't complain. It comes in the same size pan as MAC eye shadows, so it will snugly fit into a MAC palette without a problem. Just don't forget to glue a magnet on to the back of the pan.

Benefit Cosmetics Velvet Eye Shadow in where there' smoke is a close sibling of S&D, but a tiny bit darker. It has a tiny bit more taupe in it as well. Pigmentation is great. The texture is creamy and smooth. It blends well and has me hungry for more Benefit. ;)

Below (l-r): Benefit where there's smoke and MAC Smoke & Diamonds

MAC Mineralized Eyeshadow Quad in Assemblage has a taupey-silver in it that is a limited edition darker cousin of S&D. It is frostier and has more taupe. This one also needs a base and is best applied wet. It is not chalky, but it does have a tendency for fall out as well when applied dry. When applied wet I think it actually becomes nicer than S&D. I know others may not care to apply it wet, but I think it's worth a step.

Below (l-r): MAC Assemblage and MAC Smoke & Diamonds

Given my search, I would have to say that S&D is not a must have. In fact, I think there are other eye shadows in a similar shade that work just as well.

Posted by Picasa


  1. This is a really great post!! Thanks for the great swatches and comparisons~!!


  2. Hi Sara, You're welcome! Thanks for stopping by :)