Ode to MAC Vanilla (and other great MAC highlighters!)

Well, I have done it. I have officially slaughtered one of my first (and favorite) highlighters – MAC VANILLA!

Many of you have asked me what the best highlighters are to not only start your collection with, but also which ones look best with lighter skin tones. For those of you who read the blog with darker skin tones, these can also function well for you when used on the lid and paired with a darker color in the crease for an uber sexy neutral eye.

My tried and true top highlighters are:

Vanilla: Velvet / Peachy ivory with reflects

Vanilla is the BEST as far as I’m concerned for those with a fair skin tone and any eye color. It applies extremely well and blends out a majority of other eyeshadows in MAC’s line. Vanilla can be testy though – I noticed it does not play well with certain shades in terms of blending (i.e. Bronze, Plumage, etc.). However, if you have a red-based shade like Cranberry, Star Violet, Brown Script, Vanilla effortlessly dissolves harsh lines. As many of you may already know, this is a signature staple in my collection and one that is used on the site frequently.


Blanc Type : Matte 2 / Creamy beige

How I love you, Blanc Type! A slightly deeper and more tan-based highlighter, Blanc Type blends out browns from every corner of the color spectrum. As part of MAC’s Matte2 collection, this is the highlighter of choice for me when working with other Matte2 shades (i.e. Handwritten, Tete A Tint, Copperplate, Fig. 1, etc.). This is my back-up to Vanilla when I find Vanilla isn’t able to blend out an eyeshadow.


Orb: Satin / Soft peachy-beige

A soft pinky-peach beige color, Orb is ideal for warm skin tones and is one I am finding myself using more and more lately. I like to use it on the brow to warm up a look or blend away harsh lines when I incorporate pigments into my look. This is gorgeous when used over some of MAC’s paintpots and also creates a perfect neutral eye when used on the lid, or with a deeper brown in the crease (like Saddle or Mulch!).


Bisque: Matte /Soft muted pink beige

Bisque is another pink beige matte shade that functions much like Orb in my routine. It has more of a tan base, is a little deeper in color than Orb and looks especially great when paired with Espresso as a neutral combination.


Ricepaper: Frost / Peachy gold with shimmer

Ricepaper is a light gold-muted yellow shade with a beautiful application and finish. I don’t use this one often on the brow bone or as a blender, but I LOVE using it on the lid with a brown like Swiss Chocolate in the crease. Ricepaper has this lightening effect when used all over the lids, and even on the lower lashline.

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Comments & Responses

12 Responses so far.

  1. Claud says:

    Thank you, this post is very enlightening!

  2. Christina says:

    I have all of these, except Bisque, and I agree with everything you said! I think Vanilla will be the first one I hit pan on. Still being new to MAC, I haven’t hit pan on any of them yet. I really like Orb, too…you don’t hear a lot about that color, but I think it is a great one!

  3. Mariella says:

    Orb was my very first MAC shadow (along with Quarry). I don’t use it much any more (I should – I want to use it up and B2M it). It’s a perfectly find colour but I’ve since found so many others that I prefer (Blanc Type, Phloof, Vapour and Dazzlelight). I keep meaning to buy Vanilla and Ricepaper but I’ve been consoling myself with reasonable dupes up til now). I also really like Brule, which I got in the Caviar Dreams quad (WnW’s Brulee is so good that I’d never have bought MAC’s Brule but for this quad).

  4. Kristina says:

    Good morning my dears!
    I want to thank you for most helpful post!
    I am considering to start with a next eyeshadow pan of 28 colours, and i realized a totally miss out of highlighters and blending colours. With MAC …the first instinct was to grab as many colours as you can :)
    So thank you and keep up the good work!!!

  5. Lisa Blazar says:

    These colors have really helped me blend out my shadows so well. Thank you so much for this! Would “Gesso” be considered a highlighter as well? I’ve been thinking of purchasing that one, but then wasn’t sure!

    • Zabrena says:

      You’re so welcome, Lisa! :)
      Yes, Gesso is most definitely great as a highlight color. When I blend out eyeshadows with Gesso, I keep it light, but when I want more of a highlight to the brow bone, I apply it a little heavier. Great both ways!

  6. Catherine Gable says:

    This post has helped me a lot on what colors to use for blending. Thank you. I was wondering if you could do a post on Mac”s Paint Pots. You mentioned in this post that Orb looks great with some of Mac’s Paint Pots. I purchased my first paint pot (Painterly) for quick eye color but I really don’t know how to use the paint pots. I’m looking for quick ideas for the morning. Regards cathy

    • Zabrena says:

      Hi Cathy!
      Yes! It has been a common request and I do plan to do more in the future about paint pots. Thanks for asking! :)

  7. Paula Kemp says:

    I love Ricepaper and can’t wait for you to do your spotlight on it, but I think my next highlighter from your list with be orb!

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