If You Have This, You Don’t Need That: MAC LE vs. Permanent Dupes

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Since I started doing the ‘If You Have This, You Don’t Need That’ series (here and here) on the site, a very popular request that has come across from many of you is a comparison between limited edition shades to the permanent collection.

In my time collecting eyeshadows I have run across a good many dupes and have swooned over limited edition shades I saw online only to find out when they arrived I already had them. Please keep in mind this is not an all-inclusive list as I don’t have even 1/8 of the eyeshadows MAC has put out, more than likely, but these are the dupes I have come across.

I also want to mention that I have swapped away some LE dupes in the past and therefore did not have a few to compare for you through images, but they will be listed below the post. If you have any dupes you’d like to add to this, you’re more than welcome to do so in the comments below! Let’s begin! :)

LE vs. Permanent Shade (A-Z)

Birds & Berries vs. Tilt

While not identical-looking, these two shades are completely interchangeable with one another. I find both easy to work with but will say Birds & Berries is more of a pigmented, and slightly deeper/vibrant shade compared to Tilt.

Is Birds & Berries worth hunting down? No.

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(L to R) Tilt, Birds & Berries
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(L to R) Tilt, Birds & Berries

Bold & Brazen vs. Expensive Pink

Immediately after I purchased Bold & Brazen I knew I had made a mistake because Expensive Pink is completely identical to it. There is no real differentiation between the two; both apply beautifully to the lid, have a light level of pigmentation and blend away just as easily.

Is Bold & Brazen worth hunting down? No.

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(L to R) Expensive Pink, Bold & Brazen
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(L to R) Expensive Pink, Bold & Brazen

Botanical vs. Mulch

Botanical really is just such a unique shade; it is not an exact dupe for Mulch by any means but it’s about the closest you’ll come in the permanent collection. When I first got it, I thought it was comparable to Satin Taupe, but it leans far more purple which I feel makes it closer to Mulch, only without the red base Mulch has. Using Mulch in a look that uses Botanical will give you very similar results. What I love the most about Botanical is its silver leaning tendency that Mulch does not have. Unfortunately, it does have a small amount of glitter in the formula but it’s not overpowering like some other shades can be.

Is Botanical worth hunting down? Yes, but wait for a repromote.

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(L to R) Mulch, Botanical
(L to R) Mulch, Botanical
(L to R) Mulch, Botanical

Carbonized vs. Mulch

Carbonized came out in the MAC Me Over collection and is a more muted, neutral version of Mulch. I feel if you take the red tones out of Mulch, and make it darker, you’d end up with Carbonized. Both shades are easy to work with, apply, blend, etc. When used in looks, I feel Carbonized turns into a gray brown. I will probably swap Carbonized away at some point only because I like the purple and red tones of Mulch better.

Is Carbonized worth hunting down? No.

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(L to R) Mulch, Carbonized
(L to R) Mulch, Carbonized
(L to R) Mulch, Carbonized

Fashion Groupie vs. Satellite Dreams

Fashion Groupie is a dead ringer for Satellite Dreams, hands down. The only real difference between these two that I could even possibly see is that Fashion Groupie leans just ever so slightly more red than Satellite Dreams, a true blue-based purple. In my experience I have found Fashion Groupie just a touch easier to work with in the crease as well.

Is Fashion Groupie worth hunting down? No.

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(L to R) Satellite Dreams, Fashion Groupie
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(L to R) Satellite Dreams, Fashion Groupie

Femme Fi vs. Ricepaper

When I discovered Femme Fi I was simply over the moon! I had read so many great things about it online and just couldn’t wait to try it. While similar to Ricepaper, Femme Fi has a buttery soft finish that literally just falls onto the brush from the pan and transfers to the lid just as easily. Compared to Ricepaper, I feel it is more pigmented as well.

Is Femme Fi worth hunting down? Yes.

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(L to R) Ricepaper, Femme Fi
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(L to R) Ricepaper, Femme Fi

Glamour Check! vs. Antiqued

There was a phase I went through where I had to have EVERY red brown shade that was out there and Glamour Check! was no exception! However, it is very dupeable to Antiqued. Glamour Check! is MUCH more pigmented and it also leans a little more purple than Antiqued, just slightly. If I had a choice between these two of which to apply all over the lid, I generally go more for Glamour Check! as I feel it’s more toned down than Antiqued.

Is Glamour Check! worth hunting down? No.

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(L to R) Antiqued, Glamour Check!
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(L to R) Antiqued, Glamour Check!

Grand Entrance vs. All That Glitters

Both are beautiful champagne gold shades but I personally gravitate more to Grand Entrance over All That Glitters. Grand Entrance is lighter in color and I feel more muted making it much easier to pair with other colors. If you find a look that uses Grand Entrance, All That Glitters is a great dupe to use in its place.

Is Grand Entrance worth hunting down? Yes.

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(L to R) All That Glitters, Grand Entrance
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(L to R) All That Glitters, Grand Entrance

Guacamole vs. Swimming

While not 100% identical to one another, I really feel I did not need to purchase Guacamole having already owned Swimming. Each of these will give you next to near identical results in a look, with Swimming being only slightly stronger in pigmentation. Guacamole is a little hard to get onto the brush and isn’t one I particularly loved or will even keep for that matter. Compared to Swimming’s intense glitter formula, I will say I liked that Guacamole did NOT have any glitter.

Is Guacamole worth hunting down? No.

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(L to R) Swimming, Guacamole
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(L to R) Swimming, Guacamole

Illegal Cargo vs. Shale

Illegal Cargo looks almost identical to Shale when you first glance at the two in the pan, and they are easily interchangeable in looks. I find Illegal Cargo to be just a little lighter and more purple than Shale, but with the same cool blue base. Shale is an easy shade to work with but can be a little resistant to blending at first when used in the crease; Illegal Cargo will give you no trouble at all and screams to be blended!

Is Illegal Cargo worth hunting down? Yes.

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(L to R) Shale, Illegal Cargo
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(L to R) Shale, Illegal Cargo

Jete vs. Jest

I purchased Jete simply because it was another pink shade I just HAD to have. Well, I already had it. Jete is an exact dupe for Jest and the only real difference between the two is that Jete pulls a little more pink compared to the more toned down Jest. Both are easy to work with but either can be used in the other’s place.

Is Jete worth hunting down? No.

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(L to R) Jest, Jete
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(L to R) Jest, Jete

Mancatcher vs. Beautiful Iris

Mancatcher is a lovely light lilac color that leans slightly more red whereas Beautiful Iris is just a tad more blue based. True, these are not 100% identical of one another, but like so many other shades you could substitute one in a look for the other and no one would be the wiser. I just love Mancatcher and almost didn’t get it after reading how similar these were, but I will say I’m very glad I did.

Is Mancatcher worth hunting down? Yes.

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(L to R) Beautiful Iris, Mancatcher
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(L to R) Beautiful Iris, Mancatcher

Moth Brown vs. Knight Divine + Satin Taupe

I’m adding Moth Brown into the mix here because while it is a beautiful shade, there is a way you can duplicate its coloring if you already own Knight Divine and Satin Taupe. When I first used Moth Brown, it reminded me so much of Knight Divine but it was missing that brown tinge. Adding Satin Taupe over it was precisely the mixture needed for a dupe of Moth Brown. If you don’t want to mix eyeshadows, Urban Decay has an exact dupe for Moth Brown in Mushroom. I love this color and especially enjoy pairing it with Crystal eyeshadow; it is a must have if you don’t already own Knight Divine, Satin Taupe or UD’s Mushroom.

Is Moth Brown worth hunting down? Yes.

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(L to R) Satin Taupe and Knight Divine, Moth Brown
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(L to R) Satin Taupe and Knight Divine, Moth Brown

Peppier vs. Paradisco

Peppier was one I lusted after for a while simply because it was another coral pink, and seeing how limited MAC is with their coral pinks in the permanent collection, I just couldn’t help myself! The difference you’ll find between these two is in Peppier’s darker and more pigmented shade compared to Paradisco. Paradisco is one of those eyeshadows that requires a really great paint pot or base to get it to show nicely on the lid; with Peppier you need not worry about that!

Is Peppier worth hunting down? Yes.

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(L to R) Paradisco, Peppier
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(L to R) Paradisco, Peppier

Prepped for Glamour vs. Satin Taupe

I used Prepped for Glamour for the first time not too long ago and right after applying it, I thought, “Wow, that looks a lot like Satin Taupe.” Turns out I was right. These two are completely identical to one another and I honestly can’t tell the difference between the two, in the swatches or in looks.

Is Prepped For Glamour worth hunting down? No.

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(L to R) Satin Taupe, Prepped For Glamour
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(L to R) Satin Taupe, Prepped For Glamour

Rose (PRO) vs. Da Bling

Rose is not a limited edition shade, rather a PRO shade, but I wanted to include it with this post as I get a lot of questions about dupes for it when it’s used in looks. :) Da Bling and Rose are so doggone similar to one another and really, if you have one you don’t need the other. I did because I like pinks. Ha! The only real difference between these two is Rose is a lot softer than Da Bling, much easier to work with and more pigmented. If you don’t already own Da Bling, it is worth every penny.

Is Rose worth hunting down? Yes.

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(L to R) Da Bling, Rose
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(L to R) Da Bling, Rose

Saffron vs. Red Brick

Saffron was a MUST HAVE for me when I saw it in the store. Unfortunately, when I got it home I was less impressed with it. Not only is it a dupe for Red Brick, but it leaves much to be desired. The pigmentation is off and the transfer to the lid isn’t as easy as you find in Red Brick. I like Red Brick for its intense pigmentation that can be used lightly or heavily; I didn’t find that with Saffron.

Is Saffron worth hunting down? No.

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(L to R) Red Brick, Saffron
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(L to R) Red Brick, Saffron

Sorcery vs. Sketch

Sorcery was a purchase I made early on in my collecting and I soon discovered it was next to near identical to Sketch. Both are essentially the same color and have the same amount of pigmentation. I personally find Sorcery much easier to work with in terms of blending, but I really could take it or leave it compared to Sketch.

Is Sorcery worth hunting down? No.

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(L to R) Sketch, Sorcery
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(L to R) Sketch, Sorcery

Star By Night vs. Deep Truth

Star By Night was in MAC’s ever popular Starflash collection and that was one of reasons I bought it. However, I was very disappointed with it, not only because it is a dupe for Deep Truth, but also because Deep Truth is MUCH better! Star By Night is lacking in pigmentation and isn’t as rich a color as you’ll find in Deep Truth.

Is Star By Night worth hunting down? No.

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(L to R) Deep Truth, Star By Night
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(L to R) Deep Truth, Star By Night

Sweet Chestnut vs. Cranberry

I was able to swap for Sweet Chestnut shortly after I saw it used in a look; needless to say I was ecstatic. It is quite dupeable in Cranberry, but you’ll find a slightly deeper, more rich burgundy red not found in MAC’s current collection. The pigmentation is rich and it transfers to the lid nicely as well. Sweet Chestnut is incredibly difficult to find so I wouldn’t recommend stressing yourself over finding it, but if MAC ever does repromote it (and you’re a fan of shades like Cranberry) definitely grab a couple!

Is Sweet Chestnut worth hunting down? Yes, but wait for a repromote.

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(L to R) Cranberry, Sweet Chestnut
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(L to R) Cranberry, Sweet Chestnut

Tissueweight vs. Jest

Tissueweight is a pale pink shade with an incredibly soft texture that is very pigmented and applies just as nicely. It is VERY similar to Jest, only lighter in color and lacks that sheen Jest has. If you’re looking for more of a matte leaning shade of Jest, Tissueweight is a great alternative.

Is Tissueweight worth hunting down? No.

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(L to R) Jest, Tissueweight
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(L to R) Jest, Tissueweight

Waternymph vs. Steamy

Waternymph was another one of my first purchases and I spent a lot more than I should have for it, because I heard so many wonderful things about it. Turns out it’s a dupe for Steamy (and Shimmermoss). The only difference between these three shades is the pigmentation level. Steamy is well known for being a bear to get to show on the lid, Shimmermoss is much easier, but Waternymph is by far the easiest. However, color-wise there really is no difference between all three of these.

Is Waternymph worth hunting down? No.

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(L to R) Steamy, Waternymph
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(L to R) Steamy, Waternymph

Honorable Mentions

These eyeshadows were ones I owned at one point but have since been swapped away due to the dupe factor.

  • Early Bird = Free to Be

  • Moleskin = Kid

  • Poste Haste = Passionate

  • Romping = Passionate

  • Stately Black = Black Tied

  • Too Dolly = Aquadisiac

 

30 thoughts on “If You Have This, You Don’t Need That: MAC LE vs. Permanent Dupes

  1. Can you do a spotlight on Shale? I’m not familiar with this color, but I’m thinking I at like it. I have brown hair, blue eyes and fair skin. This color would go, right?

    1. My Eyeshadow Consultant

      Reply

      I think you would really love it! I didn’t like it when I first started using it but I really enjoy using it in the crease now. :)

  2. Hi, Zabrena!
    Is there a dupe for Hot Paprika (MAC Styledriven collection)? I can’t find that eyeshadow on MAC’s website. Not even sure it would be classified as a LE.

    Thanks!
    Michele

  3. Off the subject of the colors you have posted but I was wondering if you have come across Mac’s Archie’s Girls black poodle pigment and if there is a dupe for it?
    Thanks
    Silvia

    1. Hi Silvia,
      Zabrena will definitely have a better answer for your questions, but I thought I would put my “two cents worth” opinion in. I saw that MAC’s Beauty Marked eyeshadow was considered a dupe for Archie’s Girls Black Poodle Pigment. Not an exact match but very close. I hope this helps. :) I’m sure Z will have some great ideas for you.

    2. My Eyeshadow Consultant

      Reply

      Hi Silvia!
      I completely agree with Karah, the closest you could come to it in MAC’s perm collection would be Beauty Marked.
      I don’t feel that pigment is so unique that it’s worth getting when you have a more pigmented version in Beauty Marked. Just my opinion! :)
      And if you’re looking for something cheaper, L’Oreal has one in the Sculpted HIP Duo (it’s the one on the right side). Hope that helps!

  4. I really like Mulch. I wouldn’t have bought it but my daughter talked me into it and I use it a lot. But now that I’ve seen Botanical, I really want it. Is it ever repromoted, as far as you know? And why they don’t repromote Grand Entrance is beyond me. It is so special and dupes – Sin, Kitten – don’t even come close. I have to say though that Birds&Berries is in the same class – the dupes are reasonably close but not close enough!

    1. My Eyeshadow Consultant

      Reply

      I feel ya on Grand Entrance – ugh, that would be a PERFECT one to repromote!
      Botanical is just an awesome shade! It came out in 2006 so if MAC is going to repromote, NOW would be a good time!
      I haven’t ever seen it repromoted; I hunted high and low on MakeupAlley for it and finally found someone to swap with me for it.
      I hope they do repromote it; the very second I see it again I’m scooping up at least three. It’s such a beautiful crease color.

      1. Hi Zabrena,
        Like Mariella, I wish MAC would bring back Botanical. Some ladies were talking about Bare Escentuals having a dupe in Moss for Botanical. I don’t know if this is true or not because I’ve never had Botanical. I thought I would see what you think about it. :)

        1. My Eyeshadow Consultant

          Reply

          I looked up a swatch of BE’s Moss online (not too familiar with that one) and based on what I saw it looks like just a slightly more pigmented version of Botanical, so that assessment looks accurate to me. Not too sure how it is to work with compared to Botanical though. Botanical is just such a beautiful blender and great transition color. Fingers crossed they repromote it at some point!

    2. Hi Mariella,
      Forgive me if I have asked you this before ,but I know we have similar skin tones, and usually like the same MAC eyeshadows. I hope you don’t mind me asking you questions about makeup. I appreciate your opinion. :) Finally to my questions. I know you like Birds and Berries, Concrete and Copperplate. What is some of your favorite eyeshadows to pair with these 3 shadows? I know Z has Spotlights for Copperplate and Concrete and I really appreciate them ,but it is nice sometimes to talk to someone who has the same skin tone. :)

  5. Hi Zabrena,
    I know you said Shale and Illegal Cargo are dupes, but since I.C. is more purple, is there any different colors you would wear with it? That you wouldn’t with Shale? Also, is Peppier lean more red? I love Paradisco but I was concerned that Peppier might be a little too much for cool toned skin. Great job with the Moth Brown dupe. You are so creative! I almost got that one but I thought it would be just another brown. I try to find more cool toned browns if that makes any sense! LOL :)

    1. My Eyeshadow Consultant

      Reply

      Heya!
      I don’t really find that Illegal Cargo makes such a difference that I can pair it better with other colors than with Shale, if that makes sense. I generally use Illegal Cargo in looks where I want to use Shale, but want something with a slightly stronger purple. I feel like Shale is more washed out/subdued compared to I.C.

      Yes, Peppier does lean more red and you’re absolutely right, it may be too strong for a cool complexion, whereas Paradisco is more workable, in my opinion.
      Oh I totally hear you on Moth Brown! I passed on it when I saw it come out and later saw it used in a look and realized it was a tad different than I had originally thought, but very dupeable, thankfully! πŸ˜€

  6. I love this. It is sooo helpful. Although I have referred to this in the past I have finally gone through all my MAC shadows a couple days ago and made notations on the bottom of my palletes what the dupes. I plan on doing this for my pigments as well. I have found the notations very helpful especially when I’m looking for new ideas. Thank You for putting this together.

  7. Hi, just wanted to get a quick opinion…. which do you think would be more versatile and easier to work with out of Sketch, Embark and Deep Damson (I have medium brown eyes). Also, how similar are they? Thanks!

    P.S. I am loving the spotlights on MAC. I have a ton of colors that I love but need inspiration on how to use them. So glad I found you!

  8. Hi
    I just found you on youtube and now your website one thing I just want to clear up – when you say Dupe for do you mean a less expensive/cheaper brand eye-shadow of the same or close to the same colour?
    I’m new to MAC and mostly use Napoleon Perdis.

    TIA

    1. Hi Allie!
      Welcome to the site! :) Dupes are described as being eyeshadows that are similar to one another both in color and formula, but sometimes they can differ in formula, but the colors are very similar. They can be cheaper or more expensive, but are generally being compared moreso for shade purposes to help those who, for example, may not be able to get ahold of a discontinued color. πŸ˜‰

  9. There are a few of these that I’d like to have, but my search proved to be mostly unsuccessful. I found Mancatcher on Amazon, but the greedy owner wants $179 for it. Really? $179? You’ll be owning that for a while, honey. I also found Moth Brown for $40. The only one that is reasonable is Tissueweight, which is available at allcosmetics.com for $14 or 15. Ah well!

  10. Do you think Botanical will ever be repromote? I love that shade so badly…would pay triple the price for it, and havent been able to find a dupe.

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