mac ‘vanilla’ dupe: natural collection ‘shell’

Almost Couture Manchester Fashion Blog

Dupe History

Before I started blogging, I was always a little dubious of a dupe.

In my head, dupes of luxury brands were simply look-a-likes: I thought that whilst the colour would look the same in the palette, the consistency would be wrong, or the shade would be different, or the product would generally be a dud. I always rationalized buying more high-end cosmetics on the basis that I would probably buy five different dupes over time anyway, which, in the end, would amount to the cost of that product. (I’m very good at persuading myself. Beauty is a slippery slope, my friends.)

However, as I’ve started blogging, I’ve begun to realize that dupes are actually a fabulous thing – when they’re good. In my quest for cheaper alternatives to pricey products, I’ve discovered a few fab dupes along the way.

MAC VS Natural Collection

Today, I’m bestowing a dupe product with the crown of Friday’s Favourite: Natural Collection’s single eyeshadow in ‘Shell’.

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Now, I love MAC. I think it’s a great cosmetics brand and it ticks all of my beauty boxes: doesn’t irritate my skin, lasts a long time, great pigmentation and isn’t hideously expensive (this one is debatable. I’m not the most responsible with money).

I love their single shadows,  but they’re pretty pricey – £13 for 1.5g of product is a lot to pay. My current favourite shade from MAC, and one which is a cult buy, is ‘Vanilla’: a creamy off-white in a velvety matte texture. I use it as a base colour for my eyeshadow, a highlighting powder for my browbone, and even on my cupid’s bow as an illuminator.

It’s one of my top picks from MAC – and one of my top beauty picks, period – but the amount of use means ‘Vanilla’ runs out pretty quickly. On a student budget I simply cannot rationalize spending £13 on shadows every month or so – and then I discovered a fabulous alternative.

Everybody knows Natural Collection – Boots’ super cheap own brand where everything is under £2. I’ve never been particularly impressed with anything from this range bar the face powders, and even those aren’t fantastic.  However, when having a look to try and replace my ‘Vanilla’ shade, I stumbled across the budget equivalent – a single eyeshadow in ‘Shell’.

‘Vanilla’ VS ‘Shell’

The colours of ‘Shell’ and ‘Vanilla’ are – seriously – practically identical. I’ve swatched them below, and I think that the two are indistinguishable from each other:


In terms of texture, consistency and pigmentation, there’s little difference here. ‘Vanilla’ is slightly stronger in colour – I needed more product on my brush to get a decent swatch of ‘Shell’, but it wasn’t much more. Both powders are a matte texture which builds nicely, neither are chalky and both powders stay put on the skin.

I used MAC on one eye and Natural Collection on the other. (Apologies for my brows – today was not a Cara Delevigne day.):


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I did find that Natural Collection wore slightly faster than MAC, but this is to be expected – after all, it’s only £1.99. Honestly. Give a £2 coin and get some change. That, kids, is the dream.

I find this shadow to be extremely well pigmented, durable and easy to use – as much so as the MAC equivalent. The colours are basically identical, and for £11 less you get the exact same amount of product, which is great, as I use this everyday.

I was super impressed with this shadow, and would definitely look at buying more Natural Collection products in the future. For a cheaper alternative to MAC shadows, these are fabulous!

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10 thoughts on “mac ‘vanilla’ dupe: natural collection ‘shell’

  1. Vanilla is one of the first MAC shades I owned. Absolute classic. And Soft Brown? Can’t put those down! I think NYX Pore Filler is a dupe for Benefit Porefessional. I would have never thought NYX could pull that off but I won’t buy Porefessional now. I’ve officially switched!!


  2. I have a couple of these natural collection eyeshadows, they really are great for the money. Sometimes though you can’t beat the joy of treating yourself to a bit of Mac. I buy the loose pans as it saves £3 a pop. Great post x

    Liked by 1 person

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