15 May 2011

making faces :: product review [mac "big bounce" shadows]

sheesh. with all the advance talk about these and the reviews from consumers, you'd think these shadows broke up someone's marriage. seriously, even the best products have their detractors, but i don't think that i have ever seen such universal distaste for something. i guess it's kind of reassuring to know that unanimity is still possible, even in the diversified world of the internet.

mac released these at the beginning of the month, along with a collection of coloured mascaras under the collection name "flighty". on the same day, they came out with a colour collection [one with no new products] called "fashion flower", which i reviewed previously. at the time of the launch, i'd already heard reviews of the new cream-mousse formula big bounce shadows that indicated that they weren't for me.

now, just to let you know where i'm coming from, i haven't used a cream shadow in about fifteen years. i don't like them as a rule, they tend to crease like crazy on my deep-set eyes and i dislike the sensation of having moist eyelids. so the negative reviews just reinforced what already made me skeptical. however, i got sample sizes of four of the colours and i figured, there are lots of things that i like even though a lot of other people hate them, so maybe i'll find out if there's a way i can make these work. the colours, after all, are simply gorgeous. mac really ran with these and released a whole palette of shades, even more than they did with their sumptuous "mega-metal" shadows that came out in january.

spread the wealth/ good fortune/ rich, sweet, luxury touch- direct light
i can understand their eagerness to get in on the market right away. in 2011, cream shadows went from being a niche product to "the new hotness", which meant that mac competitors nars, makeup forever and benefit had a serious advantage, since they already had cult favourite products on the market. on the high end, giorgio armani led the charge with their "eyes to kill" shadows, which are not creams but work more or less the same way and everyone else is now playing catch-up. guerlain has three cream shadows out with their summer collection and chanel apparently has some on deck for fall. so mac needed something that was new and they needed a good colour range to hold their own against those who already had a toe-hold.

ARE THE BIG BOUNCES REALLY THAT BAD? SEE THEM IN ACTION...



people seem to like cream shadows for two main reasons: they're quick to apply and their smooth consistency makes them relatively idiot-proof. you can swipe them on with a finger and go and they tend to be more even than powders. once they've set- usually within a few seconds- they stay put. also, bright colours are more intense in cream formula, so if you really want a pop, they're your best bet.

same as above, in indirect light
people hate cream shadows more or less for one reason: they crease. the moist product gets squished into the fine lines on your eyelids, which make it look like you're wearing a dingy horizontal blind as makeup. there's a reason benefit named their product "creaseless creams" to push them to the public.

so for mac's product to be successful, it would have to be quick and easy to apply, it would have to be relatively forgiving in application [without being unreasonable] and it would have to maintain an even colour [and a rich colour for darker and brighter shades] for several hours. on top of that, there are a couple of things that they would need not to do [i can't make that grammar sound good]: smudge and crease.

with that in mind, i proceeded to test out four shades:

good fortune :: a light pink champagne
spread the welath :: a medium metallic golden olive
luxury touch :: a rich purple-plum
rich, sweet :: a deep espresso brown with gold shimmer

from the start, i have to say that i was nervous. the texture of the shadows, described by mac as "spongy [and] mousse-like", is considerably wetter than regular cream shadows. they're about the consistency of yogurt- not the thick eastern european stuff, either- which seems counter-intuitive for a product that's supposed to last longer and wear better than regular cream shadows. but i figured i'd try them in a few different ways to see if i could find something that worked.

attempt #1 :: use 'em like a regular shadow

6 hours after application
5 minutes after application
i figured that a lot of people will just want them for the colour and will combine them with other shadows to create a full look. in this case, use applied "good fortune" lightly with a brush, it sheered out a lot and seemed disinclined to dry. i used two of mac's own mega-metal shadows, which are the ultimate in terms of blending and ease of use. however, it still looked kind of messy, because the cream shadow just wouldn't set, despite me leaving it a full minute. in order to get it anything close to dry, i had to give it a few seconds with the hair dryer. i did use a base [mac paint pot in painterly], but i have to say that the end result still looks like the before picture in a lesson on why you should use a base for your eye makeup. i tried adding a touch of eye liner- a liquid formula, because i could apply it with a lighter touch in case things still weren't absolutely dry- but that just seemed to make the cream shadow angry. within minutes the liner was so smudged you could barely tell it was there. the weird thing is that there really isn't that much difference between the way it looked after a few minutes and the way it looked several hours later when i took it off. that would be great, if it had looked good to begin with.

attempt #2 :: quick & dirty

5 hours after application
5 minutes after application
like i said, the main appeal of cream shadows is supposed to be their ease of use. endeavour #1 didn't seem very easy to me, but i figured that maybe i just wasn't using the shadows the way they were intended. so this time, i went with the simple approach.

having learned my lesson about liner, i started off with a paint pot base [augmented with a little inglot powder shadow for extra grip] once again, but i used one of mac's greasepaint sticks to get a dark, smudgy line around the eye, then i carefully, gently patted "rich, sweet" on my mobile lid, with the aim of doing a very quick, slightly smoky look that would allow me to go from no makeup to out the door in five minutes. the result?

ten minutes later i was still fidgeting with the eye shadow, had resorted to using a brush [smaller and firmer than the first time] and had something that looked worse than my first attempt. in the end, i had to call it quits [although the shadow still hadn't entirely dried] and live with something that was uneven and messy. a few hours later, the cream shadow had dissolved more or less to a dirty stain and i was left with a sort of muddy ring around my eyes, because the greasepaint stick, true to form, stayed put.

attempt #3 :: from the bottom up

5 minutes after application
so the last thing i could think of to do with a cream shadow was to use it as a base for other shadows. i do this anyway with a natural shade to even out the colour of my lids and to give a smooth surface for the makeup i'm applying. i still did that, but in this case, i layered "spread the wealth" over the base on my lid with a large, round, soft shadow brush. this brush on its own gave me smoother and more even coverage than anything i've tried so far, which is a plus. it did not help with the drying time, but since i knew what to do [close my eyes and wait], i managed to get it to dry much as i applied it.

i used a palette of greens [mac's photorealism quad- l.e. 2009] over the cream shadow and it definitely does seem to add a certain depth and warmthto the overall look. the thing is, i don't know that i'd spend $20 just to get this effect. it's nice, but it's not a real "wow" factor. these colours are lovely on their own and all this adds is a bit extra.

i will say that this is the only way that i was successful in using the big bounce shadows and since previous attempts indicate that there isn't a huge difference between what these look like freshly applied and what they look like hours later, i decided just to go with the "fresh" photo. used as anything other than a base, i'm afraid the big bounce are a big bust. the drying time means that they aren't quick to work with. the super-soft texture means that they're far from idiot-proof and, unless you apply a base underneath and a shadow over them, they start to migrate within minutes of application. sorry mac, i think you were so eager to get something into the cream shadow market that you rushed a deeply flawed product that'll come back to bite you.

note :: by day three, my right eye showed signs of irritation and was itchy and swollen in the corner. i can't say whether this was because of the shadows or not, since my eyes can be a little sensitive. nonetheless, i can't rule them out as a source of the irritation, so i felt i should mention it. 

here's a breakdown of the three looks that i did [realistically, i think the first two belong in the "hall of shame" from last week.]


"good fortune"
good fortune
i find that the sloppy eye here really lets down the side. the blush and lipstick are so pretty [guerlain rocks], but the shadow makes me look tired.

face ::
nars sheer glow foundation mont blanc
mac prolongwear concealer nw20

eyes ::
mac painterly paint pot [as base]
mac good fortune big bouncee/s
mac mating call mega-metal e/s
good fortune
mac noir plum mega-metal e/s
mac smoky heir superslick liquid liner
ysl faux cils mascara

cheeks ::
guerlain blush g

lips ::
guerlain cherry blossom rouge automatique





"rich, sweet"
rich, sweet
notice that, on the eyes closed shot, even though the focus is a little fuzzy, you can still see the unevenness of the cream shadow application.

face ::
nars sheer glow foundation mont blanc
mac prolongwear concealer nw20

eyes ::
mac painterly paint pot [as base]
inglot 351 e/s
mac french quarter greasepaint stick
mac rich, sweet big bounce e/s
rich, sweet
mac false lashes mascara

cheeks ::
nars deep throat blush
mac truth & light magically cool liquid powder

lips ::
mac red devil l/g





spread the wealth
"spread the wealth"
again, this is one that worked. i find you can the golden tone on the lid, but does that make the look that much better? a matter of personal preference, i guess. after the first two disasters, i eschewed liner on my upper lids, something i would normally not do, since i find liner makes my eyes pop. you can definitely see the irritated eye in the first shot.

face ::
gosh velvet touch foundation primer
nars sheer glow foundation mont blanc
dior diorskin nude skin perfecting hydrating concealer [trying this one out for a change]

eyes ::
mac sensibility e/s
spread the wealth
mac photorealism e/s
mac fresh approach e/s
mac image maker e/s
mac grey range e/s
mac mothbrown e/s
mac she who dares mineralize e/s [blue & green mixed as liner]
ysl faux cils mascara
mac smolder eye kohl

cheeks ::
mac dollymix blush

lips ::
mac true babe l/g

2 comments:

PerilouslyPale said...

I'll definitely be steering clear of these babies! But you've reminded me I need to dig out True Babe!

flora_mundi said...

True Babe is a great, fun colour and I expect that Mac will bring it back at some point in the future. It's the sort of thing that can be worn either very sheerly or built up for those who want something bright.

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