MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Tests

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow

All That and Then Some on the Matter of Electric Cool Eyeshadows

There are twelve shades of MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow ($18.50 for 0.07 oz.), which is a new formula (though rumor has it is the concept is Big Bounce Eyeshadows reformulated). There’s not a whole lot of information on these; the texture is described as soft and lightweight, it will deliver rich color, there is “sensational blending power,” and has “medium-to-high coverage.” The press release mentioned also wearing it as a wash of color. I think I managed to wear all twelve shades over eight different tests (a mix of with and without primer, different primers).

This post is only the review portion.  There will be two follow-up posts featuring a breakdown of all of the shades along with photos, swatches, possible dupes, and the like.  This post includes 26 photos from the tests I did to see how these applied and wore.

First, I don’t think I’d ever attach Big Bounce to these. From a texture standpoint, they’re nothing alike, and from the way they look and wear, they’re also nothing alike. No more than one eyeshadow to the next, at least. I think it does them a disservice and sets up expectations as being almost leery. When I originally tested out Big Bounce Eyeshadows, the only way I could get them to work was as an eyeshadow base, which meant they had to be set with a powder eyeshadow, and once that happened, they were fine.

The texture of Electric Cool is spongy; it’s more moveable than putty, lighter than sludge. These felt a lot like Buxom Stay-There and Chanel Illusion d’Ombre eyeshadows, both have a spongy, lightweight texture.  Buxom has more spring, as it returns more to its original shape upon pressure, while Electric Cool will just retain whatever shape you mold it into. When I stabbed at one pan with an eyeliner brush, there were all these little burrows where the brush had gone. MAC’s formula is more buildable, overall, compared to Buxom’s (which are supposed to be sheer). There is also a lot of shade overlap between MAC and Buxom’s ranges. Chanel’s formula feels similar but has a slightly wetter feel initially. There is less overlap with Chanel’s color range, but the few that do overlap, Chanel’s seem to have slightly more depth, which is going to be even more negligible once applied.  The texture is completely unlike products like Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense and L’Oreal Infallible, which are very powder-based products.  You might liken the finish to them, as it has a very shimmery, sparkly end result.

The wear of Electric Cool was hit-and-miss. Some shades performed better than others, as not all shades were as dry or as wet as the next one. These actually don’t crease easily; for the most part, they didn’t crease over time–if there was any creasing, it seemed to happen shortly after application. What I did have problems with was fading–I routinely went back to pack on more product during application. I’d apply one shade to one eye, then apply the same shade to the other eye, and when I went to apply another shade, the original eye already seemed to have faded somewhat. This was particularly true with some of the brighter shades like Dynamo, Fashion Circuit, Highly Charged, and Switch to Blue. I did not experience fall out with the shades when I used them on the lid*; when I tried using Fashion Circuit on the lower lash line, it did have a tendency to migrate downwards.

These have a beautiful finish; it’s very sparkly and shimmery in an interesting way. It’s not frost, not metallic, but a complex combination thereof. I think the neutral shades are exceptionally lovely as a wash of color (and honestly, the best results with this product were when these eyeshadows was worn that way). Some of them play well with others; some really did not want to be in the company of others.

Applying them evenly, smoothly, and opaquely, was more of a challenge. I tried an assortment of brushes and tools, mostly firmer, flat bristled brushes, along with fingertips and sponge-tipped applicators. I liked MAC’s 242 the best, because it is just slightly fluffy at the edge, so it worked well to pat the color into place (and you must pat, don’t sweep, or else it will be a mess) and then using the edge to lightly blend the color into the next one or diffuse it for a wash.

Blending was also an area I found seemed to hurt these rather than help these. When you blend it out, you get left with mostly shimmer and not much; the color seems to bunch up a little, which creates a slightly patchy result. I do want to note that it was hard to see it with my eyes (and even more so from a distance), but it’s obvious in the photos. To blend two colors together, it’s a very gentle process, and you really have to use a light hand to do so.

I liked them best of bare lids, and second to that, over a creamy, opaque primer like MAC Painterly Paint Pot. I tried these over NARS Smudgeproof Primer (awful over this base–made applying the color difficult to get even!), Too Faced Shadow Insurance (better than NARS for these), and MAC Painterly (best results for over a primer). I think the color adheres better over bare lids, but you can get more even color application when used over an opaque base (again, Painterly is what I tested these with). With or without a base, the wear didn’t seem affected.

The biggest problem I had with these had to with packaging.  Six of the twelve shades had loose pans, which meant that the actual metal pan that houses the eyeshadow would fall out of the container if turned upside down–which meant a lot of product was caught on the lid and lip of the product.  Second, despite overnighting these, several had moved significantly during shipment.  They were delivered before noon, and here, it’s only been getting to 80 degrees in the mid-afternoon–it’s not that hot.  The formula isn’t that moveable.  I set several of these on their sides for 48 hours, and they didn’t seem to move away from the edges.

They absolutely can be pushed back into place, but for some of them, it seemed like shrinkage or drying occurred because it didn’t fill the pan when pushed back into place, which leads me to my next point: these are tiny.  For this product category, we have two competitor formulas that are very similar:  Buxom contains 0.12 oz. ($17.00 and comes in a glass jar) and Chanel contains 0.14 oz. ($36.00 and comes in a glass jar).  These come in shiny black screw-top jars with a clear plastic window on top.  I thought it was worth pointing out that MAC has about half as much product as two similar formulas on the market and comes in cheaper packaging.  MAC Paint Pots, for example, contain 0.17 oz. and come in glass jars.  Even MAC Big Bounce was 0.17 oz. and also came in a glass jar (and also $2 cheaper just a year ago).

Overall, I can see some people loving the sparkling, shimmering finish of these eyeshadows. They really can look splendid as the light catches and plays with the dimension of the colors.  They take some work, some practice, and aren’t flawless. I feel like they’re a quirky, finicky product that can work but it has to be worth the effort to the individual who uses them.  If you intended to use them together, they’re hardest to use that way; if you just wanted to use them as a wash of color and don’t need 100% opaque color, they’re a lot easier.  For example, if you wanted a beautiful wash of color, Pure Flash is magic.  No creasing, some fading with the bolder/darker colors, not-so-blendable, and the colors can apply patchy at times (Love Power was the worst; it clung to itself like you wouldn’t believe and made my lid look so crepe-y).

* Any fall out you see in photos of single shades being tested was actually sparkle that didn’t get 100% removed when I removed the multi-shade tests (I would do one test for eight hours, and then I’d remove that and do a second test for eight hours).

See more photos & swatches!

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Packaging

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Packaging

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Packaging

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Packaging

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Brilliantly Lit, Fashion Circuit, Highly Charged, Switch to Blue – No Primer

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Brilliantly Lit, Fashion Circuit, Highly Charged, Switch to Blue – No Primer (1 hour of wear)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Brilliantly Lit, Fashion Circuit, Highly Charged, Switch to Blue – No Primer (8 hours of wear)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Brilliantly Lit, Fashion Circuit, Highly Charged, Switch to Blue – No Primer (3 hours of wear)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Brilliantly Lit, Fashion Circuit, Highly Charged, Switch to Blue – No Primer (8 hours of wear)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Brilliantly Lit, Fashion Circuit, Highly Charged, Switch to Blue – NARS Primer

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Brilliantly Lit, Fashion Circuit, Highly Charged, Switch to Blue – NARS Primer (1 hour of wear)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Brilliantly Lit, Fashion Circuit, Highly Charged, Switch to Blue – NARS Primer (8 hours of wear)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Electroplate – No Primer (Initial)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Electroplate – No Primer (Initial)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Electroplate – No Primer (8 hours of wear)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Blacklit – No Primer (Initial)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Blacklit – No Primer (Initial)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Blacklit – No Primer (8 hours of wear)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Pure Flash, Dynamo, Infra-violet, Fashion Circuit – No Primer (Initial)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Pure Flash, Dynamo, Infra-violet, Fashion Circuit – No Primer (8 hours of wear)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Pure Flash, Dynamo, Infra-violet, Fashion Circuit – No Primer (Initial)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Pure Flash, Dynamo, Infra-violet, Fashion Circuit – No Primer (8 hours of wear)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Pure Flash, Dynamo, Infra-violet, Fashion Circuit – MAC Painterly (Initial)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Pure Flash, Dynamo, Infra-violet, Fashion Circuit – MAC Painterly (8 hours of wear)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Pure Flash, Dynamo, Infra-violet, Fashion Circuit – MAC Painterly (Initial)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Pure Flash, Dynamo, Infra-violet, Fashion Circuit – MAC Painterly (8 hours of wear)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Fashion Circuit – No Primer (Initial)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Fashion Circuit – No Primer (8 hours of wear)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Coil – No Primer (Initial)

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
Coil – No Primer (8 hours of wear)