MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow Palette Review & Swatches

01/07

MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette

Desert Lightning

MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow x 12 Palette ($48.00 for 0.6 oz.) contains a mix of cooler neutral shades with some being more neutral to neutral-cool, but there were some warmer shades still present throughout. The warmth tended to lean on the side of rose, plum, or yellow as opposed to orange or red. The quality was decent across the board with only one miss (Deception), and those who have indulged in a fair amount of past palettes may want to check that they don’t have repeats as over half the palette were shades that had been released before (some in limited edition palettes, two are from the permanent range).

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01/02

MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow
MAC Desert Lightning Eyeshadow

Desert Lightning

Desert Lightning is a pale beige with neutral undertones and a matte finish. It had semi-opaque pigmentation with a soft, lightly powdery consistency, but it was finely-milled and blendable without losing too much of its coverage. This shade lasted well for seven and a half hours on me before fading noticeably.

01/02

MAC Fresh Innocence Eyeshadow
MAC Fresh Innocence Eyeshadow
MAC Fresh Innocence Eyeshadow
MAC Fresh Innocence Eyeshadow
MAC Fresh Innocence Eyeshadow
MAC Fresh Innocence Eyeshadow

Fresh Innocence

Fresh Innocence is a pale white with subtle, warm undertones and pink sparkles. The texture was soft but powdery, which made it prone to clumping together and had a fair amount of fallout when I worked with it on my skin. The pigmentation was semi-opaque and had to be built up to full coverage with a second layer. It wore well for seven and a half hours on me before it started to fade visibly.

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01/02

MAC Retrospeck Eyeshadow
MAC Retrospeck Eyeshadow
MAC Retrospeck Eyeshadow
MAC Retrospeck Eyeshadow
MAC Retrospeck Eyeshadow
MAC Retrospeck Eyeshadow

Retrospeck

Retrospeck is a light-medium gold with warm, yellow undertones and a sparkling finish. The texture was soft, smooth, and blendable without being too powdery or dry, and it was much, much more pigmented than past iterations of Retrospeck have been. I felt like it was smoother with less obvious sparkle. It stayed on well for eight hours before fading noticeably.

01/02

MAC Fool's Gold Eyeshadow
MAC Fool's Gold Eyeshadow
MAC Fool's Gold Eyeshadow
MAC Fool's Gold Eyeshadow
MAC Fool's Gold Eyeshadow
MAC Fool's Gold Eyeshadow

Fool's Gold

Fool’s Gold is a medium gold with strong, warm undertones and a frosted finish. It had excellent pigmentation with a soft, lightly creamy consistency that wasn’t too firmly nor too softly pressed in the pan. This shade lasted nicely for eight hours on me before it showed signs of fading.

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01/02

MAC Marzipan Eyeshadow
MAC Marzipan Eyeshadow
MAC Marzipan Eyeshadow
MAC Marzipan Eyeshadow
MAC Marzipan Eyeshadow
MAC Marzipan Eyeshadow

Marzipan

Marzipan is a pale mauve with warm undertones and a matte finish. The color coverage was opaque in a single layer, and the color had decent adhesion without a primer, but I’d recommend using a primer with this shade to keep it from sheering out a bit. The consistency was soft, velvety, and blendable with a smidgen of powderiness in the pan. It wore well for seven and a half hours on me before I noticed any fading.

01/02

MAC So Jaded Eyeshadow
MAC So Jaded Eyeshadow
MAC So Jaded Eyeshadow
MAC So Jaded Eyeshadow
MAC So Jaded Eyeshadow
MAC So Jaded Eyeshadow

So Jaded

So Jaded is a pale, aqua-green with subtle, warm undertones and a frosted finish. The eyeshadow had good pigmentation–not quite opaque–that applied well to bare skin with a smooth, even lay down of color. The consistency was soft, a little drier and dustier in the pan, but it blended out well and wasn’t prone to sheering out. It stayed on nicely for eight hours before showing signs of fading.

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01/03

MAC Duabandita Eyeshadow
MAC Duabandita Eyeshadow
MAC Duabandita Eyeshadow
MAC Duabandita Eyeshadow
MAC Duabandita Eyeshadow
MAC Duabandita Eyeshadow
MAC Duabandita Eyeshadow
MAC Duabandita Eyeshadow
MAC Duabandita Eyeshadow

Duabandita

Duabandita is a medium, plummy-brown base with strong, warm undertones and cooler blue-to-teal shifting pearl. It had semi-opaque pigmentation, but it was much less pigmented than the last time it was released in a collection. The consistency was drier, thinner, and firmer in the pan, which made it harder to apply evenly. It lasted well for seven and a half hours on me before I noticed fading.

01/02

MAC Is It the Beat Eyeshadow
MAC Is It the Beat Eyeshadow
MAC Is It the Beat Eyeshadow
MAC Is It the Beat Eyeshadow
MAC Is It the Beat Eyeshadow
MAC Is It the Beat Eyeshadow

Is It the Beat

Is it the Beat is a medium-dark black with cool undertones and a matte finish. It had opaque pigmentation with a slightly firmer consistency, though it wasn’t too difficult to pick up; the challenge was more in blending and diffusing it, as it took more effort to blend out the edges. It wore well for eight hours on me before I noticed any fading.

01/02

MAC Brun Eyeshadow
MAC Brun Eyeshadow
MAC Brun Eyeshadow
MAC Brun Eyeshadow
MAC Brun Eyeshadow
MAC Brun Eyeshadow

Brun

Brun is a medium-dark, taupe brown with neutral-to-warm undertones and a matte finish. It’s a long-time permanent staple in the MAC range, and I find it is a chameleon–it can look ashier against cooler tones and just barely warm-toned when paired with warmer shades. It had a soft, blendable consistency that wasn’t too firmly nor too softly pressed in the pan, which yielded opaque pigmentation. It stayed on nicely for eight hours on me before fading visibly.

01/03

MAC Deception Eyeshadow
MAC Deception Eyeshadow
MAC Deception Eyeshadow
MAC Deception Eyeshadow
MAC Deception Eyeshadow
MAC Deception Eyeshadow
MAC Deception Eyeshadow
MAC Deception Eyeshadow
MAC Deception Eyeshadow

Deception

Deception is a medium, plummy brown base with flecks of gold sparkle. From the look of it, you’d think it was a Lustre finish, but it’s actually a Frost (technically). It is an eyeshadow that’s been released a few times in other palettes, and it is usually pretty terrible; this time isn’t any different. It was dry, sheer, prone to fallout, and not worth using unless over a tacky base or packed on with a wet brush. It lasted for six and a half hours but had fallout over time.

01/02

MAC Golden Brown Eyeshadow
MAC Golden Brown Eyeshadow
MAC Golden Brown Eyeshadow
MAC Golden Brown Eyeshadow
MAC Golden Brown Eyeshadow
MAC Golden Brown Eyeshadow

Golden Brown

Golden Brown is a soft, golden brown with strong, warm undertones and a pearly sheen. The color payoff was opaque in a single layer, while the eyeshadow had a smooth, blendable consistency that wasn’t too firmly pressed in the pan but wasn’t so soft that it became powdery to work with. It lasted nicely for eight hours on me before I noticed any fading.

01/02

MAC Big Attitude Eyeshadow
MAC Big Attitude Eyeshadow
MAC Big Attitude Eyeshadow
MAC Big Attitude Eyeshadow
MAC Big Attitude Eyeshadow
MAC Big Attitude Eyeshadow

Big Attitude

Big Attitude is a light, golden taupe with warm undertones and a metallic sheen. It had good pigmentation with a soft, blendable consistency that was a smidgen powdery in the pan, but it adhered evenly and had minimal fallout. This shade stayed on well for eight hours on me before fading noticeably.

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About the Reviewer

Reviewer

Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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18 Comments

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I like how Deception already got an F from MAC themselves!
Okay, it means Frost finish, I’ll see myself out.

Anyway, it’s another neutral-boring palette with same shades again…

These are closer to my favorite types of shades, but the quality just isn’t worth $48 for me. Deception is very disappointing. Money saved.

I really love this! It seems different and very well conceived. I really appreciate the minty green with the earth tones and that purply crease colour.

I like it well enough, but would rather either have it on sale or find as many dupes that I may possibly have. I DO have Retrospeck and Deception in other palettes. The big secret to Deception is that it does need a tacky primer, but also applied using ones fingertips. Doing so makes for one beautiful plummy-taupe with a golden flash!

I wish I could hear the reasoning behind Deception’s texture. They’ve done it so many times, it has to be intentional…

It’s definitely an outlier, that’s for sure! Yet, when I use my finger to apply it, bam! It’s gorg, but I shouldn’t have to do this when their formula is known for being so brush friendly, right? 🤷

Oh no, you’re selling me on this palette now! I have a few shades from various brands that apply best with my finger, so now Deception is looking pretty good. I really don’t need to spend $50 on another palette, but…

Yes, I’ve found Deception works best with a fingertip, too. I usually just use it on lid, or center of the lid, and don’t try to get too fancy with it.

So Jaded is So Interesting and I’m delighted to see a new and very much improved Retrospeck. It’s a shame about Deception – it looks so nice in the pan. I already have Brun and so I was going to pass on this as “more of the same” but now, I might have no choice but to go out and buy it!

I keep being tempted by this, but I think some of the colors are definitely too frosty/cool. I can’t decide if So Jaded would look good on me or not, but I really want to do a look around this and Dubandita. Maybe I should try to just dupe these two, since I know I have dupes of some of the other colors? I couldn’t even decide if I liked the colors after swatching in the store, so I’m thinking like Nancy that if I get it at all, it’ll be on sale or at CCO.

I liked the colour story, but had a feeling the review would yield a mediocre palette and plenty of dupes in my stash. Still, I have heart eyes for marzipan and so jaded.. I’d be all over it if they were a duo.

Like others who have already commented, I like the combination of colours. It’s difficult to find a palette of muted colours that isn’t just neutrals, so the blue-green shades really add something to the mix. But I think I have enough dupes in my collection already and they generally look like they’re better quality.

I got this today, as I didn’t have most of the shades, and I really liked the color story. I think it’ll work really well for me, as Is it the Beat and Brun aren’t super-dark, and blend really well. Very fair-skin friendly.

Deception always seems to earn it’s name: It looks beautiful and like it should be no problem, but it’s a finicky shade for whatever reason. A brown frost really shouldn’t be so difficult. I don’t why they keep putting it in palettes. It’s like the Carbon of browns.

It could have been a really delightful palette…if only someone at MAC had taken a good look at it. First of all, Retrospek and Fool’s Gold are complete dupes for each other; the inclusion of yet another black shade and the failure of Deception, which is so, so bad. And this was a lovely colour too.

I found the color story quite intriguing, but the swatches seem less than true to pan. Not very WYSIWIG. Kind of a cognitive dissonance, really. (If you put the pans of shades in a layout….like the new grid sneak peek format…, they probably would not look very dupe-y ay all.) Expected a cooler feel, and never an overall feeling of gold and brown. But there are a couple of dupes to add to my next SG order. There’s always a positive takeaway here, even when something somehow disappoints.

I really do like this palette. My, very old Retrospeck doesn’t look at all like this one, unless my memory is going, I have also hit pan on it. I have Brun, and I use it quite a lot.
I could (almost) buy this just to get So Jaded, such a lovely colour! I also really like Marzipan and OK, I like most of these colours a lot. I really think this will be one that I do buy.

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