MAC Flighty – review, photos & swatches

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We take Big Bounce eye shadows and Zoom Lash for a test flight.

Word about MAC Flighty, in particular the Big Bounce eye shadows, hit last week. And the word was, well; mixed to say the least. Some were in love, some were far from impressed. I took a week to play and see exactly what we were dealing with. As with any legendary performer, did we have a ‘Dream On’ on our hands or a “Dude Looks Like a Lady”? A ‘Lucky Star’ or a ‘True Blue’? A ‘Private Idaho’ or (god forbid) a ‘Love Shack’?

The Flighty limited edition collection (on sale now through June 2011) contains four Zoom Lash mascaras and 16 Big Bounce eye shadows. These shadows are unlike anything I’ve used before; a cross between a liquid and a cream with a fluffy, jello meets whipped cream consistency. And because they are unlike anything I’ve ever used, I found that they can’t be treated as anything I’ve ever used either.

Count Your Assets, Extra Charged, Luxury Touch, Rich Sweet, The Cool Elite

I’ve come up with a do and don’t list to get the most from Big Bounce…

1. Use a flat brush to apply. Lay or pat the color on your eye (rather than sweep), let it dry, and leave it alone (see #2 in the don’t list).
2. On their own, I wasn’t very impressed. But if you layer over them with powder shadow they add sparkling base to your shadows and increase wear time. I got eight hours with the green/blue look shown below with no creasing – which I WAS impressed with!

Don’t #3, bottom is finger application, top is applied with a flat brush

1. If you go into these thinking you’ll be able to wear them as a sheer wash of color, you’ll be very disappointed. I had a hard time getting even coverage on my eyes. Despite beautiful swatches on my arm (a flat surface that doesn’t move) on my eyes (a contoured area constantly moving) it looked splotchy.
2. Try to blend them. They. Just. Won’t. Blend. See my crease in the Rich, Sweet solo photo below. If you try, you just end up pushing the product around your lid.
3. Use your fingers. It’s very tempting to swipe these on with a fingertip, as you would a cream shadow. Big Bounce refuses to swipe (see #1 on the do list) and revolts by disappearing!
4. Grab these if you are short on time. You’ll be adding an extra step to your look (primer, Big Bounce, shadow). I’d also recommend a few test runs before you try these for a night out. I got progressively more comfortable with each use, and more and more happy with the results.

Here’s a closer look at the shades we got to review…

Extra Charged is a bright, medium green with electric blue micro glitter.

Rich, Sweet is a chocolate brown with bronze shimmer.

The Cool Elite is a pure, bright white with silver micro glitter and a silvery finish.

Luxury Touch is a red based plum with silver shimmer.

Count Your Assets is a blue based purple with silvery grey shimmer.

Here’s Rich, Sweet applied over primer, with nothing on top. The crease shows what happens when you try to blend – blotchy city.

Rich, Sweet with the Tempting quad layered over it.

Extra Charged over primer only. I learned not to blend for this one, but as you can still see, the coverage is a bit spotty.

Extra Charged with Cargo’s Los Angeles palette applied over top.

But Flighty is not Big Bounce alone. There are also four limited edition Zoom Lash Mascaras (join existing, permanent black and brown versions). I got to try Green is Green, a pure and bright jade green.

My favorite part of the mascara is the color. What you see on the wand is what you see on your lashes, and I loved it for that. The formula is creamy (no crunchy lashes here) and there was no smudging. But I felt like there was way too much mascara on the wand (especially after having just tested the Studio Fix Lash released in Fashionflower, with it’s satisfying clean swiper). I think this mascara will find it’s biggest fans amongst those who love big, volumized lashes. Me personally? I prefer more singular, long lashes to the thickness that this gave.

But check out that color!

Overall, I can see why Big Bounce has gotten a bad rap. These certainly aren’t easy by any stretch. But once you spend some time with them, learn their limitations and how to work with them rather then against them – I actually ended up enjoying them. I think MAC would have been better off packaging them in a tube with a wand and calling them colored primers, because layered is were their strength really lies.

They might not be a ‘Little Deuce Coupe’, but they certainly aren’t a ‘Kokomo’!

Here’s the whole Flighty line up…

High Esteem – Mid-tone grey with silver pearl
Blue Charge – Deep navy blue
Plum Reserve – Light violet purple
Green is Green – Jade green
$14.00 U.S./$17.00 CDN


The Cool Elite – White with silver pearl
Good Fortune – Soft pink yellow with pink and silver pearl
Reward Yourself – Bright peach coral with gold pearl
Impeccably Rich – Light cream with gold pearl
Sizzlin’ Diva – Copper with gold pearl
Trophy – Soft peach with pearl
Free As Air – Sky blue with silver pearl
Spread the Wealth – Dirty olive with gold pearl
Extra Charged – Bright green with multicolour pearl
Up The Ante! – Rich copper with gold and silver pearl
Rich Thrills – Dirty silver with multicolour pearl
Luxury Touch – Violet with gold pearl
Count Your Assets – Rich blue purple with multicolour pearl
My Next Indulgence – Forest green with blue and gold pearl
Rich Sweet -Chocolate gold with gold pearl
Black Diamond – Black with gold pearl
$16.50 U.S./$20.00 CDN

242 Shader brush
$24.50 U.S./$29.50 CDN

How about it readers, will you be taking flight with anything from Flighty?

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.


  • Stef Andrews

    Stef is a plethora of things. Amongst them: co-founder of we heart this, photographer, condiment connoisseur, Philly girl in the California desert, borderline hoarder and a hardcore beauty junkie. She also has a touch of wanderlust and, arguably, the cutest dog in the whole world... skin tone: NC 25/30 skin type: oily with a fear of rosacea favorite beauty product: high end skincare and lip products


  1. I am happy I read this review or I would have bought the Big Bounce shadows and treated them like a cream shadow. Thank goodness for the WHT team! I would have been doing everything on the ‘don’t’ list…using my fingers, trying to blend…
    These shadows seem like they would be nice, but maybe not for everyday…
    I do have 1 question…@Stef, what mascara do you have on in the top shots? (The black mascara?) I love a mascara that gives a defined, yet separated lash!

    1. @glamazon56 – I have on Cargo’s Triple Action Mascara. But more then the formula, I think it’s the brush (small plastic bristles, my new obsession for long, separated lashes!)

  2. I can’t decide how excited I am about this collection now. I was crazy about it before reading this, but knowing that it’s adding a step kinda makes it looks it’s charm. That being said I think Rich, Sweet, Luxury Touch and Cool Elite are AMAZING colors and still really want to try them. I love the idea of a sheer shinmmery brown like you’ve got in the Rich Sweet pic, it might take some practice, but I’m sure the look would be worth it in the end.

  3. YES, I agree with @glamazon56! I would have used my fingers on these; partially because they look like cream shadows and partially because I’m super tactile and these look like they feel amazing…. (All my germaphobe ladies just shuddered, didn’t you? :-)

    Rich Sweet and Luxury Touch look STUNNING. Since they apply so much better with a brush, I’m surprised MAC didn’t think to include a tiny one in the packaging or tell you to use one when applying. That’s a misstep I’m not used to MAC making.

    Do to the nature of these, I’d defintely use these as a special occasion or weekend product when I have more time. Looking at some of the other shades in the collection, my other big pick is Spread the Wealth, a olive green. It’s a shame these don’t apply easily; I would have tried them in the store and then promptly discarded them because I wouldn’t have taken the time with them. But after seeing Stef’s layered pics (especially Rich Sweet with Tempting layered over it!) I think they deserve a look.

    Thanks, @stef!!

    1. @lyssachelle – HA! I am so not a germaphobe. I love touching my makeup (much to @tyna‘s dismay. Side note: it must run in her family, I saw her sister once pass out because I was touching the hand rail on an escalator. I mock went to lick my hand and her eyes nearly popped out of her head! But I digress…)

      MAC is promoting a brush with this collection, I mistakenly left it out of the launch list but it’s in there now. I don’t think they’ve ever included brushes or applicator with their products though. Anyone know if that’s true?

  4. The only MAC products I’ve ever seen with brushes included are some of their holiday lip palettes.
    You got great results with the shadows @stef but I’m not sure if I’m going to jump on them right away. I agree with @lyssachelle that these would be great special occasion products. I am very tempted by the green Zoom Lash… so pretty!

  5. I think I would like The Cool Elite and Rich Sweet for making neutral looks pop more. But this collection doesn’t have a real draw for me.

  6. Wow – the color on some of these products is ah-mazing! Love the Green is Green mascara – you can really see the color in that one! So many colored mascaras lose their color on the lashes – not here.

    And like everyone else has mentioned – love your list of Dos and Don’ts for the Big Bounce Shadows – I totally would have have used my fingers, tried to blend too much and been sad with the results.

  7. MAC – always up to something.. Digging the colored mascaras too. They usually are not that great looking on.. Flighty looks flighty all right! Big Bounce eye shadows sure are super unique, huh? I’m not a germaphobe either. I like getting my fingers into most of my makeup- but a fine brush is also a plus- especially with soemthing like these. I want to check them out in person. You almost think they belong on a cupcake or something! I won’t say anything about them until I see it myself! With these you can expect mixed opinions. I bet when you have this line professionally applied, it would be something else. @stef, you sure did a stand up job on getting them on your eyes, and arm! The colors have lots of shine! Are the containers super small?

  8. This collection makes me early drool. The colors are so, so, so beautiful. I’m glad to read the brush tip as I would have just used my fingers! I don’t think I’ll be partaking in these eyeshadows as creams tend to crease and melt terribly on my eyelids no matter how well they seem to set at first. But colored mascara? I’m on it!

  9. These are gorgeous colors but I too would’ve been doing all the wrong things to make these work. Great review @stef! This was extremely helpful. Honestly, despite being such beautiful shades I would hesitate to buy these because they seem a bit too finicky. Or maybe I’m just too lazy when it comes to my make up application. LOL.

  10. After reading the review, I decided these Big Bounce eyeshadows are just too fussy for me. I love to spend some time on my makeup, but it sounded a bit too much even for me…. until I saw the pics of @Stef‘s eyes with eyeshadow layered over them! Seriously, my jaw just about hit the floor.

  11. I think if I had more time to play with makeup I might like these. But I’m not sure if they would work for me. In still photos they are beautiful and I like that they are called Big Bounce because they resemble big pretty bouncy balls…but I have a huge feeling the formula is not for me.

  12. These are stunning and I think they’d be worth the extra effort for a special occasion – especially the green! (or the brown or the purple!). It’s a good thing we have a conscientious reviewer like you, Stef, for figuring out how to use them properly. You probably saved the company alot of complaints and returns with your tips – I for one am with the other girls, and would’ve applied them exactly as your “don’t” list describes not to. Well done and beautiful pics.

  13. Count Your Assets and Plum Reserve sound mighty nice. I can see that the shadow might require some extra work but sometimes it is worth it! I agree that these would be nice for a night when you are trying to got that extra mile!

  14. These look so pretty, but too complicated for me. I agree with everyone else…nice for a night out, but probably not practical for me on a daily basis.

  15. These sound waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too fussy! I would have more fun sticking my fingers in these and using them for finger painting or doing something artsy (all my germaphobe ladies, shudder now.) Of course, I don’t think I’d like to finger paint with something that expensive. I’ll finger paint with, you know, PAINT (I fully realize that being 22 I shouldn’t be finger painting, but I am eccentric–as my mom says–and so finger painting in my book is A-OK. Adults are fully boring. Live a little).

    They looked like they’d be this super cool, long lasting eye cream when I saw them, but I guess they’re the exact opposite. I think they need some serious tweakage.

  16. Wow thanks for all the tips on these! Even though it’s extra work they look spectacular and worth the effort. I don’t know if I could pull off the green mascara but the rest I could definitely have some fun with!

  17. I had the pleasure of trying out the Luxury Touch Big Bounce Eyeshadow. It is a really pretty plum with a silver shimmer, and looks really cool on. I totally agree with Stef’s Do’s and Don’ts… they are not super easy to work with, and definitely work better with a brush than using your fingers. I found you can’t layer with fingers, because it just moves around too much and starts to clump in places. The brush works best and I did get in 2 layers for extra impact. I thought it was worth the extra effort though because this shadow gives a great creamy shot of color that is sometimes hard to achieve with a powder. I knew it looked good when my 9th grade students wanted to know what eyeshadow I had on and what color I was wearing! I say four stars because I would try another of these out for the fun colors and different look they give you.

  18. I got to try out The Cool Elite–I highly recommend reading the how-to’s listed above. These are not a standard cream shadow and pretty much require a brush to apply if you want even color payoff. I was able to use my fingers on the shade I tested because it’s basically white and I didn’t want to have it look white–I just wanted a hint of shimmer. That being said, I didn’t get a hint of shimmer–I got chunk glitter. The shimmer in this is slightly finer than craft glitter and just didn’t work on me. I used this to bring out the color in other shadows (i.e. a white, glittery canvas) and while it made the colors pop, there was just too much “disco ball” effect for me. Not using primer, this was gone within an hour. Using primer, these lasted 2 hours–they would have lasted more, but my eyelids felt like they were being irritated–hot and itchy and swelling–and my eyes themselves felt itchy and were red and irritated. I’m not sure, but I might be allergic to one of the ingredients in this? I had to remove this stuff before the test run was fully completed. 2 stars from me.

  19. I received Big Bounce in Extra Charged, the bright, medium green with electric blue micro glitter, a mermaid-worthy color that makes my heart swell with happiness. At the same time, the effort of getting it on my eyes evenly makes my heart sink a little. I’m thankful for @stef ‘s list of Big Bounce Dos and Don’ts, which helped me get a handle on this beautiful but challenging shadow. For instance, it was so hard for me to resist blending, but patting it on with a brush was the only way it worked. And yes, it makes a great primer! Even with the learning curve, the color is SO beautiful, I can only subtract one star for difficulty. 4 stars for Extra Charged– so pretty, it’s worth the effort!

  20. I was really excited when I received Rich, Sweet to test out for weheartthis. It is a fairly sheer brown color on lids… maybe closer to taupge? It doesn’t look much like the gorgeous color in the pot, in any case. And I agree with every single one of @Stef‘s DOs and DON’Ts regarding the Big Bounce eyeshadows.

    I decided to be a rebel and try using my finger to apply these, just to see for myself how it wound up–I had tons on my finger, and barely any on my lid, and it was incredibly blotchy! I tried again with a flat brush, patting and gently sweeping the color on, and had much better results. The color is somewhat buildable (but not super pigmented), and definitely NOT blendable. With a primer, and shadow layered over it, they won’t crease, but it does seem to fade by the end of the day.

    Overall, it’s a lovely color and an interesting idea. But as someone who has tried similar MAC products (MAC Paints and MAC Paintpots), this falls short. MAC’s other products can be worn alone, and can be blended, and are similar in quantity and price. I give MAC Big Bounce eyeshadows 3 stars.

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