MAC Cosmetics Products And Company Review: Mac It Up With Mac!

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You’ll have a hard time finding a cosmetic company with a bigger selection of products than MAC Cosmetics. You’ll also have a hard time finding a mall without a MAC store (not to be confused with the Apple store!) or a woman without a MAC product in her makeup bag. Globally recognized as one of the leaders of cosmetics, MAC is one of the three largest cosmetic companies in the world. The company boasts over 500 independent MAC stores, thousands of MAC counters in stores such as Nordstrom and Sack’s, and over one billion dollars in revenue a year.

Originally formulated for professional use in film and photography, MAC Cosmetics is now loved by celebrities and consumers alike, with endorsements from Madonna to Rihanna to Lady Diana. The brand’s energy is fueled by their motto – “All ages, All races, All sexes.” – which boldly proclaims their commitment to providing everyone with the creative outlet to express their individuality through makeup.

Trendsetting everything from fashion glam to urban culture, MAC stays one step ahead of the game. It does this by releasing impressive new products and fashion forward limited edition collections. MAC also keeps their social media game on point. The company interacts directly with their fans daily, answering questions and concerns and promoting products. Let’s take a step back and look at how this amazing brand came to be. Welcome to our MAC Cosmetics overview!

History and Background of MAC Cosmetics

Mac store front.

Mac Cosmetics Store.

In 1984, Make-Up Art Cosmetics was born in a Toronto home kitchen. Makeup artist and photographer Frank Toskan and salon owner Frank Angelo became frustrated with the lack of makeup being sold that looked good under bright flash photography and held up under hot stage lights. They decided to scrap commercial products and simply make their own.

The two started producing make up in their kitchen. It wasn’t long until they were selling it out of the salon to fellow makeup artists and photographers. Within a short period of time, models, fashion magazines, and stylists began noticing these much needed niche products on the marke. Soon enough, word of mouth buzz allowed MAC to open up its first counter in a department store in Toronto.

During a time in which most cosmetic companies were concerned with skin care and balanced and toning, MAC gave people access to bold colors that completely shattered the mold. This is exactly what allowed them to break into the fashion world. Shortly after launching their line, the fast rising Madonna appeared in a photoshoot wearing their intense matte red lipstick, and was later seen wearing a MAC T-shirt.

Lush was also breaking new ground in cosmetics during this time, and companies like Estée Lauder ruled the roost, but MAC blazed a trail of its own.

All these new eyeballs helped them take the world by storm, and soon MAC became an industry standard backstage. The products were originally intended for makeup professionals, but seeing all of these icons wearing their bold and unique combos got the public interested in getting their hands on these new looks as well, and MAC was soon selling all over Canada and the United States in all of the big department stores.

Celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Cher, and Janet Jackson quickly embraced this new world of makeup art without even being solicited by MAC, and reserved MAC its spot at the forefront of the fast paced fashion game.

MAC Cosmetics Products Overview

Mac logo above assortment of mac makeup products.

Mac Cosmetics Products.

“All ages, All races, All sexes.” Mac demonstrates this by creating products for every skin type and tone. They make liquid based, mineral based, and powder based cosmetics, so that even people with dry or oily skin can easily find a MAC product that perfectly fits their needs (and desires).

They make lipsticks, eye shadows, mascaras, primers, foundations and moisturizers, just to name a few! These are made in shades ranging from gentle “next to nothing” to in your face “metallic lips.” MAC also produces custom brushes and tools that are designed to work specifically with MAC products. This is meant to ensure that MAC fans get the absolute best results from their products.

Some of MAC’s most anticipated releases are their pallets and kits, which sometimes contain a whole package focusing on a certain look. Other times, MAC provides their fans with an exciting assortment of bold colors to experiment with.

With new products being released all the time, it’s never a dull moment at MAC. Below are a selection of some of my favorite MAC products, reviewed for your pleasure. But don’t just take my word for it – start enjoying MAC for yourself!

MAC Cosmetics Retro Matte Lipstick Review

Building on the iconic Ruby Woo lipstick that built MAC’s name, MAC released matte lipsticks in a similar style. They marketed the lipsticks under exciting names like “dangerous” and “all fired up.” This line is perfect if you’re looking for a lipstick that will stay on all day without bleeding or transferring, and many people swear by the Ruby Woo as the only red they wear.

I’ve seen people with every skin tone rocking one of these MAC mattes, which MAC boasts has “hundreds of hues,” and I would have to agree with that. Looking at the swatches you see blue, red, purple, pink, and even the perfect amounts of mysterious brown. This allows it to match most skin tones and outfits from lazy Sundays to late night cocktails.

Since it is a matte, you’ll need to make sure your lips are well hydrated first to keep your lips from drying out too much.

MAC Cosmetics Lip Pencil Review

Lip pencil.

MAC Cosmetics Lip Pencil.

The company has an impressive selection of lip pencils that are carefully crafted to match the extensive array of lipsticks the offer. They go on easily, stay all day, and do their job of preventing smudging and feathering. They’re also a great choice if you’re looking to draw some strong lip lines and curves, since the application is very smooth.

You can find these in kits that come matching the exact lipstick color, or individually as universal colors that match a wider range of shades. I think they have close to 70 to choose from, so perfect matching will definitely not be an issue!

MAC Cosmetics Prep + Prime Lip Review

MAC Cosmetics Prep + Prime Lip.

MAC Cosmetics Prep + Prime Lip.

There seems to be a love it or hate it relationship with this lip primer – like the kind offered by Too Faced. What it really boils down to is what kind of lips you have and what your beauty habits are. If you take good care of your lips, always keep on a layer of lip balm, and generally use higher-end lipsticks, then this probably won’t do you much good.

For people with dry lips who love a matte lipstick, or people who wear lipstick all the time, putting on some MAC Prep + Prime can really help their lips stay moist and soft. It also will help cheap lipstick stay on longer and look a lot smoother without drying out. It does makes lipstick come off a lot easier at the end of the day, so it definitely has its perks. The only downside is that it falls out of the tube easily, so let it out slowly.

MAC Cosmetics Eye Shadow X 15 Review

Open eyeshadow palette.

MAC Cosmetics Eye Shadow X 15.

The MAC Eye Shadow X 15 pallets contain a combination of 15 different shades. The 3 pallets available are: In the Flesh, Warm Neutral, and Cool Neutral. Pallets are always fun since there are literally an infinite number of combination you can do, and all the colors in each of these MAC pallets blend beautifully well.

You don’t have to be a makeup expert to make these look good. They can be applied also with a wet brush to give them a little deeper pigmentation. This adds an even broader range of unique shade options.

These pallets represent the company’s mission, giving you the freedom to create a new look every day. You can start the week with a nice nude, and finish the weekend with some intense smoky eyes. I sometimes forget about other eye shadows and just go straight to this pallet first thing in the morning. Why not, right?

MAC Cosmetics LiquidLast Liner Review

Black eyeliner with lid off.

MAC Liquidlast Liner.

The MAC Liquidlast Liner is jet black and has a super fine brush tip. Some people prefer wider felt tips, but I personally think the super fine precision you get with this brush tip is amazing. Especially since wings have become so trendy, having that pinpoint precision is really important to me. The eyeliner is super long lasting and completely waterproof, so it’ll stay on in the pool, while sweating at the gym, and during those hour long tans at the humid beach.

Although I wouldn’t recommend it, you could sleep all night with this on and wake up in the morning with your wings still in perfect shape. However, this does mean that it’s extremely difficult to remove, and the consistency can get a little messy when applying. I would make sure that you have some extra time in the morning to put in on carefully, and keep a different eyeliner around if you need something quick and easy on the go – Maybe CoverGirl?

MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Review

The MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 is a medium to full coverage foundation that is easily build-able and blendable. It comes in a ton of shades from C3.5 all the way to NW58, so even people with tricky to match skin tones should have no problem finding a match.

The consistency is a powdery liquid kind of creamy texture. This gives amazing results for people with oily skin. However, if you have normal to dry skin, I would look elsewhere. That is, unless you use it with a really good moisturizer. Even if you have combo skin, I would use this only on the oily areas. Then use a different foundation for the dry parts of your face.

While nice that it has 15 SPF, the truth about SPF in makeup – like you find in Physicians Formula products – is that you need to layer on way more product than any sane person would ever dream of to actually get that full protection. Therefore, you still need proper sunscreen in the summer. The biggest complaint I have about this otherwise awesome foundation is that you have to buy the application pump separately, which I suppose is worth it if you plan to use this as your daily foundation.

All in all, an excellent foundation from MAC that will stay on your face for a solid 12 hours.

MAC Cosmetics vs. Urban Decay

Urban Decay Logo.

Urban Decay Logo.

MAC and Urban Decay are both in the same price/quality range with huge fanbases. When it comes to picking a ‘winner,’ it really comes down to personal preference. The UD Naked and MAC Eye Shadow X 15 which we covered earlier are both pallets dedicated to a more natural look. Overall, I’d say that MAC definitely has a more matte finish and will stay on longer during a night out. However, the UD gives a super natural look and the shades have a bit more sheen to them.

Although UD has upped their game in face care, MAC still has the best formulas for their foundations. This may be because they’ve had an extra 12 years to perfect the potion! MAC seems to have figured out the trick to making foundations that work with soooo many different skin types, which is a huge challenge when making commercial products for a global market. Once you’ve got a nice foundation on though, UD has some really exciting colors for creating trendy new combos.

Is MAC Cosmetics Cruelty Free?

This is a huge topic of discussion right now in cosmetics due to pressure applied by consumers and animal activists alike. MAC was proudly cruelty free until several years ago, when its parent company Estée Lauder expanded all of its products into the Chinese market. MAC’s policy statement says that it does not test on animals unless required by law. However, the current law in China is that all cosmetics must be tested on animals before being sold.

MAC is not willing to drop the Chinese market in order to regain the smaller vegan market, and are instead working with other big cosmetic brands, along with The Institutes of In Vitro Sciences, to change the laws in China and develop alternative chemical tests that the government will accept instead of animal testing. However, the bottom line is that MAC does test on animals for the Chinese market.


MAC is definitely one of the biggest names in makeup, and they clearly earned it with their incredible products. Of course you should experiment with different brands to find exactly what your face needs for each part and look. Still, MAC is definitely true to their motto. Finding a perfect match for your skin will not be a challenge with them.

I personally like the idea of having your solid high quality MAC lineup, and then being able to buy tons of cheap fun makeup to go over them and accentuate them, with still keeping the high quality MAC look and staying power. If you’re not turned off by the animal testing, MAC definitely has something special you can fall in love with.