Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Kitschmas vs. Kitschmas: The Results

Much to the dismay of neat-freaks everywhere, pigments once again exploded in my household. I conducted this messy project in my kitchen (easier to clean) with a very small (pocket-sized!) digital scale that can weigh up to 500 grams. I go through the entire process in detail further into the post. This is a follow-up to my original comparison post from a few days ago.  I used ounces for comparison, particularly because you get more decimal places using ounces, so I feel like it’s more accurate that way.

Kitschmas: Original Packaging, Labeled 7.5 grams / 0.26 oz.

  • Actual Weight: 8.7 grams / 0.280 oz.
  • Empty Jar Weight: 0.402 oz.
  • Total Jar Weight: 0.670 oz.
  • Bonus: You got 1.2 grams / 0.020 oz. more than you expected! :)
  • Sad: Lost approximately 0.012 oz. in transporting it back into the packaging :(

Kitschmas: New Packaging, Labeled 4.5 grams / 0.15 oz.

  • Actual Weight: 6.0 grams / 0.212 oz.
  • Empty Jar Weight: 0.282 oz.
  • Total Jar Weight: 0.476 oz.
  • Bonus: You got 1.5 grams / 0.062 oz. more than you expected! :)
  • Sad: Lost approximately 0.018 oz. in transporting it back into the packaging :(

One of the bigger concerns I saw voiced in the comments was paying the same price for 40% less. In the comparison between the two jars of Kitschmas, you still ended up with 0.212 oz. of Kitschmas, even in the new packaging. Everyone believed and expected MAC to give them 0.26 oz. of pigment before (though it is clear that they give you more, which is actually a common practice). So, I’m only going to look at that, but in this instance, you aren’t losing 40%. You’re really losing 0.048 oz. or 18.5%.

Keep in mind that MAC only need meet the advertised label of 0.15 oz., so your mileage may vary. Rich Life weighed in at .212 oz. as well, while Universal Mix weighed in at 0.187 oz.  I do want to be honest and tell you that it’s the same Universal Mix I used for the original comparison post, so I imagine I lost (at least, because I did a lot of transferring back and forth) 0.012 oz. (this is based on how much I lost just doing these minimal transfers for Kitschmas comparisons).

From weighing several different jars, it seems common practice for MAC to overfill, rather than exactly fill, their pigment jars. For instance, Push the Edge should only have 0.15 oz. of product in it, but it actually has 0.427 oz.–that’s over twice the amount advertised.

See both instructional step-by-step and full-sized (and additional) photos through the process, PLUS weights of other pigment jars for comparison…

Weights of Other Jars

For the sake of argument, the majority of pigments in the older packaging were labeled 7.5 grams / 0.26 oz. — this is the net weight, or the actual product weight. Based on weighing an empty jar, an old empty jar weighs 0.402 oz. So, a jar of 0.26 oz. pigment should weigh a total of 0.662 oz. total. (Please note, I weighed and used empty jars without the lid for the entire time.) An old jar of 4.3g / 0.15 oz. should thus weigh 0.552 oz. A new jar labeled 4.5g / 0.15 oz. should then weigh 0.432 oz.

  • Blonde’s Gold is supposed to be 4.3g / 0.15 oz., so it should weigh a good 0.552 oz. The one I weighed (though to be sure, mine also says 7.5 grams, and I imagine I lost 0.01 to 0.02 oz. from the original comparison, haha) came in at 0.646 oz. Blonde’s Gold thus has a net weight of 0.244 oz.
  • Milk is supposed to be 7.5g / 0.26 oz. It actually weighs 0.713, which means its net weight is 0.311 oz. This is actually an additional 0.051 oz. than is advertised.
  • Rich Life is supposed to be 4.5g / 0.15 oz. It actually weighs 0.494 oz., which means its net weight is 0.212 oz. This is 0.062 oz. more than advertised. This is, thus, only 0.048 oz. less than before.
  • Universal Mix is supposed to be 4.5g / 0.15 oz. It actually weighs 0.469 oz., which means its net weight is 0.187 oz. This is 0.037 oz. more than advertised, but 0.073 oz. less.  For the record, I used this pigment to compare earlier this week, so I probably lost around 0.010 to 0.020 oz. of product… easily.  It was pretty freakin’ messy the first time around.
  • Push the Edge is supposed to be 4.3g / 0.15 oz. It actually weighs 0.829 oz., which means its net weight is 0.427 oz. This is 0.277 oz. more than advertised. This is also 0.167 oz. more than even the 7.5g / 0.26 oz. jars. This was the heaviest of the jars I was able to weigh. Go figure.
  • Brash & Bold is supposed to be 4.3g / 0.15 oz. It actually weighs 0.656 oz., which means its net weight is 0.254 oz. This is 0.104 oz. more than advertised, and only 0.06 oz. less than the 7.5g / 0.26 oz. jars.
  • Dark Soul is supposed to be 7.5g / 0.26 oz. It actually weighs 0.702 oz., which means its net weight is 0.300 oz. This is 0.400 oz. more than advertised.

The Process

Step 1: Purchase one old jar and one new jar of the same pigment. Cross fingers they have something light in stock so it doesn’t look like a chimney blew up in my kitchen. Success — purchased one jar of Kitschmas labeled 7.5g and one jar of Kitschmas labeled 4.5g.

Step 2: Purchase a digital scale that can weigh in 0.00 oz. Preferrably cheap! (Got this one for under $20, yay!) Figure out a way to weigh pixie dust without spilling everywhere… Decided to use the cover of the scale as a tray, because otherwise you couldn’t see the weight, which kind of nullified the whole sha-bang. Flip tray, zero out the scale.

Step 3: Lay a small strip of wax paper on top of the scale (so Kitschmas isn’t found in every crevice of my kitchen!), zero out the scale again (hey, each strip of wax paper weighs about 0.02 oz., for your reference — every little bit counts!). Then remove the wax strip and lay on the counter. Dump out the fat ol’ jar of Kitschmas (7.5g) onto the strip. Make sure tap on the sides and bottom, because you’ll miss a lot if you don’t (no, seriously, huge clumps!). Then place onto scale and back away. Oops, got some on the scale…

Step 4: Repeat step 3, except dump out the skinny new jar of Kitschmas (4.5g) onto another strip (that I also made sure to zero out).

Step 5: Weigh each [nearly] empty jar. Use a paper towel to remove the residue that refuses to come out, rinse with water if you feel lucky. It’s a pain in the behind to get every little piece of pixie dust out of the jar, but at some point, you just have to say, “Fine, you win, Kitschmas!” and leave those morsels to rest in the jar.

Step 6: Fill the skinny new jar (4.5g) with water, just before the rim — it’s maybe 4-5mm below the rim of the jar. Basically, I filled it as high as the pigment had filled it earlier. Dump that into the fat ol’ jar (7.5g). Note the difference. If you’re way more kitchen savvy, use a measuring cup that can measure this low (I failed here).

Step 7: Dump the respective pigment piles back into their jars. Cry a little inside because you lose some in the process to the hungry counter. And perhaps the floor.

Step 8: Weigh as many full-sized, brand-new (or used one time… maybe) pigments as you have available. I weighed Blonde’s Gold (the same one that I used before — that is also labeled 7.5g, not 4.3g as the majority are), Milk (labeled 7.5g), Rich Life (labeled 4.5g), Universal Life (labeled 4.5g), Push the Edge (labeled 4.3g), Brash & Bold (labeled 4.3g), & Dark Soul (labeled 7.5g).

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139 thoughts on “Old vs. New MAC Pigment Packaging: Kitschmas vs. Kitschmas (aka Part 2)

  1. Sixx

    Congratulations on your scientific research. This should be published in a journal.

  2. jillo

    A lot of companies are downsizing their products but not decreasing the prices, in this case I don’t mind so much. Even after pressing my pigments the original jars are still packed. There is no way I will ever use a jar. But for many it is the principle or the matter, I would rather this than a price increase with the old size.

  3. Sam

    I really hate the new packaging :/

    • Wilcoa

      Agreed… I was thinking about buying one of the new piggies, but I really hated the packaging, so I turned away.

  4. xoBellaCullenxo

    i prefer the old pigments :(

  5. I’m personally not much bothered by the change in packaging because I don’t usually purchase whole pigments, and prefer to use the samples I swap or buy loose anyway (though I am a teensy bit worried I’ll have a harder time swapping for/buying them now), but I just wanted to say thank you for going to all the trouble to do this comparison for us. I really appreciate all the effort you put in, the pictures and the description of your process. =)

  6. Jenni

    and.. life goes on. :)
    thanks christine for all your hard work!

  7. Melissa

    Thanks for this, Christine.
    There has been so much uproar over in the the MAC community on LJ so I hope you post this there. And to be honest, I don’t mind the newer jars. I honestly don’t mind the downsizing, either. If they’re going with this big of a change-perhaps they’ll be coming out with some awesome colors soon!

    • I have lots of the old jars, and I can be OCD about them, but I actually do like the new packaging. It looks and feels newer and more modern, so I like that. I can imagine them looking quite cute all together, haha.

  8. This is the latest in a long line of crappy behaviour from MAC, in my opinion. An awful lot of things about them bug me, and whereas I can see that:

    A) A 40% quantity reduction for the same price is preferable to a 40% price increase (although they are, essentially the same, and irrespective of whether or not some jars are overfilled, there’s no guarantee they will be).
    B) This isn’t the first time they’ve hiked prices/reduced quantity for the same price.
    C) They may have financial losses.

    I still can’t believe that the company is in so much trouble that it justifies a 40% price increase. That’s effing huge, and it came after a price increase on a lot of products last year. Since I live in the UK, I’m used to paying more anyway (I remember being appalled at the huge mark-up on the Hello Kitty collection accessories) and I know Canadians will feel that pain, so at this point I’m a little tired of being screwed over.

    Particularly after dealing with their recent spat of dull collections, useless, uninformative spammy e-mails, and steadily declining product quality.

    Still, it was good of you to sacrifice product and messiness for the sake of the comparison.

    • I would like to point out that it’s not really a 40% price increase. It could be, perhaps, a cost decrease and thus an increase against previous margins so they do see more profit than before (I would likely expect them to in this instance), but we’re not actually giving MAC 40% more of our money. We don’t know that the cost to them is $2 or $8 or it started as $5 last year and is now $8, or maybe it’s $1. It’s one item, not the entire product range that’s been given this treatment of significant reduction in quantity or increase in price, as far as I know, so I don’t think it necessarily shows that they’re in a lot of trouble or a little trouble or trouble at all, really.

      Estee Lauder companies, including MAC, typically raise all product prices by $0.50 to $2.50 per year, though.

      I have no doubt the markup on MAC products, in general, is significant. I don’t know why some brands are priced higher outside of the U.S., though.

      • It is a price increase.

        If you paid 40% more for the same amount of product, that’s a 40% price increase.
        If you pay the same amount for 40% less product, that’s a 40% price increase.

        Talking about price-per-gram, rather than what you’re actually paying out. You’re getting less for the same amount, thus the cost of the product (the amount of product you’re paying for) is higher.

        I did it with the exact figures:

        7.5g for $19.50 = $2.60 per gram

        4.5g for $19.50 = $4.33 per gram

        $2.60/$4.33 = 0.60046189376443418013 x 100 = 60%

        If $2.60 is 60% of $4.33 then $4.33 is 40% more than $2.60, so the new MAC pigment is 40% more per gram than the old one. The total amount you’re paying hasn’t increased, but as the quantity you’re recieving is decreased, the unit cost is increased.

        Hence why I said it is, essentially, a 40% price increase. Which is a massive hike.

        I used the US price here, but in England a pigment is £15 GBP which is a snip under $24.

        • I think it’s really just semantics… you can call it a price increase, a quantity decrease… I was talking about the actual price, the price consumers pay, not the price per ounce or gram, which, obviously, goes up when quantity decreases and price stays the same/increases through basic math as you showed above.

          • Yeah, it’s an increase per gram, the total I’m paying isn’t more, but the value is dramatically reduced. It might not matter if you don’t use up the jar, but I was paying $2.60 a gram and now I’m paying $4.33 a gram. What if I gave half my pigment away to my mother? What about people who sell pigment samples?

            For me, it’s more the principal of them making the increase. MAC would be making 40% more out of me than they were before, and I’m not getting anything out of it.

            If they’d compromised, cut the size down more but also made it cheaper (even if it was still, technically, raising price per gram to higher than it was) I wouldn’t mind, because I didn’t NEED 7.5g, and then I’d be getting something out of it. In marketing we call it the proposition, it’s the what’s-in-it-for-the-customer.

            Anyway, I’ll shut up. My 2.60 cents :3

            • People who sell pigments probably profited — I did it and I didn’t do it so I could make $0. I’m not saying it’s a ton, but hey, it wasn’t for free, lol!

              I halved a ton of my jars a few years ago, so I don’t have many full jars, but I don’t even think I’ve touched more than five pigments in the past month, so they’ll all last me forever and a bajillion years so it’s more than I need, so I guess the “value” is the same for me, y’know? Value is definitely something that varies person to person, which is why I can understand why some won’t buy pigments in the new packaging and why others would and why others don’t care at all.

              I love discussing and hearing everyone’s thoughts, so thank you for your $2.60 cents 😉

            • I know I said I’d go away, I lied :[

              I guess I kind’ve think of it the way I do about a high-end computer. I might buy a quad-core PC with more processing power than I will ever reasonably use, and a graphics card which could run 12 instances of Crysis 2 without problems. I might only ever use that $5000ish PC for checking my e-mail and playing Mindsweeper. I might not use all the power I paid for, but it’s there, should I decide to use it. Should, in the future, a game come out which demands that kind of processing power, I have it because I paid for it.

              If I was asked to instead pay $5000 for a dual-core PC with a graphics card only half as good, even if that was still adequate or more than adequate for my needs, I’d be pretty ticked about it. I’d still be getting less than what I would’ve paid for previously, and it would mean that in the future, I wouldn’t have the option to use what I’d paid for.

              I’ve been going off MAC steadily anyway, but this kind’ve pushes me more firmly into indie-cosmetics land. Like you, I also haven’t touched my pigments in ages, so although I’ll never run out, I can’t see myself paying $4.33 for any more, either.

              That is, unless they bring out any kind of amazing lightsaber green. Then we’ll see =D

            • I can see that, but you can also see that a computer probably has more utility than a pigment (unless you’re a makeup artist) that maybe in the future your needs change and you need the extra power type-deal. I understand the point you’re making, though! I find myself hard-pressed to try or use cosmetics from “indie” brands, because I’m a huge, huge germaphobe.

              Like I can’t even fathom how anyone could possibly use up an entire jar of pigment as a regular consumer unless they spilled some. I think I used Gold Dusk for weeks on end, and I don’t know that you could even tell, lol! I’ll happily pay the same price and get less, because I do really enjoy pigments and think they’re well worth $19.50, even if it’s less than before. But my sense of value has been skewed every since I bought that Cle de Peau gloss 😉

            • Jenny

              Thank you, Anastasia. This is exactly what I thought and I feel the same way.. it IS a price increase. Sure you’re paying the same $19.50 for a pigment, but you still get less product. I did my basic math below :)

              new small jar + same price = price increase.

              It still doesn’t sit well with me. I’m a sucker for MAC, but I know once I see those new pigment jars, it’ll just put me off. I just can’t seem to shake off the feeling of being gypped.

        • We see things the same way. In absolute, it’s a price increase. Period.

          20€ for a pigment in France (=28$) was already big in itself and bigger than what US girls pay. Recently in my country, most of MAC products have increased (1 or 2 euros depending if it’s a pigment, an eyeshadow, or a lipstick…). One euro is probably almost nothing (1,4$) but at the end it weight on the balance. Pigment gained 2 euros in 2 years (more or less 3$) and now they reduce the size? Come on. Maybe is that because of the recent price increase that I feel that MAC is really getting greedy. Who wouldn’t feel this way?

          In my country, such practises are called “augmentation masquée” (masked increase) and it’s common way to increase the price of a product without openly making it more expensive. Basically, the costumer pay the same price, the pill is easier to swallow than if they had to make a 40% increase of the price of old jarred pigments.

          I’m like all girls. I have bought full sized pigments that will take 3 lifes to be finished, so the quantity in itself doesn’t bother me much but what I hate it that MAC practized the masked increasing, the typical old hypocrisy right after a price increase.

  9. Rachel

    Lol. That’s awesome. You don’t mess around! 😉

  10. Thanks for doing this again! Much better comparison this time, and i’m sure everyone really appreciates it. :]

  11. Laura

    If weight really does vary that much with MAC pigments, a more definitive conclusion would come from data collected comparing volume.

    Comparing by volume is also more useful if they commonly don’t actually sell by the weight listed, but rather use that as their baseline of what they have to meet and then fill the jar from there. In that case, they’re using weight as a minimum, but are actually selling by volume.

    I, personally, don’t really care. I don’t buy their pigments, but I think that would be a way to potentially improve upon your conclusions.

    • I’m kind of over it, at this point, LOL. I’m definitely not going to spend another two hours mucking around with pigments and scales and all that.

      Though I’m curious, how would one best measure for volume?

      I filled up the old jar with the water that filled the new jar, and they were close — the old jar had about 3-4 mm that could have been filled higher.

      There are, though, many pigments that don’t fill up the jar, so they do fill at weight or at least partially do, I guess? Matte pigments, for instance, often come 1/2 full. Glitters are typically less than full as well. I think there are some mattes that (at least, used to) weigh 2 g but still have the same sized jar as the 7.5g pigments. Sooo, I don’t really know, lol!

      • Laura

        Basically you would just measure how much water it would take to fill the jars and compare that. If they don’t actually fill all the jars though, it’s another inconclusive method. Bleh.

        It kinda sounds like they should pick a way to fill their jars and stick to it, huh?

        • Yeah, I just filled the jars, but my liquid measuring cup doesn’t measure that low, LOL. It barely reached the “0” line on my cup. But eyeballing it, there wasn’t a huge, huge volume difference (certainly not 40% or even 20%).

          I think the metal pigments may even come filled at 1/3 even! It’s all very confusing!

  12. Another difference a MUA told me about is the new cap is rubberized. It’s also made to close/lock better. In all honesty, three seconds after she told me it was made to be more spill-proof, I spilled the pigment all over the counter :). I swear it was accidental.

  13. Christine, thanks SO much for revisiting this topic again and again for us. You’ve successfully put my mind at ease, and I will continue to buy pigments. I’ve never even made a dent in my 20 other jars, anyways, and hey, the packaging is a bit cute. :)

    Thanks for taking the time to do this!

  14. Sweetpearl

    Thanks so much for going through all that trouble to proove us that change isnt really that bad =)

  15. Jennifer

    I like the new packaging… It is like the pigment went on a little diet and grew a bit taller.

  16. I went to mac today to check out the collections, and she was mentioning how at the beginning of each year high end brands usually up their price. For example, the guerlain lippie with the mirror is $46 now and I remembered it was $45 when I really wanted to get it.. so MAC just did everyone a favor and gave you less product so you wouldn’t complain about the prices going up because everyone was like you get less product for dazzleglasses and you pay more! You still get more product than you need anyway so there’s no need to complain about some product you’ll never get to. People need to stop being cheap! haha :)

  17. izzy

    i’m more interested in where you got the balance! I need to get one, too.

  18. Aramis

    i really dont mind. I actually like that they downsized instead of charging more. I dont think they would sell as much pigments if they charged $30 or $35 dollars. Just my humble opinion lol though many would disagree.

  19. Aramis

    p.s. thanks for all your hard work that you put into the blog. 2 collection reviews and this and school must be exhausting.

  20. Rae

    Aww, thanks for doing this again Christine! The new packaging still kinda ticks me off, but I’m not too upset over it — I decided not to have pigments in my stash because (unlike MAC shadows,) they have parabens in them, so it’s not super-important to me. I have to admit, the most upsetting part about this for me is that the jars are no longer squat and cute 😛

  21. I was at the Pro store yesterday and I saw they had changed all of the pigments and glitters. I’m not that surprised that they overfill their jars. I do have to note that all old jars will be of the same weight. In my old chemistry class, we used to tare the scale for every beaker or other other prior to weighing the contents. That way you get only what’s in the container and you don’t have to worry about tracking the weight of the container.

  22. Jasmine

    Very informative Christine, thank you for doing this!!!

  23. Jessie

    Thank you for this. But, I’m still a fan of the bigger jar. Won’t this thinner one be more prone to tipping over O.o

    I think I am going to go to my MAC store and buy a bunch of the ones in the old packaging.

    • Anything with a smaller base won’t be as stable as something with a wider base, but I don’t think these topple over very easily. I think if you knock into either the old or the new jar with your elbow (say you turn quickly and oops! knock into it), both will topple — I tried (though with the lids on!), lol!

      You may have to ask if they have them in the back, because from what I’ve heard, all stores changed them out…

      • I was going to post a new comment, but this post kind of relates to what I was going to say:

        I called MAC corporate today and asked if it would be possible to either A) purchase empty NEW containers to decant all of my old pigments into the newer jars – or B) If there was any place that still sold the older jars should a person want to buy up what they could before they were gone.

        A) No. Unfortunately they won’t, and have no future plans to, sell empty jars in the newer design for decanting purposes. I honestly didn’t think they would but I thought it would be worth a shot.

        B) Yes. Should you want to stock up on the older jars, their warehouse in Canada has all of the older styles stockpiled (I think it’s where they are storing the containers shipped from their many MAC stores as well as their on-line supply). First place to try calling would be 1-800-216-7173 which is the number of their “Gone But Not Forgotten” department. If that doesn’t work, all I did was call the regular 800 number (800-588-0070) and they passed me along to the proper people.

        Personally, I like the newer packaging. Taking the cost out of the equasion, I like that the lid is sort of rubberized (easier grip) and I like that it clicks closed, so that you KNOW that it’s closed and won’t unscrew itself if you knock it around a bit. I don’t like the slimmer design though, I find it to be more of a pain to get to the product.

        So there’s my 2 cents on the packaging – And some info for you guys on your options :) I understand WHY they don’t sell empty jars (people could fill them with all kinds of crap and sell them for bucks) but I think they should! Even if it’s just to me :) LOL!

        • I miss the old empty jars they used to sell. They discontinued them like 1-2 years ago? something like that. I remember thinking then, “Are they changing the packaging?” Guess so!

          My store had ’em in the back, though I don’t know if they were being nice (I said I wanted them for comparison photos and didn’t care which one… just preferred a light shade!) and letting me buy from the old stock or not.

          Sucks that they’re not doing that, though. I used to empty those holiday vials into the jars, ’cause I liked the way it all looked together!

      • I’m on such a mission today. One store I went to didn’t have any, but there are like 4 MACs in my immediate area, so I’m gonna call and see if they have any left.

          • dee

            They told me to try the one MAC store in the mall. They had a ridiculous amount of Kitschmas(I saw the drawer) and little bits of everything else. I got Copper Sparkle(which means I get to return the new packaged one I just bought yay), Violet, Pink Bronze and Reflects Rust, which I think was from the Makeup Artists Collection.

      • Faye

        Thanks for doing this, Christine. I’m not that into pigments and I hardly use the ones I have, so I can’t say this affects me too much — but I appreciate your taking the time to evaluate the issue so thoroughly!

        For the person hear who complained that MAC (and other cosmetics) are so much more expensive in Europe — that’s not the company’s fault, it’s because Europe has a VAT the U.S. doesn’t. Extra taxes are added on each step of the production, making the final price much higher. This is why so many cosmetics and other products are cheaper in the U.S. My husband is British, and his mom and sister ask me to CP high-end cosmetics all the time here because the VAT makes them much more expensive in England. In turn, they get me the Euro-only items :).

        • Thats not the only reason for the price increase, although it is a part of it. Often times the increase when you hit countries in the EU is considerably higher than 15% VAT.

          Not on make-up, perhaps, but for example, I live in the UK and when I was shopping for a new laptop, the same one (brand and model) I was interested in was around $300 US, and £300 GBP. Thats an extra $188. Sometimes they just swap the currency over, without bothering to convert.

  24. Melissa

    Thank you for going to all this trouble. It definitely alleviates the kneejerk reaction of ‘hey, they are charging us the same amount for way less product’–it’s really not all that much less after all. Maybe your post will stifle some of the bitching around the MAC communities. :)

  25. And one last comment from me before I forget:

    That’s a BUSY countertop girl! Did you pick that out? It looks like 1975 sneezed all over your kitchen! 😉

  26. Ribbons

    Really good research Christine! & I now feel the need to do some pigment shopping …

  27. Lolly

    Wow, you did a lot to give us some peace of mind!
    I don’t mind the change though because I would never finish it, not even a mini pigment, so those extra 3g are not missed!

  28. Anitacska

    You are very thourough, Christine! My head now hurts after trying to figure out the differences in weight and price per ounce, lol, and I’m an accountant! :) Anyway, I don’t actually care that much, I only own a few jars of pigments and most of them are still sitting there unused, so I don’t think I will go bankrupt buying smaller pigment jars because I ran out – ever! :) I also have no preference as to which jar looks better, I like both, but not enough to care, lol.

  29. happybadfish

    I find pigments to be messy. I always spill some when I use them. I only have 3. I have put small amounts of my pigments into small travel size jars. This way, if I spill it, I only spill a little bit, and I find it easier to put the pigment on my brush when it is only a small bit in the jar. I wish Mac sold their pigments in way smaller sizes, like sample sizes. I don’t buy them because I will never use them all. I am afraid to buy sample sizes off the internet, because it could be fake.

  30. Alexis

    hahaha – I feel like I’m in 11th grade chem class again…boy, did I suck! But if it involved weighing MAC pigments and the chemical ingredient break down I probably would have been top of my class!

  31. Kimber

    Great research on this. I know it has people in an uproar, heck I can barely use up my Bare Escentuals eye shadows which are at least 1/2 the size of the pigments. But you certainly proved with a little science that you’re really not losing as much as you thought, and that inflation sucks no matter how you look at it. :)

    Great work, had me completely fascinated.

  32. HC

    haha awesome post, Christine! Maybe instead of law school, you should become a lab rat for a hospital. I guess after your post, I’m not TOO sad about the pkging change. I definitely know I’ll still be purchasing MAC’s awesome pigments! Sigh.

  33. Mora

    First of all, thank you for this very scientific research. :-)

    I’m still sceptic about the new packaging. If they really put in more than advertised its still a loss, maybe not a such big one as expectet first. Maybe you should know, that in Switzerland we pay 32$ (!!!) for one pigment.

    (but to be honest: i know i will buy also the new packaging – pigments are just amazing) *lol*

    • Oh, definitely – you’re certainly getting less, there’s no real way around it. But people asked to see a same pigment comparison, so I went out and bought everything, and here ya go.

      Another reader mentioned that it’s the VAT that causes such high prices in EU.

      • Mora

        i hope you don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t my intention to critize your work. i really appreciate your comparison.

        germany has a VAT of 19%, Switzerland has only 7.6%. But switzerland is generally a very expensive country.

        • I tried to read up on VAT, but my brain doesn’t want to function. Maybe it’s ’cause it’s Friday…

          I know sales tax where I am is 9.25%, that’s about all I know!

  34. I think this is so ridiculous! The packaging clearly says that the old jar contained 7.5g and the new 4.5g. Simple as that. Why do you have to weigh it yourself?

    • To test to see if you actually get what it is advertised… to see if they’re really giving you what it says, exactly that, or not. Pigments have always been a mystery, as they often fill up the volume of the jar, even though the textures differ.

      Nobody’s disputing that the weight went down…

  35. Stephanie

    I’m going to the CCO this weekend to see what I can find in the old packaging 😀

  36. Desiree

    Thanks for this Christine. I think you proved the point of everyone with rational thought!

    Whether or not you’re getting less or paying more or whatever, we only have one side of the story, the consumer end. Though it may very well be that it takes MAC ‘pennies’ to make pigments, they could have been losing money giving people ‘more’ than what they really were paying for. We were ALWAYS getting too much, that’s why people don’t *finish* pigments (maybe unless you’re a MUA)!

    That’s how I see it. I really think people are just being cheap, to be honest. And maybe just a little greedy–clearly we the consumers aren’t losing very much. I think the only people who should/would be mad are the ones who sale the samples, and I’m of the opinion that that is probably a bigger rip off than buying pigment in its new packaging.

    I do think it may be a bummer for those living in other countries. I’ve lusted over products from the UK before, only to stay away like the plague because the exchange rate *kills* you (shipping is a nightmare, too!).

    • Sometimes it’s hard to separate customer from business, because business isn’t about making a zero-sum, they are in business to profit. And I agree, we have no idea what prompted MAC to make a pretty radical change (not just the price/quantity issue, but the whole repackaging). I guess it is just the business student in me thinking through all of this :)

      Anyone who sells samples will just increase the price, I’d imagine!

  37. Amy

    I’ve purchased several pigments in Europe, and the VAT does not account for the higher price fully.

    At the time, VAT was running around 19%, but the actual prices were more than that % higher. Keep in mind, VAT operates as a tax.

    In the U.S., retail prices are quoted pre-tax. In Europe, VAT is included in the retail price.

    So to do a proper comparison, you’d have to add the 8-10% that US citizens pay on top of the $19.50.

    For some reason (I don’t know why), MAC prices seem higher in the UK than they do in France. Another random bit of information.

    • I’ve always figured that there must be something that accounts for the higher prices (shipping, distribution, legal, tax, etc.), just because it does seem pretty high in comparison to U.S. prices, but I have no idea. It just seemed odd that a brand priced more mid-range here would try to price itself as more high-end elsewhere (I don’t know, if Chanel is only $1-2 more, why buy MAC? would be my feeling if that was the case).

      Thanks, Amy! Trying to understand U.S. taxation is tough enough, trying to wrap my head around the VAT is sooo not what I want to do in the morning!

  38. elizabeth

    thanks so much christine for doing this! you are truly amazing!

  39. Brian Kelly

    I don’t know about some but I’m extremely turned off by all of MAC’s latest move with their products. I can’t really put it in words but there’s just something about it that is both severely boring and crooked with the price increases.

  40. Sara M

    It’s annoying about the not changing the price, but to be honest I’m sick of hearing about it. I think people are making a much larger deal than necessary. *shrug*

  41. imamakeupaddict

    I think people are being ridiculously hard on MAC for this change. It’s not a huge change, and I’d rather less than product than a price increase for the same amount of product. I feel like people just want to complain =/. I bought Universal Mix and Rich Life yesterday, and I think the new jars are awesome. I wish everyone would get over it.

  42. Luisafer

    thanks for all the information!!! that’s a great job!!! totally agree with you, I’ll still buy them

  43. ocelot1

    interesting! thank you so much for doing this; its very helpful.

    just because it may not matter as much to “other” people doesnt mean they have to be B’s about it or bring their lame attitude here…

    you are such an asset to the community Christine! :)

  44. I really appreciate this informative look at the pigment changes. It doesn’t seem as bad when you put it all out there like this. Thanks!

  45. Thanks for the comparison Christine:) Very interesting! Do you (or does anyone here) know if MAC is changing ALL their piggies to this new packaging? And are they just phasing out the old ones as the stores run out of them, or switching over right away to the new ones?

  46. Karen

    Thank you for doing this Christine! It’s very helpful!

    Personally, I don’t find there is anything wrong with MAC doing a price increase/quantity decrease. It is business and their objective is to make money out of it. Like you mentioned before, a price decrease in this business is very rare and often a very drastic measure. Moreover, I actually think as consumers, we might not be as aware of cost changes in raw materials, which prices have been increasing over the years. High-end cosmetics do have a huge margin but raw materials aren’t their only cost. In fact, MAC has been putting together more collaborations with other brands, advertising, collections (even if it’s a really crappy collections…), packaging revamp… Whether or not the above items justify the price increase is a personal issue. I’m a little upset as I can see it’s a essentially a price increase but all in all I think it’s not too outrageous nor do I think is wrong for MAC to do so.

  47. Hannah

    YES! This means that there will be a whole bunch of pigments at my CCO in the old packaging! :)

  48. Andrea


    I’m sorry I didn’t read this post more in depth, but I started to get confused. What I think I gleamed rom this post is that we have always been paying for the JAR and the PIGMENT weights added together? Is that what NET weight means? ie 7.5 grams is the total weight of the JAR with the pigment in it, and not the weight of the just the pigment?

    PS: I notice your Blondes Gold must be really fluffed up because mine and all my other richmetal pigments never came close to filling the rim when new.

    If we are paying for the weight of the jar, and the jars are smaller now, in addition to increased dollars from product decrease MAC should be able to save additional money in shipping costs alone.

    Since most people buy from the actual store, those purchasing online probably won’t share in the decrease of shipping cost.

    • Hi Andrea,

      No, the net weight is the product – the pigment inside, it has nothing to with the the weight of the actual (empty) jar.

      My Blonde’s Gold came filled to the top, definitely not fluffed up… just full! My other Richmetal pigments came full too!

  49. Claire

    thanks. definitely, NO MORE MAC FOR ME! =(

  50. Amy

    Okay, this is off-topic…but Kitschmas is gorgeous and I am being seriously tempted to swerve off the “no-buy” road here. That is like my perfect color, and it’s sparkly. *facepalm* Weaknesses, all of it! But I will stay steadfast in my resolve. *staring at the beauty that is Kitschmas*

  51. Sam

    Great post Christine! Very imformative! Although at first I was rather disappointed with MAC… I decided to give the new jars a chance, but unfortunately, things didnt work out too well. The new jars felt cheaply made (to me at least), except for the rubberized finishing on the caps which looked and felt nicer, but the packaging failed IMO because despite the “lock” feature the cap loses its grip so that you could simply pull off the cap even w/o having to unscrew it… I guess my pigment-buying days are over… :(

    • totally agree one of my lids was falling off and you don’t realise how little they are till you hold one I sent this message today. In the hope of some explanation.

      I have just received my order of pigments and they are significantly smaller than those I have purchased in the past and cost the same? Can you please explain why there was no indication online of the change and have I been charged incorrectly??

  52. I love pigments and I actually don’t mind the new design.
    The thing that I do have a problem with is the fact I live and Australia and we already pay $39 per pigment!!!!! So decreasing the size to us is a big thing!

  53. Ruby

    Thanks Christine for taking the time out for your subscribers to do this. You have a lot on your plate and it shows your dedication to this blog. I feel a lot like you do. These are business decisions on one hand and what do you do, sell less for the same price or sell the same or the same size and do a price increase? Yes, as a consumer I want the most for my money so I see both sides of the coin. I only started buying pigments a year ago when I realized that my prone to rash eyes liked them. I will still buy if I like the new pigment. I did buy Universal Mix.

    I called the MAC Pro store in San Francisco and they said they sent all of the old pigment jars back. I only wish I had been paying more attention to your blog and jumped on the old jars before they switched. Maybe the CCO now or maybe I will try that 800 number. Did that person say she was able to buy the old jars?

    • No problem, Ruby! I don’t mind doing it — I think since I’ve always been so interested in business (my mom has always been very entrepreneur-ish and managerial), I see these as business decisions and am kind of like “Wow, great move… for business!” LOL.

      Sounds like they made this transition REALLY fast. My store had them in the back and let me buy one, but they *do* know me there. That was last week though…

  54. Roni

    I read a lot of the comments posted to this topic. First of all, to all the people who don’t mind the pigment size change with same dollar amount: Hello? U don’t care if u pay more for less? R u ok? Next, for those who are awake in the world and do care what is happening like myself: We can all make MAC change their minds by calling the corporate number (800)387-6707 to complain about this. This has been done in the past and MAC actually listens! MAC has had discontinued products returned again perminently because of customer complains. Let’s do something about this and call MAC! If people start complaining and refusing to buy into this new MAC pigment disgrace the company will have no choice but to either decrease the price or go back to the original packaging. We can make a difference!

    • Ruby

      I don’t think that people are asleep it is a fact of business and life that prices go up. I am old enough to be most posters here mother. My daughter is thirty. I actually have one MAC eye shadow bought in the 90’s that never got thrown out. It is charcoal brown and a whopping 3 grams. The package is the same size as the the plastic dome top on your mineralize blush. Of course no one wants to pay more for less however everything goes up. Discontinued products being returned to permanent is not the same thing since the pricing was still the same I’m sure as other comparable products. That being said I wish you the best of luck with your campaign because sure I would love to buy the old jar for the old price.

  55. Thank you Christine.

    That was a lot of work to break it down to dollars & cents. Truth be told, I have never purchased a full size jar of MAC pigment. It it has always been a “too expensive” product for my budget. I could never justify the cost against actual usage. You know? The method for justifying a big ticket item, like kick a** boots or a chi chi handbag. How many times will you wear it? You can break the cost by cost per wear…LOL I know silly, but an effective way to decide whether to splurge or not…but I digress :)

    Samples have been the way to go for me…I do not mind paying $2 – $4.50 for a 1/4- 1/2 tsp. Even then, those little bitty sample jars last forever.

    However. I do confess I broke down this past holiday season and bought both the Haute High Jinks and Cool Capers pigment sets in the Magic, Mirth & Mischief collection. For a total of $65 plus tax ($68.90), I felt like I got my monies worth. I got 10 different colors for less than the cost of 4 full size jars of pigments. Essentially each color cost me $6.89. That is a cost I can justify against usage. Plus I am a sucker for the packaging! Bright, pretty & fun! I will probably keep my pigment minis in their boxes for a very long time. And those little bottles are easier to handle. Love em!

    Thanks again Christine. I really appreciate the efforts you make.

    • It’s always my pleasure to be able to help when and where I can :)

      The pigment sets are definitely worth getting if you don’t already have ’em, so I’m glad you broke down!

  56. I think the repackaging is more friendly. The lid is a bit taller allowing for better grip when taking them off and easier to screw back on reducing spillage…..pigment is pigment. None of this really concerns the everyday MAC wearer because so little is used on a regular basis if being used correctly. It is more of a nuance to other professional MUA’s that may be getting “jipped” on having less product for bigger projects.

  57. Roni

    I understand the whole thing about companies increasing prices and MAC switching to smaller sized pigments to sell more often. Again, it is company’s problem and we don’t have to make it ours. So, let’s not get objective here and understand why companies do what they do. We know why they do what they do. But, we don’t have to sit back and let things be. My point was that we can make changes as consumers and go with whatever the company is forcing upon the consumers. As I said before, we could at least get them to lower the prices on the new pigment packaging! MAC has already done a price increase on uts products. We don’t have to sit and take any more though! If we complain and refuse to buy the new packaging for the same price the company won’t sell. So, they will be forced to negotiate and cater to our demands. Besides, MAC is good enough to listen to consumers without threats. They have done so before. Viva la choice.

  58. Lydia

    wow, still more on the pigment thingy?!

    the prices and volume don’t really matter, it’s the value that matters. people who don’t love the mac pigments as much will not continue to buy it. but i’m bettin my chips on mac (and their market researchers)–even if they double prices, they’ll still be selling those piggies like hot chocolates on a rainy day!

    people can grumble and grumble but that’s the way the world goes, you no likey the price-y, no buy-ey. it’s a luxury product, and in the greater scheme of things, who cares for ladies who whine because they can’t afford their little mac piggies anymore lol.

    • Roni

      Whether u can afford them or not is not in question nor is it the point. If u don’t care to pay more for less…u got the picture. As for those who want to buy them or not: Well, not buying them is another way to show MAC the consumers aren’t happy with the change. As for the previous comment saying that u no likey no buyey: if people can’t figure that out for themselves. But why not make a little change in the world today even if it is MAC. Well, if u don’t care and obviously u don’t then why post? That’s not advice but attitude. That’s not an answer! Let’s hear more genuine opinions of those who do care and not those acting all childish nah nah and giving us attitude. Opinions please not attitude! Don’t care, don’t post!

  59. Sher

    Thanks for this. Although, I’m not a huge pigment user this is very much appreciated!

  60. I emailed MAC outlining the fact there was no banner on the UK site announcing the change of container and amount of product and felt I had been conned, their reply was………..

    Many factors contribute to the cost of our products, such as quality of ingredients, state-of-the-art product formulations, quality assurance programs and so forth. Like all manufacturers, we are also challenged with constantly rising costs, particularly in shipping and distribution. In view of this, it is sometimes necessary to either increase the suggested retail price or decrease the net weight. We hope you can understand that cost increases are sometimes required if we are to maintain the high quality product standards which our customers expect from us. We do believe, however, that our products offer excellent value for the price.

    To which I replied and said I did not agree and wanted a full refund of the order and the cost to return it to them. I was going to keep them before they had arrived but when I actually felt the cheapness of the packaging and the wonky lids added to the 40% less product I decided to return them. They have agreed to me returning them and unless they change the packaging back or reduce the price I will not be buying anymore pigments from MAC

    • Roni

      Now that’s what I’m talking about! It’s the principle of the matter.

      • It is for me Roni, who do they think they are that they can do that and expect no one to say anything? There are lots of companies that do pigments and minerals waaaaaaay cheaper and nicer colours too so it’s MAC’s loss not mine :0)

      • MAC collected my pigments today
        I wonder how many more people have complained?

        • Roni

          Good question! But, I hope enough to realize they should make some changes. Today, I was at the MAC store and one associate who I always talk to said they had 2 old pigments left in the Frost color. A permanent pigment color that they recently discontinued when they launched the new pigment sizes. I grabbed them, ofcourse! There was a third bottle on hold for another customer. I think that will also show MAC that customers are not happy with new sizes/old prices. If only they had more colors in the old sizes, I would have wiped them clean. MAC: beware!

          • If I was anywhere near a MAC store I would do the same, sadly I am housebound and only shop online :0)

            • OMG How bad is MAC CS in the UK, wondering why my refund has not gone through and receive this email today, taki into account they collected the parcel from me……………

              Good Morning Julia,

              Your recent Mac purchase has been returned back to sender.

              Would you like me to send this back out to you or would you like a full refund?

              If you would like the order to go back out to a different address could you please forward me the full address?

              Thank you for taking the time to purchase your goods with Mac Online.

              Kind Regards


          • Got another mail today to say they are now doing the refund and said sorry for the mishap and could they do anything else so I said……………..

            Yes you can do something for me. You can tell the powers that be that changing the packaging and amount of product you now receive in pigments without any consultation with the customers, and by not announcing it in advance has annoyed not just me.

            There are a lot of people on beauty forums all over the world who have now said like me they will not purchase MAC pigments again.

            Mac seem to think they are invincible and can do as they please with no regard for loyal customers who spend huge amounts on every collection and pay full price. These are the people who will protest with their feet and once you have lost a customers trust it is very hard to win it back.

  61. Laura

    So when I was at the MAC store yesterday the girl there told me that only the packaging changed not the amount in it. I don`t know if Mac told her to say that or if she just doesn’t know any better but it seemed odd to me. Anyone else had that experience?

    • The amount changed from 7.5g to 4.5g!

    • Roni

      I think that is what the company tells them. They say it to us because A)they have to and B)they didn’t have a digital scale to measure them
      Either way they won’t know unless we point them to this blog. Sure, they see the difference in size but so what. When I was there they told me that the MAC website said it was the same amount but they were still skeptical. They were at least being honest in their opinion. I later went back and told them that there really was a difference.

  62. Amy

    Is the Jar still big enough that you can put a brush into? like, the opening of the jar?

  63. Ericka

    I totally hate the new jars. I bought Blonde’s Gold pigment. I still have the old jar as well. I opened my package and discovered that the new jar is way smaller than what I thought. The new jars are not much bigger than the holiday sized jars. And just an FYI… Blonde’s Gold was 3g not 4.5g. This stinks. Go to your local CCo and get what you can. I just picked up Tan, Fuschia, and Vanilla. I think that MAC saw that these things last forever and that they were not making a lot of money on them. I just hope that they don’t get any smaller. They don’t give out pigment samples anymore either.

    • Roni

      U can complain to MAC and tell them your dissatisfaction. The more people complain the better. There is a chance of them changing things around. The point is to get them to realize they will not sell the new jars with new prices as well as they thought they would. It’s worth a shot.

      • Ericka

        I was told that MAC has some new jar that locks and that the jar cost more. I was also told that MAC realized that they were not making a lot of money off of the old jars. MAC is really cutting good products. The holiday pigments use to have 4 pigments and 2 glitter items. Now you only get 5 items. I just wish that they would bring out the old stuff and not make any new changes.

      • I did complain and made them collect my order, I got no apology for them changing the size with no announcement or sign online and they said well you get more than you will use anyway, their CS stinks

        • Roni

          yeah it’s true. They just find more excuses to tell you off. I’m seriously considering not buying another pigment from them again!

          • I’m not and I told them that, they think they have the monopoly but they don’t, I am finding much nicer colours for a hell of a lot cheaper

    • Ericka

      I would suggest getting what you can at your local CCO. The new small pigments will be sold at the counters in June.

  64. Joanne

    i was just wondering. how did you even get the chance to purchase the full sized jars? and where?

    • Ericka

      I bought a full size jar at the cco last summer. My son decided to dump the whole jar on the floor. I finally bought a new one through that MAC Pro store. It was way too muuch for something so small. I think that the new jars are a little bit bigger than the jars in the holiday sets. You might want to check the cco. It looks like they are sending the old pigmrnt jars there.

  65. melissa

    I know I am a bit behind in this discussion, but I was just reading up today on how hyper everyone is getting upset on this…yes, yes I am 5 months behind, but it is in fact a business and a business is established to make a profit…anyway you look at it….gas goes up to nearly $5 a gallon on and off and people go through that in days…I can spend $10 on a lunch in ONE DAY!, something that is gone immediately…people complain as though it is a gigantic noticeable difference because something changes…if the price did physically go up and they kept the original packaging, people would still be upset, but nothing as rediculous as some of the comments I am seeing here….If I have a jar of pigment for a full year, to me it is $20 well spent. With the economy, prices are going to go up, businesses are going to look for ways to make more profit, save money, cut costs, etc….prices on clothing, food, and everything else consumable change on a DAILY basis and people are SO angry that an eyeshadow packaging has changed size making it look like they are suffering some huge loss! Lets get angry at MAC for what, doing what any other company has to do in order to stay in business….
    Thank you Christine for all of your work and for showing us the REAL difference, although people still are throwing a fit because the jar sizing looks so drastically different… personally I am happy to get rid of the little chubby guys and move on to something a bit more sleek and modern!

  66. ana

    even so, the old jar still was paked up more than advertised so we got those extra OZ even in the old packaging. and even though we still are getting extra OZ in the new packaging; it doesn’t compare to those OZ we had on the old jar.

    But congradulations on you accurate investigation. im proud of you.

  67. JaneS

    Wow. What can I say?? This is an awesome piece of research and painstaking work. You’re a true lover of makeup. (I’ve been reading your newly-discovered blog since last night, and it’s addictive!) Just love this piece of research on behalf of us makeuup junkies!

  68. Sam

    Christine, I have a question. I thought that MAC pigments were measured by weight, not volume, so shouldn’t they all be the same weight?

    • As far as I know, the way manufacturers go by is minimum weight, which is not necessarily that you will get exactly that weight – but you will get at least that weight.

      • Sam

        Okay. I am still confused though, because I thought that you said that some of the matte pigments only contain 2.5 grams sometimes. That isn’t the minimum is it?

        • As far as I know, the weight is the same, they just don’t take up as much room as say a frost pigment would, and therefore the jar looks like it contains less. There may be individual pigments that are some how different, but this is in general.