Introduction to MAC

Introduction to MAC Cosmetics

I’m new to this brand. Where should I start?

What would you recommend to someone just trying MAC for the first time?


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
rashmi Avatar

What a fantastic list ๐Ÿ™‚
I cant thank you enough for making me / convincing me to pick LUCKY GREEN … it is such a stunnerrrrr … and really suits my eye color ๐Ÿ™‚
thank you million times dear ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€
My list for a beginner would be : considering I’m suggesting someone in India ๐Ÿ™‚
MAC Prolong wear concealer
MAC Fluidline – Blacktrack
MAC paint pots – Soft Ochre or Quite natural
MAC eyeshadows – Lucky Green , Romp , Cork and Brule
MAC brush – 239 and 224
Lipsticks – Rebel , Fast Play , Russian Red and Chilli

I guess its enough for a beginner

sarah Avatar

christine thank you for this! with the huge line of MAC products and constant limited edition collections coming out, i had no idea where to even start w/ the brand (except the heroine lipstick hehe) i really love this new feature of the blog too ๐Ÿ™‚

Pearl Avatar

I would recommend to start with the eye palettes! That and ignore the onslaught of LEs, or at least be very choosy if you’re going to get anything from an LE collection. It’s very easy to overbuy with all of the collections they are constantly putting out so check Temptalia first because much of the MAC LE might have a permanent MAC dupe.

Katherine T. Avatar

Wow, this is very helpful!! I’m a makeup junkie but stayed away from MAC for the longest time because I was so overwhelmed with the sheer number of products/collections, literally didn’t know where to start, and their counters/ stores were always crowded, and kind of intimidating with all the MUA sales people. I started with some lipsticks and shadows (all reviewed and recommended by you), but there’s so much more, so I will definitely be studying this list !

Raeanne Avatar

Thank you soo much for putting this together! I find MAC to be so overwhelming sometimes. Would you ever consider doing an introduction to MAC brushes post in the future?

I recommend two lipsticks: Brave and Velvet Teddy. Blushes: Devil and Rosy Outlook.

Christine Avatar

Was really close to having Velvet Teddy on the list! One of my earlier MAC lipsticks, actually ๐Ÿ˜€

What would you be looking for in an introduction? I ask mostly because I’d only recommend a few of MAC’s brushes these days! They have a few good ones, but I think other brands out-perform them these days ๐Ÿ™

Raeanne Avatar

I need an introduction to eye brushes, of any brand! LOL. I know there are probably dozens of them out there in the internet world – but your website is my go-to and I would definitely bookmark a decent list of 5 or so “starter kit” eye brushes (and heck – face brushes, too!).

Sietske Avatar

Mac Face & Body! Love this foundation so much, it’s my HG! I always get complements on my skin when I wear this:)
I also specifically love lipsticks in Rebel, Russian Red, Lickable, Pink Nouveau, Please Me and Impassioned

Rachel R. Avatar

I don’t own a ton of MAC, so I can’t make a lot of recommendations. Lipsticks, of course. It seems everyone starts with the lipsticks. I know I did. I own more of their lipsticks than anything. Candy Yum Yum, Heroine, Up the Amp. Anything red — Red lipsticks are what MAC does best. I like the sparkly lipglasses, too.

Eyeshadows from the permanent lines. I don’t own a ton, as they’re not my favorite brand. However, I really love Cork, Satin Taupe, Vex, Stars and Rockets, Sumptuous Olive, Fathoms Deep and Grand Galaxy.

The only Fluid Line I own is Blue Peep, but I love it and wouldn’t mind getting more. I think the color and texture of Blue Peep is fabulous, so I’d like to try other colors.

rachael Avatar

I’d recommend a garbage bag, to put all the MAC cosmetics in. HA! I find their stuff is consistently mediocre for the price range. I wouldn’t recommend it without thorough reviews and research.

Bengisu Avatar

I’d definitely recommend the eye pencils, Engraved is my most favorite black eye pencil out there! And Blacktrack fluidline is the best, especially when compared with Engraved, that duo is never going anywhere, even from your waterline!
When it comes to shimmery, glowy blushes, I don’t love any brand more than MAC. Mineralize blushes glow like no other! They are my other most favorite products of the brand. And all other blushes are just amazing, MAC is always my go to on every type of blush finish.
Aaaand, the 231 brush! Noone nows how it does wonders! You can fill in your brows with such control and precision, tightline your upper lash line with no fuss, intensify the liner in the lowerline, create the clean, straight liner look within seconds and don’t have to deal with your liners being even, cause this brush will give you that. The best thing MAC has is this brush, everyone must know it, have it, get rid of the uneven clean and straight liners, get out the door faster than they ever imagined, and also fill in their brows even when the applicators of brow products seem too big to handle. Even when you think Benefit Gimme Brow is hard to use, use that with MAC 231. Gosh, I love the brush so much, can you tell? Hahaha!
To sum, out of skin base products like foundation especially, there are so many amazing things at MAC. My most favorite mascara is their False Lash Extreme. Fuller lashes and a bit of a curl and length with the beautifully natural effect. I love it. But for foundation, I never go MAC. For else, it’s always a great option to check out.

Bengisu Avatar

I love love love Just a Wisp! It was the color I searched like crazy for in every brand, I am 15NW in MAC shade range and it was just the perfect and most princess-y and glowy, cool and light pink blush ever! I always get rid of my blushes even in a couple months, but this I got around July 2014 and have been using consistently ever since! I always stretch out to buy Warm Soul when I visit MAC stores, like the last two years, but I somehow always gave up on the idea. It’s like an impossible love story. I love it, and she most probably loves me, but something keeps getting between us. I know we will unite one day! But God knows when haha!
And my other top favorite is Harmony from the matte finish range. The perfect warm and brownish shade that also goes really well as a contour shade. I love them both ๐Ÿ™‚

Nancy T Avatar

As I perused this beautifully curated guide, I realized just how MANY of the warm shade suggestions I either already own, or that are on my wishlist! So speaking as a warm-toned, darker end of medium person;
Soft Brown, Orb, Arena, Folie or Swiss Chocolate, Brown Script, Amber Lights, Antiqued, Woodwinked, Handwritten. And Nehru, Indian Ink and Digit.
I also have many of the suggested Extra Dimension Eyeshadows on my wishlist: Silver Sun, Stolen Moment and Fathoms Deep.

I only own one blush, but it’s one of my favorite blushes ever: Burnt Pepper!
I wish they’d make Shaft Of Gold EDSF permanent! Perfect highlighter!

Lipsticks I love are mostly warm: VG I & II, Marque (Ultimate Lipstick), Morange, Lady Danger, La Vie En Rouge (LE), Heroine, Men Love Mystery, Royally Riotous (LE), Touch, All I Want (LE), Diva and Deep Love (LE). I think they should make Royally Riotous, La Vie En Rouge and Deep Love permanent!!!

Sarah Avatar

This is fantastic! I have always been intimidated by how many products MAC has to offer and had no idea where to start. Very quickly falling in love with Antiqued, Fleeting Romance, Rebel, and Marque–I think they’re gonna be my next makeup venture. I love these “intro to brands” posts, Christine! Thank you!!!

Vanessa V Avatar

Wow where do I begin… Face: MSF Natural, Prolong wear concealer, Nourishing Waterproof Prolong wear foundation ( coverage might not be for everyone, but the finish is bbeautiful, the color range is eh), Melba, Mocha, Pink Swoon and Peaches blush, Warm Soul and Dainty Mineralize Blush, Pear Cream Color Base and any highlight that comes out in the Extra Dimension Skinfinish, Fix +. Eyes: any prolong wear pain pot in your skin tone to blank out your eyelids, Woodwinked, All that Glitters, Shroom, Texture, Arena, Naked Lunch, Bamboo, Brun, Espresso, Brulรฉ, Brown Script and Down Brown eye shadows, Teddy, Power surge and I get no kick eye kohls, black track fluid line, False lashes mascara and the eyebrown wax finish in clear. Lips: Soar, Strip down, Cherry, Burgundy and Currant lip pencils, Modesty, Rebel, Mac Red, Dark side, Peach Blossom and Impassioned lipsticks, Desire and Lust lip glass, Luster Flower Luster gloss. Brushes: 168, 239, 217, 219, 266 and 188

Helene Avatar

A good selection. One of my favourite eyeliners made it, Black Line.
And Rebel made it both the lipstick and the polish, gorgeous colour that. One of the best from MAC, I think
When I looked at it in dool and warm toned like this, I find it quite odd how I go between the war and the cold tones like I do. I might have a bit more of stuff on the cool side, but I obviously like both.

Val Avatar

I love MAC pigments (it’s the first thing I tried) but I don’t think they’re the most accessible product to start out with.

I would recommend trying their brushes and nail polish!

Also, I was wondering if it would be possible for you to do one of these intro posts for Make Up Geek? I’ve been dying to try their stuff but have no idea where to start. Was more specifically interested in the duochrome and foiled shadows.

Bitts Avatar

Shooooooot, there’s no other MAC startup set: Spice or Whirl lip pencil, Prrrrrrrr lipglass, Twig lipstick, Brun eyeshadow, and a Technakohl in graphblack. That’s a MAC jackpot!!

Ginny Avatar

Gosh that’s hard. My favorite MAC performers that I think are workable on a range of skin tones are Viva Glam I lipstick, Blushbaby blush, Full of Joy blush, New Romance mineralized blush, Powersurge eye kohl, Copperplate e/s, Plumage e/s, Red Brick e/s, and my top fave, Face and Body foundation.

Genevieve Avatar

What a fantastic list Christine. Although I would have put Sea Worship in the cool line and Kelly in the warm.
This must have taken you ages to compile and it comprises the best that MAC has to offer.
It makes it easy for those new to the range to pick out the best products. Thank you so much.

Mariella Avatar

MAC will always be my crack. They tick me off with lots of their marketing ploys but they were my first makeup love and will always have a place in my heart. Not knowing the colouring of this mystery “person”, I would recommend:
Painterly Paint Pot
Pro Longwear Concealer
Eyeshadows in Mulch, Naked Lunch and/or All That Glitters, Sumptuous Olive, one or all of Copperplate, Concrete and Coquette; Typographic, Phloof, Club, Sea Worship, Silver Sun, Silver Dawn and Stolen Moment (I won’t get into the LE ones I love that aren’t available any more) but if this person could still get Posh Pedigree, I’d say GRAB IT.
Blushes in Frankly Scarlet, Plum Foolery and Dollymix
Powders: Studio Careblend, Prep+Prime pressed (loose too but pressed is so much more convenient), MSF Natural, Matte
Lipsticks: New York Apple, Craving, Plumful, Capricious, Red Necessity, Brick-o-la
The only eyekuber I consider a “must have” is Black Line pencil. The other MAC pencils and liners are easily duped with other brands, some cheaper, some better and some BOTH cheaper and better.

Marissa Avatar

loved your choices! a lot of them are also my favorites!

i would add eyeshadows cranberry or star violet. also brushes! 135, 224, 217 ride or die! um, another good lipstick is brave and velvet teddy on the mauve side, and undercurrent in the eyeliner section.

btw. loving this overviews!

Julie F Avatar

Allow me to thank you, Christine, as I see so many doing. Your warm but honest thoughts on products help me alot.
I’m not sure if your reader wanted MAC brushes or your faves. I could really use both, especially for colourpop products? Your eyelooks always look perfectly blended and gorgeous!
Off topic, but saw earlier posts that had some tossing mascara after a couple months, one reason being fear of infection. My doctor recommended this. Heat water in microwave till very hot. Put tightly closed mascara in bath a few minutes. Helps destroy bacteria. As I seem to get eye infections easily, this has made a huge difference. Also seemed to make mascara creamier. : )

L Avatar

I currently work as a freelancer for Mac and wanted to share my must haves!(:

Moisturizer- Mac studio moisture cream is amazing for all skin types from dry to oily and makes a great base and primer for any makeup you put on top!
Base: Mac studio sculpt foundation is a nice formula for all skin types because it has a medium coverage is not too hydrating not too matte. Looks very skin like but offers coverage!
Mac prolongwear concealer is full coverage, thin in texture, and works as concealer and eyeshadow primer!
For setting powder Mac care blend powder is simply Mac’s most creamy powder that makes you look airbrushed and never dry! Also for all skin types.
Our sculpting duos are perfect for contouring, and we have lots of nice bronzers. Blush your way to glowing with Blushbby, gingerly, peaches, melba, sincere, or copper tone as they look most flattering on fairest to deepest tones! Set in place with Mac fix plus setting spray to seal it all in!(:

For eyeshadows, Mac times nine palettes are great to start with. We have amazing eyeliners so choose the form that suits you. Make false lash mascara is superb, get extreme black for killer lashes! Mac twist up brow pencils rival Anastasia and other brands in both pigment and wear! Our lip conditioner and lip primer and lipsticks are all great so choose the colors you like(: our satin, cream sheen, mattes, and amplified are most popular.
Also this is an extra a good pore refining primer by Mac is skin refined zone, use sparingly ONLY where you need it to cover pores before makeup, so ensure longer wear. Hope this helps and remember, Mac is for all ages, all races, and all sexes!(;

Bonnie Avatar

I’ve been loving these “into to” lists you’ve made!! They’re so fun to read and really helpful to look over and decide which permanent products a brand makes that I need to still pick up! ๐Ÿ˜€
One for NYX would be fun, also Guerlain, since it’s one of your favorites! Can’t wait to see which one is next!

Kira Avatar

I absolutely love this list and lists like it Christine! I wish there was a feature where I could “bookmark” a post like this in my account. Sometimes it is a bit hard to do a search through this site, as I can’t apply filters (that I can see) such as date range or sort by date (or I straight up forget the post I’m looking for). As the targeted links are blocked at work, I would love to save posts sometimes to buy through the link when I return home. Lately, I have just been emailing the links to myself of favorite posts, like the luddite that I am.

By the way, I hope you had a Merry Christmas with Mellan and the fam ๐Ÿ™‚

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! ๐Ÿ™‚ If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!