MAC Water-Based Mixing Medium Review & Photos

MAC Water-Based Mixing Medium

Mixing Medium — Don’t Use Pigments Without It!

MAC Water-Based Mixing Medium ($18.00 for 50ml) is an absolute must-have if you work with MAC Pigments or Glitters. It actually took me many years before I purchased the real deal Mixing Medium–previously, I had always done the DIY version. (For reference, the DIY version is one part glycerin and three parts water, mix, and enjoy!) To be honest, I think either version works just as well, but I know the official Mixing Medium is designed to have a much longer shelf life than the DIY version (since it lacks any preservatives).

This Mixing Medium is water-based, and as such, the texture feels just like water. I like that, because it doesn’t feel thick, goopy, or sticky. The way I use my Mixing Medium is primarily with pigments and occasionally with glitters. I usually put one drop (it dispenses by droplets) on a flat brush like the 239 or 249, pick up some pigment, and then apply on the lid (or wherever). Together, it creates an excellent eyeshadow base, but it also intensifies pigments and keeps them together–there’s no fallout here! Though I haven’t used it for such things, you can also use this with other MAC liquid or powder products. I will also say that one bottle will last me a lifetime (though I will obviously replace it before then!).

There is also an alcohol-based Mixing Medium (used from the neck down), an eyeliner Mixing Medium (comes in a tube), lash Mixing Medium (allows you to create customized shades of Pro Long Lash Mascara), and gel-based Mixing Medium (not to be used around the eye area).

It is a PRO product, which means it was originally designed to be used by makeup artists and not necessarily consumers, but everyone is able to purchase PRO products, regardless of your resume. If you live near a PRO store locally, you just have to show up and shop like you would any other MAC location. If you don’t, I know in the U.S., you can place a phone order with any PRO store and they’ll ship you your items for a flat rate of $7 (this is usually how I get any PRO products). Since shipping is a flat rate, I usually make up a good list of PRO-only items I want so I can make it worth it, too πŸ™‚

By the by… some PRO stores will have collections in a week early, and so if SF, LA, or SCP PRO have it out, sometimes I place a phone order and that’s how I’ll get the products a couple of days earlier than the national launch date. Secrets from a MAC addict… LOL!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! πŸ™‚

  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: If you’ve ever had trouble with your pigments or loose color eyeshadows, you may want to check out MAC’s Mixing Medium to keep your loose color on your lid better!

Availability: MAC PRO


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.
Roxanne Avatar

I like all these new features! Thanks for the review. Was thinking about buying this to use with my new Crush Metal Pigments (first wanted to do the DIY version but might be better to try the real stuff first!) πŸ™‚

Roxanne Avatar

I clicked it a few times and then it said: “… are loving it and … are leaving it! How about you?”, nothing more happened! Thanks for the advice.

Roxanne Avatar

I wouldn’t know what script that would be (normally I get a notification) πŸ™ I guess you’ll have to take my word for it when I say I love your posts, right? πŸ˜‰
On another note, I caved in and bought the mixing medium! Hurray!

Nadine Avatar

Christine, I would love to know what you think of Fyrinnae’s Pixie Epoxy. It’s a darling of the mineral makeup community and I’m always curious how effectively such products translate for non-MMU users.

Lince Avatar

Love this thing! Been using it with Mineral foundation/concealer to cover up the stupid spot on my cheeks. I put a drop or two on the backhand, damp my fluffy brush with it, dab the brush on powder, then buff my cheek.
I rarely use pigments, but maybe will try them again as base color like you do.

daphne Avatar

My DIY version always gets moldy after a month or two, but it sure works out to be cheap. I might pick this up when I finally haul my ass to the NY Pro store though.

jollie Avatar

It is good to know that the mixing mediums are back. Last year I tried getting them from a couple of pro stores(NY & Las Vegas) and I was told that they were recalled because MAC was re-formulating them.

I’ll go ahead and get them next time I am in NY.

Natalie Avatar

Hmm, I have been watching you using pigments & mixing medium as base – isn’t it really shimmery (haha, I am a Painterly girl)? I also use Fix + with pigments.. Do you think Mixing medium works better, in terms of color payout and less fall out?

Christine Avatar

Mixing medium doesn’t add any shimmer, but it’ll intensify whatever you’re using, so if you’re using a shimmery pigment, it’ll intensify it πŸ™‚ If you use just a paint pot like Painterly and pat the pigment on top, it’ll probably be a little muted πŸ™‚

I find Fix+ leaves some fall out, but I never get fall out from using Mixing Medium + pigments… unless I was overzealous and got WAY too much pigment on my brush.

Natalie Avatar

Thanks Christine. I wasn’t worried about the mixing medium intensifying the shimmer, but I was more concerned about Mixing Medium & Shimmery pigments, adding shimmer to the shadows. Sometimes you use Soft Ochre as well.. Do you use the pigments & mixing medium to intensify the shadows?

beth Avatar

i have a question won’t Fix plus do the same thing? just curious i do not have either but are looking for a good product for my mac pigments.

Carla Avatar

Christine, did you find that this burned your eyelids? I might have sensitive skin, but both this and the Eyeliner Mixing Medium sting/burn until they dry!

Mirna Avatar

Hi Christine,
I am really glad you did this post. I was wondering what the texture of MAC mixing medium was because I did the DIY with glycerin and I wasn’t sure if the consistency was right. Now I know!
Thank you!

Squeezle Avatar

I have extremely oily skin and I experience a lot of eyeshadow creasing unless I use a primer as my first layer. Do you find the mixing medium/pigment combo to be crease-resistant, or should I continue to use a primer underneath?

Tanja Avatar

I tried the DIY version, but it didnΒ΄t work at all for me πŸ™
I spent a lot of time doing my makeup and everything was in the crease and ugly and smudgy after less than an hour!!! Argh!
I think my lids are too greasy maybe?!

kali Avatar

If I have face & body mixing medium.. will that work too? Btw, I was super excited to see so many posts today!! I had just read about the MAC Fabulous Felines collection on another blog and googled it and what do you know?? Temptalia pops up first!

Mariana Avatar


How long do you think this would really last without going bad? I have had mine for a couple of years and it seems to be fine. I can use this and have NO creasing and I am REALLY OILY! Thanks for the review, your great!!

Nhi Avatar

Love this post Christine! Would you consider possibly doing a post dedicated to recommendations of what to buy from “Mac Pro” (like this mixing medium!) for your average non-MUA Mac fan? I feel like many of us don’t necessarily know some of the fantastical things Mac Pro has to offer!


Cheyenne Avatar

Hmm I know this is an older post. Too bad I don’t have a pro card or a pro store. (I think) I’m about to go into the world of pigments. I REALLY love melon!! Loving this has caused me to want to try more than Just Melon Pigment. I hope I don’t make too much of a mess without this product!

aradhana Avatar

i’m not sure how i missed this post the first time around…

i just picked this product up last week, and i noticed on the box it says ‘for professional use only’. does anyone know why that would be? i know it’s a pro product, but just wondering why it would be pro only?

Ericka Avatar

I am thinking about getting the water base mixing medium but I saw that there was a new matte mixing medium. The matte mixing medium is wax base. Is there a big difference between the two? Which one is better if you have oily lids but use pigments as eyeshadows?

Ericka Avatar

I don’t have a Pro store where I live. Can you do an updates post on all of the MAC mixing mediums or even a post on just pro olny items?

makeupmama Avatar

has anyone tried the Eyeliner Mixing Medium (comes in a tube)? i’ve been using eyedrops to mix my pigments in to a liner consistency and am wondering how this compares?

Erick Avatar

I have never used eye drops but I do have the eyeliner mixing medium and I love it. It is a cloudy white gel base that dries quickly but stays on all day long. I like using the MAC 212 brush with this. I would suggest that you test this on your hand first just to get the hand of using this. If you apply too much it will become too hard and flake off in small clumps like mascara. I hope that this helps.

Sofia Avatar

i know this post is kind of old, but do you know if fix + is also useful when working with pigments? I live in Argentina and it’s kind of difficult to get your hands on a mac pro product

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