Rant & Rave: MAC Cosmetics

Share: Tell us what you love and hate about MAC Cosmetics!

my answer: I feel like they’re a brand that is always trying to innovate/develop new formulas, but sometimes I’m not sure if they’re developing them to be truly innovative or simply to throw something new out there and see if we bite. I would like to see more quality control and some better editing in collections so that there is less repetitiveness when 5-10 collections come out in a span of two months. I think they could do with less collections, but it is also kind of their style at this point. I wish they’d bring back Mega Metal Eyeshadows!


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SP Avatar

I definitely agree on the collections. They’re too much, and too much of the same. I really do love my red and pink lipsticks but I would love them to make something special now and then. Every time they release a collection I get really bored. If they want to bring out that many collections, they should really step up their creative game. The promos are beautiful but that’s about it for me.

I’m also not as positive about their eyeshadows as other people. Their colour pay off is disappointing about 80% of the time, for me.

keg Avatar

rave- I am such a fan of their lipsticks and glosses, (the formula is usually excellent ) and I love all of the new collections they come up with ( I think this will be a rant for most people )
rant- I hate the way they make us scramble to get new products. I mean, really, to wait for a product to arrive online, and then for it to be sold out the same day ( or the same hour ). It seems like they enjoy having us play this game. They should just make enough of the product in question-but I think it’s part of their marketing strategy.

Alice Avatar

Rave: I adore their lipsticks, lip pencils, and beauty powders. Their mattes are my favorite non-liquid matte lipstick formula (except the Punk Couture collection, I love Studded Kiss but Hautecore and Punk Couture were awful). I like the few eye liners I’ve tried.

Rant: The eye shadows that I’ve tried are awful. They’re patchy and make my lids itch. Also I’ve talked about this in comments before, but the way they do their LE collections is pretty ridiculous. A new LE collection every month (sometimes twice), many with recycled colors, and they always sell out in a matter of hours? Ugh.

Kai Avatar

I feel the same way I mean I’m a MAC girl but it’s so many collections and the stock is so limited. I also wish they’d make more things permanent like the extra dimension eyeshadows some of the highlight shades everyone is hoping to gett their hands on. But I still love their lipsticks and foundation just need a few changes

Sunny Avatar

What I like about MAC is that they offer basically EVERYTHING, and that they have quite an extensive foundation shade range. However, just like you, I’d like to see less but BETTER limited edition stuff. It’s hard to be enthusiastic about every collection when you know most of the time it’s just so-so formulas in a fancier packaging!

Ashley Avatar

I could not agree more, Christine!

Their quality seems to have diminished into something more gimmicky. I’m so glad I have Urban Decay and Makeupgeek (and now Color Pop!) for some variety and quality eyeshadows.

I so appreciate your reviews to help me determine what’s worth it at MAC and what isn’t. Thanks a bagillion for your awesome, detailed reviews 🙂

Jen Avatar

I agree on the collections….there are just way too many and the quality suffers. I also hate the fact that they do not make enough of the items in the collections and they are sold out in what seems like a matter of minutes. I used to wear only MAC and now I find that I hardly ever buy anything from them.

lara Avatar

way more hype than quality. fewer “special/limited” editions — no more than 4 or 5 a year, and higher quality would get my attention again.

Estefania Avatar

As a freelancer for MAC, I can tell you it’s just as hard for artists to keep up with all the collections as it is for customers! I think a reduction there would be very beneficial.

I also think MAC needs to be a little more receptive to what their customers want. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one over the moon if MAC were to make their Extra Dimension formula permanent!

GP Avatar

Rave: I really love the range of colors they have in lipsticks and eyeshadows. My favorite eyeshadow of all time is from the permanent collection, woodwinked. They also have a lot of good quality items for a fair price (for HE).

Rant: I’m not into the constant limited edition collections, I mostly shop the Permanent items. I don’t really mind them though, so maybe this isn’t really a “rant,\.”

Chelle Avatar

Rave – They were my “first” and I’ll always love them for that… however…

Rant – in comparing them to others over the years, they’ve lost their luster. While they eyeshadows used to be amazing, they’ve long been outdone on this front. They could do with a total overhaul on their regular line of eyeshadows – bump up that pigmentation and make us “wowed” again. The excessive collections have also got to go.

xamyx Avatar

I don’t mind the amount/size of the collections, or if there is some “crossover”, but I think it would be better for their bottom line-as well as customer base-to make enough product available. MAC has a large enough loyal following, so they’ll sell product, but they got caught up in the whole Estee Lauder sales model, which I think is beginning to backfire. I’ve noticed prices dropping (the 15-pan neutral palettes are now $85 USD, refill pans have dropped to $10, empty palettes have been lowered significantly), and more product seems to be available. Also, other prices have remained steady.

I’m also a bit peeved about separate “pro” products; while there are some products the “average” consumer may not buy, there are others that will sell (ie, blush, eyeshadow), especially nowadays with video tutorials & more acceptance of bolder makeup choices. I would pick up products more frequently if availability was easier. However, there are several items on my list that are only available online, or the nearest Pro store is very inconvenient for me, so I wait until I can make a large haul at once, but in the meantime, other brands/products come about, and my MAC list gets put aside. If I could just pop into a store when I pass by, I’d more than likely pick up a few things every couple of weeks…

Veronica Avatar

I love MAC, I do… And I have a huge collection, especially eye shadows and blush.

But I do wish that the MAC of 15 years ago was back. Before they were taken over by Estee Lauder and the brand was cool. The quality was amazing back then, the eye shadows so pigmented and creamy and blendable! I still have items from that time and they are some of the best eye shadows I have ever used, including Carbon, which is so crappy now. My original one is pure black pigment and blends like a dream.

Mariella Avatar

I do love MAC. My love affair with makeup may not have started with MAC but it sure took off with MAC. I suppose what I dislike most is the way they treat us, their customers – failing to make enough product in their LE releases to ensure that everyone who wants them can get them and all this “launching at midnight online only” because, of course, none of us has a job or a family or a life that might make waiting til midnight to try to pounce on some new item, which we can’t even try in-store and must buy sight-unseen a wee bit inconvenient. When I patronize a store, restaurant or brand, I want to be treated like I’m a valued customer, not like some poor creature in a cattle stampede for “Eye-Shadow X”. In addition, I also feel that they go overboard with their LE collections and sacrifice quality in the process. Look at how many people were surprised by the good quality and good rating for their newest 6-pan LE shadows! Most of us are knowledgeable about makeup have become skeptical and jaded about MAC’s LE stuff. I also wish they’d make a few of their much-coveted products permanent (Moth Brown shadow, some of their LE but oft-repromoted blushes, etc.)

Having ranted, I do have to rave too because when MAC gets it right, they really get it right and they have so much variety in their permanent line that you can pretty much find whatever shade of shadow, blush, lipstick, etc. your heart desires at the MAC counter.

Katherine T. Avatar

Rave – MAC lipsticks, MAC Face & Body Foundation, Blot powder
Rant – waaaay too many collections being cranked out at the expense of quality and creativity, some really terrible shadows, limited edition items that sell out too quickly. I’m also overwhelmed by the sheer number of products and formulas they have.

Tova J Avatar

I’m weak for their limited edition packaging – I’m getting Cinderella items 99% because of that! But otherwise they feel a bit repetitive with shades etc because as you mentioned there are som many, but they have a mostly brilliant standard sortiment. I haven’t tried anything I don’t love! I hate that they aren’t cruelty free though ): I really try to stay CF but MAC is the brand that always get me with their limited edition stuff…. lol

Ashley Avatar

Rant- Red lipsticks (or otherwise cult/ in demand products) from LE collections ALWAYS sell out within hours… They need to make more.. Still LE but if you see something in advance and you know you want when it’s released, just getting it is stressful and purchasing from MAC should be a nice and exciting retail experience. If MAC read this- please get more stock, you’re only going to increase sales anyway!!!! Or and the permanent shades in LE eyeshadow palettes/ holiday etc need to be the same quality.

Rave- holiday pigment sets- great value. The fact that Lady Danger exists.

Amanda Avatar

I love most of their eyeshadows. But I agree with some others, that some are not pigmented and/or dont come off easily onto your brush. Their lippies are overrated and dupable. My biggest rant is that they are NOT inside Sephora! When I went to the Paris Sephora MAC was inside. It was SO awesome! Oh how I wish I could use my friends and family on MAC. Also add no sales or discounts ever to my rant.

Ginny Avatar

I really do love their lipstick line (most of the finishes) and the packaging is really sleek, small, and easy to pop several in a purse. The newer matte formula are my favorite lipsticks. I appreciate that their permanent line is pretty solid–your favorite shade (usually) won’t be suddenly discontinued.

Their eyeshadows are somewhat inconsistent, BUT some are great (I like the Matte2 finish) and (for me at least) shipping and UPS returns are very prompt. So I’m able to trial and error on their products. Anything weakly pigmented I can return, I only keep what’s great. Hugely appreciate that they sell eyeshadow pans for $10. Wish UD did that.

I don’t even really mind all the limited releases. It’s too bad they don’t put the effort to make LE stuff outstanding… but if they did, I’d be broke! If I don’t like the collection (usually the case) I just skip it. Once in a while they roll something out that I do like (the Artificially Wild collection) and that’s exciting. But if I was drooling over every single LE collection they’ve put out recently, I’d really be exhausted. The only thing I really don’t like is when LE stuff sells out in a flash. So frustrating and the wrong way to treat loyal customers.

androgynes Avatar

they should tone down the collections, but also stop the Pro Store exclusiveness. I refuse to travel over 2 hours to get some of the exclusive products..
But mostly i HATE they retracted their statements against animal testing, i have started to stop buying animal tested products and do not understand why the retracted that statement while they effectively did not test on animals for a while.

Shelley Avatar

MAC was great 20 years ago. Collections weren’t happening every other month and they put out some quality stuff. Now I rarely get excited over their releases. Once they sold out to EL it all went out the window. Instead of using MAC as first spot shop for lippies I have turned to more higher-end brands because they aren’t brutal on my lips (side-eyeing my Guerlain Rouge G collection). Quality over quantity is my motto.

Kate Avatar

Mac will always have a place in my my heart because they were my “gateway drug”, but I find that I’ve lost patience with the endless collections, especially the tie-ins.
I was happier with Mac collections when they were more about the colour story. My favourites are still the ones where they do that- generally their larger Summer collections and last year’s Artificial Earth, which was my favourite overall collection of theirs in a couple of years.
I also find that the permanent collection (especially the eye shadows) is getting neglected in favour of a million limited products. And definitely agree about the Mega Metals. Maybe they were too expensive to manufacture, but boy were they great.

Lulle Avatar

The good: a great range of permanent shades, in a variety of finishes, and that’s true for most of their products (eyeshadows, lipsticks…); generally good quality (at least for permanent shades) at an affordable price.

The bad: – too many, but I mean WAY too many LE collections. I sometimes feel like I hear of a new MAC collection every day. I’ve reached a point of saturation and I rarely ever purchase anything from a new collection. I check them out on Temptalia, but I don’t bother going to the store to see them in person most of the time. I remember, a long time ago, when their LE collection launches were exciting events. Those days are long gone!
– the quality seems to be going down, especially for LE products. There have been so many outrageously poor products launched in the past few years that I’ve lost faith, and always expect LE products to be crap.

As a conclusion, I feel like MAC has lost its “soul” in the past few years. That’s a big word, but the brand has lost what made it different from the rest of the industry: focusing on quality, semi-pro, no non-sense products. Now they seem to rely on smoke and mirrors like everyone else.

Tayva Avatar

I think the frequency of which new LE collections are released is ridiculous. It makes them feel… I dunno, less special? So many of them are just so-so. I really think they should narrow it down to just a small handful a year (and do longer runs of them, so they don’t sell out on day one).
Also, it’s disappointing to see so many permanent colors included in these collections. I guess it kind of goes hand in hand with the frequent collections. No time to create anything new!

What do I love? the Viva Glam program. You can always count on me buying those items!

Alix Avatar

The powerful (though not unpleasant) scent of all their lip products. I’m allergic to it, so I can never buy any of those pretty lippies and glosses! Love their eyeliners, though.

Nina Avatar

Rave: I love their lipsticks and blushes and mineralized skin finishes. I feel like MAC has a ton of options and almost something for every product category there is. I think that they’ve really established themselves as a solid brand that people can go to for their regular line of products. I also like how they have such a large range of shades to choose from for face products and that it caters to people of almost all skin tones.

Rant: I’m kind of sick of seeing all the collections coming out from MAC. It’s turned almost gimmicky and I feel like their collections are nothing special, and a lot of the time the products in special collections are extremely similar to other products already out in the market as well as MAC’s own line. I would rather them only do a collection a few times in a year than have a collection come out practically every month.

Erin Avatar


1. They aren’t cruelty free. The rant has more to do with how many people in the stores lied to me about this before I found out.

2. Shitty shadows at times and formulas in palettes not being the same as singles.

3. Too many repromotes in some collections


1. Innovations
2. Interesting collections and fun packaging
3. Mid Tier pricing for their staples
4. Viva Glam

Nicole Avatar

I feel that their “hit and miss” quality can leave an impression that can and has hurt them. I have very little Mac products at the age of 39! I had a number of bad experiences with their products, espescially foundations, when I was young. Now, I won’t go near their stuff without researching first. I agree with Christine on the “collections”..too many and it seems sometime like they are just thrown out there. Many of them, I am left wondering, why is this a LE product when i have 5 dupes?

Brooke Avatar

i really wish they would come out with better ideas for their collections. it seems like only a few excite me now. the last one that got me really excited was the rocky horror picture show collection, and i only got two things from it. they have such great staples in their core line, i wish we could see more of that in their new releases.

megan Avatar

When I first go into makeup, MAC was my go-to. From eyeshadows to blush to brushes I was obsessed! Then my excitement waned as I got tired of all the collections and also tried to slow down on buying so much. I went on a Sephora kick for a bit but I’ve sicned discovered drugstore brands and online only brands.
But I still think MAC is a good place to start at the mid/high end level of makeup, at least their core products, not so much all the limited edition stuff!

Karen Avatar

Other companies are out-doing them in terms of innovation. And not just the luxury brands. Ben Nye has been around forever, as has Kryolan and both of those pro lines continually produce new or improved products that work like a dream. Mac not so much. Mac’s eyeshadows are on par with many drugstore brands. I bought a brush recently that sheds so much I end up looking the wicked witch. More $$ should be spent on product improvement and innovation rather than 500 limited edition variations of the same old.

Rachel R. Avatar

Rave: They do great lipsticks. They do have a lot of good eyeshadow singles and other products. The Back to MAC program is awesome. The Viva Glam charity is awesome. The MAC website has good customer service and really fast, free shipping for the US.

Rant: Too many subpar collections. Too many LE collections. They waste great packaging opportunities (Cinderella, Rocky Horror, etc.), Carbon – with a bad formula – being put in so many palettes. It seems like they’ve been putting out a lot of stuff lately, but the formulas are not great.

Meghan Avatar

Rant: the quality of the LE collections is really hit or miss. I think they bank on their popularity so they don’t have to deliver the best quality products. Many bite…

Rave: I think there must be something MAC for everyone. Big ranges of foundations, lipsticks, eye shadows, blush, even brushes – I don’t know if another brand is more diverse in it’s permanent range? It’s kind of a one-stop shop for makeup & I’m sure everyone can find a few staples from MAC.

Demi Avatar

I am a sucker for their lipsticks and the adorable packaging! I especially love it when they collab with other things I love (such as Disney and Miley Cyrus). But I definitely have to agree with you on the constant release of LE collections. As someone who is new to the beauty blogging scene it’s a lot to keep up with, and instead of being fun and exciting it just seems repetitive and mediocre.

Patrick Avatar

I agree with what you said. I’d also like them to make their mattene lipsticks and kissable lip colours permanent, and come out with a blacke(er) pressed matte eyeshadow. I love MAC, always have but the hit and miss thing is getting ridiculous.

Patrick Avatar

Just wanna say, when I meant black(er) I meant better pay off. Just seeing as there’s other companies that have come out with, from what I heard and seen, more pigmented black eyeshadows. I just think it’s time for MAC to step up their game

Joanna Avatar

MAC really needs to start listening to their artists in their stores (on the front lines) and beauty bloggers- I get the sense that all the collections, the poor quality and the seemingly random decisions about what’s permanent and creating hype reeks of being in some sort of ivory tower.

Also, the main factory is an hour and a half from my house in Ontario, yet Canada pays 10 dollars more in cost. I know it’s a distribution/ retail thing, but I often think about just driving to the factory.

xamyx Avatar

Actually, it’s a VAT, and there are some politicos (on both sides of the aisle!) who want one here in the US, so we’ll probably be seeing higher costs, as well…

Joanna Avatar

Well, that makes it extra infuriating because we also pay HST on top of that higher price. HST combines the Goods and Services Tax (a VAT) and the provincial sales tax in Ontario.

This has become a different rant.

So MAC- a rave 9 times out of 10 the make up artists have been very fun and excellent at their jobs.

A rant- bring back MAC squared and do more neutrals with them.

Shelly Avatar

Too many LE collections (seriously, why not just do four big ones a year and one or two carefully edited collections in between seasons, and make more products permanent?). Not enough quality control. I wish the Mega Metal formula was permanent. I wish they’d convert all the Matte formula eyeshadows to the more superior Matte2 formula and bring back all those discontinued Matte2 shades to boot! I wish they would focus more on the permanent line. I wish all the foundations and concealers would have lighter shades than NC/NW15 or Face & Body C/N1 or Matchmaster 1.

On the upside, there is the Viva Glam range. There is their variety of lipstick and eyeshadow formulas and finishes. It’s also one of the more accessible brands out there.

Telesilla Avatar

All I can do is rant because I don’t actually have anything by Mac. One of my rants, a somewhat irrational one, is that, a few years back when I was just getting interested in makeup after a long time of not wearing it, I went in to our local Mac store and was made to feel incredibly uncomfortable by the staff, like I was both too old and not cool enough to be there. Like I said, it’s an irrational rant and I could probably walk into that same store tomorrow and things would be fine. My other rant is similar to other people’s–I really dislike the false scarcity business model. If you put out a limited edition of something, that’s fine, but when it’s gone in a matter of hours, even on the website, that’s not so fine.

Cory Avatar

All the Limited Editions!!! It’s soooo annoying. I swear they do it so that ppl will buy a bunch of whatever they really love from a collection—if they’re lucky enough to get them before the collection time is up! It’s a maddening marketing scheme!
I do like that they sell their eyeshadows in pans, & that they’re cheaper like that.

Jessica Avatar

Yes to fewer collections! It’s become very noticeable how repetitive they are—how many LE red lipsticks do they really need to release in a year? Really, everything is awfully dark…lipsticks, eye shadows, etc. I’m ultra-pale and can’t wear 80% of what they put out.

Lacey Avatar

MAC was the first above-drugstore brand that I really got into when I discovered the online beauty community a few years back. They have a lot of permanent products that have become staples, and in the beginning, I gobbled up a lot of their LE collections. But even with my relatively limited experience, I can see how repetitive they’ve become. That’s not to say that none of their collections interest me, but it’s becoming more rare. And sometimes even the exciting ones turn out to have quality issues.

Laura_Lou Avatar

I think that MAC have a tendency to just throw out new collections every other week, which when half the stuff is repeats or poor quality it’s a bit of a waste of time. It’s almost as if they’re scared of being forgotten about, so they throw put new collections all the time to keep people talking about them. Also the whole thing of separate Pro stuff really annoys me. The foundation range in the standard stores aren’t pale enough but they only sell the really pale ones in the Pro store, which seeing as there’s only one Pro store in the whole of England (and its the complete opposite side of the country from me) it kinda makes it difficult to get the Pro stuff I want.
Having said that I do love MAC because when they get it right they get it spot on. I started my makeup collection with MAC and I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have a stash of MAC somewhere in their collection. MAC makes up the majority of my eyeshadow collection and like everyone I have a stash of their lipsticks too. I think their permanent range is usually better quality than the limited edition stuff.
I kinda feel like MAC has lost their way a little bit, now they have so much competition they’ve lost their focus. I think if they concentrated more of bringing out amazing quality products they could easily become people’s favourites again.

viva Avatar

Rant only. Their cruelty free policy is dishonest and misleading. I say this as a formerly diehard fan who has spent probably thousands of dollars on MAC over the last 20 years. I haven’t bought a thing from them since 2013. I’m done.

viva Avatar

From what I’ve read, all the Lauder brands (including MAC) restarted animal testing in order to sell on the Chinese market, where it’s actually required. Apparently there was a huge to-do about it in the makeup community a couple years ago when this info came out, but I didn’t hear about it til late 2013. None of my friends knew either. It’s not exactly something MAC openly announced. :/

xamyx Avatar

From what I understand, it isn’t Estee Lauder/MAC that does the”actual” testing, but rrather the Chinese government does it, after the product is finished. If these brands actually did it themselves, they wouldn’t be allowed to sell in Europe, which bans the sales of all brands/products tested on animals.

Emma Avatar

When I first got into makeup, MAC seemed very hip and cool. My first MAC eyeshadow was Expensive Pink, and from there I was hooked. But lately I have been annoyed by them pretty consistantly. I am preaching to the choir here it seems, but they need to nix some of their limited edition stuff. I am not a fan of their Mineralize items (aside from the skin finishes, natch), and it seems like they are trying to make them a “thing” by constantly releasing them in collections. MAC eyeshadows are nothing special to me anymore. I don’t like having to dig my brush into the pan to get color payoff, so I rarely reach for my MAC palette. And if I am really honest, those LE items I stayed up all night waiting for are shoved in the back of a drawer somewhere. I don’t think I have a single one that was worth the trouble save the Archie’s Girls blush in Cream Soda.

Pteetsa Avatar

Lots of interesting colors and some interesting, nice products like Strobe Cream and the Artificial Earth collection last year.
Good reference point for foundation colors

Having said all that, I don’t like MAC. I particularly hate going to the MAC stores and counters. I find many of the salespeople to have a kind of holier-than-thou attitude and are not helpful. I don’t feel welcome in the stores or feel like they want my business. Any MAC products I have, I either bought online or knew exactly what I wanted and ran into the store, bought it, and got out.

Like many others have said, too many collections. It’s desensitizing.

WARPAINTandUnicorns Avatar

I’ve love to see them revamp their eyeshadow formulas, they the same if not getting chronically worse as the years go one even in their singles. I think they owe it to the there cult fallowers as well. 😉

Just a note on MAC with regards to animal testing:
MAC is owned my Estee Lauder which is not cruelty free. BUT in Europe, they have to comply with no animal testing to sell MAC products in the EU. Food for thought because it’s the EU they put the motion together to band animal testing. I feel like we need to petiton our own governments to put that same law into effect for other companies to comply to no cometic testing on animals.

Parent brands like L’Oreal already have testing that doesn’t require it to be on animals, it only because they sell in China that the products are tested to be sold in China.

Dustin Avatar

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this pop up in the Rant & Rave posts! Good one! 🙂

Rave: I think their core collection has some outstanding products: lipsticks, pencils, glosses, eyeshadows, blushes, foundations, powders, etc. They can be a one-stop shop for lots of people. Their PRO products were always some of the more outstanding ones available and it’s nice to see them available to purchase on-line to the general public now instead of having to order from a PRO store.

Rant: The limited edition collections don’t seem to have much in the way of quality control behind them. I think they must just spin a wheel to decide what the next collection will be (and until recently that wheel seemed to have 95 pictures of Rihanna on it – file that under RAVE I guess). They don’t listen to consumers at all. They lack proper training from store to store (but to be fair, every cosmetics counter seems to be the same in that regard). Lastly, the quality of their brushes has declined to an embarrassing degree. At a point when many people are starting to look at these super-soft, luxurious Japanese brushes (or even super soft drugstore offerings from companies like Real Techniques at a fraction of the price), it just seems like an odd move to start cutting corners on their brush line.

Lilac Avatar

I have been a MAC customer for more than ten years. What I still l like very much are the lipsticks, their scent (also very important) is my favourite of all brands, too. I like their colour range in all aspects, and when a collection is good, it is really_good and cohesive, then the product names are fun and the promo images great. Most of my collection is MAC. I like the eyeshadows, too but only the regular ones, all other formulas don’t agree with my eyes.

Now on to the negative: Recently, the names for the products seem sometimes a bit wrong or like someone just said “blah! I don’t want to think anymore, we’ll just use this name now”, or the product names changed their tune, kind of… sometimes they sound really wrong. Maybe they are trying to get onto the Benefit / UD-train?
Then, however much MAC changes foundation products, I can’t find anything that is right for me, except for old stuff like SFF. Their blushes used to be fine but in recent years, they all oxidized on me and the colour darkened so that basically everything pink turned brick-red. I sold them all (luckily just a few, not a big collection).
Now the everlasting problem: price increase and price differences between US / Europe. MAC is not the only brand which does that but they reached my limit. Luckily I have already a collection that will last me years, so I don’t need /want many new things and I can B2M for a lot of future lipsticks. However, now that UD is sold again in Germany, and before shipped from Sephora France, if I would need any (more) eyeshadow, UD palettes would win (and did win in the past year when I bought some).
The prices are a really big topic for me, I just can’t deal with the yearly increases anymore, If lipsticks would be 3-5 Euros less and for example foundations 5-7 Euros less, that would be a fair price, and that was how much they cost just few years ago. This has nothing do to with inflation at all, just testing the limits and hello MAC, my limit was already reached 2 years ago.

xamyx Avatar

Here in the US, prices have dropped rather significantly on some products, and there seems to be a slow-down on price increases across the board. It seemed for a time *every* brand was raising prices at a much faster rate than in previous years.

As for the price difference between the US & other countries, that has more to do with politics/taxes, not because we’re getting any breaks.

Lulle Avatar

I don’t agree with you on the pricing issue. When I lived in France I did the math and many brands sell their products 20-30% more there than in the US, and that’s WITHOUT taking taxes into account.
That’s not really the case for MAC though, their prices are not particularly inflated when crossing the Atlantic, but some other brands really abuse it (the worst offenders last time I checked were actually drugstore and nail polish brands: OPI nail polish is sold for about $13 in France, if you substract taxes!)

xamyx Avatar

I’m not referring to sales/local taxes. VAT is something completely different, and the more austerity there is in a country, those are higher, and France is pretty high up there. There is an entire litany of reasons costs are added, including taxes, but the brands don’t set them, nor do they make any more of a profit from them.

Susan Avatar

I feel like they’re living off of their name at this point. They know that their products will sell because they’re MAC, whether the quality is there or not, so they take advantage of that and it seems like the overwhelming majority of products they put out now are mediocre at best. For a brand that makes it as hard as possible to buy their products (all of the LE stuff and the fact that they sell out in-store and online ridiculously fast) they don’t seem to make those products worth the chase. Plus those inflated prices for LE packaging… ugh. I do love their pro longwear concealer, though.

Jackie Avatar

I like how MAC releases many collections to suit different tastes (you can always look forward to them releasing something new) but at the same time, the quality of what they release sometimes isn’t always the greatest in terms of pigmentation or formula (i.e., some of their LE blushes and eyeshadows). It’s like they need to take a little more time to work on the formula rather than just releasing collections left and right. QUALITY, not QUANTITY, MAC. Then they increase the price for a product that isn’t even that high-quality. Also, it’s frustrating how they make very limited quantities of their limited edition items–and once they sell out, tough luck getting your hands on it. If something is wildly popular, why don’t they make MORE of it, rather than less, and make more money that way?

Bronwyn Avatar

They need to not do online only exclusives, wish they had all collections at all locations. Some of their shadows have decent textures, but the best mac shadows are inferior to certain high end brands imo. They have a nice selection of blushes, but the textures aren’t that great. Lipsticks are where they thrive, but only in certain formulas like amplifieds, amplified cremes, and mattes. They need to do less collections with higher quality special packaging. They need to have options for people of all skin tones and not just cater to light skinned people when they put out le highlighters.

Jules Avatar

The prices of MAC makeup in Canada is just too expensive. Even Americans pay less than Canadians for MAC makeup, and considering that MAC is a Canadian brand, it’s just not fair.

xamyx Avatar

Technically, MAC is an American brand, as Estee Lauder is American. Many (not all!) of the products are manufactured in Canada, but using that logic, many brands would therefore be Chinese, since they are manufactured in China. Besides, VAT accounts for most (if not all) the discrepancy in retail price.

Joanna Avatar

Yeah, it was started in Toronto by two dudes named Frank in the 80s. But it`s based in New York now and is owned by Estee Lauder.

But the factory is in Markham, ON. Usually things in Canada cost more because the government charges taxes or tariffs on things coming in to Canada. But it`s not being imported- it`s being exported.

And I`m not sure it is a VAT either- at least not 100% because the GST (now the HST) was created to show consumers how much they were paying in tax for goods and services. It was just included before.

It`s probably got to do with a combination of far fewer consumers in Canada having to cover the cost of shipping it to retailers in places like Vancouver or Calgary or Montreal. The US, just by having more people, have more people buying MAC, thus balancing the cost of shipping it all over the States.

It`s a major drag, but it`s the price of shopping in a massive country with a small population.

A MAC rave to bring it back to topic- a lot of really cool products from MAC Pro. If you are ever in the area to visit one of the stores, it`s pretty fun to play. And opening it up so that it can be purchased by anyone online was one of the best decisions they`ve made in the last few years.

fancie Avatar

I love that MAC is usually ahead of the curve or right on trend with the latest colors, runway trends and more. They’re not afraid to experiment with color and the collections are great when they’re well thought out. But sometimes MAC pushes out too many collections at once that are very similar. As a result, we see the same colors over and over. Which is especially annoying to me because it’s always the same kind of colors that are only suitable for lighter complexions. I could live with the repetition if the collections were more diverse.

Donna Avatar

Love the lipsticks. But I have read so much how the brand was dumped down when Estee Lauder bought the brand and started kicking out the collections non-stop. Reading how many make up artist boycott the brand and those that use are paid to use it. I remember how Estee Lauder tried to do the same to Stila when they bought them. The quality was awful and the new collections every five minutes trying to make them another MAC. Poor Stila never recovered even when sold on.

Liberté Avatar

I agree with your answer. Sometimes I feel they’re rushing to get some collections to the market , the products are so repeatable and similar with other products, and the quality seems cheap.
BUT I love the quality and the colors of the lipsticks (most of them), the eye shadows, the primer, the highlighter, paintpots, blushes,eye pencils, lip pencils….
I always hated the limited edition story. So many beautiful shades don’t have to be limited.

DeAndrea Avatar

Rave: I have been a MAC girl since 8th grade and what I love about them is they are always staying hip and fresh with their collections. I love their studio fix powder, matte lipsticks, blushes, eyeliners and my love for their lipglass knows no bounds.

Rant: I hate how quickly they run out of stuff and never seem to restock anything and you pretty much miss out on whatever you don’t get because as soon as you turn around here comes a new collection. I never got to try Riri Woo though it was released twice and I was disappointed about that. I wish they would do a collection by season and keep a current collection well stocked! That’d give people more time to go get it instead of them missing out after stuff sells out in one day! They do too much at once it seems.

Lori Avatar

There have been so many repromotes that I just have to ask: I know this was a looong time ago, but why in the world hasn’t MAC repromoted BARBIE shades? These were amazing, and I haven’t found any dupe shades, even after lots of effort.

In the past couple of years, it seems like the quality has suffered too. Someone at MAC either doesn’t know their market, or they’re getting just plain l-a-z-y. I hope this turns around. Makeup is a competitive market, but I used to turn to MAC for everything, and now I only go back for a few things here and there, and I’m disappointed often.

C’mon MAC~ SO many cosmetics fans want to help you so succeed!

Anet Avatar

Rant: the smell of most of their products, especially foundations. The dryness of many lipsticks and stickiness of many glosses. The horrible light in the shops. The incompetence of some of their MUAs. And, most of all, the inconsistency in the quality of products (Dislike 70%: like 20% : love 10% of what I have tried, so I am trying less and less, because I hate the proportion of wasted trials)

Rave: The general colour range. Plus, I truely love some products:

omega eyeshadow (the only of my eyeshadow by MAC I consider a really great quality, it has become my HG to combine with anything else),

CC prep + prime in neutralize (I love wearing it on its own, as I have strong yellow undertones, and it is perfect for balancing combination skin),

gel fluids, the waterproof eyebrow products and some of their brushes (M30 and 239 most of all).

If I was to reduce my makeup property to 20 products, those all would be there, and MAC would thus be my number one brand in the special selection.

That to me sounds like a pretty ambivalent, complex relationship 🙂

Terri Avatar

I’ll be honest – MAC has always intimidated me! So many releases, so many collections….I just didn’t know where to start! Because of that, I don’t have a lot of their products, so this probably isn’t fair for me to comment on at all….

I really love my 217 blending brush. Sure, I have some that are softer, but I just love this one.

What I am extremely disappointed with is the Paint Pots. Everyone seems to love them, but they don’t even last 3 hours on me without creasing, whether on their own or as a shadow primer. I had such high expectations, given the major love they get on you tube and the blogesphere, but an epic fail for me 🙁

Elizabeth Avatar

I have never really been into MAC as much as other brands. I do have a few lipsticks, a lot of the MSF’s, some Beauty Powders, as well as the MSF Natural powders and like them quite well. I never really got into the collections, the foundations broke me out, but I do have a few of the quad eye shadows and I did get a few palettes, Indulgence 7 Face and Delights 6 Eye Trend as a gift and I liked them very much. That was years ago though, and I haven’t gotten much from them since. I do have a MAC store kind of close though, and went there with my mom years ago when she was first diagnosed with cancer, and it was a great feel good shopping trip. It was at Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor Michigan, and the customer service was so wonderful. A MA named Jeremy was amazing. The store was packed, a collection I can’t even remember the name of came out that day, but Jeremy treated my mom and I like we were the only people in the store. Mom was looking for some good brow and lash products because chemo was going to wipe them out, and he showed her some great products. She wore false eye lashes in the ’60’s, so she still had good skills with the placement of those. She always had great brows, and Jeremy showed her how to make them look natural, and I have to say, she never looked like she didn’t have brows or lashes, and it looked natural. I wrote to corporate and told them how wonderful Jeremy was, how great he treated my mom, and how happy I was that the trip made her feel better and helped her get her confidence back. They were extremely sweet, and sent some eye brow pencils to me that I in turn gave to my mom. I was into NARS and Urban Decay, but I had read about MAC on MUA and other blogs and communities, and I thought it would be a great mom/daughter retail therapy thing. It was fun, we didn’t have any expectations, and it was really a good time. I haven’t been a big MAC person, so I haven’t experienced any disappointments, but I will always be grateful to Jeremy at MAC at Briarwood Mall for a really nice experience when my mom was sick. I haven’t bought anything MAC for a while, and the last thing I did buy was a Ruby Woo lipstick after Isabella Blow was shown wearing it. I can’t even remember how long ago it was.

Lisa Avatar

I really think MAC needs a complete overhaul.
I love a lot of their products, but I can’t think of a single category of product where, if you asked me “Who makes the best…?” I would answer “MAC.” Not a single one.
I think MAC became extremely popular because of the incredible diversity of products/shades, which used to set them apart from consumer brands. I also think a lot of it was down to providing a quality product at a much more accessible price point than high-end brands (and at a time when drugstore makeup was abysmal). These things made MAC special.
But the world of makeup has changed. The range of products offered by consumer brands has exploded. There are indie and niche brands everywhere offering inventive products. Drugstore makeup has increased dramatically in quality. Meanwhile, MAC products have become dramatically more expensive, and at this point is pretty much indistinguishable from high-end brands in terms of price. Except, of course, that they never go on sale or have promotions or gwp. Yet, I have not seen any increase in quality to go with that. So what is it that makes MAC special anymore?
It seems like those running MAC must be completely out of touch with their customer base. I’m still both amused and baffled by the fiasco of the new pro-palette launch (when they had to cut the price of the palettes almost in half a couple of months after they released them–I presume as a result of consumer backlash).
However, I do like that I can buy the pro pans of shadow and blush to save $, and that the price of these seems to be staying relatively consistent, and I LOVED when they decreased the price of the shadow pans to $10.


Rave: I love their Back to MAC program, I live near a freestanding MAC store so I’m able to return products for eyeshadow, lipstick and gloss. I love their core products, I regularly repurchase my favorite lipstick, Prep n Prime lip, Pro Longwear concealer, and brow pencils.
Rant: I feel like a lot of posters, the LE collections are out of control. I don’t like Carbon e/s, it’s horrible, unusable.

Stephanie A. Avatar

Rave: I love, love, love MAC’s eyeshadows–I’m talking their permanent collection, tried-and-true’s. There is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t use at least one MAC eyeshadow (even if its only for brows). I also think the Viva Glam program is fantastic, as is Back to MAC.

Rant: You know, the constant release of new collections doesn’t really bother me. Perhaps because I feel that there are so many “hits” in the permanent collection, as far as eyeshadows, lipsticks, glosses, I don’t so much mind the “misses” in the LE collections–they feel kinda like “extras” to me. My rant is for their stores/counters themselves. Granted, its not as though I’ve visited HUNDREDS, but I’ve yet to shop at a counter or store that was a truly pleasant experience. At best, I’ve been satisfied to get in and out with what I’ve wanted/needed, at worst, I’ve been amazed (and not in a good way!) at either a lack of knowledge or downright rudeness.

Alecto Avatar

This is a good topic, but it makes me kind of sad and tired.

Rave: Learning about and using the Paint Pots started me on a path towards more complicated and interesting ways of using makeup. I feel like just the idea of them was enough to make me see the real potential (to me) of makeup — the layering and blending like pigment washes on canvas. I suppose I’m grateful that they opened my eyes, in a way. I also think the Paint Pots are a good product; I have a few colors I haven’t tried and they’re still on my “to get” list. Also, Moth Brown is my favorite color ever.

Rant: Everything else? I dunno. I’ve never used any of their lip products other than three lip glasses. I have a decent number of their eyeshadows, but … honestly, MAC is the reason I won’t buy LE. At all. From any line. I’m so turned off to LE that no amount of ooh-ing and aah-ing from anyone (including myself) will ever convince me to go that route again. Thanks MAC. Also, I got turned off to their “hey look! a new collection!” schtick long before they cranked it up to 11. Not because I’m hyper-cool or a hipster, but because … I just don’t need that much stimulation. Nobody does. It feels like gluttony to even look at their LE collection marketing. Ugh.

Left-handed Rave: My irritation with MAC sent me on a journey of exploration which ended with me becoming a firm fan of a few, hard-working and truly wonderful Indie companies, and I continue to seek out the upstanding and innovative newcomers. And for that I am eternally grateful. Thanks MAC!

Brittany Avatar

I love MAC’s lipsticks for their shade range and their matte finish (so comfortable and lasting without full-on cracking) as well as their lip pencils. They’re a great brand for some staple products and have a great shade range of foundations, too. However, the countless collections with all the same shades of red, red, RED lip products has gotten pretty tired for me. 😛

El Avatar

Rant first: too many LEs and collections, same as everybody else’s rant, that sell out far too quickly. I would have less of an issue with the constant releases if I had any confidence that I could actually get my hands on what I wanted. The baked eyeshadows I’ve tried have been very poor quality, fading away within a couple of hours.

Rave: Cherry lip pencil, which I’ve been wearing about 15 years (not the same pencil all that time, obviously!). Paint in Bare Canvas, still a staple eye primer for me. Viva Glam. COLOUR – they still make some wonderful brights, and frankly are pulling my attention more lately as UD gets more Naked.

Both: customer/counter service. I have had crap, and I have had glorious. My local John Lewis department store has a MAC counter now, though, and I have generally had good to great service there, win. And regardless of the service once I want to actually buy something or ask questions, the staff are happy to let me just play with the testers, which is often not the case with high end brands.

Kaitlyn Avatar

Rave: They have a wide variety, including many shades that are not regularly offered by most mainstream brands. They occasionally do some really excellent and beautiful/artistic collections.

Rant: Their formulas for their regular shadows need to be improved. Most of their best products are LE and very limited availability. The slough of collections…. and then something that has less to do with the products and more with the way the brand is viewed: I can’t stand the way so many people seem to view MAC as the holy grail of makeup. It’s all some people talk about, and they act like their products are the be-all and end-all. I find that MAC excels at variety, but the quality of many of the products is mediocre at best. Better than drugstore? Yes (most of the time), but compared to products in a similar price range… They just don’t live up to the hype. I don’t understand the hype and it frustrates me. (actually sometimes it makes me want to scream and/or pull my hair out, but that’s mostly just when I’m trying to tell someone about an awesome product and they completely shut me down because it isn’t “MAC”. It’s like people have been brainwashed. They can’t see the flaws, and they can’t entertain the idea that anything else could be better.)

I like MAC for what it is and own many of their eyeshadows. I especially like how unique some of their shades are. I just get aggravated at the way people view them.

summerblue Avatar

I was late to the MAC party & only began purchasing in 2005. I purchased a ton of stuff through 2012, after which I became unenthused & just plain tired of chasing down collections so I haven’t bought anything Mac for the past 2-1/2 years. To quote the very 1st comment poster, “They’re too much, and too much of the same.”

On the day of the release, I used to run over to MAC to be there when the doors opened so as to see the items I was interested in & snag what I wanted. What angered me was that MAC at Macy’s would get a very limited amount of product. Once, I arrived after a man who bought 5-fold of certain items for his wife, which when I ask why so many he “for the girls in her office.” Maybe so, or maybe to sell inflated mark-up on Ebay. Well, me being 2nd on line, the item I was interested in only had 4 left after his purchase which means that MAC only got a count of 9 in. What’s up with that with a LE collection. It was already sold out online.

Since I was so late to MAC, I invested enormous time/effort looking for swaps/purchases for discontinued items like Magic Dust e/s & Gold Dust, Mutiny, Pastorale, etc. pigments, Blue Peep & Wink fluidlines, etc. I wanted Gold Dust so badly, but I surely wasn’t gonna buy it on ebay for $100.00.

I always went to MAC @ Macys because under the flourescent light at least I could see the product, and the booth was steps from the outside to see the product in natural light. The lighting in my closet MAC store is that of a “very” romantic dinner for 2, and the mall lighting is odd between the skylights & flourescents so to see the colors correctly I had to walk about 1/4 mile to get to the outside of the mall to view the products in daylight. UGH!

I have experienced a few wonderful SAs, but most seem to lack warmth. They come off very preppy &, when not helping anyone, huddled in a group being cliquey.

Remember when Temptalia did that survey of what products people wanted to see repromoted & they selected the highest winners? Well, why hasn’t MAC been repromoting the rest of the requests. I sure could use a couple of backups 2 of my loves: Barbie Magic Dust & Gold Dust. I still really long for the original Lightscapade formula regardless of the price for the primo micas. So if I’m willing to pay the big bucks (& I’m sure 1000s of others are also) why hasn’t MAC repromoted the original. Their current version is not worth buying again when you have the quality of Becca pressed highlighting powders & other vendors. I missed out on the 131 brush & would love for them to repromote this. Their clients are constantly posting requests for certain past & future products, but they are tone-deaf.

I applaud them for having an enormous range of e/s shadows, but the payoff for many is just ‘meh.’ Lorac, UD, MUFE, etc. have sterling color payoff. And, while having a large blush range, but many are dry & powdery & don’t have good color payoff. And, their brush quality has gone down; I hate paying big bucks for brushes that are machine cut “unevenly.”

I know they get rave reviews for their foundation products, but there is not an exact match for my coloring: I’m darker, no pink then a NC 25 & NC 30 is too dark as not enough yellow. And they get raves for their llarge selection of lipsticks, but I only buy mattes & generally will only pay drugstore store pricing so I can afford all other expensive products I want. (Mascara & lipstick are what gives for me.)

Yes, there are a few products I really like & will buy them when I hit bottom, but I just don’t have the desire or strength to keep chasing my (or MACs) tail over tiresome, never-ending LE releases.

Just my 2-cents … but, MAC isn’t listening anyway.

Sylirael Avatar

Pretty much what you said, Christine! Of course I’m going to add that I wish they’d be a little kinder to their international customers’ wallets, or at least (somewhere amongst their incredible turnover of collections) they’d have a few more special ‘international only’ ones, so that at least we feel like we’re paying 4x for something special. Most other brands that put their products into the same price range as MAC does here have a few international exclusives at least! I guess it’s not ESSENTIAL, but it would be nice, for sure.

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