Rant & Rave: MAC

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They really do release too much product; I think that with other brands ramping up their own release schedules and just the reality of having even more brands on the map… MAC’s launches are more overwhelming now than they used to be (though I think they’re still putting about the same amount of products, which is a lot but doesn’t actually feel increased over the years). I wish they’d scale back the launches, stop releasing limited edition formulas, and expand more of their core ranges.

— Christine

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The Retro Matte lipsticks are maybe the second most uncomfortable formula I’ve worn on my lips. The shades are pretty, but it’s overrated and over-priced. It just feels to me like they’re not trying hard enough? Most of their limited edition products frankly seem a bit boring to me. I was somewhat interested to see the Star Trek collection, and even that didn’t live up to what I was hoping to see from them.
I do like the Viva Glam campaign and their selection of lipstick shades. Their lip products smell absolutely heavenly, and the packaging is sturdy and sleek.

First of all, what really bothers me is the disrespect and customer manipulation that is a major part of many of their LE releases. Customers should be treated BETTER than having to sit by their computers in the middle of the night to try to snag a freakin’ lipstick! If more people put that much energy into volunteer work, helping the elderly or stocking foodbanks, the world really would be a better place! Can you tell how much this irks me? I really dislike the fact that they make products that people really want VERY hard to buy (online only AND LE is a double annoyance for me). I feel they release far too many collections of dubious quality and I am really annoyed (and in good company) that they discontinued the Matte2 eyeshadows AND that their website really sucks! But MAC has always been my first makeup love and it still always delights me when they come out with something new that is really good.

Sorry I have to disagree! Ultimately it is the customer’s choice to hunt down a LE Mac lipstick and not some other brands permanent.
It’s not lile Mac withholds vital necessities from their customers!

I love a lot of stuff from mac: their pro longwear concealer which is the only one than I tried and doesn’t crease, the pro longwear nourishing waterproof foundation, their lipsticks (Velvet Teddy is my very favorite lip color), the eyeshadows I like the fact that they are not powdery, some brushes mainly the white one (I feel like the black one tend to lose their hair) , the prep and prime eye base is the best in my opinion, I also feel that way for their blushes too, the lip pencils, the clear brow set and the prep and prime fix+. I like that Mac is a brand available in many places. The thing that I don’t like from them is that the foundations or the concealers shades are not always the same, it depends on the different foundations and concealers.

I have been a long-time MAC user and PRO member. PROS: lip/eye shade range for women of color, price point, availability in the U.S., improved counter customer serviced, diversity in campaigns and collaborations. CONS: too many launches and limited edition products, limited blush shades for WOC, some time the line plays catch-up with other lines.

Rant: oo many LE releases that are way too limited, not enough attention paid to developing innovative new formulas for the permanent range.

Rave: wide range of colors and finishes. Most products seem to be fragrance-free. Some really reliable, good quality permanent formulas at non-outrageous prices.

MAC Releases, 2016. Any wonder I don’t even pay attention any more.

Viva Glam Ariana Grande
Sculpt & Contour Yourself palette

Flamingo Park
MAC x Zac Posen
Brows Are It

Future Forward w/ Tinashe
All the Right Angles
MAC x Charlotte Olympia
Air of Style fragrance
Future Forward w/ Halsey

Future MAC
Mineralize Skinfinish extension
Versicolour Stains
MAC x Caitlyn Jenner
Future Forward w/ Dej Loaf
Future Forward w/ Lion Babe

MAC x Brooke Candy full collection
MAC x Chris Chang of Poesia
Vibe Tribe
Longwear Colour Sticks
Times 15 (x15) palettes

Soft Serve
MAC x Brant Brothers
Blue Nectar
Tender Talk lip balm
Fashion Pack
Bangin’ Brilliant new permanent line

MAC x Star Trek

Good Luck Trolls
It’s a Strike

MAC x Star Trek
Viva Glam Ariana Grande 2
MAC x Taraji P. Henson
Liptensity lipstick

MAC x Selena
Diwali Light Festival
Spellbinder Shadows
Studio QuikTrik Stick
Nutcracker Sweet Holiday 2016

MAC Limited Edition Helmut Newton
In the Spotlight
Berry Black Friday

MAC x Mariah Carey

MAC has me completely and utterly confused. I have no idea what is what in any of their releases the past year, and totally stopped paying attention. To tell you the truth, I often have no idea what differentiates one of their products from another — particularly powders — so I ignore those too. Go into a MAC store to try and figure it out? Often the SAs are rushed, or telling me I have to spend x to get time in the chair? Forget it. All of this has added up to me buying only one MAC makeup product in 2016 — the face and body makeup so I don’t have to wear stockings to work in the spring.

I have liked some of my MAC products — lipsticks and blushes — but, in the end, they are always upstaged by something I like or works better. MAC does not keep me loyal. I don’t think the quality is there anymore for many of their offering. This has really taken hold in 2016 with their tsunami of ridiculous LE releases, which always strike me as sub-par. I know that’s somewhat unfair, but I’m pretty much done with MAC.

In the rave category is MAC’s range of products for POC. It does point out in fast relief how paltry many, many (most?) other lines are in this area. Good on MAC for that.

Wow – Linda, this is an amazing catalogue of MAC releases – no wonder we get a little jaded with all the new products coming out in the market. Thank you for doing this research.

Bravo! Tell it like it is. MAC is pretty inane. You really did the research. Sometimes it feels too young, forcedly trendy. The brand is quite manipulative of their customer base. At least they re-released Selena. But I never got a a Taraji blush, got a refund though. I find the redo of their website dreadful…the colors are not in the least representative…. and often the product does not hit a b&m non-dedicated store. The quality is uneven, though that charge can be leveled at virtually every cosmetics co at some time or other. I also think they are faux cutting edge…actually, they are as mainstream as you get. They do get points for diversity, wider shade range, and championing LGBTQ issues. Caitlin is having a whole collection, btw. Not much of a Mac person, except when C rates something outstanding, like Make You Mine, or I adore a shade and packaging. Think I got 5 products last year. Think I’m too old for the thrill of the chase approach. But, you have to admit, MAC is always fun to watch.

Rant: MAC needs to take a stand against Estee Lauder, and go back to being cruelty free!
Also not happy with their dc’ing the wonderful Matte² and Veluxe e/s formulas, a very stupid move on their part! Best 2 matte e/s formulas that I have ever used that were rather affordable. And then there’s the overabundance of LE releases…. although admittedly, these have been of much better, more consistent quality over the past 2-3 years. But still, just too much to keep up with!

Rave: I do love that MAC is one of the absolute most inclusive brands for us POC! Including their LE collabs and especially their foundation and other face products. One of only a few brands that has foundations that actually match my medium depth skin color, a fairly common depth, but also the nuances of my Native American undertones mixed with my Irish/Italian half that have given me quite the unusual combo of having medium olive skin that also has a “peachyness” to it and freckles and some ethnic melasma going on. Not easy to match! Or cover that dang melasma, either!
Plus, they have some fantastic permanent products that are relatively affordable, being a mid end brand.

Sana, I was matched to C 4.5 in Studio Fix , NC 37-40 in Pro Longwear, and NC37 in yet another foundation that comes in a tube and is far more moisturizing than the other 2, but I cannot recall the name? I am around an NC 37 during winter.

It’s probably the studio fix tube or the nourishing waterproof foundation !… Thats awesome you definitely have more of a tanned complexion then :)… interesting for olive tones they would have gone the NW or W routes because mac considers olives tones in line with cool tones and peachyness … I’m glad the NC or C worked . I like to try the C on olive skin anyways lol . Thanks for getting back to me I appreciate it!!!

MAC has a BIZARRE color coding description! The NC range is NOT COOL. Like literally, it has very strong yellow tones in it. The C range is a more peachy, more neutral warm toned line, NW is pinker, therefore NOT WARM. So many, even many MAC MUA’s refer to them as above. NC= Not Cool, NW= Not Warm.

* The wide range of eyeshadow colors available individually.
* Ability to make your own Palette
* Primers and concealer are great
* Brushes are well made and perform well
* Wide range of lipstick colors and formulas
* Eyebrow pencils are great
* Website offers a nice discount at least once a year
* Those ever persistent LE launches
* Discontinuing Matte2 eyeshadow
* Wish for more mid range color lipsticks. There are many darks and nudes.
* Website improvement needed.

OMG, do I agree on the website improvement! Their website is truly hard to manage, it’s frustrating. For as big as they are, that should be a priority ?

Rave: products in regular range remain available (I’ve replaced my beloved Taupe lipstick countless times). Their lipsticks and lip products rarely disappoint. Core products seem high quality. The price is affordable. For the most part, I like the brushes that I have from MAC.

Rant: I hate the constant revolving intro of limited editions and especially dislike how MAC releases high-demand collections. Why they don’t take pre-orderslike is beyond me. I watch for the Viva Glam release and don’t pay much attention to MAC otherwise due to the extreme number of releases and the poor pigmentation of their palettes.


Wide shade selection
Ability to make own palettes, 100% customizable (Side eye to Urban Decay…)
They make foundations and concealers light enough to suit me and my NC 15 skin
They are at a more approachable pricepoint (more mid-range) than most HE brands, but you can still test out all products. This prevents many “dud” buys, like can happen at the drugstore (and at this point, the prices aren’t thaaaat far off from each other anymore)
Fix+ to de-cake my face
Cleanse Off Oil for makeup removal
They have pretty much every aspect of makeup covered. Whatever you’re looking for, MAC will have it. They’re a one-stop shop kind of place


Their Limited Edition collections sell out WAY too quickly. I’d at least like a week or two so I could get to the MAC counter and look at the products in person, before every single item in the collection is sold out.
Many of the sales assistants seem to be unaware of products and collections that are coming out and tell me frequently that they don’t exist/maybe got discontinued or aren’t a MAC collection and I must have it confused with another brand’s collection. Then I show them the online promotional ads to try to clarify what I’m looking for and get brushed off.
Their lipsticks always leave a weird white residue on my lips. No other brand of lipsticks does this to me.
Mall counters don’t sell individual pans. I get why, but it’s a point of frustration in my makeup life, lol.

Pro: Back 2 MAC. I love being able to turn in used up products and get a new lipstick.

Cons: Too many LE releases and discontinuing the Matte2 eyeshadow formula

RANT: After being so pro-cruelty free, when Estee Lauder bought them, they started testing and did not warn their customers. That still irks me, and keeps me from buying more product from them. The constant LE collections that often aren’t good quality, and that they don’t always do much with the packaging for them. How hard it is to get high-demand LE items. They sell out so fast. MAC often chickens out when they do unconventional colored lipsticks and make them sheer instead of opaque. It annoys me when they have an LE collection and don’t do much with the packaging, such as Rocky Horror, Cinderella, and Star Trek collections. Why cheap out? People will pay for cuter packaging for those types of collections. Crappy versions of Carbon in all the palettes. I think their brushes are over-rated.

RAVE: The Viva Glam AIDS charity and the Back to MAC program. That they are inclusive of a wide variety of skin tones. The MAC Select customer program. I can shop with them through Ebates. They are reasonably priced, for the most part. Overall, I love their lipsticks and lipglasses. They have a lot of good permanent collection eyeshadows. I like the blushes I have from them.

Rant: Their LEs – too many releases too many times throughout the year. Sometimes their customer service in certain stores is lacking. Too much hype creating fomo – if you are going to hype it like that, make sure there is enough for everyone.

Rave: One stop shopping for me (save for Guerlain Meteorites Perles and Armani foundations), I can get everything I need for a full face from them. They have a great selection of products, I love their aesthetic, love the Viva Glam program, and the BACK2MAC recycling is another great perk aside from the new tiered rewards system. I love that I can go in and get my makeup done and it will be a current look and flawless, and I’m taught technique along the way. I have been buying from them almost exclusively for the last 20+ years (until I found Temptalia reviews!), and they will always be my #1 go to for makeup.

Rave: they have some really lovely products – their foundations, lipsticks and eye shadows that have stood the test of time – eg Sumptuous Olive. For consumers in the US, their products are reasonably priced and easily accessible.
Rant: As you have stated Christine, the brand releases too many collections per year and at least half of the products are of poor quality. For those of us in other countries, the products are hard to get and expensive.

Rant: They release way too many collections. Quality gets compromised. My personal beef with MAC is the fact that I kept getting told by the SA’s that they were CF. They aren’t. Since I found out I don’t buy from them unless it’s an undupable product and it fits a hole in my collection. I know I shouldn’t hold it against MAC directly as a brand, but I don’t like getting lied to!

Rave: Viva Glam! Also, when they do things right, it’s alway pretty and it’s good quality for the money when the formulas are on point. They also are great at leading trends or starting them.

I love MAC,it’s my favorite makeup company.I don’t always love their limited edition stuff but some collections are amazing like the Mariah Carey one.Here in Europe(except UK because they can get a lot of things there) they still are the best priced quality makeup brand with the most options. Getting other US brands cost 20 or even 30 euros more.

Rave…I’ve found an exact match in their Studio Fix foundation…NW13, and I’ve tried so many foundations over the last 30+ years. I am also very pleased with the quality of the product. I also love their blush, highlighters, and lipstick.

Rant…the chemical scent on the foundation. Wish that had a better scent. I’ve tried several eyeshadows and I’m disappointed in the quality of them. I find that the pigmentation and longevity of wear is left wanting in the shadows I’ve tried. I’ve also tried a couple eyeshadow brushes and I’m not sold…maybe I’ve just not bought the right ones yet.

I like their core products, I love their eyeshadow and lipstick prep and prime and their Matte2 eyeshadows and Most of the blushes and lipsticks I own are from their permanent line. I enjoy some of their products but like everybody elses rant, theres too much limited edition releases and its tiresome! I could only image how much brainstorming they have to put into curating colors and ads that they forget to put effort into the actual product.

Also, one time last year during one of the discounted purchase promotions..the SA did not give me the discount!! And I have to go back the next day before I went to work to remind them about the discount and the one of the SA’s told me “oh, you have to let us know that you’re in the program for discount” that doesn’t even make any sense..I got the discount, walked away and I have not purchased from them since.

I really dislike the fact that most of Mac’s limited addition collections are so hit or miss. I was looking to buy a travel brush set and saw the nutcracker ones. The one I looked at in store was bad quality. The 217 in that particular set was kinda scratchy? and that is my favourite blending brush. I wish they would be more consistent.

They’re re-releasing the same shades under different names. So, when I ordered the Dark Diversion fluidline, they sent me the Great Dame shade and claimed that it’s the same shade anyway. Well, it may not be the same formula. And if it is the identical product, then why releasing it under a different name again? Since they have a non-return policy in my country, I’m boycotting MAC ever since.


Mac is this iconic brand that everybody knows of, has access to and references. It has a wide range of colors for everything, and very friendly to POC – in that you can find a eyeshadow/blush darker in the ‘same’ color according to your skin tone.
I love love love their eyeshadows. I know of many people (especially younger generations on YouTube) who don’t think Mac eyeshadows are that impressive. But Mac shadows are not designed to be so smooth and soft and swatch friendly, they’re that kind of eyeshadows that are truly easy to apply and take no effort to build up and blend. Whenever I’m feeling sickish about the current beauty trends of eyeshadow formulas (everything needs to be ‘buttery’ and oh so pigmented or oh so foiled now, which also leads to being powdery, making skin texture shown, hard to blend, etc), I take out my z palette full of Mac shadows and remember them. Some of the colors are truly iconic and as someone else mentioned here, stood the test of time.
Brushes. Mac’s classic design of brushes (especially eyes) are still being referenced and imitated everywhere in the industry. While the face brushes sometimes shed too much, I find the eye brushes to be real work horses. I have some from 7 years ago and they haven’t changed a thing.
Blushes. So many blushes. I like it that when you physically go into Mac, you just see all of these colors in different spectrum and finishes and just can’t stop swatching. While providing for some simple yet iconic colors, Mac also has many unique shades. I find myself still exploring Mac blushes after 8 years of frequenting Mac counters. My now-favorite finish is sheertone.
Lipsticks. I don’t know any girls that don’t own a Mac lipstick. Every winter especially when I entered the university bathrooms, I would spot girls reapplying diva or sin. And last year everybody was all over brown lipsticks, and you guessed it, mac was everyone’s first thought. Although there are certain finishes I would never touch, but you have so many choices when you have just sth vague in your mind. I actually especially like a lot of the bright colors from Mac, I feel like they excel in those and are cheap(er) to buy.
Oh and Mac has some hidden gems: Prep and prime lip, Fix+, Brow finisher etc. that are pretty much pleasing everyone.

LE editions like everyone else has said. It’s impossible to purchase, and pointless to keep. The only times I’ve seen them are from beauty bloggers.
Continuously and randomly discontinuing things (from core collection). You never know when your favorite eyeshadow or blush (finishes) are going to disappear.
Texture of their lipstick doesn’t feel high end.

Rave: just the sheer availability of the brand! They’re one of the few makeup brands in my city which actually interest me. (Case in point, we JUST had Bobbi Brown and theBalm arrive this year. Huzzah.) MAC also have a very wide range of products (and good ones at that), shades, tools, and just – OPTIONS. I actually feel that if MAC were not available in my city, my love affair with makeup would fizzle away to nothing. So yeah, I feel they deserve some credit for that.

Rant: far too much of what they churn out is average, subpar, or just terrible. This applies to both the excessive limited edition products, and to the questionable new permanent products. You need to KNOW what you’re looking for when you go to a counter, otherwise you’re liable to get fobbed off with some awful limited edition crap. It’s disheartening to approach a brand with something akin to distrust, because you doubt that the SAs and MUAs actually have a comprehensive understanding of what they’re selling, beyond the immediate corporate push.

I have two MAC stores within 20 minutes of home. They are both well-ran with awesome associates, so that is what I love about MAC.

All of the hype around limited edition products is what I hate, but that goes to say with most brands.

I TOTALLY agree with you about MAC. It seems like the release something LE about every 2 weeks and if it’s something I think I want to see/get, it’s generally sold out before I can even get over to the MAC counter. I also don’t like that they release SOME of their LE stuff to all stores and some of it only goes to certain stores, and even worse, only certain stores IN CERTAIN STATES. Then you can get one at 1000x the price on eBay.

My opinion as to why MAC releases so many limited edition collections is because that’s probably where they make most of their money from. They’re not going to continue making a lot of money (selling) those permament range of eyeshadows that have been sitting there on display since I first started using makeup in middle school. Right? And with so many other brands out there with better formulas, cheaper prices, or higher prices but better quality, Mac has alot of competition. They were like the only brand that never had an actual, real sale until this year. Yes they will sell their foundations, fix pluses, blushes, things we use everyday anway. I was kind of thinking the same thing about urban decay…they have their permanent collection, and then come out with too many different kinds of palettes every year. I wish Mac would just reformulate those permament shadows, kind of like what makeup forever did and update their formula.

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