When many of us start out experimenting more with makeup, and want to graduate from high-street brands, MAC is the place to start.
It has makeup artists on hand to help out – or at least it did before lockdown closed many of its local stores – and the products themselves are great. Super versatile, highly pigmented, long lasting, not to mention quality formulas.
These are just some of the reasons why MAC Cosmetics is the latest in our Brand Spotlight series.
Over the past few months, we’ve been shining a light on brands that represent and align with what we stand for – brands that offer great products at low prices; brands which champion inclusivity and diversity; clean, sustainable and ethical beauty brands, and brands that are challenging the beauty industry hierarchy.
Founded in Toronto in 1984 by make-up artist and photographer Frank Toskan with salon owner Frank Angelo, Make-up Art Cosmetics was created out of a need to find make-up that looked beautiful and photographed well.
In the decades since, MAC Cosmetics has become an international phenomenon, sold in 105 countries across the globe, finding its way into the make-up kits of film sets, photoshoots, and our homes. What makes MAC so amazing, is its universal appeal, versatile offering and high-quality products.
Everything MAC does – from its product lines to its community of makeup artists – is done with diversity and inclusivity at its heart. As the brand itself explains, MAC is “all ages, all races, all genders.”
It has a strong sense of social responsibility, and has been a pioneer with initiatives including its Viva Glam lipsticks (scroll down to read more) and the MAC AIDS Fund.
Then there are the products. They don’t come cheap – and are more expensive than many of those we tend to feature in our Brand Spotlight lists – but we believe they’re worth the extra money. The base products, in particular, are superb.
If you have mature skin – although it’s also great for all skin types – MAC’s Waterweight concealer is second to none. Its MAC Studio Fix foundation – in both fluid and stick forms – are fantastic, and we’re big fans of its Prep+Prime Fix+ Setting Spray. You can read more about all of these in our best concealer, our Studio Fix Foundation review, and best setting spray guides.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Best concealer | Best makeup brush | Best foundation brush | Best eyeshadow palette | Best foundation | Best foundation for dark skin | Best foundation for oily skin | Best foundation for dry skin | Best contour kit | Best lip gloss | Best lip liner | Best mascara| Best primer | Best highlighter | Best brow pomade | Best blusher | Best setting spray| Best makeup sets | Best false eyelashes
£17.50 | Buy now from MAC
Who’s it for? Created in partnership with charities fighting AIDS and HIV, 100% of profits from any of the three current Viva Glam lipsticks help to fund the prevention of the condition as well as treatment and support for those affected by it.
Why we love it: MAC’s lipstick formula is up there with some of the best available. It’s a staple, and there’s a reason why it’s consistently featured on best-seller lists. It’s creamy, pigmented and great value for money.
How to use it: We like to pair Viva Glam II, a pinkish hued mauve, with a similar lip liner and a nude eyeshadow look, that has a spot of gold sparkle. Perfect for the everyday.
£23.50 | Buy now from MAC
Who’s it for? A staple brush in every kit is a big, fluffy blending brush. The MAC 224 is a classic for achieving seamlessly blended eyeshadow.
Why we love it: Because its tapered bristles and larger brush head mean that blending initial crease shades is as easy as it gets. It picks up the right amount of product and distributes it evenly. Used with back and forth and small circular motions, blending and building up eyeshadow has never been easier.
How to use it: We use it to, firstly, set our eyeshadow primer with a white or bone-toned shadow and then apply our transition shades. We like to add new shades using a clean brush, and go back to the first 224 to blend them all together.Buy now from MAC
£27 | Buy now from MAC
Who’s it for? Anyone looking for flawless full-coverage foundation that stays all day and photographs well. Perfect for events!
Why we love it: Because of its unreal full-coverage, Studio Fix will cover everything. And it’s buildable. It can be quite thick – so you only need a small amount if you want a more natural finish – but its staying power is worth it.
It has an SPF of 15 meaning your face is protected from the sun (though we recommend applying a separate SPF before your make-up to protect further), a matte-finish and comes in tonnes of shades and undertones.
How to use it: After priming, use a damp sponge or duo fibre foundation brush to buff a small amount into the skin. Add extra product where further coverage is needed and follow with concealer and set with powder.
FURTHER READING: MAC Studio Fix foundation review
£21 | Buy now from MAC
Who’s it for? Anyone who needs a versatile setting spray.
Why we love it: Fix+ is one of Mac’s most versatile products.
Primarily a prep spray, Fix+ can be used to prep and prime the skin, to set and finish make up, to provide hydration throughout the day or to give your favourite shimmer shades an extra pop.
It comes in a range of fragrances, too, for those who prefer an extra scent boost, as well as the original. Although the original is technically scentless, it’s not – it has a slightly odd chemical smell – but this soon goes away.
How to use it: Hold about 12 inches from the face and spritz a few times before make-up application to prime the skin. Apply after foundation and powder to set the face and add an extra glow.
Spritz throughout the day to refresh hydration and boost natural glow or spritz onto shimmer shades on your make-up brush to wet shadow, boosting pigment, shine and staying power.
READ NEXT: What does setting spray actually do?
£26.50 | Buy now from MAC
Who’s it for? Anyone looking for a healthy highlight that complements natural glow.
Why we love it: Available in a range of shades to complement all skin tones, Mineralize Skin Finish is the perfect natural highlight for your face and your body.
Created using 77 different minerals and Vitamin E, it gives a gorgeous sheen and doesn’t look too overpowering.
How to use it: Apply to the high points of the face, such as your cheekbones, and your collarbones with a fluffy brush for an all-over natural-looking radiance.
For something a bit more metallic and intense, pick up product on your brush and spritz with Fix+ before applying to your cheekbones.
Victoria is founder and editor-in-chief of mamabella, freelance journalist and Mum. She has a passion for empowering people to feel beautiful whatever their age, size, skin type and budget