Best MAC mascara ranked and reviewed from best to worst
From £20

We’ve reviewed and ranked every MAC mascara – from MAC Stack to Extreme Dimension – to finally reveal which is best

22nd November 2023 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber
Verdict

During our month-long, MAC mascara reviews, the MAC Extended Play Gigablack mascara came out on top.

It gave our short lashes the most dramatic length and the application was super simple thanks to its thin, precise but soft brush and conditioning formula. While it doesn’t give the volume of others in this list, it ticked every other box. Including coming in as the joint cheapest option.

The MAC In Extreme Dimension 3D mascara came in a close second. It provided a similar level of length, plus curl and volume. It just didn’t quite live up to the formula and finish of our best MAC mascara choice.

The MAC Stack Micro came in third for providing the most volume of the lot. However, its thick formula let it – and the lift of our lashes – down.

In fourth place was the MAC Extended Play Perm Me Up mascara. Its formula matches that of the Gigablack version, but it comes with a curved brush rather than a straight one. This adds a great amount of curl but lacked lift and volume.

And in last place was the MAC mascara that we thought would have been our favourite – the MAC Stack Mega mascara. Given how many positive reviews we’ve seen on TikTok and YouTube, we had expected to love this mascara but it was so disappointing.

Application is difficult, the formula is gloopy and messy, the mascara doesn’t last and the overall finish is poor.

Pros
Cons
Where to Buy
1. MAC Extended Play Gigablack £20
2. MAC In Extreme Dimension 3D £24
3. MAC Stack Micro Brush Mascara £26
4. MAC Extended Play Perm Me Up £20
5. MAC Stack Mega Brush mascara £26
Prices are accurate at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

Unsure what the best MAC mascara is? We’ve put all of them to the test to discover once and for all which are worth the money, and which you should avoid


UPDATE: A number of MAC mascaras are on offer for Black Friday. MAC itself has knocked up to 25% off its range of MAC mascaras.

The MACStack is £20.50, down from £27. This includes both brush sizes as well as the waterproof version. You can also buy a set of mini MACStack mascaras for £22.50, down from £30.

Our winning mascara, the MAC Extended Play Gigablack is now £15, down from £20, too. The full list of savings is as follows:

  1. MAC Extended Play Gigablack: Buy now (now £15, was £20)
  2. MAC In Extreme Dimension 3D mascara: Buy now (now £18.75, was £24)
  3. MAC Stack mascara (Micro): Buy now (now £20.25, was £26)
  4. MAC Extended Play Perm Me Up mascara: Buy now (now £15, was £20)
  5. MAC Stack mascara (Mega): Buy now (now £20.25, was £27)  

What’s more, if you buy directly from MAC (and spend £60+) you’ll also get a free gift worth £30 which includes a full-size lipstick, HyperReal balm and the MACStack mascara in a makeup bag.

The savings on the other MAC mascaras vary depending on the retailer, so we’ve put them all in the carousel below. For example, the MAC MacStack has been reduced to £21.60, down from £27 on Lookfantastic while the MAC Extended Play Gigablack is now £16, down from £20 on Amazon.

All of the prices on the carousel are updated in real-time and show a range of options from different stores, to help you get the best deal.

Alternatively, keep scrolling to see our before and after photos of our best MAC mascara tests.


Original best MAC mascara guide continues below

MAC Cosmetics is one of the original, and best, makeup brands on the high street. It’s become synonymous with high-quality, inclusive lines that are loved by experts and influences alike, and one of its bestselling collections is its MAC mascara range.

MAC doesn’t offer as many mascara types as the likes of Maybelline, Rimmel or L’Oreal Paris, for instance, but there are still enough options to make choosing the best MAC mascara less than straightforward. This was recently made even more difficult with the launch of the MAC Stack mascara.

According to MAC, its Stack mascara was two years in the making and is infinitely buildable, promising unrivalled volume and length without any clumping or flaking. We wanted to put these claims to the test while also comparing the MAC Stack’s performance against over options in the best MAC mascara range.

We’ve spent the past month putting every bestselling MAC mascara to the test, to bring you a definitive guide on how they perform and to help finally establish which is the best MAC mascara around.

Separately, if you’re a MAC fan, you can get cheap MAC makeup from its MAC Treats page. We’ve also listed the best MAC products in our Brand Spotlight.


WANT MORE GROUP TESTS? Best Benefit mascara | Best No7 foundation | Best Charlotte Tilbury foundation | Best MAC foundation


Every MAC mascara ranked

Each of these MAC mascaras was bought from Lookfantastic – none were gifted and MAC didn’t have any input in this list. These are real-world results, used on our short, natural lashes.

How we tested

For our MAC mascara reviews, we ranked each based on their formula, brush style, how easy they are to apply and build, and how well they perform. We followed the expert advice in our How to apply mascara like a pro guide and, for each test, we applied two coats of each mascara on bare lashes.

The versions that feature in our MAC mascara reviews are listed below, ranked from best to worst. You can scroll through to see the full ranking or click one of the links below to jump straight to your desired MAC mascara.

  1. Best MAC mascara: MAC Extended Play Gigablack: £20
  2. MAC In Extreme Dimension 3D mascara: £24
  3. MAC Stack mascara (Micro): £26
  4. MAC Extended Play Perm Me Up mascara: £20
  5. MAC Stack mascara (Mega): £27

You can additionally buy the MAC False Lashes Maximiser (£20) mascara primer.

If, like us, you’re lashes are short or straight, check out more recommendations in our best mascara for short lashes, and best mascara for Asian lashes guides. 


5th place: MAC Stack Mascara Mega Brush

Price: £27 | Buy now

mamabella rating: 2/5

MAC Stack Mega before and aftermamabella | mamabella

We really wanted to love this MAC mascara – and of the two MAC Stack brushes, we had assumed that the Mega brush would work best on our short lashes. We were wrong. As you can see in the image, the mascara adds volume but barely any length. And the volume it does add looks clumpy. Despite MAC’s claims to the contrary.

Not just that, the formula is so thick and gloopy that it weighed down our lashes considerably. We curled our lashes and applied two coats and, when you compare the image above to the length and lift seen on other entries in our best MAC mascara list, you can see how low they fell.

The brush is also awkward to use. We often poked ourselves in the eye with the MAC Stack Mega brush. You may also be able to make out the mistakes we made with the brush on our lower lid.

We didn’t want to edit these images in any way, so we kept these errors in. Mainly because it happened on every single occasion. We rarely experience either of these problems with any other mascara, so we don’t think it’s down to our technique. Or at least our technique isn’t entirely to blame…

 Buy now from Lookfantastic


4th place: MAC Extended Play Perm Me Up

Price: £20 | Buy now

mamabella rating: 3/5

MAC Extended Play Perm Me Up Lash before and aftermamabella | mamabella

The MAC Extended Play Perm Me Up mascara promises “instant lift and curl that lasts up to 16 hours” and while the curl is apparent in our before and after photo above, the lift is less so. In fact, very little lift or length is added when you compare it to the image on the left.

The curved shape of this mascara brush is one of the easiest to use in our list of MAC mascara reviews, and the formula coats the lashes with little to no mess. Although we’ve ranked this MAC mascara in 4th place, we do like the more natural look it gives. We also think this mascara best shows off our lower lashes.

We can also confirm that this mascara lasted all day and didn’t once flake or smudge. So much so, it took a bit of work to remove it at the end of the day but we’d rather that than have black dots over our face.

 Buy now from Lookfantastic


3rd place: MAC Stack Mascara Micro Brush

Price: £26 | Buy now

mamabella rating: 3/5

MAC Stack Micro before and aftermamabella | mamabella

While the Micro version of the MAC Stack mascara is easier to use and provides better lift and volume than the Mega version, it still didn’t blow us away. Certainly not to the extent that we’ve seen various people on TikTok and YouTube being blown away by its results.

It coats the lashes more effectively and evenly than the Mega version. So much so that if you’re looking for the best MAC mascara for volume, this would be our number one pick. It’s also why it just pipped the MAC Extended Play Perm Me Up mascara to third place. Sadly, the same can’t be said about length.

Reviews from fellow beauty writers and influencers have only achieved impressive length with a third or fourth coat. Yet, as with the Mega brush, the formula of the Micro MAC Stack mascara is just too heavy for our lashes. In this instance, we opted for better lift and volume over length, to avoid the risk of our lashes falling further.

Again, the MAC Stack formula is gloopy and gathers in parts of the brush to the point where you end up with random blobs on your lashes. These had to be removed using a spoolie brush. Not a huge inconvenience, but when you see how easy the other MAC mascaras in this list perform, it’s a tad annoying.

 Buy now from Lookfantastic


2nd place: MAC In Extreme Dimension 3D 

Price: £24 | Buy now

mamabella rating: 4/5

MAC Extreme Dimension 3D mascara before and aftermamabella | mamabella

The MAC In Extreme Dimension 3D mascara is one of the first MAC mascaras we ever used, years ago, and it has stood the test of time. Its formula is a little on the thick and gloopy side – a la the MAC Stack mascara range – yet to a much lesser extent. This is largely down to its thinner brush with more tightly packed bristles.

This brush design allows you to coat even the smallest of lashes without covering your eyelid in product. This is particularly clear on our lower lashes. It didn’t quite provide the coverage of the MAC Extended Play Perm Me Up brush, and there was a bit of smudging, but we liked the overall effect.

What we especially like about the MAC In Extreme Dimension 3D mascara is the way it accentuates those tiny, super thin hairs in the inner corner of our eyes. This makes our eyes look wider and larger.

The reason this mascara was ranked in second place is that it’s a great all-rounder. It adds lift, it adds curl, it adds volume and it’s easy to use. It just didn’t quite give us the eye-opening effect of our winning MAC mascara listed below.

 Buy now from Lookfantastic


Winner: MAC Extended Play Gigablack Mascara

Price: £20| Buy now

mamabella rating: 4.5/5

MAC Extended Play Gigalash mascara before and aftermamabella | mamabella

Proving that the most expensive version of a product isn’t always the best, our favourite MAC mascara – and the one that takes the top spot in our list of best MAC mascaras – is the £20 MAC Extended Gigalash. Granted it’s only £6 cheaper than the MAC Stack range, and is more expensive than a lot of other mascaras sold generally, but it’s still impressive.

This mascara brings all the benefits of the MAC Extended Play Perm Me Up formula but in a straight, rather than a curved brush. While this doesn’t give as much curvature to the lashes, it still does a great job at lifting the lashes. What’s more, it gave our lashes the best length of any mascara on this list.

While volume and lift are the holy grail, volume can be faked through the use of eyeliner or similar. If a mascara doesn’t provide decent length, it’s not possible to fake it. Or not without lash fibres or similar.This is one of the main reasons why we ranked the Gigalash so highly.

As you can also see in the images above, we didn’t get any product anywhere on our eyelids, despite clearly coating the smallest of lashes in the corners with formula.

We used the waterproof version of the Extended Play Gigablack mascara. This may explain why the lift held so well – typically, waterproof mascaras help set a curl more than a traditional formula – and explains why it didn’t smudge at all. It also didn’t take too much effort to remove at the end of the day.

In fact, came off easier and quicker than the MAC Stack formula, which isn’t waterproof and which doesn’t smudge….go figure!

Buy now from Lookfantastic

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