Lately a few makeup artists and myself have been discussing the decline in quality of MAC products in the recent years. The pigmentation of eyeshadows and shedding brushes are the two things I've personally experienced from this downfall of the once professional brand. MAC was once the brand professionals flocked to for their quality, now its forgotten its roots and taking advantage of the consumer makeup world.
I've spoken to many artists and of course, got mixed reviews. This is where I will throw my disclaimer out:
If it works for you and you like it, that is fine! If it does not work for you and you do not like it, that is fine too! These are just experiences of fellow makeup artists.
Many who were not happy with the brand agreed on the fact it all started when Esteé Lauder acquired the company in 1998. The most prominent complaint I heard was how their brush quality declined tremendously after the acquisition. Brushes that formerly were made strictly in France with wonderful quality are now made in China, Japan, USA and France but clearly in a mass-produced way that avoids the quality control it used to have. I myself have experienced this with about 90% of MAC brushes I own! The shedding is what really bothers me more than anything, and I've had some of my MAC brushes for 7+ years, which is post-aquisition. The only success I've had with more recent brush purchases from them is the 217 brush, which hasn't failed me YET. As for all of the other brushes I've purchased in the last few years, they are shedding, some much more than others.
Another issue that came up was their eyeshadow quality, and is where I got mixed reviews the most. The long and short of it was really the pigmentation. Mainly the inconsistency of pigmentation with batches of the same color, and certain colors in general that just did not deliver. One artist mentioned the milling, pigments used and overall quality of eyeshadows, as well as the rest of their product line. A former MAC employee even agreed on the declining quality of their products, training and skilled artists, which was a repercussion of the acquisition in their opinion.
This is a quote from an article than one artist shared:
Estee Lauder Buys Remaining MAC Equity
February 28, 1998 Diane Seo
Estee Lauder Cos. acquired the remaining equity interest of Make-Up Art Cosmetics, a growing Toronto-based beauty brand that has been widely embraced by the urban chic. Although the deal had been expected, it occurred earlier than some analysts had predicted. The New York-based Estee Lauder had acquired 51% of MAC in 1994, then increased its ownership to 70% in March 1997. Terms were not disclosed. MAC founder Frank Toskan, who will remain head of MAC, was unavailable for comment. But during an interview with The Times in December, Toskan said MAC needed Estee Lauder's marketing muscle to expand globally. As the owner of several cosmetics companies, including Clinique, Prescriptives, Origins and Aveda, Estee Lauder is well-known for preserving the uniqueness of each brand. For that reason, analysts do not expect major changes at MAC. Estee Lauder shares rose 31 cents to close at $58.50 on the NYSE.
On a positive note, I will say that there are some products from MAC that I really do like! Pro Longwear Paintpots being one of them, I keep 4 matte finishes in flesh tones in my kit at all times. Their lip products are also something that has yet to fail me, I love their color selection of lipliners and their lip primer is great underneath liquid matte lipsticks. I would also like to say to the artists that swear by the products a lot of us have had issues with, that is AWESOME. I hate being disappointed, and I'm very happy to hear you all aren't! This post was not intended to bash or hate MAC, it was to shed light on the decline of what it was intended purpose was from the beginning of its existence.