Is MAC Cosmetics Cruelty Free? Is it Vegan?

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Last Updated on 02/17/2023

MAC used to be cruelty free in the past but not anymore. Owned by the animal testing-friendly giant company, Estee Lauder, MAC Cosmetics does test on animals. It sells in the Chinese market since 2005.

MAC Cosmetics needs no introduction. A well-known name in the contemporary cosmetics world. Beauty enthusiasts have MAC in their kitty or on their bucket list! Today, let’s have a look at MAC’s cruelty-free status!

This Canada-based makeup brand has now spread its wings all around the globe. MAC’s Ruby Woo is ‘the’ lipstick for all red lip lovers for a couple of decades now. You can’t ‘un-see’ the mesmerizing effects of Studio Fix Powder Compact, Fluid Foundation, or Fix+ as well.

However, MAC has been criticized time and again for its shady cruelty policies. Should you buy MAC products as a cruelty-free supporter or drop this brand for good? These are the facts to consider.

MAC cruelty free or not

L’Oreal and Maybelline are affordable dupes of MAC Cosmetics. But the owner company L’Oreal is not cruelty free and the same is true for its subsidiary, Maybelline. Maybelline also tests on animals.

Drop the idea if you are hoping to switch to NARS as it is in a similar range. Because while earlier it used to be, now NARS is not cruelty-free either.

Is MAC Cosmetics Cruelty Free?

MAC – Past & Present

1984 –Makeup Art Cosmetics Inc is popularly known as MAC Cosmetics. It was founded in 1984 by two photographers turned makeup artists. They’re Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo.

This Toronto-based makeup brand wanted to fill up the ridge. This gap existed between long stay and photo-friendly makeup. Initially, MAC was popular among the focused audience of the fashion & makeup world. Within a few years, its popularity reached mass beauty users.

The brand started its journey with lip colors. Later, they ventured into face makeup.
1994 – In 1994, beauty giant Estee Lauder bought major stakes in this brand.

1998 – In 1998, there was the demise of one of the founder members. As a result, Estee Lauder became the sole owner of MAC.

MAC holds its position among the top 3 makeup brands in the world ranking. MAC has collaborated with several huge artists. For instance, Sia, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, & Elle Goulding.

MAC Animal Testing

Here’s something interesting from MAC’s official website. It is under the tag of ”Working Toward a Cruelty-free World”.

“M·A·C does not test on animals. We do not own any animal testing facilities and we never ask others to test on animals for us. While some governments conduct animal testing to prove safety before they will allow us to sell our products, M·A·C has never tested on animals and we continue to be a leader in the movement to end animal testing globally.”

This is the same old ambiguous statement. You can find it in every subsidiary of the non-cruelty-free Estee Lauder conglomerate.

The statement tries to convince you how animal-friendly MAC’s policies are. Sadly, the mention of exceptions breaks all the illusions MAC was trying to create.

Moreover, they do not share clear data about their ingredient testing policy. The above statement does not confirm how the suppliers treat the product ingredients.

Cruelty-Free timeline

MAC used to be the biggest promoter of cruelty-free in the cosmetic industry. They used to promote their products as ‘tested on models, not on animals’. But then the merger of MAC with Estee Lauder occurred (tragic!). As a result, this brought a huge change in their original policies.

Hence, MAC broke all its ethical promises toward its loyal cruelty-free consumers. And guess what happened next?

2005 – MAC got launched in China in 2005.They even brought changes in their testing policy. All was done to entertain the mandatory animal testing practices by the Chinese government.

2012 – In 2012, it was disclosed that MAC runs animal testing on its own. This news created lots of buzz among the users and beauty community.

There were urges and protests by various animal welfare organizations. For example, PETA’s Youth Chapter. However, MAC did not budge. No changes in any of its policies.


MAC Cosmetics cruelty free or not

Is MAC Cruelty Free?

No. Nope. Nada. Nah. MAC is not a cruelty-free brand. In fact, MAC’s parent brand is also an animal cruelty supporter.

2005 – MAC used to be a cruelty-free brand until 2005. In 2005 MAC started selling its products in mainland China.

Currently, they are in compliance with Chinese policies. Accordingly, all imported products have to go through mandatory animal testing steps. This is the cosmetic product safety guideline over there.

2012 – MAC chose monetary gain over customer loyalty & animal welfare. Additionally, they started animal testing on their own in 2012.

To this date, MAC funds the Chinese government to run cruelty tests on their products.

Does MAC manufacture in China?

Not known. The majority of MAC’s color products are manufactured in US and Canada. Not adequate information is available to tell if MAC makes products in mainland China or not.

Does MAC sell in China?

Yes. MAC has several standalone stores in China. Also, they sell their products through their own China website & Sephora.

MAC products are widely available both online and offline in mainland China. In fact, China is currently one of the major consumers of MAC.

Is MAC vegan?

No, MAC products are definitely not vegan. MAC uses animal-derived ingredients like carmine and beeswax to make their world-famous makeup range.

Who owns MAC Cosmetics?

Estee Lauder owns MAC Cosmetics. The owner company, Estee Lauder is not cruelty free either. It houses some cruelty free beauty brands such as Too Faced, Smashbox, etc. Meanwhile, brand like Clinique is not cruelty-free.

Do I recommend MAC?

Not at all! I can’t recommend a shady brand like MAC. MAC is neither cruelty-free nor vegan. They aren’t even clean, green & sustainable. Just like many other non-cruelty-free brands, MAC tries to fool customers. They market their products as ‘never tested’ on animals.

On contrary, they allow and obviously ‘pay’ governing bodies to perform animal testing on their products. PETA has even included MAC in their ‘brands to avoid’ list for this contrasting duality.

Alternatives to MAC

Here are some cruelty-free dupes of MAC.

  1. MAC Retro Matte Lipstick Ruby Woo

You saw this one coming. Obviously! This is one of the bestsellers worldwide. A beautiful red lipstick with an ultra-matte finish. This blue-toned red color never goes wrong with anyone. Perhaps the reason why so many celebrities swear by it?

The best cruelty-free dupe of Ruby Woo is Colourpop Ultra Matte Lip in Creeper. Affordable & cruelty-free! (I am on the lookout for a better dupe though!)

  1. Longwear Concealer

Pro Longwear Concealer is another star product from MAC. The wide shade range, blendable formula, and superb staying power are some USP. Covergirl TrueBlend Concealer is the best cruelty-free dupe of this amazing concealer.

  1. Prep+Prime Fix+

Fix+ is MAC’s all in one prep+set product. This watery liquid is originally a fixing spray but it doubles up as primer water. You can even use it as a base for eye shadows and shimmers. NYX Dewy Setting Spray is a good dupe for this.

  1. MAC Eyeshadow

Rich pigment, color variety & lasting power makes MAC Eye Shadows superior. You can get dupes of the cult favorite shades from this range (Carbon, Amber lights, etc.) in the Colourpop cruelty-free eyeshadow collection.

  1. Mineralize Skinfinish 

One of the favorite strobe highlighters for many. ELF Baked Blush is an awesome substitute that comes with the same healthy glow and flawless finish.

PS:Before you go, do share any MAC dupes you found in the comments below!

MAC Cosmetics is not vegan as it contains animal-derived ingredients such as carmine and beeswax. It is non-vegan.

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Aisha K. Ashi

Ashi K. is a beauty blogger and certified makeup artist. She loves to rescue cats and currently has 2 rescue babies. Join her on the journey as she uses this beauty blog to spread awareness regarding ethical ways of living.

3 thoughts on “Is MAC Cosmetics Cruelty Free? Is it Vegan?”

  1. Please stop using animals testing it not stopping all the illegal chemicals testing on all animals please have all your products to completely change to vegan products only please this need to happen adap thanks you

  2. Please tell all the companies who are using animals for chemicals testing on the animals is suffering badly from this problem please have this Immediately boycott please thanks you

  3. Do not buy from MAC
    Suffering is not acceptable – Stop testing
    Customers are not stupid and if MAC was not ashamed of what they are doing they wouldn’t be spinning and deceiving!

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