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Is MAC Cosmetics Cruelty Free? Is it Vegan?

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Last Updated on 07/05/2021

MAC Cosmetics needs no introduction. A well known name in the contemporary cosmetics world. Beauty enthusiasts have MAC in their kitty or 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 a MAC product as a cruelty-free supporter or leave it for good? These are the facts to consider. 

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MAC cruelty free or not

Is MAC Cosmetics Cruelty Free? Is it Vegan?

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 focused audience of fashion & makeup world. Within a few years, its popularity reached to 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 of this brand.

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

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

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What MAC Says about their Cruelty Free Outlook?

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.  To this end, we are proud to partner with IIVS (INSTITUTE FOR IN VITRO SCIENCES) to expand the use and acceptance of non-animal testing methods worldwide.”

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

The statement tries to convince you how animal-friendly MAC’s policies are. Sadly, the mention of exception 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.

PS: In cosmetic industry, animal testing is majorly performed at the ingredients level, not in the complete product level. Here is a detailed Cruelty Free Guide.

Cruelty free timeline

MAC used to be a biggest promoter of cruelty-free in cosmetic industry. They used to promote their products as ‘tested on models not on animals’.

But then the merger of MAC with Estee Lauder occured. (tragic!) As a result, this brought a huge change in their original policies.

Hence, MAC broke all their ethics promises towards their loyal cruelty-free consumers. And guess what?

2005 – MAC got launched in China in 2005.

They even brought changes in their testing policy. All done to entertain the mandatory animal testing practices by Chinese government.

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

There were urges and protests by various animal welfare organisations. 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 brand.

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

Currently, they are in compliance to Chinese policies. Accordingly, all imported products have to go through mandatory animal testing step. 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 since 2012.

Till this date, MAC funds the Chinese government to run cruelty test on their products.

Is MAC manufactured in China?

Not known. 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.

Is MAC currently being sold 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 it vegan?

No. MAC products are definitely not vegan.

MAC uses animal derived ingredients like carmine and beeswax to make their world famous makeup range.

Do we recommend MAC?

Not at all.

Sorry folks! We can’t recommend a shady brand like MAC.

MAC is neither cruelty free nor vegan. They aren’t even clean & green. Just like many other non-cruelty free brands MAC tries 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 5 Highly Recommended Products from 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 bestseller worldwide. A beautiful red lipstick with 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, give me one please! (I am on a lookout for a better dupe though!)

  1. MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

MAC 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. Find the list of the best cruelty free concealer here.

  1. MAC 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 Colourpop cruelty-free eyeshadow collection. 

  1. MAC Soft & Gentle Mineralize Skinfinish 

One of the favorite strobe highlighter 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’re found of in the comments below!

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10 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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