Why Is MAC Makeup So Expensive? [Good Alternatives]

Bold, beautiful and brilliant. MAC Cosmetics began with a dream of making a quality product that would photograph well. The company launched in March of 1984.

Little did the creators know that this idea would launch into a cosmetics empire that is is now sold in over 120 countries. For those wondering “why is MAC makeup so expensive?”, we have the answer!

MAC products are made with safe and effective ingredients. Their motto is “All ages. All races. All sexes.” This inclusive line of cosmetics accommodates virtually every person.

Additionally, their color palettes are diverse and a little goes a long way. Moreover, this line of makeup was originally made with movie stars and models in mind.

This means that a flawless look that can be achieved with their large selection of high end products. 

The History Of MAC

MAC, otherwise known as Make-Up Art Cosmetics, started in Toronto, Canada. A photographer and makeup artist named Frank Toskan along with a salon owner named Frank Angelo began the makeup line in the kitchen.

Unlike other cosmetics makers, these gentlemen were very familiar with the expectations for this type of product. This gave them a big advantage over their competitors.

As word of mouth spread, their notion became a reality. Fast forward ten years — MAC was bought by Estée Lauder Companies. This only elevated their success.

What Counts Is On The Inside

MAC makeup specialists strive to create safe products that will benefit the user’s skin. Moreover, they are completely transparent with what is in their makeup, providing a full list of ingredients for individual products on their website.

These consist of natural additives that only enhance the benefits of using their cosmetics.

The Finest Ingredients

MAC’s chemists work tirelessly to incorporate only the finest components into their products. These include moisturizers like jojoba, avocado and argan oils as well as shea butter.

Moreover, they use hyaluronic acid to help hydrate the skin. Vitamins C and E help to nourish and protect skin from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Furthermore, they utilize natural additives like cucumber, chamomile and green tea leaf extract. These lessen irritation, reduce puffiness and brighten the user’s complexion.

Additionally, “M·A·C products are formulated without: phthalates, parabens (except M·A·C pro chromacake) [or] formaldehyde donors.

[They also omit] sls, hydroquinone, triclosan, d&c yellow no 11, ethanolamines or paba.” This means that the chances of breakouts, irritations and allergic reactions will be diminished. While expensive, MAC makeup is an ideal choice for those with sensitive skin.

Quality Comes At A More Expensive Cost

Due to their use of premium quality ingredients and special technologies to create their custom blends, MAC makeup is understandably more expensive.

However, it also requires less makeup to achieve an optimal result. In addition, these products last longer on your face. It also cuts out the need for reapplication!

Thus, your money goes farther when buying from the MAC Cosmetics line. Furthermore, users are less likely to notice breakouts with high end cosmetics compared to drug store options.

This ensures that you won’t have to buy additional skin care products to deal with blemishes.

MAC Cosmetics

Redefining Makeup Stereotypes

Makeup is a substance that is applied to the face in order to magnify or change one’s appearance. Present day trends involve achieving a natural look.

However, the original intent of this appliqué was to “[serve] as a marker of wealth believed to appeal to the gods. The elaborate eyeliner characteristic of Egyptian art appeared on men and women as early as 4000 BCE.

Kohl, rouge, white powders to lighten skin tone, and malachite eye shadow (the green colour of which represented the gods Horus and Re) were all in popular use.”

Just like the people of the past, MAC makeup aims to redefine the way we present ourselves. They welcome “individuality and self-expression”, working towards inclusivity for all.

Thus, the idea of tailoring your signature look to fit cultural norms is not in their playbook.

Instead, they embrace all skin tones, genders, ages and styles. What this means is a wider range of MAC makeup products, which justifies the need for a more expensive product. More manufacturing costs have to be compensated.

“One of the most popular offerings was an intense matte red lipstick“, first worn by Madonna. “M·A·C chose…to establish itself as the ultimate colour authority” and the company is clearly succeeding!

Ranked as the #1 lip color brand in the United States, MAC is a go-to name for lipstick as of 2020.

MAC, Lipstick by M.A.C, Chili, 1 Count

Expert Opinions

If you were about to give birth, who would you rather see — an OBGYN or a dermatologist? Both individuals went to medical school. Both have the same knowledge base.

However, one is clearly more prepared to treat you. The same goes for makeup application. You can have experience doing your own makeup.

However, a professional is going to better recommend products. It will also cut out the guesswork and help you to obtain the perfect products for your skin tone.

On MAC’s website, shoppers can find the overall benefits of each item and customer reviews. Unlike other cosmetic companies, MAC also gives its customers recommendations from professional makeup artists.

This gives them the chance t0 get the most out of their makeup. In case you didn’t know, during their start up years, “professional makeup artists manned the counter, an industry first.”

Currently, with just a $30 purchase you can get a free 30 minute makeover from one of their professionals on staff. This expert advise allows consumers to find options that would maximize their best features and find out what products work best for them.

Get an organic look or a flashy expression of your true self! MAC makeup strives to make sure that their customers can find exactly what they are looking for and while this can make the products more expensive, you will also not regret your purchase. 

Support For Animal Rights

Another fantastic characteristic of this company is that they do not conduct any form of animal testing. Instead, they perform safety assessments on human volunteers. They also use in vitro testing. ‘In virto’ translates to “in glass”. 

“The existing in vitro models can be used for regulatory safety and toxicity testing of cosmetics and ingredients, as well as to test efficacy, support product claims, and confirm the listed ingredients. […]

In the cosmetics testing industry, in vitro testing usually involves cell lines and reconstructed models of the human epidermis (skin) and cornea (front of the eye).”

The Humane Society states that “Compared to animal tests, these modern alternatives [such as using safe ingredients and conducting alternative testing practices] can more closely mimic how humans respond to cosmetic ingredients and products; they are also often more efficient and cost-effective.”

Surprising though, this more modern form of testing is actually cheaper than animal testing. Thus, you would assume that this would lessen the cost.

However, this decision to prioritize the lives of animals does help with their marketing plan.

Key Marketing Strategies

Charitable Work

They say that you have to spend money to make money. This statement is extremely true. Thus, big name companies create campaigns to help showcase their charitable nature and community involvement.

MAC started VIVA GLAM back in 1994. When you buy this lipstick line, 100% of the proceeds go to helping those with HIV and AIDS.

In going on 30 years, they have raised $450 million. This generosity is a simple way to drive sales. You as a consumer will subconsciously choose the brand that you think is worthy.

In addition, when all of your purchase price goes towards helping others, it gives MAC makeup an expensive price tag that is worth the cost.

Familiar Faces

Furthermore, celebrity endorsements help to drive their sales. Working with RuPaul, Nicki Minaj, the Osbournes and Rihanna help them to reach a wide audience, It also truly shows that their products are universal.

Moreover, when you factor in “the importance of motivation — a person’s desire to experience the product’s purported benefits, [it becomes a] driver of marketing placebo effects”.

This means that the company can charge more for their products, and due to their name recognition, the customer believes that the product is worth the cost, whether of not the value is there.

As of 2019, the price of cosmetics in the United States averaged under $10 per item. Conversely, MAC’s makeup products are four times the cost.

While they create a quality product with high end ingredients, MAC makeup comes with an expensive price tag. Thankfully, a little goes a long way with their cosmetics.

Thus, while you do pay a lot, you will make fewer purchases over time.

Ways To Save On MAC Makeup

One of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck is to purchase their merchandise while a sale is going on. Many times, if you spend a certain amount, you will get either a percentage off or a free item with purchase.

Moreover, while their standard shipping is only $4.95, it becomes free with a $50 purchase. Additionally, they have a “Goodbyes” section on their website. Discontinued items are found on this page for an extremely reduced price.

Affordable Alternatives

For those who can’t swing the expensive price tag, Maybelline is said to mimic the attributes of the high end brand, giving users ample coverage without having to cake on the product.

This is extremely affordable and found in most convenience stores. At a quarter of the cost of MAC products, this can give you a similar look at a fraction of the cost.

Moreover, Burt Bee’s is a more natural alternative that utilizes the moisturizers and refreshers found in MAC products. They also have a wide range of shades to choose from just like the MAC Cosmetics line.

By switching to this natural brand, users can cut the cost in half!

Final Thoughts

MAC is a prestigious name in the makeup world. Furthermore, it is a household name that appeals to a wide range of customers.

No matter if you are looking for foundations, lipstick or false eyelashes, you are guaranteed to find the product that will meet the specific needs for your completion, skin type and skin hue.

Lastly, while you are paying for name recognition, MAC makeup is also expensive because they supply a product that is gentle on your skin. It provides a clean and professional look.

It is also an expensive makeup because it accommodates every single person’s unique desires.

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