Advice | How to Spot Fake MAC Makeup



This is my first blog post of many to come on 'How To Spot Fake Makeup Products',  I hope these posts will be helpful and beneficial to people who struggle to decipher the difference between a genuine and fake product. I am on an 'Anti fakes' mission. I really do have a massive pet peeve on people buying and selling fake items. There is nothing worse than a someone preaching about great products that you know is a fake. Surely her rave would be even higher if it was the genuine product. I think their should be more out there to show people real and genuine items especially when it comes to makeup. So i got my trusty bank card out and set out to buy fakes solely for this blogpost...

"Firstly i would kindly like to ask people not to copy my photos without permission. I have now had to watermark each photo due to people using my photos as their own in other blogposts. If you do wish to use any of my photos please give credit where it is due and link back to this blogpost so that everyone can make themselves aware about how to spot fake Mac products. Thank you."

So for almost a year blogging i have watched bloggers (given they are not big bloggers) squeal with excitement over the So called Mac goodies they have won through eBay for pennies on social media sites like Instagram, Twitter Youtube. Being new to make up (and definitely new to Mac products) i jumped on the hype myself, and stupidly purchased a Mac palette like all newbies do for only £25 on eBay. When it arrived it was so obviously fake and from China. The lady claimed she bought it from a Mac store in the USA but though i was naive (Impulse finger clicking will do that to you when you don't do your proper research) i was not stupid. I could spot a fake a mile away, and in a minute i will explain why. At first i wasn't too bothered about it being fake so i just decided to keep the palette. After all it had some pretty colour's and i knew i would get a lot of use out of it, but it wasn't until i started researching into beauty products from china that i realised keeping this palette was a big mistake.

Not because of the massive money loss but because of the regulations china have when it comes to making beauty products and the ingredients they contain. (See chinese legislation here.) They don't even have to name all the products used inside their products. Though i would love to get into an in depth post of the risks of buying Chinese cosmetics or anything listed on eBay with 'From China' under the listing (plus with my pregnancy brain atm, it would take days lol) I have seen many blog posts writing about the risk. One post in particular is by Pretty in pink blog. As stated a lot of chinese cosmetics don't always contain what they claim is on the label. What they state on the label isn't necessarily going to be what you are putting on your face.

Now I would rather now pay full price for something or buy a cheaper alternative from a UK high street brand, than apply anything from china that is unbranded.... Yes that goes for, lipsticks, mascaras, eye shadows, bronzers and most definitely foundations and anything skincare related. What these Makeup items from China contain really can lead to skin irritations and even possible long term damage, from containing ingredients like Lead, Mercury and Arsenic. Again Pretty in pink goes into good details about these products on her blog post, reading will definitely have you thinking twice about purchasing cheap unknown makeup again. 

So this post is actually how to spot fake mac products from the real ones, but i wanted people to see the risks of buying the fake ones in the first place, (not just because of my pet peeve or that i scream every time i see a fake mac lipstick selling for £18+ on eBay lol) but because i generally feel for people who are so desperate to get their hands on a make up items they cannot afford. I see a lot of posts and youtube videos going around on how to spot fake Urban Decay Naked palettes and Benefit make up products but i rarely see them on Mac make up products. So i took to the challenge to buy fakes off of eBay (yes spending my own money to help you guys out) and compared them to my real genuine Mac products (purchased either online from the Mac UK store or my local Mac store in Cambridge). Another great way is if you suspect it is a fake, take the product to your local Mac store and ask them. My local Mac store in Cambridge are really good at being helpful. I had to pop into their this week to buy another blusher especially for this post and discussed with one of the make up artists there that i was doing this post. She was asking how i see the differences so i decided this post would hopefully help a lot of people, to avoid skin irritations and wasting their hard earned money. 

How to spot a fake Mac Lipstick

Can you spot the real one from the fake??

Did you spot right??? It's the lipstick on the left that is the fake mac lipstick and i see a ton of these being listed on eBay everyday!!! People actually buy these sometimes for more than they cost originally because they are so desperate to get a limited edition lipstick that sold out. Here's how to spot the difference between the 2:

1.) Letter font.... On the fake Mac lipstick the lettering is larger and higher up on the lipstick tube. Everyone of my 7 real Mac lipsticks has smaller lettering on the bottom. As soon as you see a lipstick with high lettering it screams utterly fake!

2.) The texture and look of actual lipstick: Fake macs aren't usually as pigmented or thick and creamy. For instance it will be labelled as a Cremesheen finish but will swatch like a Lustre or the worse being Matte shades that swatch like a Satin lipstick (Picture below will show you swatches). The best way to tell is by the line in the lipstick. Real Mac lipsticks are smooth all the way around, they DO NOT have manufacture lines running down them. They also don't bend as easily as the cheap ones and they are formulated better. Plus the smell is another huge giveaway. Real mac lipsticks have a sweet vanilla scent to them, fake ones smell like cheap plastic or perfume.

3.) Weight, Colour, Width and size of tube: The real Mac is slightly slender than the fake (which the fakes appear more chunky). The fake ones are wider and just a tad bit (literally 1mm) taller. Also the packaging being a lot more glittery. Real mac lipsticks have a very very subtle hint of shimmer in the packaging and its smaller glitter particles, where as fake mac lipsticks appear like they have a lot more chunky glitter if you look carefully. The packaging is cheaper and more flimsy than the genuine mac. Another way to tell is by the weight. Real mac lipsticks are heavier than fake mac lipsticks. Just holding a fake one feels light and flimsy.

Fake mac weighed 14 grams- Genuine weighed 20 grams

4.) Stickers and packaging. Now this is where its hard to tell, as even genuine mac products don't position their stickers perfectly (ok yes im a tad bit ocd and notice these things but only because i am a bit of a perfectionist lol) but if you look carefully (picture above) at the lettering font you can see the difference. I feel lettering and packaging is the hardest to tell the difference from, and this is where eBay sellers can get away with selling fakes, as they take pictures of just the packaging or use stock photos. AVOID Items with these pictures!

I swatched a couple of my Fake Mac lipsticks. The fakes i swatched twice over each other and they are still light, where as the genuine mac lipsticks i swatched just once and they are very pigmented and creamy (though opaqueness does depend on the lipstick finish). 
Which look would you prefer on your lips?

Genuine box packaging
Sorry i couldn't find where i placed my fake mac lipstick boxes, i think they are in the attic?

How to spot a fake Mac Blush

Can you see any fakes???

Did you spot right? The product on the left (prism) is my only genuine mac blusher (at the moment), in fact i only just purchased it this week especially for this post. I am not a huge blush lover (yet lol) so i didn't want to pay so much for something i wouldn't wear a lot. Any who, the make up artist who listened to what i was looking for (subtle blush that looked natural) tested out blushes on my skin and i fell in love with the blush Prism. It is the perfect neutral everyday shade.

How to spot fake Mac blushes

1.) Size and shape: Until you open the blushes you cannot tell the difference just looking at them. They are both the exact same size and actually the exact same weight too (30g) but the genuine Mac blush has very faint lines on it (manufacturer lines). The real mac packaging again like the lipstick is more solid, the fake mac packaging is more flimsy. The real mac blush packaging has a slight sheen to it, where as the fake mac packaging looks more dull. Letter font is just slightly larger on the fake blusher too.

2.) Outer packaging & font: The fake outer packaging is slightly larger than the genuine one. Which is strange seeing as they got the blusher compact size perfectly the same. The item name is printed on the genuine blusher box where as its a sticker on the fake. The writing once again just like with all the fakes is chunkier and less sleek than the genuine writing. The fake also has a sticker bar code on the box when the genuine has it printed. Both have the back2mac logos on inside flaps. I did notice the ingredients are different too. 

3.) The sticker is very similar both even have the ", make-up art cosmetics LTD" letting printed on them. The stickers have slightly different font but not as much difference as like the outer packaging has. Both also have the recyclable signs on them, unlike the lipsticks. Basically if someone sold the blushers without the box (claiming its used in an eBay listing) then you wouldn't know the difference. Scary right!?

Blushes are the hardest ones to tell the difference out of the 3 mentioned in this post. They smell the same, feel the same and look the same (pretty much) So you will only know a fake blusher from a genuine one if you have made the mistake to buy one.

How to spot Fake Mac Face Powder

The one the furthest to the right is the genuine Mac Powder, the one to the center and left are both Fakes.

1.) Packing/Casing: The fake ones look totally obvious when you compare them to the genuine. There isn't much difference in the look, the genuine one only has a slight sheen to it. The letter font on the front is obviously a lot larger on the fake mac powder case. The casing on the fake powder is very flimsy, where as the genuine mac one is more sturdy and feels heavy (though mine nc41 is a little broken at the hinge). Both the real and fake come with the sponge underneath.

2.) Weight: Fake 52g, Genuine 60g. Keeping in mind that i have been using the 60kg genuine one for months also. The genuine feels heavy in your hand, the fake feels light as a feather.

3.) Sticker labels: Both items have the recylable sing and again reg details in same area. However the genuine powder the sticker has the product number and the writing is more sleek.

3.) Smell, look & consistency: The smell is obvious!!! The genuine mac studio fix face powder has a very light/faint smell to it, the fake is very very heavily perfumed. I feel nauseated just smelling it, Lord knows how strong that would be if i ever put it on my face! Its not like Chanel or Burberry where it wears off and mixes with your pheromones. Also upon swatching, the fake mac powder is very chalky (clearly because its full of talc) it would be impossible not to look cakey applying this face powder. 

I could not find the boxes these came in but its the same as blushers, i remember being alarmed the moment i saw stickers. But not only mac stickers, round circle stickers with codes same as the cheap chinese eyeshadow palette i stupidly purchased.

My Advice:

If you cannot afford Mac products look on google and instagram for 'Mac Dupes' so that you can find an item in the exact same shade or formulation from another reputable company. Another way is to save up your money (buy less) or have a blog sale to make money to buy a Mac product. That way you don't feel your spending your own money and your making money to buy a new goody (Yay). You could ask a family member to buy you a product for your Birthday or for Christmas. Lastly another great way to get Mac products half price is through a blog sale. I haven't spotted many bloggers selling fake macs and many of us sell lipsticks, palettes and foundations for under half the retail price. Again you can find out about blog sales by searching the hashtag #blogsale on sites like instagram and twitter. 

If you are considering purchasing any Mac products on eBay please do so at your own risk. I would not advise to, but if you do make sure the photos are private photos not a stock photo and make sure to ask the seller questions, ask for swatches and photos of the items more in depth before you click the bid button. Chances are some people really have no clue they are selling fakes and would be happy to comply, where as the ones who are aware they are selling illegal fakes will avoid replying. Also when it comes to eyeshadow palettes check to see if they are on the mac website. Do your research.
I talk about mac products over on my Instagram Account here.

The Genuine Mac products i own and have accumulated the past 7 months. I would rather have hardly any mac products that are genuine than lots that are fake and could potentially do damage to my skin

After reading this do you feel you could spot the difference between a fake and genuine Mac blusher, lipstick and face powder?
Would you like me to purchase more fake items (eg mascara, eyeliner etc) to show you them also?

Want to discuss the affects of fake makeup more? Discussions can be had on my facebook page

Missy xox

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  1. AMAZING POST!! I feel the same way too, hate when someone is trying to sell you fake products! I will definitely look into the regulations and all that, sounds very interesting! loved this post :)

    1. The post is really good, i threw away all my china make up after reading it lol, its hard to know sometimes though coz people in uk can sell chinese make up too :-(

  2. This is crazy! My friend was telling me to get concealer via ebay the other day to save a few pennies and thanks to this post i gonna stick to the store!

    1. there are so many amazing drugstore concealers hun, try blogsales too can get some proper bargains :-)

  3. Good post on MAC. Most of MAC lipsticks has vanila smell to it and generally heavier. Yeah, better use some reputable than risking hurting the skin.

    1. so true hun :-) Mac lipsticks always smell soooo lovely

  4. Omg Thank You, before i saw your post on instagram i was bidding on mac products on ebay which i now realise are fake and i don't have to pay for them :) going to save up my money and buy from the shop x

    1. Oh thank goodness francesca!! don't pay for them! Glad i could help, mac is expensive but if we save it feels better buying it :) try blogsales too plenty of women sell mac products

  5. A great & most helpful post
    Thank you for helping us by buying fakes who would do this appreciate it
    I always get my mac from debenhams as I prefer paying higher price to get the real thing
    Any tips on fake brushes as there are so many on ebay for people who buy them on there
    Ebay should be stronger & punish the sellers who do this ripping people off

  6. Great post hunny it's me littlemissinstaguru from Instagram or littlemissstyleguru youtube and my blog. This was an amazing read as I don't own much mac but wouldn't buy off eBay now not that I ever have I have only bought from store but I could spot the lipstick so this is so helpful. Would love you to follow by blog if you read this b4 u give birth and good luck with birth if I don't get chance b4 to wish you luck mwha xxxxxxx

  7. Great! I can now figure out the difference

  8. Great information. Thanks for providing us such a useful information. Keep up the good work and continue providing us more quality information from time to time. Lipsticks

  9. Great post! I am currently living overseas (temporarily!) where there are more fakes than originals so this is super helpful. Btw I appreciate your level of OCD ; ) Keep up the great work!

  10. Great post! I am currently living overseas (temporarily for sure!) where there are more fakes than originals, so this is super helpful. Btw, I appreciate your level of OCD ; ) Thanks and keep it up!

  11. Great post, everybody should read this! There are really lots of fake MAC cosmetics in the market today.
    ~Pauline @ MAC Philippines

  12. great post thank you so much


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