Makeup Artists and Editors Agree—These 18 MAC Products Are Truly Iconic

Best MAC Products



As a beauty editor, I've had the opportunity to interview a number of truly talented makeup artists. Some of them have even done my makeup, for which I feel fortunate (acting as a canvas for some of the best in the biz is a major perk of the job). Throughout all of these interviews and interactions, there's only one thing that has remained constant: a MAC Cosmetics product was either mentioned in passing, recommended to me outright, or used on my own skin. No surprise there, considering MAC is a brand that's been beloved by makeup artists since 1984.

The love for MAC is strong among beauty editors, too. I know multiple who have faithfully used MAC products for years. Whether it be a crinkled tube of Lip Glass ($19) or a stubby bullet of Ruby Woo ($19), the brand's products litter many a desk, vanity, and makeup bag...including my own.

Sure, I have my tried-and-true favorites, but somewhere in the midst of my MAC Cosmetics musings, I started to wonder which products other people swear by (I'm always in search of new recommendations). So, I reached out to artists and editors to find out. Keep scrolling to see 18 truly iconic MAC products, according to industry experts. 

Kirbie Johnson, Host of Gloss Angeles

"This is the perfect mascara. I test out plenty, but when I want a tried-and-true fluttery lash that doesn't look too dramatic but doesn't leave me feeling naked either, this is the one. Like, if I had to go on that reality show Are You the One?, I guarantee you my perfect match would be Gigablack lash and we'd end up winning the $100,000 together. The formula? Chef's kiss. Not too dry, doesn't flake; not too glossy or goopy. Dries relatively quickly which helps avoid transfer. And it's easy to remove! Plus, I'm a bristle-wand gal. The wand is small enough to get to the base of the lashes without risky a trip to the ER and helps to coat and separate each individual lash. It's like the Britney Spears of mascara: a tried-and-true, unproblematic icon."

"I shouldn't be obsessed with a makeup brush, but I am. This is a joy to use! Especially because the pandemic has me less concerned about covering my skin—unless it's a mask—and more about letting my natural color and texture shine through. However, I deal with melasma and the occasional pimple, which is when I need to go hard with concealer. The best tip I ever learned as a beauty reporter was to make sure you are precise when covering a pimple and don't just glob a ton of product on top. It makes it way less noticeable when you use a little bit, gently buff it into the skin and set with a powder. This concealer brush allows you to apply with detail around your nose, under the eye, on dark spots and yes, pimples, so you can camouflage with ease."

Hannah Baxter,  Deputy Beauty Editor, The Zoe Report

"My all-time favorite eye shadow shade is actually a limited-edition rose gold from New Years a few years ago that I can't bear to part with, but this mauve is extremely close. Anything in the pink or red family really helps my hazel eyes pop, and despite what you may think, is actually extremely wearable and forgiving—I even apply it with my fingers. I love the slight shimmer on the finish and the fact that it will truly last you all day and night."

"I remember getting the first sample of this formula a few years ago and it totally blew me away. I love a super-lifted and curled lash with minimal clumping and plenty of length. This mascara delivers, and holds the curl throughout the day, with nary a raccoon eye in sight. I've gone through about five tubes at this point. "

Anton Khachaturian, Celebrity Makeup Artist

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Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics

"I literally don't know what I would do without Strobe Cream. It immediately brightens up the complexion and makes skin look luminous all on its own. Mix it into any foundation for red carpet ready skin…every single time. There are multiple shades, so you will never have a problem finding the perfect one for YOU!"

"Ride or die! This foundation is absolutely timeless and will always live in my kit. It's super lightweight but incredibly mighty. Most importantly, it's buildable! You're in control of the coverage. No matter how many times I later it, it's always flawlessly natural-looking." 

"My forever favorite MAC lipstick! It's the perfect medium-nude mauve that is flattering on any skin tone. It also cooperates with virtually any lip liner, so it's a great color to have when you want to easily switch up your look." 

Gregory Arlt, Director of Makeup Artistry MAC Cosmetics

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Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics

"I can't live without this multi-tasker! I call this the "before, during, and after" makeup setting spray. It hydrates the skin, sets makeup, and makes the skin feel plump and delicious!"

"How can any makeup kit be without this iconic red lipstick! It really is universally flattering. It's a matte, "clean" red meaning that it's not too blue or too orange. The perfect fire engine red that I've used on many a red carpet!"

"It's all about the wand! It's super thin, allowing for precise lash application. I love that it gets into the roots of the lashes, making them long and feathery. Also, the formula comes off with a warm washcloth but won't budge when wearing it."

Fatime Thomas, Senior National Artist for North America, MAC Cosmetics

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Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics

"The absolute best lip primer on the market. I love how it extends aware of my lip color and prevents fading and feathering." 

"We have the most impressive array of formulas, finishes, and colors. And we're constantly innovating and growing the category with award-winning formulas like Powder Kiss."

"Studio Radiance Face and Body Foundation is one of my all-time favorite complexion products because it's like a waterproof second skin. Entry to its name it works beautifully on the face and the body to make skin look radiant and flawless." 

Romero Jennings, Global Director of Makeup Artistry, MAC Cosmetics

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Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics

"Studio Fix Powder Foundation is a M.A.C. Hero product that has withstood time and technology. This superior formula continues to keep clients flawless, matte, and approachable. It made a statement over 20years ago when it was introduced but today it's more relevant than ever before. It never disappoints for celebrity red carpet events, editorials, and a must-have backstage for quick long-lasting applications. Many times, it's my go-to touch-up product during long shoots to refresh skin to perfection. The camera and clients love this long-wearing formula and understand why it's a best seller."

"MAC has many celebrated lipstick formulas but the Retromatt Liquid Lipcolour in Feel so Grand is a Red that can be worn as full-bodied, full-coverage red or as a soft stain. It's the perfect lipstick for the latest ombré/two-toned lip trend since it is long-lasting and stays in place for eight hours without transferring or feathering. The timeless vibrant true red looks great on every skin tone. This formula gives makeup artists and clients multiple options to play. Everyone will ask, 'What color is that?'"

"Prep and Prime Essential Oil is a fountain of youth for all users. It helps to balance uneven skin textures and replenish with essential avocado and grapefruit oils and more. Lines and wrinkles diminish. You will see immediate and long-term benefits while creating the perfect controlled glow. I use it on clients before applying makeup primer and foundation but looks great on bare skin when running errands. I sometimes use it as a highlighter over finished makeup to emphasize cheekbones for that  glass skin trend too." 

Erin Jahns, Senior Beauty Editor, Who What Wear

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"I feel like I've been using this setting powder for eons. (Like, definitely college, maybe even high school.) Due to the nature of my job, I probably test a new powder every single week, but this is the one I come back to again and again. I use it to set my concealer—a small eye shadow brush comes in handy for this area—and it literally makes even the creamiest of concealers budge- and crease-free. It never looks cakey or visibly obvious on my skin, it keeps my makeup intact for as long as I'm wearing it, and it doesn't impart any flashback. So yeah, it's pretty much the most perfect setting powder to ever exist, IMO."

"I have a non-negotiable 'go big or go home complex' when it comes to concealer. Either I'm completely bare-faced and not wearing a stitch of makeup, or I'm doing the whole damn thing complete with foundation and a high-coverage concealer. I'm a little OCD when it comes to camouflaging every last trace of my dark circles, so I need a concealer that provides the most coverage with the least amount of product. And, oh, yeah, it needs to feel pretty much invisible on my skin. Is that asking too much? This is one of the only concealers I've ever tried that's been able to manage all of the above criteria. It's easy to blend and customize your coverage, it doesn't migrate anywhere you don't want it to after it's been applied, and it doesn't leave any suspect residue. (AKA it won't make you feel like you have an inch of Elmer's glue sitting on top of your under-eyes.) It's a staple I always have stocked."

Kaitlyn McLintock, Freelance Beauty Editor

I love a bold eye makeup moment, which means I also love cream shadows that pack a punch of pigmented color without fading, smudging, or transferring. That's exactly where the Pro Longwear Paint Pot comes in. Although there is a bevy of covetable colors to choose from, I like this shade of robin's egg blue. I always want to pair it with black eyeliner and feathery lashes for a '60s-inspired look. 

The MAC Chromagraphic pencil is unique. It's creamy, matte, and smudge-able, so you can use it as a traditional eyeliner or blend it out to look more like a shadow. Aside from the easy-to-manipulate formula, I love the shade selection. From bright white to landscape green, marine blue, and primary red, all of the shades inspire me to play with color. I have a soft spot for this primary yellow shade. I swear it looks amazing on anyone who wears it (tell your friends).