The History Behind MAC Cosmetics

MAC Cosmetics Inc. (Make-up Art Cosmetics) was started in Canada by Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo in 1984. Angelo was the original founder. Toskan was a make-up artist and photographer, and Angelo was the owner of a hair salon chain. Since they were both involved in fashion photography, they both quickly recognized the need for more durable, versatile and creative cosmetics products that could handle the demands of professional photo shoots.

Always on the cutting edge with their engagement of celebrity endorsements, awareness of social and cultural diversity, and involvement in charitable social initiatives, MAC Cosmetics has now grown to become one of the most popular and influential cosmetics companies in the world.

Estée Lauder gained controlling interest in MAC in 1994 and finalized their acquisition of the company by 1998. The MAC AIDS fund was also introduced in 1994.

The year before Estée Lauder acquired the company (1997), Frank Angelo passed away from complications during a surgery. A couple years later, Toskan left MAC and founded another AIDS Charity, with his brother-in-law, Vic Casale. Casale was also one of the original Chemists at MAC.

The new MAC owners have continued on with the MAC AIDS Fund, a program where the sale of MAC’s Viva Glam products provide help men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS. MAC donates 100% of the selling price of these Viva Glam products to the cause. As of 2008, the fund had raised over $128 million dollars.

MAC also features additional programs for cruelty-free makeup products, child abuse and protection of the environment through recycling. MAC is definitely one of the leading cosmetics companies when it comes to social and environmental awareness.

When it comes to contemporary cosmetics, MAC is very likely the most sought after cosmetics line. Within the MAC Cosmetics line are some of the most desired products on the market. MAC also provides their customers with a client-focused philosophy which contributes to growing number of clients who adore MAC products.

Color palettes have been developed by MAC Cosmetics for every possible shade, tone and type of skin. Well over 160 shades of lipstick and 150 shades of eyeshadow have been created to date with numerous finishes. In addition, MAC consistently releases fresh, new, limited edition collections.

MAC’s newly developed skincare line (2007) also meets the needs of diverse skin types. MAC also focuses on offering products to cater to the innovation and creative needs of professional makeup-artists and imaginative customers.

MAC doesn’t use advertising to drive their sales. They don’t try to talk people into buying their cosmetics. Instead, most of their sales are driven by their celebrity endorsements (professional makeup artists, models and celebrities alike), constant word-of-mouth promotion and continued loyalty of current clients. The brand is sold in over 50 countries around the world.

Makeup artists and sales people are hired based on artistic talent. MAC Makeup Artists are an integral part of the MAC philosophy. MAC’s co-founder, Frank Toskan, said, “I don’t have the luxury of communicating with my clients, so therefore my salespeople are the link between my philosophy and their customers.” The company doesn’t train their employees to pressure the customer into a purchase. Instead, they are encouraged to act as a resource and artistic consultant for the client. The client focused philosophy at MAC has proven to contribute largely to the success of MAC Cosmetics in both client and employee loyalty. MAC Cosmetics retail staff turnover has historically been around only 7% as a result of the high demand for employment.

Here are some things to keep in mind when purchasing MAC makeup:

  • MAC has a special recycling program to encourage customers and clients to bring in their used makeup containers for recycling. This "Back to MAC" program allows customers to bring in 6 containers to any MAC Store or MAC Counter. In exchange, the customer receives one free MAC Lipstick of their choice.
  • MAC Gift cards are redeemable only at actual MAC stores. If you want a gift card that is redeemable at a MAC Counter, you should just get a gift card to the department store where the
    MAC Counter is located.
  • MAC Cosmetics offers the MAC Pro and MAC Pro Student programs to provide support to Makeup Artists and Makeup Artists in training. Certified Makeup Artists are eligible to apply. If selected to become a member, Artists enjoy the benefits of special MAC previews, makeup master classes, product discounts, and special events.

MAC Cosmetics continues to be client focused and to offer their customers more than other cosmetics companies with overall client service as well as superior products and selection. As a result, MAC’s popularity is continuing to grow, and clients are continuing to rave about their products.

38 thoughts on “The History Behind MAC Cosmetics

  1. Robyn

    Thankyou for you great websites full of info.

    I was interested in M.A.C History and all info was easy to read and find.

    110/100 ;) ;)

    Thanxs again Robyn Barnett, Make-up Artist.

  2. andrea avila

    This web page was great im soooo glad I found it…im interviewing for mac and this information realy helped me to prepare for the ineterview thank you! Andrea

  3. Kayla

    the info. was great! it was helpful and interesting i love that MAC is helping the enviornment and has a fund for people with HIV and AIDS! you guys are the best! much love! – Kayla!, soon to be make-up artist!

  4. kayla

    this is VERY helpful!



  5. Jensen

    This was SOOOO Helpful!

    I’m doing a history report and I just HAD to pick MAC to do it on. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    Lets hope I get a A!

    – Jensen

  6. mpho

    i am so impressed with all the info i got i hope to join the inovation team oneday because i am a talented and beautyful young make-up artist

  7. Tracy

    Thank you so much for the 411 on Mac Cosmetics. I have An Interview tomorro with the company.

    M U C H
    L O V E

    Tracy renae.

    1. Jamila

      hi there!!!
      hows the interview, did you get the job ?? i love mac.. am thinking of applying too. what questions did they ask you???


  8. Luphumlo Boniwe


    I would just like to say “Big Up!” to Mac, I am currently using MAC Powder and have been since 2006.

    I have been getting compliments on how radiant my skin is. People cannot recognise the powder, that’s the beauty of the product. Unlike other products where people often appear covered in layers of make up.

    WOW! This is a magnificent product!

    I love it!


  9. Annie

    Hi. Great info here. Do you know where MAC cosmetics are manufactured? Are they made here in the US or China?
    If in the US , do you know where?!

    1. Donnapatterson

      I am doing a Marketing Project and need some history of MAC information. We are looking to do a comparison then and Now

      Number of Lipsticks ? Price?
      Number of Eyeshadows? Price?

      Has Packaging Changed?

  10. karen

    This information has really been helpful at least i now know the history of MY FAVOURITE MAC cosmetics.And the most amazing fact is that MAC is involved in community work that is marvelous!

    Thanks to MAC we LOVE U.


  11. ashlee

    MAC’s cosmetics are manufactured in a variety of countries. Some in Canada, some in Germany.. not sure where else! (packaging states where it is made)
    I have an interview tomorrow, wish me luck!!!

  12. Marisa

    First of all good luck to all of you who have interviews.

    I thanks MAC not only for their wonderful product as I am a MAC GIRL, but for the wonderful initiatives they have for taking care of our environment. EVERYTHING I use is MAC and I absolutely love it. The only thing is that living in Spain makes it a little difficult and sometimes a little expensive to reach all products. Hope they keep up the great work!!!!

  13. cutes:)

    “thankks for the help.
    it was really useful . im not so nervous about the interview now that i have important info. ! ! )

  14. Sophia

    Hi I am a Asian girl.
    (Please understand my broken English)
    Do you know If you want to buy MAC eye shadow in Japan, you
    have to pay like 35~40 dollar ;(

    anyway, Is MAC number one in the cosmetic market In America?
    How popular?
    If Bobby brown competite with MAC, which company gonna win??

    I couldn’t find! help me? :p

  15. Jlow

    Obviously MAC… My dear! mac roxxxxxxx!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    mac kinda more affordable in Singapore though as compared to the US or Canada.

  16. katexx

    Yes I am trying my best to get a job with mac at the moment and for anybody who is trying to land a job within the uk you need to telephone this number 08700342435 this is the estee lauder recruitment line where you can apply for a job and then to follow is a telephone interview, which you have to know about mac the more the better if sucessful you will be invited for another interview!! Good look xx

  17. paulina

    Hi I am Paulina and I’m interviewing for MAC in new york.. And this information was very helpful.. My interview is in one week and too make it even more nerve wrecking. I’m doing 2 interviews in one day. 21st the verbal. And 2nd the portion where you have your model and do their makeup.

    To everyone that has been interviewed what questions did they ask?

    Thanks everyone.

    Paulina :)

  18. kiran

    Hi i have a telephone interview with mac in 2 days time. Can anyone tell me what sort of questions do they ask and how long the interview will be?

    Also anything else do i need to know?

    Thanks Everyone

  19. MANI


    To all the poeple who had mac interviews coming up soon….

    Welldone for getting one, I may possibly haave one lined up.

    What questions were you asked??

    Hope you got on well,

    M X

  20. Deborah Romano

    Makeup artists and sales people are hired based on artistic talent. MAC Makeup Artists are an integral part of the MAC philosophy. MAC’s co-founder, Frank Toskan, said, “I don’t have the luxury of communicating with my clients, so therefore my salespeople are the link between my philosophy and their customers.” The company doesn’t train their employees to pressure the customer into a purchase. Instead, they are encouraged to act as a resource and artistic consultant for the client.

    I disagree with this phrase…I’m sorry to say. I am an experienced makeup artist. Graduate of the Joe blasco makeup artist training cEnter and i have worked on movie sets.

    I have continuously applied to work at MAC Cosmetics in all locations both MAC stores and the cosmetic counters and I hate to say they all refuse to hire me because I am “not qualified”!!! NOT QUALIFIED???? Yes, they said and I quote “since I have never worked in “sales” then I probably won’t be able to work for MAC because they look for people with sales experience not makeup artist experience”.

    So I am very disappointed and sadden because I thought that my background in makeup artistry would get me hired right away but unfortunately it has not!!!

    I have always dreamed of working for MAC, sadly I have yet to be hired (part time and/or full time) at any location in New Jersey.

  21. kia

    i find it funny everyone keeps asking what questions will be asked yet, not one is receiving answers, kind of cruel..i have an interview tomorrow, luckily ive been on two interviews in the past and didnt know crap about m.a.c, just
    knew everyone was saying to apply, basically, they will ask you what you like about.m.a.c, whats your favorite product, why, why do you want to work there, what do you know, your availability, and your experience, your look, and thats pretty much it, every location is different, an like some people said, the more you know, the better. wish me luck and i hope this was helpful, oo and if your wondering why i never got hired, is because the first interview i was late, the time was wrong in my sisters car, so i showed up late by accident, then never called me back..understandable, the second interview i learned at that moment that i had no knowledge of m.a.c, so they informed me on everything now will be the third attempt lol

  22. J

    Unfortunately MAC is no longer cruelty free!

    They chose to sell their products in China this year and China requires all make-up/beauty companies to test on animals.

    I am very sad about this and as I’ve read on various blogs, other people are also shocked to find out! As great as MAC was with social issues, they never even had the decency to come forward and announce the news to their loyal fans. Many of us had to learn from blogs that they are now test on animals…and when many of wrote to them, they ignored our letters/e-mails.
    I sure won’t be buying anymore make up from them, not until they stop testing on animals. Frank Angelo is probably spinning in his grave!


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