I've been moving away from MAC recently, however, and you're gonna have to bear with me because I'm on a bit of a rampage with this one. Here's five reasons why I'm less than amused at the Estée Lauder company's cosmetic powerhouse:
1. Animal testing in China.Word reached my ears recently about MAC and their position in China under parent company Estée Lauder, and how their position to animal testing has been revised due to this move. China requires animal testing by law, so although MAC has understandably wanted to conquer the huge, cash cow of the Chinese market, they have been forced to resume animal testing. It's important to stress that the animal testing policy for MAC in other countries will remain as is - untested on animals - but just because we can't see China doesn't mean it isn't happening. If true, this is a huge backwards step for MAC, and a huge embarrassment.
2. Eleventy billion collections.I actually can't remember the last time I bought from a MAC collection. Occasionally I'll peruse the core line if I've run out of something I use all the time, but I actually used to get excited about the new upcoming collections. I'd excitedly go on the Specktra forums and write long long lists and arrive at the counter on launch day ready to spend and take no prisoners. Do you know why I was so excited for new MAC collections back in the day? It was because I actually had to WAIT for them. Not just a week, either. A month, two months. Even more. The anticipation was excruciating. MAC's current policy seems to be a free-for-all with a new collection each week of crappy, badly-formulated products - a continual parade of mediocrity.
3. Limited edition, but not quite.The thing about MAC is hype. You remember Lightscapade? It only got repromoted a couple of months ago and then… oh! Look up there, a flying pig! While you were distracted MAC's creative team ran out of ideas and slid the very same product into the next collection and asked you kindly to look the other way. I mean, come on! It's Lightscapade - an MSF so legendary you barely even dare speak its name. The continual repromoting of things that used to be hotly-anticipated big-ticket items for the year - and everyone would be clutching at their debit cards anxiously waiting to input their data and sell their soul the second it came online - well, that's gone. MAC have gotten greedy.
4. What customer service?I often go by a general rule of thumb when shopping at MAC: if you want acceptable service, just avoid the MAC counter at Selfridges in London. If you want great service, avoid MAC altogether. There are obviously a few exceptions to this rule - such as the lovely ladies I know who work at MAC, and the whole of the counter at Brighton - but one of the main things that puts me off working at MAC are the staff.
Some of them seem to put their makeup on in the dark. Put their counter in the window of the store and it's like they are vampires revealed in the light: orange foundation, unblended contours and eyebrows painted on. I'm not saying this is true for every MAC artist, of course, but some of them definitely would scare the innocent cosmetic-buying consumer.
There are a couple of types of customer service at MAC, but the one that seems the most widespread is the type seen in Selfridges London (see, I mentioned Selfridges for a reason). The MAC counter staff gather in packs of laughing hyenas, congregating in groups of 8 strong chatting and if you dare ask for help, you'll get one of two reactions. The first is that they'll palm you off on someone else who isn't earning money by chatting, and the second is that they'll actually help you - in the most grudging, rude manner possible.
No thanks. I'd rather shop elsewhere.
5. Are they really even that good?The conclusion I'm beginning to draw from conspicuously NOT shopping at MAC is that there's stuff elsewhere which, if not equal, is just BETTER. Illamasqua, Becca, Laura Mercier and NARS do it better, consistently, with better products which aren't hastily pasted-together launches which either offend (Rodarte) or lack any kind of spark (most of the other collections last year). I'm getting to that point where I don't really care if something is limited edition or not anymore - I'm more interested in whether the product performs. I don't need another glitterbomb Mineralize Skinfinish which migrates to my chin and eyebrows, I want a blush which stays on all day and stays wherever the hell I put it (even if that IS on my chin and eyebrows).
Sometimes I just get this kind of bee in my bonnet and I'm unable to stop the inevitable tirade of vitriolic spouting you're seeing here. I'm kind of feeling like the sparkly blindfold of MAC and it's limited edition collections has lifted though. I'll still buy from MAC as one of those kind of 'eh, whatever' consumers, but that flutter of excitement has long gone.
How do you feel about MAC right now? Good? Bad? Indifferent?