How to avoid buying fake M.A.C. cosmetics

The beauty industry is huge.  A lot of money is involved and the demand is high.  Unfortunately their are a lot of people that want to make money selling counterfeit makeup and they do it well.  It can be dangerous to buy makeup that hasn’t passed the FDA guidelines, you don’t know what is in the product and it could possibly contain harmful chemicals that  hurt or kill you, such as lead.  The money made from counterfeit goods falls into the hands of criminals..perhaps its a local street criminal or perhaps a terrorist or terrorist regime.  Whatever the case the counterfeiters are unscrupulous and have no disregard for the well being of anyone but themselves.  

– Never buy M.A.C. off of Ebay, I can tell you most of the products are fake.  Many products that aren’t real come out of China.. don’t buy from China.

– Don’t pay through paypal if you go on a site like Ebay.  If you file a complaint against paypal for counterfeit goods you must prove that they are counterfeit and you only have a certain time period to do this in.  I’d say don’t use Paypal at all…look them up on the internet and see how twisted their system is..  Here is an example of a letter from paypal stating they need proof it is a fake item…Estee Lauder(owns M.A.C.) will not help you as they do not endorse their products being sold on sites like ebay.   Here is Paypal’s reply:

in order to continue with the investigation of your complaint, we must request documentation to support your claim that the item is not authentic.
Please obtain a document from an unbiased, third-party, such as a dealer, appraiser, or another individual or organization that is qualified in the area of the item in question (other than yourself), which clearly identifies the item as not authentic
 and patience. We regret any inconvenience this request may cause. cooperationThank you for your

The documents should be faxed to PayPal at ————. Please include a cover sheet with your fax that includes the email address registered on your PayPal account and the ID number of your claim ———–, so we may attach the documents to your claim as quickly as possible.

We must receive your fax within 10 days from the date of this message in order to proceed with the investigation of your claim. If we do not receive your fax within 10 days, your claim will be canceled. We are unable to grant extensions to this time period. Please note that PayPal is unable to reimburse you for any costs or fees that may be incurred in obtaining the requested documents. Any documents you provide may also be supplied to the seller in your dispute if necessary.

Good luck on those 10 days!!!!

– Don’t buy M.A.C. from a site that says they sell M.A.C. other than or .  You can order from a  department store such as Macy’s or Nordstrom’s or an Estee Lauder CCO (cosmetics company outlet).  M.A.C. doesn’t sell their products to individuals to resell.  M.A.C. only allows each customer to buy so many of a certain product.  If they are used their M.A.C. Pro discount card, that is against the rules of having a card.

– Don’t compare colors over the internet or from a picture.  Camera’s and Monitor’s most likely won’t show the true color and also different batches of the product could be slightly off or reformulated if it is a rerelease.

– Look for TYPOSon the boxes and container.  This is a dead giveaway.   These people are idiot’s for putting so much effort into copying a product but can’t get the spelling on the box right.  One blatant misspelling i’ve seen right on the front of the box was “Prfessional”, other typos are “made in Camda” or punctuation that is incorrect or not consistent.  Usually comma’s won’t be properly spaced (especially on the ingredients list) or there will be colons and dashes mixed in when you’d usually only use one or the other and no period’s at the end of sentences while other sentences have them.

Eyeshadow palette’s that have triangle eyeshadows are fake.

– Eyeshadow that is imprinted with MAC‘s logo are fake.

– Eyeshadow with an unusually sparkly finish, but when you swipe it, the sparkle top layer comes off and you have a chalky, non sparkly shadow underneath.  It usually won’t adhere to the skin very well.   Fake.

– Eye khols or pencils that are unusually waxy… this makes up for the lack of pigment.  Pencils are usually very sloppily made.

-The box might say make-up artists on it or “Magic Eyeshadow”.   Fake..what is “Magic Eyeshadow”?

-An easily scratchable from black to white box, but this isn’t always the case,  some fakes now have a box that is difficult to scratch.

-Simply made boxes.  MAC’s product boxes are unusually complicated when unfolded.

-The box might list an eyeshadow brush inside, but there will only be a foam applicator.  FAKE!!

– The spelling of Ounce will be improperly shortened to read Oze instead of oz.

– Shiny and smooth product containers like eyeshadow pots or lipsticks. FAKE

– Real MAC lipsticks and lipglasses should have a distinct vanilla smell to them.

– The fakes might say 12 color eyeshadow on the box, but the product will only list 6 names.. names that are usually made up.

– Compare the ingredients list on the fake box or suspect box with a real box, even if it’s not the same product.  MAC is consistent with it’s puncuation and numbering of certain ingredients.  You will easily be able to tell how different the fake box is.

Face Powder that is unusually light.  An NC42 is a considerably dark powder/foundation color.  If you get a chance to compare fake powders there won’t be much difference between an NC25 and an NC42.

– MAC’s eyeshadows, lipsticks and lipglasses were and are not labeled with numbers instead of names of a number “3” next to the name, fake name presumably.

– Eyeshadows that have actual MAC names, but colors that don’t match the real.

– Smell, real MAC eyeshadow shouldn’t have a fragrance.  Fakes might smell like cinnamon or another fragrance.

Counterfeiter‘s are getting good.  Alot of the old give-away’s are now out dated.  Ways you and companies can prevent counterfeit would be to shrink their market-only buy directly from M.A.C., report sellers of fake cosmetics (either to ebay or their internet service provider).

Detailed Photographs

Use of holograms

Color Shifting Ink


Serial Numbers


Paper Quality

Paper Color

Implement industry standards

Educate customs and law enforcement on counterfeit goods

Educate the public on potential hazards (health, etc.) of purchasing counterfeit goods

Strictly regulate imports from countries known to have a large counterfeit market.

The only sure way to garunty that you will get a genuine product is to order from,, order directly from a department store, or go into a mac store or visit a m.a.c. counter inside a department store.   Your next best bet would be to get a cp(custom purchase). This is when you send someone the money and they buy and send the product back to you.  You can find people that will do this on sites like and the person you are sending the money to must have pristine feedback, there are groups in livejournal that people buy out of too.

I hesitate to to tell all the tricks that I know of  regarding counterfeit MAC because these scammers are paying attention to these kinds of posts and blogs and learning.   If you have any products you aren’t sure about,  email me personally and i’ll try to help.


22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rutuja Bhagwat
    Sep 13, 2015 @ 03:34:57

    Thank you so much for the information. I’d been using a fake one!!



  2. Tabatha
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 13:52:36

    I wish I would have read all of these blogs and such before buying from ebay this week… Uggghhhh! I’ve only bought from M.A.C. counters at Macy’s and online until a few days ago… I purchased a cream colour base in the color SHELL. From all the posts I’ve been reading, it appears to be the real deal… but, can anyone compare photos of this product with me please? Box and everything… Thank you* I still have time to return it if it is in fact a counterfeit item. I saved a meesly (sp??) $4.00… so needless to say, I will not be buying from ebay again and only the official site and Macy’s. :/ Thanks for this information!!


  3. Anonymous
    Oct 11, 2012 @ 00:28:07

    How does fake MAC mascara feel when you put it on?


  4. Anonymous
    May 02, 2012 @ 20:00:01

    Thank you!! Your post saved me! 😀


  5. Rose
    Apr 06, 2012 @ 21:10:17

    Hi, I have bought a 120 hello kitty palette . is it real ? i have read other blogs saying MAC has never invented a 120 eyeshadow palette .


  6. Joan
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 01:53:53

    HI, I bought a bag full of MAC cosmetics. I wonder if they are real or fake. Can you help me authenticate it? Thanks


  7. mishymosst
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 10:21:14

    Hello, just got my first mac from a certain seller for cheaper price. its called VIVA GLAM Mac,lady gaga collection and it has 20 colors eyeshadow. Should the ingredients outside the box and the ones printed on the make up should be the same? because i noticed its not matching.


  8. Susan jonsson
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 13:11:43

    Hi i have 3 products that i wonder if they are fake can you help me?


  9. Sam
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 18:19:45

    I am looking to buy a MAC palette from Amazon. The box says, “20-Colour Eye Shadow.” Is it fake?

    The palette is a limited edition viva glam lady gaga. 20 shadows.


  10. jill
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 20:09:54

    Fake or not, all of these cosmetics causes health related issues. There is a study that shows how some “MAC” eyeshadows is linked to cancers. Sooooo, who cares….even if you purchase the “Authentic Makeup” not only is your health at risk but your are getting ripped off, I mean come on…$20 for One Eyeshadow.


  11. anna
    Oct 22, 2011 @ 12:39:12

    i actually bought two fake mac eyeshadows from a store in my town, not online. i only figured out they were fake because when i got home and looked it up, MAC never made a pressed shadow called Teal and Parfait Amour was misspelled Parfait Amore. not sure what i can do about that. does anyone have any advice for me?


  12. Anonymous
    Jul 29, 2011 @ 00:38:56

    I noticed that a few honest sellers on ebay have mentioned that they are selling replica merchandise. Is this legal? I too have unfortunately been sold fake M.A.C.


    • pumpkincat210
      Aug 31, 2011 @ 07:51:44

      No, selling of replica merchandise is illegal, it is counterfeit. You should report them to ebay. When you buy M.A.C. on Ebay you are taking a huge risk as mostly all of it fake now.


  13. Sarah
    Nov 28, 2010 @ 23:11:22

    Fake Mac make up are made in the same factories as they make the real ones unauthorized. they reproduce extra orders to sell in china only and now they have been shipped to USA too. these are as good as the real. made with same same ingredients. If you can afford buy from mac store if you can,t buy from e bay there is no side effect whatsoever gas come up so far, lead levels are same as real mac. big shops like marshals, TJ max sells brand name that are same made in china which is very fine quality for great prices. why not individual sellers. it is up to the customers.


    • pumpkincat210
      Nov 29, 2010 @ 07:20:06

      If the extra’s are sent to China and they are sent back here, then it is still unsafe and unscrupulous because it was not sold by an authorized mac retailer.
      It probably is counterfeit. It is not subject to the same standards or any at all than the mac bought from an authorized dealer. You don’t know if they added anything, used, switched out or if it was stored properly. I hesitate to buy many things from China simply because all the time it’s reported that their product has large amounts of lead, etc in it. Perhaps you can’t tell the health difference now, but later on you may. Why risk it anyways? It could hurt you, it hurts m.a.c.’s company and ultimately drives up the prices across the board.


      • Chiara
        Dec 16, 2010 @ 07:17:54

        Sarah,can i ask how do you know this info that the fake and authentic MAC are made in the same factory with the same ingredients?I find that quite laughable because i know for a fact that the replica MAC(which i have personally had,not USED :)are smell TOTALLY didfferent!The fake Dazzleglass,was very gritty,did not have the VANILLA scent,that MAC lippys and glosses are famous for!As for the fake Zoom Lash Mascara,the brush,was abs naff,the mascara smelt like nail varnish remover…need i say more.
        I agree with the Pumpkincat ,do not buy MAC,B.Brown ,BeneFit,from eBay,most is counterfeited,although there are few sellers who do sell authentic MAC,on ebay!Few being the imperative word
        At the moment there’s a seller of fakey Mac,(really,really bad)on eBay UK.
        Seller:atownorange,their fake Mac,ranges from the pigments,with Mac single ,powder eyeshadow,names and the SPOUT,to pout the pigment trough??Really bad copy of Mac Mineralize blush,with shades that dont match these on Mac website , fake Dazzleglass,with TYPOs and made up shade names such as CreamyPink :ie>net wt.1.9g 0.o US oz item nu:180595427700


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