7 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About M.A.C.

You may be the kind of M.A.C. fan who, at any given moment, owns no fewer than five Ruby Woo lipsticks just in case it ever goes out of stock (don’t worry, I bit my tongue as I wrote that!), or you may be the kind of M.A.C. junkie who glues herself to the computer, constantly refreshing the page any time their newest limited-edition collection launches. But even the most die-hard fans will be surprised by these seven facts about Makeup Art Cosmetics (which is what M.A.C. stands for, by the way—but of course you already knew that).

1. M.A.C. was founded when a makeup artist and a photographer became frustrated by how bad most makeup seemed to read in photos. In 1984, beauty salon owner Frank Angelo and photographer Frank Toskan created M.A.C. cosmetics in their kitchensto fulfill their professional makeup needs. They decided to package their products in black pots instead of compacts, and that quickly became the company’s signature.

2. One of M.A.C.’s first big breaks occurred when Madonna wore its lipstick.According to M.A.C.’s website, Madonna wore an “intense matte red lipstick” on a photo shoot in the late ’80s. She was later photographed wearing a M.A.C. T-shirt, and people began to take notice of the company.

3. RuPaul was the first Viva Glam spokesperson in 1994.


While other makeup companies were casting established supermodels as the faces of their ad campaigns, M.A.C. went the unconventional route and tapped a drag queen from Atlanta named RuPaul to be their first-ever Viva Glam spokesperson. The campaign used this (awesome) tagline: “We won’t look down on you, and we won’t intimidate you, because we know what it was like to be picked on by the cool kids. And guess what? Now we’re the cool kids.”

4. Since its inception in 1994, M.A.C.’s Viva Glam campaign has raised $380 million.The program began as a way to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS at a time when it was largely misunderstood and underrepresented. Now the company is a pioneer in HIV/AIDS funding and the largest corporate non-pharmaceutical giver providing support for a cure. Multiple celebrities have been involved in Viva Glam campaigns, including Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, and most recently, Ariana Grande.

5. M.A.C. sells more lipstick than any other non-drugstore brand. That’s according to research conducted by the NPD Group in 2012. M.A.C.’s lipstick sales beat bothLancôme’s L’Absolu Rouge and Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Lipstick. Today, M.A.C. is sold in 106 countries and territories.

5. Most of the makeup Natalie Portman’s character in Black Swan wore was M.A.C.

The film’s makeup artist Judy Chin used almost entirely M.A.C. products to achieve Portman’s freaky swan makeup. She rimmed Portman’s inner eyes with M.A.C. Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Engraved, painted M.A.C. Pro Chromaline Eye-Liner Gel/Crème in Black Black all over and slightly under her eyes, and thinly drew M.A.C. Pro Chromaline Eye-Liner Gel/Crème in Basic Red under Portman’s lower lashes. (Heads up to anyone already thinking about next year’s Halloween costume plans.)

6. Makeup artists can sign up for a special program with the company to get 40 percent off M.A.C. products. The M.A.C. Pro Membership Program was the first-ever membership program for makeup professionals in the industry. Today, makeup artists who show proper certification can pay $35 a year to become a member of the program. They get perks like getting the chance to attend master classes, networking events, and of course, a huge discount on every single M.A.C. product.