How To Spot FAKE MAC Products

Nov 24, 2010

How To Spot FAKE MAC Products

This is going to be a seriously long, but hopefully helpful post. Clearly, there are tons of people who attempt to buy MAC cosmetics from eBay. This is a mistake. Yea, there are sellers who sell authentic MAC, but that’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Once upon a time, it was actually safer to buy MAC items from eBay…it wasn’t as easy as it is now to buy a total fake. It happened, but not as frequently as it does now. In fact, nowadays you’re 10x’s more likely to purchase a counterfeit item, than a real one. If I could physically show you what’s wrong with the fakes on eBay, I would. But I’m going to try my best to explain to you what to look for. Don’t get me wrong, eBay isn’t the only place to get fake MAC makeup. Sites such as iOffer, Brush111, BombshellBargains (which sells both real and fake items), StrawberryNET, etc. have all been busted for selling inauthentic MAC items. One of the main problems is that it has gotten progressively harder to tell what is fake and what’s real.
Why shouldn’t you buy counterfeit MAC items? Well, it’s simple. You don’t know what kind of ingredients they have chucked into them. You could literally be putting colored baby powder, flour, or crack onto your lids lol. It’s just not safe and it only puts more money into the pockets of the thieves who manufacture and sell this garbage. So, unless you want to support their crime, don’t buy fake cosmetics. This is the same reason I don’t buy those tragic counterfeit handbags from mall kiosks. I cannot support that market, but that’s just me.
The most common counterfeit MAC items are eyeshadows, brushes and pigments. There is word that there are also fake MAC lipsticks, eye and lip pencils, MSF’s, blushes, etc. Speaking of fake MAC brushes,EVERYTHING from, and is absolutely fake.
Here’s an example of a really “good” fake glitter that the untrained eye probably wouldn’t detect. Everything about this jar looks authentic until you take a closer look…
fake mac grey glitter
The above is a picture of a fake MAC Grey glitter (this color was once sold by MAC but has been discontinued for a long time and is now a very hard to find item) I received from a seller on Specktra, who thought she was getting the real deal. Before I even received this item, she refunded me and told everyone she sold it to that she found out they were fakes. She was honest and she did not have to tell us that. She could have easily ran off with our money, but she didn’t. She was extremely embarrassed because she happens to know all about fakes..but this just proves my point. The fakes are getting harder and harder to detect, even for seasoned folks. When I got this, the box felt and looked real. But the SECOND I held it, I saw the edges of this glitter and noticed how cheap it felt. Do you see how the edges of the lid look as if they were literally shaved off? You can’t tell from here, but the lid also feels VERY cheap in comparison to a real pigment lid. Real pigment jars don’t have that thick overflowing shaved edge. Real lid jars have FLAT edges on the lids and don’t feel cheap in your hands.
real vs. fake mac glitter
Also, in comparison to my authentic Reflects Pink Glitter, it doesn’t have a batch code. On authentic MAC glitters, the sticker labels on the bottom of the jars have their batch codes stamped into the label, not “printed” like the other pigments. There may be some older glitters with printed batch codes, but the more recent ones have them stamped into the actual sticker, so its clear when you look at it. One more thing, the actual glitter texture is way chunkier than it should be. MAC glitters are very fine and don’t feel scratchy at all. This fake Grey glitter is super chunky, pretty, but very chunky and not fine at all. It also sticks to the sides of the jar way more than an authentic glitter would.
Overall, this glitter looks authentic, but it’s not.
You guys HAVE to do your homework and shop a little more consciously. A lot of these eBay sellers will tell you “Oh my, I didn’t know it was fake”. If you even dare open a business selling a product you know nothing about, then you are failing at life. It’s extremely irresponsible to sell items you know nothing about to the public all while promising authenticity. Many people who sell hoards of these fake items pretty much try to see what’s selling like hotcakes on eBay, and jump in on the action and get paid by the ignorance and trust of their customers. When you call them out on it, they ALL send a similar message of ..
“I assure you my items are authentic as I receive them from a reliable supplier. If a questionable item was overlooked, please feel free to return to me for a full refund and I’ll be more careful next time”
This is what we in America call “bull”. Please be careful, and do not fall for that excuse. While it’s true that some sellers just have no idea, again, its irresponsible to put yourself in that situation. Know what you’re selling!


  • Flea markets
  • Grocery stores
  • Beauty supply stores
  • Salons
  • mall kiosks

I took some screenshots of fake items on eBay so you can see first hand what they look like and also who the sellers are so you can avoid them. The sad thing is that some of these have tons of bidders and the seller is about to make off with some unsuspecting makeup lover’s money. The even sadder part, is that many of these sellers are “verified/top-rated/trusted sellers” who have tons of great feedback…and all of that feedback is from unsuspecting and naive buyers.
Click each pic to see a larger version
Fake MAC 12 color cream palette
1. A so called, 12 color eyeshadow cream palette. MAC NEVER made a product like this. If you see something like this on eBay, avoid it.
Fake MAC 120 Palette
2. MAC has never ever in life put out a 120 color palette. These palettes are manufactured in Asian countries and sold wholesale to lots of companies in the USA. Often packaged in an all-black case, which basically gives just about anyone the leg room to put whatever kind of logo they want. Do not fall for this very popular fake MAC item. What’s sad is that this seller is trying to convince people it’s a “pro” item, and look at how many bids were on this crap!
Fake MAC Earthy Shadow Palette from Hello Kitty
3. This is just hilarious. MAC never made a cheap looking palette like this for their Hello Kitty collection. This is an obvious fake. There were only two 4-color eyeshadow palettes from that collection; Too Dolly and Lucky Tom.
Fake MAC Hello Kitty lot
4. To put it bluntly, this listing is total bullshit. MAC has never released a Hello Kitty mascara or eyeliner. You can buy this if you want to, but don’t be mad if you wake up the next morning blind as hell.
Fake MAC Hello Kitty Single Eyeshadows
5. See above lol. MAC has never released SINGLE Hello Kitty eyeshadows in special packaging. You can find the colors from either the Too Dolly or Lucky Tom palettes in single shadow form, but they were not in special packaging. Therefore this entire lot is total crap.
Fake MAC Kim Kardashian collection
6. Pink Swoon was never part of any Kim Kardashian “collection”. There never was a Kim Kardashian collection to begin with. Pink Swoon also doesn’t have any “shimmer” and most importantly, it’s NOT limited edition. The only limited edition Pink Swoon blush was in the Manish Arora packaging.
Fake MAC Pigment "Goldmine"
7. Goldmine is an eyeshadow color from MAC. There was never a “Goldmine” pigment. This is not only a fake, but a really bad one. Look at the shiny lid on the jar, the crappy quality of the box and the font on the sticker. The MAC logo on the jar is further up than normal. This is just terrible. Some of these fakes are so bad you just have to laugh.
Fake MAC Pigment "Humid"
8. Once again, another horrible fake MAC pigment for sale. Humid is an eyeshadow, NOT a pigment. Never has been. MAC pigments do not have black labels on the bottom of their jars. This is one of those terrible fakes that doesn’t even have a fake MAC batch code on the sticker. Wow, the audacity…
Fake MAC eyeshadow with brush and mirror
9. Where do I begin? First of all, single MAC eyeshadow pots DO NOT have a “basement” that houses brushes or brush-tip applicators with a mirror. The only shadow I know that fits this description off the top of my head is L’Oreal HIP Duos. If you own any “MAC” eyeshadows that have a second compartment for a mirror/brush underneath, you’ve gotta fake. The only shadows that come with mirrors and/or mini brushes are the holiday/limited edition sets, but those also come with at least six eyeshadow colors.
Fake MAC eyeshadow pans
10. Bottom line: authentic MAC eyeshadow pans have a FLAT bottom. If you have any MAC shadows with a beveled circle, you’ve gotta fake.
Fake MAC Heatherette Lipgloss #2
11. Haha, this seller couldn’t even think of what to call this super fake Heatherette lipglass, so they just called it #02. There was never a #02 lipglass from MAC’s Heatherette collection. Today’s lesson: if there’s no name for the item color and it just has a number, its fake. The only “numbering” system MAC used for lip products was for the N collection…1N, 2N, 3N, 4N and 5N.
Fake MAC pigment lot
12. The ever popular MAC pigment lot sale!! Where you can enjoy so many fake pigments for such an awesome deal! Lak OMG kewliez y0! Every single listing like this, is fake. Every. Single. One. Don’t fall for it.
Fake MAC primary Yellow pigment
13. Super fake Primary Yellow pigment. Do you guys see how THICK this jar is? This is a number 1 visual indication that it’s fake. I’m sure there’s a shiny black lid to boot. Check out the barcode on the bottom of the box. See the batch code A73? Real MAC pigments do not have the batch codes on the box, only on the sticker label of the actual pigment jar. I’ll get into batch codes later, but for now, make sure none of the boxes you’ve purchased have a batch code on the barcode sticker…because if it does, its fake. If your jars are as thick as that one, its fake.
Fake MAC Pigment Marine Ultra
14. Here’s an example of a “shiny lid”. This lid looks super oily right? Real MAC pigments have a more matte lid, and any light reflected from the real ones will be very dull. There ARE fake pigments w/ matte lids, but the very edges look like someone shaved them along the sides, so you can easily tell its fake. They feel very cheap in your hands. Authentic MAC pigment lids are sturdier and have a slight texture to them.
Fake MAC eyeshadow case
15. Do you guys see what’s fake here? Look closer…do you notice how the rim around the actual shadow is raised? This is fraudulent! Real MAC eyeshadow cases do NOT have a raised edges like this.
I could go on and on, but you should get a general idea.
Now let’s talk about batch codes. MAC pigments (and other products) have a 3-character code on the bottom of the labels to let you know three things: which batch run it is, and the month and year of when it was packaged.
mac batch codes explained
MAC has reformulated many of their pigments, which is why “batch runs” can vary. I have the second formula of their Golden Olive pigment, for example. The code on that jar is BC6, which means it’s the second batch run (B), made and packaged in December (C) of 2006 (6). Get it?
MAC has also started using the digit “0″ for their batch codes to represent 2010. I purchased an eyeshadow from the MAC counter at Macy’s recently and it had a batch code of “A10″.
I hope this post was helpful to some of you. To be honest, because MAC isn’t a “high-end” brand, your best bet would be to save up your money and buy directly from them, to avoid getting duped. If you have any questions, leave a comment below.
*If you’re looking for Ebay sellers you can trust, click here.
*Visit Specktra for more lessons in counterfeit MAC.
-Stay beautiful DOLLS
credit for this information goes to The Accidental Beauty

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