MAC is the holy grail of cosmetic brands – known as a powerhouse of makeup artistry and trends both backstage at runway shows and in department stores across the world. The figures in black working behind the counter are often enigmas – knowledgeable, confident, quirky, and admittedly sometimes intimidating. With a couple of college years spent as a MAC freelance artist under my belt, I’m here to give you a glimpse into the life of a MAC makeup artist.
MAC artists have a minimum number of products they have to wear during their shift.
If you ever walked up to a MAC and wondered how that creature behind the counter managed to look so done up & put together – it’s because they have to. While some locations are stricter than others, MAC artists generally have a minimum amount of makeup products they are required to wear during their shift. An average MAC artist must wear 2-3 face products, 2-3 eye products, and 2 lip products.
MAC artists are encouraged to wear different makeup looks so that you (the customer) can always find an artist you identify with.
MAC often encourages artists on the floor to wear different looks (bold lip, bold eye, dewey skin, you name it) so that when a customer approaches there is always a face they can relate to and a look they’ll want to learn to do themselves. I always loved this during my time as a MAC artist because it allowed everyone to experiment with their makeup looks and also to express themselves – I often opted for a bold lip and had coworkers who loved rocking smokey eyes. It was awesome to express our individuality and allow customers to come in and learn from our different aesthetics and strengths!
Not all MAC artists have been trained by MAC.
MAC counters and stores utilize permanent artists along with freelance artists. During my years with MAC I purely worked as a freelancer, allowing me the flexibility of choosing my shifts at different locations. All MAC artists are skilled (freelancers are hired because they have artistry experience), however only permanent artists are trained by MAC. I was lucky enough while I was freelancing to have been selected to take a freelance training at MAC corporate – a totally unforgettable, unique, and amazing experience offered to only a handful of freelancers at the time! No matter who helps you during your visit to MAC, you’re no doubt receiving expert experience whether MAC certified or not.
The MAC jewelry your artist is wearing can be an indication of their seniority within the company and their level of training.
Ever notice your MAC artist isn’t wearing a name tag? Our MAC jewelry serves as our name tag and we are all brand representatives through and through. MAC dishes out jewelry to its artists in the form of pins, necklaces, and more. MAC artists receive different pieces of jewelry for different occasions: holiday gifts from the company and also at the end of levels certification. This means that in some cases you may actually be able to get an indication of your artists’ number of years with MAC and level of training by the type of MAC jewelry they’re wearing.
What have been your experiences with the artists at MAC?