The MAC Must-Buys


When I first really, really got into makeup five years or so ago, MAC was where it was at. I’d queue outside my local store on the first Thursday of every month to be the first customer to see the latest launches in the flesh and then dish out a rather large proportion of my student loan on limited edition items that were too pretty to use. Priorities, you know? Even now, though I don’t press my nose against the glass on a monthly basis, it’s still a place that gives me the good makeup vibes in my belly. If you want a specific lip or eye colour, chances are MAC has it, they still have a hard-to-beat colour range in their base products and the Carnaby Street Pro store is set-up to look like a makeup rainbow – what’s not to love? So if you’re heading there or to your local anytime soon, I thought I’d compile a list of my top five buys that years down the line have stood the test of time and are products that are still whipped out on a daily basis:

MAC 217 Brush – Even though I’m still pretty crappy when it comes to eyeshadow application, I was way crappier in pre-MAC 217 times. There’s something about the shape and fluffiness of this brush that just does the work for you, blending and diffusing the colour exactly where you want it. I have to say the lazy brush cleaner inside of me is tempted to pick up another…

MAC Eyeshadow in All That Glitters – The only eyeshadow in the history of eyeshadows that I’ve been in ownership of that has a dent in it where you can see the pan at the bottom. If that’s not the sign of a much-loved beauty product then I don’t know what is. A peachy, golden, champagne-y, pink, it’s a tough colour to pin down but one that’s just so flattering on the lids. It looks particularly good in the summer, paired with a hella load mascara and not much else. Load. Me. Up.

MAC Lipstick in PatisserieWell, well, well, we all knew that this would be here didn’t we. Easily my most worn lipstick over the past twelve months I can’t find fault with it. A classic ‘MLBB’, it goes with whatever eye thing I’ve got going on and can be slicked on without a mirror – which we all know is the sign of a kick-ass lipstick. There’s a hint of shimmer to it, but don’t let that put you off, it’s just one of those ‘subtly enhancing’ things that won’t make you look like you’ve regressed back to the ’90’s. Promise.

MAC Mineralise Skinfinish NaturalAh ha! Finally the secret to ridiculously flawless looking skin. I don’t like to look like a doll-version of myself on a daily basis, but when I’m filming and need something to keep away my cheek crease sweats (nice), this is perfect and makes the complexion look seriously polished. This can be avoided with a light hand of course and actually over a tinted moisturiser it sits nicely and no matter how much you build it up it never goes cakey. If you’re a non-powder lover who’s in the market for a new one then I’d point you in the direction of this.

MAC Lip Pencil in Cherry – If you need a red lip liner then this is your guy. I’ve yet to find a red that this didn’t work with. It’s a classic formula, so expect things to be a bit dry and matte, but that’s what makes it so long lasting and a good choice for painting all over the lips on its own and leaving it at that. If I had a penny for every time I’d asked a girl what red she was wearing and she said this, well a Tom Ford Perfume wouldn’t be on my wishlist – you know what I’m saying? 

Any must-have, ‘if MAC discontinued it you’d send them a curtly worded letter’ products to add to the list?


  • Mousumee Agnieszka

    Great choices! I need to get my hands on the Mineralise Skinfinish. Personally, I possibly couldn’t do without Cosmo and Woodwinked!

  • That eyeshadow palette looks like neutral heaven!

    Madeline Loves

  • Erica

    My local MAC honestly makes me anxious! I’ve been there a few times, and have never walked out with anything. Not sure if it’s the employees who seem to bypass me for the older women (seriously, I’m 24 not 16 – although my dimples and glasses beg to differ) or the fact that I want everything that looks pretty! This post helps. Maybe I’ll drop by and just pick up a few of these things – no hesitation. 🙂

    • LOL 🙂

      • Erica

        I know Karen! The struggle is real. 😉

  • Rose

    i adore mac patisserie too, i thought i;d tell you ive discovered a dupe for it in the form of an MUA lipgloss in the shade sealed with a kiss, the colour is pretty much identical without the shimmer, surprisingly unsticky so maybe worth checking out for £2

  • Emma Bovary

    Brilliant list – I’d add Painterly Paint Pot into mine, love that stuff as a primer! Patisserie is a wedding day lipstick contender for me, very serious business indeed!

  • I need MAC Patisserie, it looks so beautiful!

    Maddy, xo // UNSTITCHEDD

  • Gaby Zickar

    I definitely agree with the 217, skinfinish natural (just done a blog post on the packaging change) and all the glitters! I haven’t tried the other 2 products though it seems I should get on that!

  • I agree with all of these, the 217 is something I’ve been looking at for awhile because you can never have too many blending brushes – in theory. I’ve really wanted to try the MSF in natural, too.

  • Ah, the famous 217, so so amazing!

    Sophia //

  • Petra

    Oooh, you kept it so short! I would’ve added at least a Pro Longwear Concealer – that’s something I use every single day. Pale skin and blue under eye area just crave for that speciality PLWC has. Interesting post, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • jasmine turner

    I love the look of Cherry lipliner and Patisserie! They are both on my wishlist!

    xprincessjas | ♥

  • Ella

    I couldn’t be without my paint pots – especially Bare Study. I use it as an eye primer most days and it is also fantastic as a cream highlight on the cheeks and inner corners.

  • Annie

    I have them all apart from the lip liner. Good picks.
    You say All That Glitters is the only one you’ve hit pan on but there are two in the picture with pans showing, so that’s not really true is it

    • Jeanette

      Ha I saw the darker colour with the dip in and thought that’s not all that glitters, cuz the brush was covering the other one a bit. You might try to sound all poetic Anna but at least tell the truth!

  • I have been considering buying that cherry liner for sooo long and this may have just about tipped the scale. Also if MAC ever dicontinued espresso eyeshadow my life would not be worth living. I use it for brows, lower lash line, crease colour. The list goes on.

  • I adore the colour of Patisserie – it’s definitely one of my favourites!

  • Manouk

    I SO agree with you on the 217, the powder and ATG! Patisserie is still on my wishlist 🙂 I have to get a new MSF because there’s literally NOTHING left in the pan.

    WOMANOUK (beauty and portrait

  • joanna

    Definitely the paint pots! My eyeshadow creases like crazy and so I use Painterly to keep everything in place. It’s great on its own as well, just to even everything up on the lid.

  • Patisserie is just a perfect nude.

    Emma Be Beauty</A

  • I have the Minerlized skinfinish naural and love it! It’s so good and it makes my skin look flawless. Love, love, love.x

    Soup || UK Beauty Blog

  • Laura

    All good picks. MAC essentials for me would be either painterly or groundwork paint pot, lady danger and heroine lipsticks and soft and gentle msf!

    Laura | Laurzrah xx

  • I do love painterly paint pot to disguise my veiny eyelids! Apart from that my mini MAC collection is mostly what you’ve mentioned above;)

    Esmé // CloudEsmé

  • Loved this post ive been resisting mac for about a year! I go in and im like should i buy my first ever product… Nah I was always scared i would go for the wrong ones! So now one said beauty blogger puts up one said post and …. I bought all of this……. OOPS! thanks anna xxx

  • I love MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural. Think I’m on my 3rd one!! Patisserie is definitely on my wishlist. If only I had a student loan, eh?

  • I cant live without my MAC MSF too, I have used so many and I just love it loads 🙂 Oooh, I’ve never really seen the shade patisserie before, might need to get it. My favourite is Hue which is such a pleasure to apply and compliments alot of makeup looks.

    Thanks for the post, I hope you have a lovely day! <3


    X x X x X

  • Zazie Bibi
  • Ajdas blog

    All that glitters is one of my favourites as well!

  • Christy

    So sad that I don’t live near a MAC store or even a department store that has a stand
    The next time I’m in Westfield I may buy one or two (all) of these pics as they’re beyond cult and more a necessity?

  • cristy

    all these products look amazing, I need to try some more mac products xx

  • Faith Warde

    I’ve been looking for a good red lip liner, I’m definitely going to try out that MAC one now! x

  • Abbey Victoria

    I agree with every single one of those, although I still don’t have the MAC 217 brush, craziness?!
    Abbey Victoria | UK Personal Style, Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

  • Megan Roisin

    Oh I love posts like this, they’re so useful! The brush and MSF have been on my wishlist for quite a while 🙂
    Megan x
    London Callings

  • I made my first visit to Mac when I was in Paris, and I picked up the Cherry lip liner and Ruby Woo lipstick. I love them both, and have been saving my pennies to get some more Mac in my life! 🙂

    Beth. x

    Sometimes The Stars

  • Oh i’m just jealous of everyone with one of those palettes. Not fair – i need one!!!!

    Josie XOXO

    Fashion Mumblr

  • Ella

    My friend and I were just texting each other earlier on about going to the mac counter but we weren’t sure what to buy- this was a big help! Thank you Anna!

  • chadias

    I don’t have anything MAC, but if I ever get anything, I’ll check out this list for sure!

  • I love the 217, Patesserie, and mineralize skin finish. Jealous of the palette!

  • I love the eye shadow shade! I really want a Mac palette, I love the fact that you can mix and match the shades that you want!

    The Velvet Black // UK
    Style, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  • Clementine Buttercup

    I love my MAC217 brush. The only brush that works for me when I’m brave enough to try a smokey eye (once in a blue moon)!

  • Holly Cooke

    All that glitters just looks so pretty, and gorgeous x

  • Tamar

    Pro Longwear Concealer — it is versatile, amazing range of colors and soo long lasting. LOVE.

  • Looks like I need to pick up the Cherry liner. It’s the only thing I don’t have/love from this list!! I would add in the MAC 168 Angled Contour Brush! I own 2 of them AND two 217’s- talk about a lazy brush cleaner!


  • Jolien

    I own all 5 of those, and my make-up stash is from from huge. Can’t be a coincidence, right?! These products are all so good. Patisserie is a staple, whenever I can’t decide which colour to slap on patisserie goes on and it always looks good combined with whatever make-up I’m wearing. Spot on list!

    • Thanks for your personal review because I want to make sure that the products are of good quality before I buy them.

  • Thanks…I have not gotten a chance to buy any M.A.C products yet but this list helps me out a lot 🙂

  • I’m totally with you on the majority of these products, I definitely have a few in my collection and I wouldnt look back.

    Jess x

  • Pamela Dharwar

    I was just about to go on a MAC splurge so this post couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks anna! X

  • WhitePointeShoes

    The perfect palette eye shadow for me!
    beautiful colors!

  • Sunaina Kapoor

    I need that mac 217 brush in my life, deffo my next MAC buy! x

  • All That Glitters and Cherry are two of my most warn products aswell, and they’re the two I’m always recommending to friends or buying as birthday presents!
    I’m not a slave to MAC like a used to be, but I work next to Covent Garden so always pop in if I’m around that way on my lunch break and have a look at the new launches. If I’m ever stuck finding a colour or shade of something or I’m stuck for inpiration, MAC is a fail safe option! x

  • Margaret

    cheek crease sweats omg dying

  • Emma and Emily

    All of these products have been on my list for so long because of you! I love the look of all that glitters. Something says I need a quad with that, omega, espresso and something else pretty soon?

  • Lovely picks – I definitely agree with All that glitters! It’s the first MAC eyeshadow that I’ve hit pan on, I need to repurchase asap! x


  • MacyEH

    I bought Patisserie completely on your recommendation. It was my first MAC lipstick and now I don’t know how I’ll ever live without it.

  • I literally wouldn’t know how to do eyeshadow properly without my 217, I didn’t know what I did before hand either!

    Megan xo
    Thumbelina Lillie | UK Beauty Blog

  • Love that eyeshadow, exactly the shade I go for on a daily basis!

  • All that glitters is my favorite mac eyeshadow! It always looks amazing.

  • The 217 is so good for blending out with, It makes eyeshadow a breeze! <3

  • http://makeupwithkatie.blogspo

    Lovely short post, every girl needs ‘All that Glitters’ in their life absolutely adore it.

  • I always pair my Cherry lip pencil with Chestnut for the corners and blend inwards for some depth. If Cherry isn’t daytime glamorous enough on it’s own (which it is) Chestnut brings it in for evening festivities!

  • Meghan

    What’s the other shadow you hit pan on — soft brown??

  • Patina. Hands down, it’s my all-time favourite shadow!

  • Satin Taupe, all the way, is the shade I would never want discontinued. It’s the perfect shade for a lazy day– it always makes my green eyes pop.

    Bianca |

  • Chantal

    All That Glitters looks like a gorgeous shade. It may have to be my next Mac purchase 🙂 x

  • ingrid

    217 and face and body are my all time faves

  • Sandie Larsen

    Woodwinked and Naked Lunch!
    Woodwinked is my #1 fave going out eyeshadow and Naked Lunch is my everyday one 🙂
    And I think my next MAC buy is going to be either All That Glitters or Patisserie 😀


    I think my most used MAC product has to be the 239 brush. I use it almost everyday to smudge eyeliner, or to blend eyeliner into eyeshadow. It’s perfect for laying colour down too, but I tend to do a light wash with the 217! As for make-up, I’m almost finished with my sheen supreme lipstick in bare again – it’s a similar idea to patisserie, but shinier and creamier.

  • Kate

    Soft Brown. I’m on my second one. It’s such a workhorse in blending out eyeshadow. Can’t live without it.

  • MAC Soft and Gentle is a staple in my collection and also MAC Rebel too! It’s such a pretty lipstick for Fall!

    xx Alyson
    The Beauty Vanity

  • I only have a couple MAC products, so this list comes in handy for when I buy more! 🙂


  • The patisserie shade is gorgeous ! Perfect nude 🙂
    Lots of love from France, Victoria

  • I have yet to try a MAC lipstick, so I shall add Patisserie to my list of potential first purchases. Also, I completely agree with your review of the Mineralize Skin Finish Natural!! Holy grail product. Love it. NEVER CAKES. EVER. so so good.

    xx Sally

  • Fizza N.

    I’m never really drawn to MAC, the products have never really appealed to me. Until you mention one in your posts, and then I realise I MUST have it. So, thanks for that 🙂 x

  • Soft and Gentle!

  • PeonyandPeach

    I love their lip liner in Brick, will definitely have to check out Cherry!

  • I LOVE All That Glitters. It’s such a beautiful color that just fits every mood. I love how it automatically defines the crease, pretty amazing. Just added three more colors to my MAC palette yesterday, Vex, Patina and Club. Also really beautiful colors!

    Scent of Fashion

  • I’d love to finish completing my MAC palette 🙂

    Kate xo //

  • Voluntarily Healthy

    I have been thinking about trying a few MAC items lately, so these tips are great in order to figure out what to try. Thanks 🙂

  • Moa

    My all time favorite mac Product whould have to be the mac 217 brush! It just makes it look as if you have spent so much time on your Eye look when you really havn´t, hihi 🙂
    I also just bought all that glitters which i´m now super excited to try!!

  • Mimi

    I got All That Glitters the other day and it is gorgeous! Such a fab all over lid colour!

  • Catrin

    I love the 217 hands down the best shadow brush, but the one MAC product I can’t live without would have to be Omega perfect for my fair brows and a kick ass contour.


  • lbakes

    My first mac product was their Morange lipstick! Not your usual beginner’s item but I still love wearing it. And I never used to be able to do my eyeshadow without my 217 but now I’ve got the smokey eye down! Great post xx

  • I don’t own a MAC eyeshadow palette, I really want to invest in one as I want to branch out from my Naked palettes!

    Hannah <3

  • Anna

    I’m just in the process of making a MAC shopping list for my mum to pick up for me when she visits America soon so this post is great timing! I even watched a cute old video of your eyeshadow palette 🙂

  • Elvira

    I’ve tried MAC Patisserie many times after I bought it this year, however I do not understand how so many people absolutely love it? Don’t getwrong though – I love the consistency and the color, but geez is it drying on the lips..! I’ve tried a dozen of times to make sure my lips are moizterized before applying it, but first of all I need to reaply it at least every hour and after about four hours my lips will look terrible out of dryness! Am I the only one?

    However, MAC products that I cannot live without are probably the 217 brush (have actually purchased another one recently – yes, it’s that good) and Omega; perfect for not only filling in brows but also for contouring a pale face! Ah yes, almost forgot; Woodwinked! Now, how awesome isn’t this eyeshadow? It’s completely gorgeous on all eye colors either on its own or blended together with for example Cranberry.

    Another favorite of mine, maybe not that wearable always though, is the MAC lip pencil in Nighmouth (? think that’s the name, ehe)! Maybe not for everyone but I think it goes really well with a simple outfit during autumn/winter – really lifts things up! And it’s literally impossible for it to smudge; I prefer the fact that it goes a wee bit dry and sticking like glue rather that bleeding and smudging, to be honest.

    But it’s a matter in taste after all, eh?

    • Steffanie Ballinger

      Patisserie is a funny one sometimes. I think it’s oddly the shimmer that makes it drying? I am not much of a fan of the glittery bits, but I love the color. It is drying for me sometimes as well.

  • Daniella




  • Definitely agree with all of these must-buys! I have all of them except the lipstick in Patisserie. I’ve never tried it, will definitely add it to my wishlist 🙂 Another favourite nude of mine from MAC is Kinda’ Sexy, it’s quite underrated but a beautiful colour!

  • jadiee bevan
  • Madeleine S-B

    I’m still yet to buy anything from MAC (shock horror!!!!) – really want to get my hands on a MSF Natural and the 217 brush, also got my eyes on their Lady Danger lipstick and Studio Sculpt foundation! x

  • Steffanie Ballinger

    I love MAC Syrup and Patisserie. I haven’t tried any of the eye shadows yet nor the powder, but I’ve been wanting to try the Mineralize Powder for ages, so I may have to pick that up soon. 🙂 Love the post!

  • I need Patisserie and Skinfinish Natural in my life, like right now!

    Meg |

  • Yup, all of this is going on my wish list 🙂
    Surprisingly, I have very few MAC products and every time I go to buy some I’m overwhelmed by the selection. Thanks for sharing this!

    Marianna |

  • I actually have two. 1) Mineralized Skin Finish in Gold Deposit. It’s my favorite during the summer to add a bronzed glow to my skin. 2) Teddy eyeliner. Completely versatile and gorgeous. I love smudging it out in a brown smokey eye look AND if I apply it to my waterline, it doesn’t irritate my contacts.

    I’ve never tried the All That Glitters shadow and that is now on my list. Great post, thanks for sharing your must-buys.

    – Amanda | The Chic Counsel

  • How lovely!
    My mom used MAC to and has been really happy with the results.

    Valentina Duracinsky Blog

  • Lydia

    I’ve never been an obsessive MAC user but I would be pretty devastated if my ‘flat out fabulous’ lipstick was discontinued- it really does make me feel fabulous!

  • Oh no.. now I have another MAC lipstick on my wishlist! And speaking of lipsticks, I’d send a letter right away if they ever discontinued Japanese Maple, it’s the perfect nude in my opinion, it sheer but still gives the lips a muted tone without looking like concealer. That and Cranberry eyeshadow, I could do my makeup with those two every day if it wasn’t socially awkward to look the same every day/night. X

    | |

  • Sybil Mae

    I love the MAC Cherry lip liner, it is so pretty! 🙂

  • MAC is definitely one of my favorite makeup companies. I also love their 217 brush. The 224 is lovely as well for blending especially if you have bigger eyes.

    You should definitely check out Nylon and soft brown eye shadows. Also, their chromaline eyeliner in Marine if you’re feeling adventurous and want to rock some blue eyeliner.

  • MAC is for me definitely the holy grail for all makeup! I’ve yet to have any MAC products but I have a long list and All That Glitters and Patisserie are on it!

    Ashley |

  • Chloe

    I am yet to invest in a MAC brush but it is absolutely top of my list! I have heard nothing but wonderful things about them! I think they’re a must have! I wasn’t sure where to start but perhaps the 217 would be a good place. Thank you for your help!

  • I’d be sending a stern letter if they EVER discontinued Ruby Woo, It’s the one product I can’t be without from MAC! I need to get myself Cherry lipliner… I’m a red fiend and it has my name all over it.

    Victoria Rose

  • I own the MAC mineralize skinfinish natural! I love it! It never looks cakey so its amazing!

  • Beauty Splash

    So. Much. Temptation. AH. I can see my student loan going disappearing quickly already. Great post as always. 🙂

  • Mandy Bajwa

    Absolutely love MAC make-up, so worth the money!

  • You make me really really want to get patisserie even though I don’t even wear lipstick! 😉

    Every Day In Grace

  • I need All That Glitters and Patisserie!

  • All That Glitters looks so lovely! I think if Morange went I’d be sad and my current blusher from MAC was limited edition so now I am cursing the MAC heavens

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Fashion Lifestyle + Photography –

  • Tumi Tayo Isa Daniel new fashion blog check it out!

  • I will totally be adding the MSF Natural to my next order. All That Glitters is an absolute must have, also Satin Taupe too!

    CassandraMyee | NZ Beauty Blog

  • I also have the MAC 217 brush, it’s amazing!

  • Okay as well as the ‘Cherry’ lipliner try the ‘Beet’. Just loving that colour! MAC is a girl’s best friend haha xxx

  • I love Mineralize Skinfinish Natural, every other powder gets so cakey around the nose area on me but this is amazing! I really wanted to love Patisserie but I can’t cope with the glitter in it, Peach Blossom works a lot better for me – another of your recommendations, thanks Anna! 🙂 xx

    Megan /

  • spk

    You should try MUA lipliner in Red Drama. Really good quality liner and classic shade and only £1!

  • My absolute favorite mac eyeshadow is satin taupe; such a gorgeous color! xo

  • I’m not eyeshadow wiz either, but the 217 is a miracle worker! Love it! And now the Lip Pencil in Cherry is on my wishlist! 😉

  • wldflwr78

    I don’t know what took me so long!!! I even swatches the mineralize skinfinish natural once and thought it was shimmery so I spent months looking for a cheaper powder to give a soft blurring effect without taking away the soft glow of a good lightweight foundation…alas, you were so right! This is it! Everything I want a setting powder to be without any of the negatives that I see on my skin with my other powder attempts…again, what was I waiting for???

  • Jennifer

    Love the MAC 217. Also love their shader brush, it’s by far the best I’ve tried from any brand

    My Most Coveted| A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  • Kimberly Punter

    Whoop I finally got my own Mac Pattiserie last week and I couldn’t be more happier with it! Thank you for telling us about it (:

  • Anna

    1. MAC 217
    2. Paint pot Groundwork
    3. Lipstick Matte Taupe
    4. Lipliner Caramellow (discontinued)
    5. Eyeshadow Cork

  • Your eyeshadow palette is perfection!! So envious right now.

    Charlotte x

  • Abby Evans

    I never thought the Mac 217 was worth the price, but then I bought it and discovered how amazing it is!

  • Zoe Archer

    I love All that glitters eye shadow. It is so pretty when just used as a single colour on the eyelid.

  • Megan Luse

    A HOLY GRAIL item for me from MAC would definitely be MAC’s Eye Shadow Primer Paint Pot in Painterly. My eyeshadow seriously does not move when I use this to prep my eyes!

  • I love the Mac eyeshadows cork and woodwinked, eyeliner in devotion, and lipsticks in syrup (a “your lips but better” shade) and see sheer.

    Style Insomnia