MAC Pigments

Achieve this look with a shimmery pigment!

MAC Cosmetics is renowned for its vast, affordable and trendy makeup collection. One of the brand's most popular products is the multipurpose pigment, a loose powder available in a wide range of colors.

About MAC Pigments

One of the most versatile products to hit the beauty industry is the pigment powder. Many cosmetic companies offer their own versions of this loose, airy, highly concentrated powder, but none quite touch the remarkable longevity and color selection of MAC's version.

MAC aficionados will know the product well, but those unfamiliar with the brand won't immediately recognize or appreciate its many uses. The pigment is packaged in a small jar and filled roughly three quarters from the top.

Though it seems unreasonable to pay full price for something that isn't completely full, it's worth it to note that MAC's pigments are sold by weight instead of volume. The product will almost always settle a bit during shipment, making it appear less full. Pigment users will discover almost immediately, though, that the powder is so concentrated that very little is actually needed. One jar can generally last the average makeup user years and years of use.

The pigments are available in an exceptionally wide variety of colors. They are categorized into several categories, including:

MAC's standard line of cosmetics, available online, in stand-alone boutiques and at department store counters nationwide, includes a selection of nearly 50 pigments in every color of the rainbow. Meanwhile, MAC's professional line of cosmetics (also known as MAC Pro), available only to beauty industry professionals, includes a selection of nearly 40 pigments.

Many shades, in addition to the 90 or so colors in existence, have been discontinued, but MAC occasionally reintroduces these shades as part of its seasonal collections. New pigment shades are also introduces very frequently.

How to Use Pigments

A little pot of powder hardly seems like a versatile cosmetic product, yet this pigment is much more useful than its appearance suggests. In fact, two or three pots of pigment (and the right tools) can easily go a long way in creating a uniquely made-up face!

Though most commonly used on the eyes and lips, MAC's pigments can technically be used anywhere, from the cheeks and the body to the nails and the hair. Each individual pigment's usage is limited only by its specific product safety status. Designated by MAC, the safety status denotes whether the pigment is safe to use on the eyes and lips.

Several pigments are not safe to use on the lips, while others are not safe for eye use. Still others are not safe for the lips or the eyes; in this case, the pigments are meant to be used specifically on the body only. Take great pains to adhere to the safety status warning, as the pigments can be harmful if ingested or stuck in the eyes.

MAC's pigments are impressive mainly because of their functionality. Makeup artists adore the product because it's easy to use and instantly brightens up a face. These are some of my tried-and-true tips for using the pigment:


Using pigments on the eyes can be tricky, so it requires a bit of care and practice to achieve the look you're after. In order to use it as a shadow, apply an eye shadow base, such as Too Faced's Second Base, to the lid first. For easier manageability, sprinkle some pigment in the jar's lid and dip a small shadow brush into the powder. "Pack" the pigment into the outer edge of the eye for an eye-opening, sparkly look.It can also be used as a liner. Simply dampen a liner brush and dip it into the pigment. Line the upper lid as close to the lash line as possible. Use a dark pigment on the lower lash line for a truly dramatic effect.


My favorite use for the pigment is as a lip enhancer. A clear or slightly rose-toned gloss works best for this purpose. After you've applied your gloss, dab your lips slightly to remove any excess product. Dip a lip brush into the pigment and run it over the bottom lip. This gives thin lips a fuller look. Fuller-lipped individuals can still take advantage of the pigment by mixing a hint of pigment (such as Melon or Pink Bronze) into a pot of clear gloss. Whip it up and apply over the lipstick of your choice or on bare lips. Dab it a bit if you want to eliminate some shine.

A Few Final Tips

Despite the many accolades it deserves, pigments have a drawback: They can be messy! Remember to:

  • Open the jar with caution. It's unfortunately somewhat common to open a jar and wind up with pigment all over the floor. That's not a mess you want to clean up!
  • Dust some powder beneath your eye area if you're applying the pigment to your eyes. The powder will "catch" any loose pigment, which you can then wipe away with a tissue without ruining your makeup.
Was this page useful?
Related & Popular
MAC Pigments