Mac stack mascara review: Launch date, price, application and more

Loved the world over, Mac has stayed at the top of the make-up game since its launch more than 30 years ago. With innovative formulas and high-performance products, the brand’s make-up is a staple in both professional MUA kits as well as personal cosmetics bags.

So, when there was news of a core new launch – in this case, the stack mascara – we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it.

Mac products are popular thanks to the brand’s trusted reputation, coupled with its inclusive ranges and the fact it offers just about every color in every cosmetic you can think of. The lipsticks alone are so famous that they’re referred to by their shade name – say “ruby woo” or “velvet teddy” and anyone who wears make-up will know exactly what’s being talked about.

The brand also has a back catalog of bestselling mascaras, including its extreme dimension 3D black lash mascara, extended play gigablack lash mascara and last year’s the magic extension mascara. But the brand doesn’t have a cult mascara: a lash-definer so renowned it’s up there with classics such as the Mac strobe cream, the Mac pro longwear concealer or the retro matte lipstick we’re all obsessed with.

Enter, the new Mac stack mascara (£26, More than two years in the making, the brand is calling it its biggest breakthrough in mascara technology. It’s been created to become the top mascara on the market.

That’s some serious confidence in a formula. But we can see why the brand would be feeling smug, when its formula promises to meet your every mascara need in one product. Whether it’s volume, length, lift or curl you’re after, this mascara was built for customization. It even comes in a choice of two brushes, so you can opt for the best fit for you.

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Is this another case of a beauty brand overpromising, or will stack perform as well as Mac says? We found out.


How we tested

To put the new mascara through its peace, we got our hands on both wands and tested them for two weeks. We looked at how easy it was to apply, how well it created volume, length, lift and curl, and if it stayed in place throughout the day.



Rating: 9/10


From natural to next-level definition, this mascara promises to give a customized experience thanks to what Mac terms its “infinitely buildable” formula. We don’t think we’ve ever heard of a mascara that claims you can build an endless number of layers without clumping or hardening.

The thick and creamy texture consists of a plant-based gel that makes it easy to keep on building layers to create your desired look. The brand has used the lightest fibers available to prevent unevenness and unsightly clumpiness, and the formula is enriched with vitamin B5 (also known as panthenol), which conditions and strengthens lashes.

The application

The second all-important part of a mascara is the brush. The stack product comes in two designs, which we can’t applaud Mac for enough. Mascara-users often fall into two categories: those that like a big brush that thickens and builds volume quickly, or those who prefer a smaller brush that’s great for definition and reaching every lash. So it’s great to have the choice.

The “mega brush” is the wand in the Mac stack mascara. While it is long – fitting the upper lash line perfectly – it’s not as oversized as some volume-building brushes. This will no doubt be the preferred wand for most people, as it’s designed for those with longer, fuller lashes in mind.

The “micro brush” is the wand in the Mac stack micro mascara. This design is ideal for those with shorter or sparser lashes, as you’re able to get to each and every lash with extreme precision. It’s also small enough to get to the teeny tiny ones on the lower lashes. This was our favorite of the two, as we have lashes on the short and straight side.

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Both wands are petal-shaped, with staggered bristles to work every angle and get to each lash. If you hold the brush at an angle when applying every layer from root to tip, you’ll encourage curl and height, as the curve makes it easy to add lift for an eye-opening effect. You can layer on as many coatings as you need to create your desired look: we found up to three can create natural-looking, thicker lashes perfect for daytime, whereas the more you flick the wand, the bolder the look becomes,

The result

The big question is whether the formula really is infinitely buildable. And the answer is: Yes! But within reason. We layered and layered and layered some more, counting as we did, and got up to the 40 mark before we felt like any more would clump or cause spidery, stuck-together lashes. That’s super impressive.

The weightless formulas stayed smudge- and flake-free throughout the day

(Sabine Wielsel)

The second question is whether the stack mascara really can cater to your every beauty whim. It certainly does have customization at its core like no other formula, with two brush designs and its ability to go from natural to va va voom in a few extra strokes.

We can’t fault its volume and length building, which stays clump-free until you really go overboard. It also doesn’t feel heavy or crispy like some volume formulas, with lashes staying weightless and soft, and, most importantly, in place without any flaking or smudging throughout the day.

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When it comes to lift and curl, the petal-shaped wand makes light work of lifting the lashes, as long as you work the formula holding the brush against the lashes to manipulate the shape – it’s all in the technique. We found a slight drop to our straight lashes by the evening, but apart from that, we can’t fault its staying power.

The verdict: Mac stack mascara

All in all, we’re on the fence about whether this is going to be the next number one mascara on the market, but it’s certainly up there among the best and, without doubt, the Mac stack mascara is our favorite from the brand to date. It’s certainly a must-try.

From a few strokes of natural definition perfect for daywear, to up to 40 (yes, we counted) lashes of mascara to rival the volume, length, lift and curls of false lashes, this is the most buildable formula on the market. You won’t find it clumps, unless you go into the arm-ache kind of layering, and it stays firmly in place for a whole working day.

While it’s not our favorite mascara on the market, it’s certainly up there with the best of them.

mac stack mascara

Mac stack micro brush mascara

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IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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