Fictionary: MACtory

I’m a MACtory Girl, very much in the manner of Edie Sedgwick. Minus the drugs

Fictionary is a column showcasing beauty-related words that don’t exist, but should.

Dolls, I recently had the SICK opportunity to tour MAC Cosmetics’ Production Facility and the Estée Lauder Companies Canadian Innovation Center, which are located right next to each other in Markham in Ontario, about an hour from Toronto. I and a few other lucky bloggers (Karen, Lianne, Lily, Wendy, Ellen, Patrice, Aileen and Christine). A MACtory is, of course, a factory where MAC is made. Read on to find out about how MAC Cosmetics are made!

We got to don lab coats, glasses and little hard hats for our shoes like a true MACtory Girl. I don’t think I have to tell you how much this pleased me. I love nothing more than to create a full-on lab in my apartment with a hypothesis, control and final lab report. Frequently, you’ll find me with half my hair washed with a volumizing shampoo while the other remains limp with a standard cleanser. I’ve been known to walk around testing cellulite reducing pads on only one tush-cheek for comparison’s sake. Anywho, the whole joint was all VERY Laverne and Shirley meets Bunson Honeydew inside the production facility.

Some MAC art on the wall at the Innovation Centre

Imagine enormous machines the size of my former studio apartment that churns out lipsticks, gel liners and the like from the entire process from dropping the lipstick to the final outer packaging you tear off on your way home from the MAC counter at Bloomie’s. Obviously, the scent of the day (and everyday) is the singular aroma of MAC vanilla. There’s always a standard created first (sort of like a blueprint in the print publishing world) that’s tested by a group of color die-hards (there’s seriously a group of color test-qualified people who work on solely maintaining the integrity of the standard shade at the MACtory) to ensure it matches up to the replica batches EXACTLY before moving on to mass production.

Patrice rocking her fab lab gear

Materials for Lipglass

At the Innovation Center across the street, MAC chemists create the colors and standards for the items you buy years before they makeup it to counter. To make a lipglass, you need a beaker, hydrogenated polyisobutene, pigments (which look a lot like opaque food coloring), vitamin E, MAC vanilla fragrance (obv) and a few other things.

Powders for eye shadows

We checked out where the eye shadows are made and my mind was BLOWN when I found out the same blender I use (literally, an Osterizer) to make smoothies at my apartment is what chemists utilize to make test batches of eyeshadows. Once shadows go into production, the machinery gets a lot more high tech. They use colored powder (I saw a rusty brown made with proportions of black, red, yellow and white shades) mixed with a bit of a preservative, glitter, among other things to make those beautiful pigmented colors that grace your peepers. MAC Cosmetics resident “cosmetics whisperer” Nicole Masson, Vice President, M•A•C Global Product Development was there to help translate abstract verbal directions into colors. THAT’S HER JOB. Isn’t that cool? I saw it in action–just hearing a few buzzwords and dropped Crayola 94-pack references led to an exact representation. Then, the powder is packed into a pan–the exact kind that rests in a shadow compact and put into a pressurizer of sorts to pack in the powder so that it’s pressed. After that, the pan is dropped three times to ensure it’ll withstand daily wear and tear and if it isn’t disturbed/broken, it’s good to go. THAT’S IT.

A lab shot!

Can you EVEN? I totally want to call my 11th grade chemistry teacher Mr. Gotlieb and thank him for teaching me how to balance chem equations and tell him how flipping awesome I found the entire experience.

Thank you to MAC Cosmetics for an INCRED experience.

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