Purpose of Guide
I'm dismayed by the sheer amount of counterfeit Mac on eBay, and how many bidders are clearly fooled by these fake items. I 've bought some of these fake items on eBay, and not known until they arrived that they were not genuine and want to spare others the disappointment I experienced.
Short of time? - read the Summary at the end - this gives the main points to look for
Read this guide before? - check the update section at the end for the latest fakes being sold on eBay
My best advice? - DON'T buy Mac on eBay - MOST of what is for sale is FAKE - this is directly due to eBay policies which have driven most sellers of genuine Mac cosmetics to sell elsewhere (including me) or not at all!
Another year has passed, during which I have seen sales of fake eyeshadows on eBay reduce - yippee! Unfortunately, the counterfeiters are now making fake mascaras, and when I recently reviewed the Mac mascaras for sale I was appalled to estimate that over 1 listing in 3 showed mascara that is probably not genuine. Most of these seem to originate with wholealers (on eBay) in China. They sell to smaller scale sellers in the UK and the USA who sell them individually, so you cannot tell where the product came from. So it's obviously time for another guide!
Mac Mascaras fall into two broad categories - waterproof and standard (non waterproof).
Standard (non-waterproof) Mascaras
Mac mascaras all have cylindrical tubes, except Mascara X and mascara N which have a slightly tapering cylindrical tubes. There are no squeezy toothpaste-type tubes (like FCUK use). If you see a mascara in the toothpaste shape of tube - it's fake. Mac mascaras are lettered at the end of the tube, and not across the middle - this applies to all types (standard and waterproof).
All the mascara types have names both for the type, and for the shade (there are no shade numbers). Currently the types available are Pro Lash, Pro Longlash, Zoom Lash and Mascara X. You may also come across Mascara N - this was a limited edition formula, but is very rare. The mascara may be packaged in either a ziploc bag (Pro Lash and Pro Longlash generally) or a box (Zoom Lash, Mascara X and Pro Lash). Tube finish varies according to type - Fibre Rich Lash has printed fibres on the tube like a cobweb effect, Zoom Lash has a matte tube, Pro Lash and Pro Longlash have shiny tubes. All the tube styles are shown on the website (eBay will not allow me to include the address for this) - so you may find it worth comparing this to the seller photo.
All mascara shades have proper names. You will never find a genuine Mac mascara with a shade name of Black, Black 01, or 01 (or a shade number at all in fact). Names are not repeated across mascara types - so black mascara has a different shade name for every mascara type. Typical shade names for Mac black mascara are All Black, Pitchblack, Zoomblack - you get the idea!
Fibre Rich Lash
Most of the counterfeit mascaras currently being sold on eBay are fake Mac Fibre Rich Lash (the rest are just mascaras using the Mac name, rather than copies of an actual Mac mascara type), so I am including extra detail on this type. The shade name should be All Black for black Mac Fibre Rich Lash. If it has the shade name 'Black' or 'Black 01' - it is not genuine.
Below are photos of one of my own Fibre Rich lash Mascaras to show what the genuine product looks like - this one was a decent size before eBay reduced it!
From this you can see the writing is on the left of the tube, and extends less than half way along the tube. It is also silver rather than black, but this never shows in a photo.
This is a closeup of the labelling on the tube itself, so you can see the wording and lettering style.
This is a closeup of the matte printed fibres on the tube, giving a cobweb effect.
I suggest you compare the shade name given by the seller, and the seller photos with the ones here before purchase of this type of mascara. Counterfeit Fibre Rich Lash Mascara is also being sold as 'MAC VOLUMISING MASCARA BLACK' - so check all listings and photos carefully before you buy.
Mac waterproof /water-resistant mascaras have individual names for each formula, plus individual shade names for each shade. None are a standard mascara name + water proof. For example, there is no such product as Pro Lash Waterproof - the waterproof equivalent to Pro Lash is Splashproof Lash. Mac waterproof mascaras all have cylindrical tubes and are sold boxed.
Current Mac waterproof mascaras are Splashproof Lash, Loud Lash and Plush Lash. Plush Lash has a matte tube, the other two are similar shiny tubes.
As with the standard mascaras, all mascara shades have proper names. You will never find a genuine Mac mascara with a shade name of Black, Black 01, or 01 (or a shade number at all in fact). Typical shade names are Blacksplash and Boom Brown.
Mac do not have coloured mascaras in the standard range (apart from brown), but they are sometimes included in limited edition collections. Most recently there were two coloured Zoom Lash mascaras included in the 2006 Untamed collection (Raven Blue and Wildly Flirtatious) and the 2006 Jewellesescent collection (Zoom Lash Mythic Blue). There were no coloured mascaras for 2007. Prior to this there were some coloured Pro Lash mascaras in coloured tubes, and coloure Fibre Rich Lash mascaras in black tunes - both types are very rare now and unlikely to be counterfeited. I have not seen fake versions of any of these yet.
I find fake mascara especially alarming (as with other products used close to the eye itself such as eyeliner), due to the risk of infection or damage if the product is contaminated or contains ingredients not suitable for use in this area. There is no way of knowing what ingredients are used in a counterfeit product. If there is an ingredient listing on the packaging, chances are this was copied from the genuine item and is not relevant to the item purchased. Please do take a couple of minutes to exclude at least the most obvious counterfeit items before you buy Mac mascara on eBay.
So to sum up:
Every Mac mascara has both a formula name or type, and a unique colour name (e.g. Zoom Lash ) and a shade name (e.g. Zoomblack). No Mac mascaras have shade numbers. If the colour name is not given, just 'black' - ask the seller what it is (no reputable seller will mind this). If they can't/won't give a full colour name - you know what to think.....
If you do not see a photo of both box and tube - ask yourself why not? If there is only a media (downloaded or scanned public image), I would not advise purchase or bidding.
Mac waterproof mascaras have completely different names to standard (non-waterproof) mascaras - not just 'water proof' added on. You can find the mascara types and shade names available on the Mac website - check the product exists before you buy it!
All Mac mascaras come in cylindrical tubes, except X Mascara which is a tapered cylinder. There are no Mac mascaras in squeezable or toothpaste-type tubes.
Different mascara types have a different finish to the tube e.g. Zoom Lash has a matte tube, Fibre Rich Lash has a cobweb effect tube. If the seller photo is clear, you may be able to see this.
Finally, while I hate to say it, if it looks too good to be true it almost certainly is. Authentic Mac mascara is hard to find sold below list price for the simple reason that Mac do not sell mascaras wholesale (unlike some other Mac products), so sellers of genuine Mac products have to pay a lot to buy them in. This genuinely is a time when it is worth paying more, and checking seller feedback first, to ensure the seller is reputable and has enough Mac product knowledge to buy only authentic products themselves.
I hope this guide has been helpful and will allow you to easily avoid fake Mac mascaras on eBay.
Update - June 2008
I am now seeing a new type of fake Mac mascara sold on eBay. This is being sold as 'MAC Intencils Full Intensity Black Mascara'. It looks a lot like some fake Chanel mascaras that were sold on eBay last year - but with the brand name changed to Mac instead. Mac have never made a mascara like this.
I have seen bidders pay over £12.50 for this fake product. You can buy a genuine Mac mascara for £9.99 - this is the normal price!
A lot of fake Mac pigments are for sale on eBay at this very moment. Mac pigments always have a shade name - if there is no name, just a number, then it is NOT genuine, whatever the seller may say. As with the eyeshadows, there should be a round black sticker on top of the box with the shade name printed in it, and a round sticker on the underneath of the jar with the shade name printed on it. If the photo does not show the name label on the top of the box - this may be because there isn't one - so you know what to think. There is a UK powerseller selling items like this as I write this, so look carefully before you bid. Guide to fake pigments coming soon...