Getting my job at MAC Cosmetics

MAC Cosmetics red lipstick on the lips
Image- @maccosmetics

How to get a job at MAC Cosmetics?

*All opinions are strictly my own, this content is personal.*

Since working at MAC Cosmetics I have been asked on a regular basis how I got my job and what advice I had on becoming a makeup artist. Stay tuned for my MAC application journey and lots of advice and tips from myself and MAC artists from around the globe ?

My application journey

Rewind to two and a half years ago I was working as a shift manager at McDonalds but all I wanted to do was work at MAC. For many years, being a makeup artist let alone work at MAC seemed out of reach to me. Confidence played a big part in that but I also felt like I had ZERO make-up experience apart from doing a part time diploma in theatrical make-up artistry.

Where did I start?

Knowing what I wanted to do was easy but how to get there was the challenge. I started practicing make-up on myself and then plucked up the courage to make an Instagram for everything makeup related. I’d mainly post pictures of Makeup on myself and friends but then I ended up delving into a whole other kettle of fish and started face painting. Although this wasn’t your regular Makeup it definitely helped me with my skill.

Pictures- My first face paint- Two Face to most recent on the right, eye looks from 2014/15 to 2017, the shall we say my ‘glow up’ 2015 to 2017. I don’t have any earlier as I deleted them through embarrassment ha.


Is it time to apply yet?

When are you ready to apply? Only you will know the answer to that question. Confidence is key and at the time just before my application, I didn’t have an awful lot of it. But, what I did have was someone to push me. My brother knew someone who worked at MAC and insisted I get in touch. So, I got in touch and after many conversations (mainly consisting of a million questions from myself) and a little push of encouragement I was on the road to applying. I was given so much amazing advice and encouragement it honestly helped me so much. I’m forever thankful.

I applied!

Oh my gosh!! I just applied for MAC Cosmetics! What do I do now? What I did next was shopping… at MAC. Popping into store regularly gets you noticed but remember to be noticed for the right reasons. Before I applied I did this quite a lot and even more so afterwards. I applied in the March and got a call in the May and was invited to a formal interview! I have to say it was THE longest wait of my life, but totally worth it.

Interview prep-

Research, research, research! I can honestly say I never researched so much in my life! At this point I was searching the web for any advice I could find on applying for MAC.

This is when I found this blog by Zoe Newlove This blog helped me SO much! I researched everything Zoe recommended and then some. If you’re reading this, thank you Zoe!

I’d go on the MAC website and read the product descriptions and look at what the latest collections were. I’d research current make-up trends and fashion shows that MAC worked on (which is roughly 30% of fashion shows globally). I was also advised to look at MAC senior artists. I will list some senior artist instagrams at the bottom of this post.

Some important things to know for the interview –

* What MAC stands for

* MAC history

* Viva Glam/MAC AIDS Fund

* Collaborations

* Fashion week/industry

They will ask you about these topics, not all but some so it’s important to know. I’ve written about some of the above here

Interview time

Always remember “you never get a second chance to make a great first impression”. For this interview I was extremely nervous but I also felt very prepared. I wore a black turtle neck dress with tights and ankle boots. My make-up was pretty natural in terms of colour but a full face with a nude lip. Try to wear whatever MAC makeup you have as the interviewers May ask what your wearing- they did with my lipstick. I found my interview experience quite relaxed. The interviewers (now my coworker and manager) kept the conversation light and chatted in-between questions so I didn’t feel so nervous.

Here are some of the questions I was asked-

1. Why do you want to work for MAC & what do you know about us?

2. What would your role be within a team & how do you build relationships within a team?

3. What have you learned in previous training/jobs that has helped you achieve personal success?

4. Where would you like your MAC journey to take you? I.e management, training etc.

These are the kind of questions you COULD get. They won’t be exactly the same but as long as you know roughly what to expect your off to a good start.

Trade test

It was around 2 weeks before I got told I was successful in my interview and I was ecstatic. I was so happy to move on to the next stage but also was really nervous for my trade test. Not having much experience doing makeup and the thought of doing a full face in 30 minutes stressed me right out.

For my trade test I had a selection of face charts to choose from. I obviously went for the most natural looking one which had a heavier top liner (I totally didn’t even attempt the liner LOL). Don’t worry about picking products etc as you will be guided like I was. My trainer checked in with me throughout to let me know how much time I had left and gave any direction needed. Something I completely forgot about in my trade test was that my model was my customer- treat them like a customer! That’s what you’re there for! I was so nervous and more worried about the makeup I was doing on my model rather than showcasing amazing customer service.

Skill Drill!

Once you have completed the look you will then be asked to change something, I had to change the lip to a bold red (ruby woo) and had 10 minutes to do it in. If you have no experience like myself then here’s a tip- USE PREP & PRIME LIP BASE, Cause Ruby Woo is a b*tch to put on! My trainer observed the make-up and took a photo then we finished up. As soon as I walked out of the store I burst into tears, I was so overwhelmed and nervous I just thought I failed. My friend reassured me it was great but I just felt like I let my nerves get the better of me. My advice to anyone going for a trade test is practice not only your skill but your timing too and your main focus is your customer, everything else will fall into place.

That phone call

Waiting to hear if I had the job or not was excruciating. I’ll be honest I rang the store once or twice to see if they’d chosen a date to let everyone know. (Sorry Laura & Cath, I must have been a right pain). When the time came I was in work in Mcds and I couldn’t stop thinking about whether I had the job or not. Then I had a missed call so ran outside to listen to my voicemail. ” Hi Hannah, we’d like to let you know you was successful in both your interview and your trade test” *pause* “but the position was given to someone else, you will be on our system for 6 months so, if someone leaves we will be in contact”. To say I cried would be an understatement!

…Two weeks later

Two weeks moping around isn’t that bad, right? Well, I wasn’t that bad but I felt a bit hopeless. I was at my friends baby shower when I received a call, it was MAC. ‘AHH’ is what came to mind! They called me to say that someone was leaving to go on maternity and they offered me a temporary position, 30 hours a week (4days) I was so grateful. I said yes and took the risk, I’d have been stupid not to.  Going back in to tell all my friends with happy tears felt amazing, they were all so happy. We all shed a happy tear or two.

I’m a MAC artist!

Starting on MAC as a temp artist was the best risk I’ve ever taken. From only covering maternity for 9 months to becoming a permanent, 4 day a week artist. In my two years I’ve been a product specialist, I’ve applied for supervisor, I wasn’t successful but I had amazing feedback and got myself a full time position, I’ve also been our counter visual merchandiser, got onto the UK’s Body Painting team and constructed a masterclass for customers. Here I am below on my first day at MAC, August 2015.


There was no holding back, I wanted to prove myself and keep my job and to stay with my MAC family. Hard work most definitely pays off. Although I will be leaving within the next year to travel I still have goals and my ultimate dream is to get onto the MAC events team. If I can work London Fashion Week before I leave MAC I will be truly satisfied. Like, seriously I NEED TO DO LONDON FASHION WEEK! It’s my dream.


Artist advice

In my previous blog about MAC I mentioned a Facebook group called MAC Mates with over 17,000 past and present MAC artists in. It would be rude to write a blog about ‘how to get a job at MAC’ without asking these amazing people advice, right?! So here it is, advice from MAC Artists from around the world…



@lisacaldognettomakeup says ” To get a job at MAC you need retail experience, studying makeup isn’t essential. If you choose to look at courses like House of Glam Dolls then practice on anyone and everyone. Copy makeup looks from magazines etc. Getting a job at MAC isn’t glamorous, it’s hard work. High volume of customers, quick looks on a variety of people and fast paced. Working as a team is essential.”

Lisa was the one who guided me in the right direction while applying for MAC, she gave me the confidence I lacked and believed in me. I highly recommend you follow Lisa for some amazing artistry and tips. Thank you Lisa from the bottom of my heart for all the advice you’ve ever given me, I’m forever grateful and I also get to call you a dear friend. THANK YOU x

I’d also like to thank all the other amazing people in my life who have helped me on this journey. You know who you are friends 😉  Ahem, that’s enough cheese for one evening. Thanks…


As promised a list of Senior MAC Artists & some of my fave inspiration sources (no particular order):

  1. @terrybarberonbeauty
  2. @dominic_mua
  3. @rebeccabmakeup
  4. @cherwebbmakeup
  5. @romerojennings
  6. @ashley_rudder
  7. @clairemulleady
  8. @wode_warrior
  9. @nettart
  10. @joeyflood

Make sure to check out all the artists above! I hope anyone that comes across this blog found it useful in some way or another. If you are thinking of applying for MAC or any makeup counter I wish you lots of luck <3


Best wishes, Hannah x

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Doing makeup at MAC Cosmetics

5 Replies to “Getting my job at MAC Cosmetics”

  1. Nice post. I love the way you organized the whole process, emotions included. I am sure you have loved making people beautiful for the holidays and New Years is tomorrow. Congratulations, I know it can be very hard work too. Happy New Year. It looks good on you!

    1. thatwanderlustboho says: Reply

      Thank you so much. I’ve loved my journey so far. And making people feel beautiful is definitely one of the perks of the job xx

    2. thatwanderlustboho says: Reply

      Ps happy new year ✨

  2. Congratulations ! (a bit late 🙂 )
    I love MAC, I actually have an addiction and took 2-3 of their lessons for their clients ; Their makeup is the best ever and teaching techniques is definitely an advantage for them and us!

    (sorry if this seems a little creepy and obsessional hahaha)

    1. thatwanderlustboho says: Reply

      Ahh thank you so much! The lessons are so good! I had a lesson before I started and it was really helpful. Not at all lovely ☺️


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