Ask any beauty writer about their favorite mascara, and you’re bound to hear all sorts of answers. The truth comes in the follow up question, “Why?” when their top lash priority is revealed. “The same pink and green tube I’ve used since high school” translates as nostalgia (shoutout to Maybelline Great Lash); “Whatever’s sent to me” means lashes aren’t their area of focus; “Dior because it never smudges” and you know they’re all about lasting power.
If the question was posed to me a week ago, I would have landed somewhere between apathetic and open. After testing MAC’s latest Stack Mascara, I can speak more certainly to what makes a great mascara in my book. A thin wand that minimizes clumping — check. Pure black, because brown mascara feels like a waste of time for me — check. Length that holds a curl without smudging under my eyes, even after running around in the cold — check, check check. Leave it to MAC, the OG of so many fantastic makeup products, to create a universally beloved mascara.
Read on for my full review of the brand’s latest, and my new favorite, mascara.
Meet MAC Stack
MAC’s latest mascara was designed to be buildable. In a world of natural finishes and barely there makeup, MAC remains committed to the art of a dramatic look. Its products have long been lauded as favorites of makeup artists and at-home connoisseurs looking for a straightforward beauty product that consistently delivers — no unnecessary bells and whistles. The same MAC eyeliner can offer a mod, ‘60s-style eye design and serve as a simple cat eye for someone else. Same story with MAC Stack Mascara.
With this new formula, you can slayer three to four swipes for lashes that pop or stick with one to two coats for a daytime look. Unlike other mascaras, MAC Stack promises “infinite layers of volume + length,” which is impossible to test. What it delivers, though, is a product that lengthens while it builds a slightly thicker-looking lash, instead of clumping at the ends or creating a few mega-eyelashes, thanks to the Superstack Mega Brush.
Of all the ways that mascara can enhance your lashes, length is definitely the focus here. Given the extension-like effect, I’d suggest prepping your lashes with an eyelash curler for optimal lifted results that last throughout the day.
In contrast, MAC’s bestselling mascara, Magic Extension 5mm Fibre Mascara, is all about larger-than-life, voluminous lashes. Fibers attach to natural lashes for a thicker, more intense look than what you’d get with this new formula. Think of MAC Stack as a more minimalist option with additional wiggle room for customization depending on how many coats you prefer.
I’d been trying out a mascara from another brand that promised fuller lashes, but sadly found it transferred to my under-eye in a matter of hours. So I was ready to be amazed with MAC Stack. I decided to test out two coats of the mascara considering that’s about as much as I’d be willing to apply for a simple Saturday night dinner out. I’d use maybe five coats for a night dancing, but never more than that.
The bristles on MAC Stack’s brush were refreshingly thin, which meant it was easy to angle them against my lash line and reach all the way to the root of my eyelashes. I was also shocked at how well the brush combed out my lashes while applying the product. Instead of the dreaded clumps that can turn countless lashes into four spikes from the top of my eye, my lashes still looked incredibly natural, albeit darker.
Happily, the mascara stayed in place all night with my lashes remaining lengthy and separated, and removing my makeup was just a touch more involved, only because I forgot how much mascara I was actually wearing. It looked so natural! For a low-key makeup lover, I had written off MAC as too close to dramatic stage makeup, but this mascara proved me wrong.
Should You Upgrade To MAC Stack?
If your mascara has been falling flat or you’ve been using it for a year (sometimes six months — pay attention to expiration dates), consider MAC Stack your ideal new match. At $28, the price is average for high end mascaras (and if you’re in the market for something a little more affordable, give this $10 version that guarantees long lashes a try). But if the price is right and you’re interested in a mascara that can go from day to night without transferring and leaves your lashes looking lusciously long, MAC Stack is for you.
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