How To: Get Free MAC Products with Back2MAC

Back2MAC (B2M) is a recycling program where you exchange 6 used or empty MAC products for 1 new one. Items eligible for exchange are any full-sized MAC product in metal, glass, or plastic packaging. This includes eyeshadows, lipsticks, gel liners, skincare… I’ve even heard of people turning in their empty packs of MAC Wipes.

Eligible products will also have the logo somewhere on their packaging (perhaps the cardboard box they came in). If the item was sold as a set (like the holiday mini pigment sets), the entire set counts as 1 item, and all parts of the set must be turned in together.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Many people like to depot their powders for easy palette storage. I’ve never had a problem turning in plastic pots without the metal pan, however I’ve heard that some stores and counters will refuse them. Call ahead and ask what the store policy is so you don’t waste a trip.

If you want to depot your shadows anyway, try Stars Makeup Haven for metal pans. Buy 26mm pans for eyeshadow and 44mm pans for blush, then just pop them into the plastic pot.

MAC counters (inside department stores) will only let you exchange 6 empties for a Lipstick of your choice. MAC retail stores let you choose from Lipstick, Lipglass, or Eyeshadow, but only the regular types (no Mineralize Eyeshadows, Pro Longwear Lipsticks, Cremesheen Glasses…) You can choose from permanent or limited edition shades as long as they’re not in special packaging (like the Disney or Wonder Woman collections).

Policy Recap

  • Eligible items include full-sized MAC products with metal, glass, or plastic packaging
  • Items sold as a set must be turned in together, and the set counts as 1 item
  • If you depotted your powder products, call ahead to find out if you need the metal pans
  • At MAC counters, you exchange your 6 empties for a Lipstick
  • At MAC retail stores, you can exchange your 6 empties for a Lipstick, Lipglass, or Eyeshadow
  • You can also participate through the MAC website, however I’ve heard it’s incredibly tedious

Do you participate in the B2M program? If so, does your store or counter require metal pans?


6 Responses to How To: Get Free MAC Products with Back2MAC

  1. Sandra July 2, 2011 at 7.40 pm #

    Very helpful! Thank you!

  2. Rebecca July 2, 2011 at 7.47 pm #

    I love this program! The nearest MAC store (not just a counter) is 2 hours away so I don’t get down there very often; and I’m not sure if they require metal pans. I plan on taking a trip down there soon though so I’ll find out! I recently depotted about 25 eyeshadows so I sure hope so! And thanks for the link to the shop that sells the pans; I’m so glad to see that they sell magnetized palettes! :)

  3. Linda July 2, 2011 at 11.23 pm #

    I always recycle my MAC. I’m origanally from NJ and Nordstroms always took my eyeshadows withou the metal pans. I don’t know if they changed their policy or not as of now. My nearest MAC counter is over a hour away, and the MAC retail store is over 2 hoursa away, so as you can see its quite a ride and haven’t been to either one in some time. I guess I’ll have to make a special trip soon then ;D

    • Katie July 6, 2011 at 3.58 pm #

      Definitely save up your empties and make a special trip! You could have a whole MAC haul without spending any money — an ideal situation.

  4. JC July 3, 2011 at 4.39 am #

    I love B2Ming. I’ve been lucky because every MAC I’ve gone to has accepted the eyeshadow pots w/out the metal pans. =)

    • Katie July 6, 2011 at 3.58 pm #

      Same here!

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