Last week my adventures in Toronto led me and a group of fellow bloggers to the MAC production facility and Estée Lauder Companies Canadian Innovation Centre, where MAC and some of the other members of the ELC family create makeup magic. Both buildings are located right next to each other in the nearby city of Markham in Ontario, about an hour from Toronto.
The tour was only one of the reasons for my trip. I’ll share the others soon, but for now, help yourself to some steel-toe boot covers, safety glasses and a white lab coat — oh, and you’ll need to stow your jewelry in your purse — because where we’re heading, it’s safety first!
The inside of the production facility looks like a cross between a hospital and Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (sans the Oompa-Loompas). The scent of vanilla fills the air, and you find yourself looking for MAC Lipsticks around every corner. As luck would have it, they are around every corner here.
Joining me on the tour: Aileen, Amber, Patrice, Lesley, Lianne, Christine, Wendy and Lily
With high ceilings, the huge rooms appear even bigger once you’re inside. Machines, some the size of trucks, crank out every conceivable kind of makeup, hissing from time to time like giant cats in a symphony of pumps and gears.
We stop by one machine as it brings a big batch of MAC Shy Girl Lipsticks to life. Steps away, other machines create Bobbi Brown Gel Liners and lipsticks for Origins, as the facility makes products for a number of Estée Lauder brands. Each gets its own TLC at the facility, and products are uniquely formulated for each brand.
At the Innovation Centre across the street from the production facility, a group of MAC chemists, including the gal who dreamt up MAC Acrylic Paints, discuss the science behind MAC’s Lipglasses and Eyeshadows. Apparently, it takes hydrogenated polyisobutene, pigments (some called flat; others called traveling) and carnauba wax, among other things, to make a Lipglass go.
They say that blenders make the world go ’round (isn’t that what they say?), and they certainly do here. In fact, they’re the same kind you make margaritas with, and they’re essential for properly mixing eyeshadow pigments.
And that brings us to the end of our little tour today. I hope you enjoyed yourself and learned something new. Please deposit your safety glasses in the receptacle on your way out, and have a wonderful day. Gotta love science, right? Goooo science!
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,