TUTORIAL: How to Buy from MACCosmetics.com

Hey there!

Hope everyone’s having a stupendous week so far! I just got back from a 5-day break in Hong Kong (thus the lack of updates here). Will blog about my trip sometime next week after I’ve repaid my sleep debt. Meanwhile, allow me to share something that almost every Singaporean, who had read my MAC lipstick reviews, had asked me about.

“How do you buy lipsticks from MACCosmetics.com?”

M.A.C is known to be one of the best mid-end cosmetics brand in the world, offering a wide selection of high-quality cosmetics at very affordable prices. Their lipsticks, for example, range between US$16 (S$22) for permanent collections and some celebrity-endorsed ones, and US$30 (S$40) typically for collaborations with renowned designers on their website. Other brands sell for more than triple the price when their quality may not necessarily be as good as M.A.C’s. But of course, products sold on the main M.A.C website are only available to shoppers living in the Americas (you lucky people!). And to top it off, their orders get to be shipped for free.

Sadly for the rest of us living outside the U.S., we have to rely on imported products which prices are usually inflated. A US$16 M.A.C. lipstick can cost as much as S$30 here in Singapore. That’s $8 more than what I’d pay on maccosmetics.com. Very pricey, don’t you think? And it gets worse for products that are in high demand.

Hence, people started organising sprees to online shops that do not offer international shipping. But no one would be so foolish to help without expecting anything in return, There must be something in it for them. Thus, some started charging exorbitant exchange rates on top of an unreasonable handling fee per item. It’s so ridiculous, you might just end up paying a few dollars less than you would in the retail store. Plus, I don’t think it’s worth the wait (as spree organisers have to compile orders and setup a meetup event for all the buyers).

So after much contemplation, I figured that I’m better off buying the items online on my own. And I’ve been doing that ever since making my first U.S. purchase (it was my M.A.C x Lorde lipstick actually, not too long ago) through a freight forwarder.

A spree participant and still not convinced to make the switch? Here are some more reasons:

  • Cheaper in general
  • You get to confirm your orders immediately
  • You get to track your own orders
  • Shorter waiting time for your parcel to reach you
  • The more you buy in one shipment, the lesser you pay for shipping (chargeable to forwarder)
  • The exchange rate is fixed by the bank

Not sure on how to go about ordering from maccosmetics.com? Simply follow these steps and you’ll be fine! 🙂

* * *

1. Create an account with your desired freight forwarder.

Here are some freight forwarders that ship to Singapore:

  • ComGateway (U.S. orders only) – For this tutorial, I will be using CGW’s service.
  • vPOST (U.S., China, Japan and Europe orders)
  • Borderlinx (U.S. and U.K. orders)
  • 65Daigou (U.S., Taiwan and China orders)

Do ensure that you’ve fill the form out correctly.

After registration, you should be given your own U.S. address.


1. It should be reflected on the top left hand corner of the page. Otherwise, you can view it on “Your Account”.

2. Create an account with M.A.C.

On the left menu bar, click “My M.A.C” and another panel would appear beside it. Click “Register“.

For more details on how to fill out the registration form, please refer to images 2d and 2e.

Alternatively, you can register after checking out your shopping cart like what I’ve done below:


2a. Bought these during the Cyber Monday sale. If you have a discount code (usually mentioned in their mailers), be sure to key it in.


2b. Once you’ve applied your discount code, you may proceed to checkout your items.


2c. MAC will prompt you to sign in (if you’re not) or sign up before you could make payment. I’m already a member so I’m gonna use the fields on the left. By right, if you’ve keyed in all your billing and mailing information, you’d be directed to the payment page after this.


2d. For new users, you’d be prompted to key in your billing information.

M.A.C. accepts international credit cards. For the page reflected on image 2d, key in your own credit card information. Check the first box if you wish to make this credit card your default payment option, or the second if you want to save the details in your account. (I actually checked both)

Before you click “Save Changes”, you may want to add your address first. Refer to image 1 for the address.


2e. Remember, you do not input your Singapore address. Instead, you should use the U.S. address provided by your freight forwarder. It may be a little confusing for first-timers, so please follow the numbering on image 1.

Make the address your shipping address as well. Otherwise, the order will not go through (as it’s not a U.S. address)

Likewise, if you’re paying via PayPal, do ensure that the reflected billing address is your U.S. address. Failure to do so would lead to an error message.

Once you’re done, you would be back on your Billing Information window. Click “Save Changes“.

3. Submit final order

You are now directed back to your checkout page. Verify your billing and shipping addresses (they should be the same), your payment method and your shipping method (mine was overnight shipping because I applied a discount code. Otherwise, it should be standard).


3a. Submit your order if there are no errors.


3b. Order completed!

You should also receive an order confirmation via e-mail. M.A.C. will provide you your DHL tracking number (hyperlinked to the DHL tracking page) once your order has been shipped. This could take 2-3 days for Standard Shipping (the free option), and about a week for the parcel to arrive at your U.S. address. The tracking page is pretty accurate. No delays for me so far.

4. Parcel arrives at your U.S. address


4a. You will receive this e-mail from CGW. Click on it! *excited*


4b. Click on “here” to view the details of your parcel


4c. Details on your parcel’s weight. You can also view the invoice from the merchant (maccosmetics.com in this case)

If, upon viewing the merchant invoice, you found out that your orders are separated into two parcels (happens if you order a lot of stuff and they can’t possibly fit into one box), you can wait for the other parcel to arrive at your U.S. address. You’re entitled to store your parcels with CGW for free for 30 days (60 days for Prime Members).

5. Shipping to Singapore

Once all your parcels have arrived (you will also be notified via e-mail), you may proceed to ship them to you.


5a. On the same page, scroll down until you see the “Ready to Ship” button. Click on that.


5b. On the following page, select the parcels you want to ship (a.k.a. everything. Do bear in mind that base shipping charges would incur for new/separate shipments) and click “Select to Ship


5c. Next, ensure that your mailing address is correct. It should be your Singapore address this time.

You have the option to collect it from Cheers/FairPrice Xpress if you know that you won’t be home during time of delivery (usually between 12-3pm for me but you can call and arrange for a re-delivery if you’re not around to receive it). Delivery is also done over the weekends. Quite amazing!


5d. Select your desired delivery option and click “Continue


5e. Then, select your shipping speed. Click “Continue


5f. If you pay by DBS/POSB debit or credit card, you get to enjoy a FREE upgrade to Express Shipping on top of a 10% discount! So pay by DBS/POSB card ok?! Good deals don’t say I bo jio! Click “Continue” again.

The above shows how much I had to pay to ship 2 parcels containing 8 lipsticks in total from M.A.C, in US dollars. Yup, CGW charges in USD. Please do the conversion yourself! 🙂


5g. You will then be directed to a page where you’d have to key in the code sent to your phone. It’s some security feature for payments made by credit/debit card.


5h. Aaaaand you’re done!


5i. Order receipt from CGW


5j. An e-mail to acknowledge your payment!


5k. And this will come within 1-2 working days. Shipment is also by DHL.

Again, this doesn’t just work for M.A.C. If you know of any U.S. online shops that accept international credit card, this method will still apply.

NOTE: If your purchases exceed S$400, you are liable to pay 7% GST

The cost of shipping generally differs according to the weight of your parcels, which would be measured by the freight forwarder when your parcel reaches your U.S. address. Hence, you will not be able to know how much your package weighs until then. The freight forwarder, however, may indicate on their website how much it charges for the first and subsequent 0.5kg.

If you feel that you’re being overcharged, chances are your merchant had used a very big box to contain your stuff (thus the weight). You may request for a repack (except vPOST as they don’t offer this service) if it’s available. This service is chargeable though.

I hope this is useful for you ladies! Feel free to drop me a comment if you have any other enquiries. I’m not an expert myself but I’ll try my best to help!

If time permits, I may also do one on Taobao.

Thanks for reading 🙂

31 thoughts on “TUTORIAL: How to Buy from MACCosmetics.com

  1. Hi Fiona, i’m a little confused.. Does it mean that i only have to pay CGW for the shipping costs? Eg: USD$15.67 or do i have to pay the same price as i’ve paid in MAC’s website?


  2. Fiona, thank you so much for this info! I heard about those forwarders, but your tutorial is much more helpful than other articles I found. I used to order through MyUs, but their customer service became terrible, I don’t know why, 1-2 years ago everything was fine. Anyway, I’m now ordering through Parcl.com (https://www.parcl.com). I usually shop at French or American stores, for now I’m feeling good with the service.

    P.S. At the moment waiting for my Urban Decay palette and some other lovely things to arrive))


  3. Hey Vanda! Thanks for the encouraging feedback! I try to put myself in the reader’s shoes whenever I do tutorials like this, so glad it really helped you! Thanks for the recommendation! How’s the rates like? Intending to switch to another forwarder if CGW gets too expensive for me 🙂


  4. Hello Fiona! So great to hear from you:) As for the rates, it was something very new to me. I created a delivery request and posted it. Within like 2 days I received 3 delivery offers from people living in the US. I chose $20 for shipping and additional services (total products cost was $157). Maybe the rate is a bit too high, but I’m enjoying the overall experience:) The thing that I really-really like is the way how my forwarder is communicating with me, very friendly and helpful. So, I can’t say that it’s the cheapest service, but knowing that I don’t have to pay for registration and subscription makes me feel better:)


  5. Hi Fiona,
    Thanks so much for doing such a helpful post – really appreciate the screengrabs and detailed step-by-step guide! 😀 It must have been tedious getting the content of this post ready, just wanted to let you know that it helped to demystify the process so much that I feel ready to do my first CGW shipping!
    Quick query though – you mentioned that the billing address and shipping address have to be the same freight-given US address, but I have heard elsewhere that the overall order might be rejected by the debit/credit card company when the inputed billing address does not tally with their database (our real SG address). Is there such a thing? Actually, would you happen to know what the billing address is for? Would it be the address that the card company bills you at…
    Thanks again!


  6. Hey Cho, my pleasure! 🙂 So glad it helped you because I was like you, totally clueless about freight forwarders but had no guide to refer to! For your query, I believe it does happen but so far my order has never once been cancelled for using a US address for my billing (I think I’ve ordered close to a hundred times online combined). Some website that do not support international shipping will not accept your order if the billing address is not in the US, so the only way to get around it is to use the freight-provided US address. I think the billing address is to protect the merchant from card frauds. Haha to be honest I also don’t know what it’s for since my orders get processed successfully all the time! Go ahead and order with your freight-provided address! You should be fine 😉


  7. Hi. I just followed what you’ve done on ordering. I tried with 65Daigou and it went well. MAC sent me emails too that my orders are confirmed.

    But after a few hours, sent me another email that my order has been cancelled. Tried ordering twice and still the same thing happened. I think they cancelled my order coz I used POSB debit card. Any chance you share what bank your card is?


  8. Hello! I’ve been ordering using either my POSB debit card or CIMB credit card with no issues at all. You may want to check with your bank if overseas transactions have been enabled? Otherwise, try another forwarder company as MAC might have blocked the US address provided by the forwarder. When in doubt, you can always e-mail MAC customer services. They reply quite promptly 🙂


  9. Hi there. yeah right. Maybe I should check my bank if overseas transaction is enabled.
    I tried again using comgateway’s forwarding address and boom! still cancelled. I think Mac now is more strict on processing with cards issued by other countries. and now i envy you sigh.

    Thanks anyways! 🙂


  10. Hello, this post is very informative. Does that mean if i were to order from a website which offers free shipping for US orders, I onky have to pay for the shipping to Singapore from ComGateWay? And is the shipping always at the high price of $20 USD?


  11. Hey there, yes that’s correct. You only need to pay the shipping from US to SG. All prices on Comgateway are in USD so do take note of that! And no, it’s not always US$20. I do get a bill of US$15 from time to time when I have like 4 parcels or less at my US address? Haha hope that answers!


  12. Hi

    Have you tried buying powder products? Do Mac bubble wrap the items? I’m afraid that they might break on their way to SG? Also, do you know if they will agents accept products like fix+?



  13. Hello Clare! I have bought eyeshadows and they went well. MAC wraps their products with multiple layers of paper and them pack them in a box. My orders so far have arrived in one piece, no breakage at all. But I’ve mostly bought lipsticks so I can’t advise you on other products. With regards to liquid products, I would advise you not to buy any because firstly, the forwarder may refuse to ship it (they do open up all parcels to check and them reseal them) and secondly it may not pass customs (if I’m not wrong the capacity limit for imported liquid products is 100ml but I’d rather err on the side of caution). Hope that helps!


  14. Hi Fiona,

    Thank you so much for your reply & advice:) I really appreciate it^^
    Do you think it’ll be okay to order mineralise skinfinish powder like soft & gentle? Will the paper wrapping be good enough for prevent breakages?



  15. Not a problem 🙂 Yup it should be safe! The thick paper wrapper serves as a cushion as well to minimise movement in the box. The box is also made of very sturdy material. It would be amazing if anything breaks in there hahaha 😀


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s