Saturday, July 10, 2010

Beauty Tips: Essential MAC brushes

MAC brushes essentials
Despite having an elaborate makeup brush collection, I only have 3 full sized MAC brushes in my arsenal. Why is that you ask? Because MAC brushes are expensive, and even though I use brushes for every makeup application (except foundation lately been using my hands) I can't justify paying upwards to $60 on one MAC brush. I use an assortment of brushes from different brands including Ecotools, ELF, Sonia Kashuk, Posh, Costco Kirkland Brand, Quo, etc etc and they do just fine for me. However, don't get me wrong, I think MAC brushes are standouts, I think if you are a professional makeup artist, you need these cause they are the best on the market. And it's a story of, "you get what you pay for" with these, you won't be disappointed, but you should do your research when buying these and choosing the ones that suit you best.

The ones that I have are: MAC 187, 109 and 217. That covers your face and eyes. It covers your foundation and eyeshadow basically, but you can use these for other purposes as well. And I think these are the three that you really "need".

MAC 187
MAC 187:
Why I got it: It's their duo fibre stippling brush, it's goat hair and synthetic hair, it's meant for "lightweight application and blending powder." When I first seriously got into makeup in my early twenties, this brush was the bee's knees, it was it all that a bag of potato chips, it was the HG of everyone for foundation application. I feel like this has really changed now that everyone seems to be using a flat top brush (including myself) to apply foundation. I bought this brush during last year's MAC Friends and Family sale, that was last year or two years ago? can't recall. I got it for 25% off, so I could justify it. I bought so many dupes until I caved and realized that they didn't compare, don't make the same mistake, buy the real one the first time.
 What I use it for: I used to use this for liquid foundation application and I still do, it's great for that, you stipple your foundation on lightly and blend it in. It will not give your face a cakey look, although it does take some time to do, hence why I steered away from this method quickly. However, it is also good for blush application, it is on the bigger side though, so you might want to use the 188, or a substitute brush for that one. If you have a big face, the 187 is great for blush application. I also use this brush for powder application and finishing powder on top. I think everyone needs this brush.
 How much is it: This brush costs $50.50 on the MAC CDN website currently.  

MAC 109
MAC 109:
Why I got it: There was a craze for this brush on youtube at one point, everyone was using it for liquid foundation application as well. Although it is meant as a contouring brush. I think for MAC brushes, their face ones are really the ones you need to get, this brush cannot be duped at all, I haven't seen any company do it (except Sigma's version), since that dome feature is really what makes this brush.
What I use it for: This brush is good for liquid foundation application, as it really blends nicely because of it's circular shaped,  and short, dense bristles. I have read people saying that this brush sheds on them and makes for a very messy application having to pick off black hairs off your face.. eww. Mine has not shed and I have had it for some time, have washed it obviously too. Has yours shed?
How much is it: $38.50 on the MAC CDN site. 

MAC 217
MAC 217:
Why I got it: It's the perfect eye blending brush, hands down. This was one of the first items that I got from MAC ever. My numbering is starting to rub off too. And again, not dupeable by any other brand. "This brush has fine, densely packed fibers that are arranged in an oval shape." It is super soft and will not scratch your eyes and applies and blends very neatly.
What I use it for: This brush makes for easy fast and easy blending of eye colour on your crease. Also, I use it for blending concealer under the eyes, perfect for that. The 224 would of been too long and big for me, but this one is perfect.
How much is it: $27.50 on the MAC CDN site. 

MAC brush sets graphic garden
I also have two brush bags that I purchased from the MAC Graphic Garden collection last year, these each contained 5 brushes, and I think these (any brush set) are a good starter if you are just getting into MAC brushes and want to try out which ones you like. The quality isn't the same as the full size, as I have read many reviews say, but I personally still reach for these and take them traveling with me, it's just not practical to take the full sized ones.  The MAC 190SE is especially good, and just like the full size.

MAC brushes I lust over: MAC 130, MAC 134, MAC 182, MAC 150.

What brushes do you own from MAC? Which ones are your favourite/least favourite? Must haves? Dupes?


Carrie said... Best Blogger Tips

omg. my sister has these. they're so soft. haha. i wanna get some too for myself:D

btw, i am now a new follower. follow me too?

Kristie @ said... Best Blogger Tips

I have almost all the brushes from MAC but I love them except for the 150 which is not as soft. SE brushes are great for travel but definitely not the same quality as the original. My favorite brush is the 109, 187, 239 and 217.

Justine @ Productrater said... Best Blogger Tips

@Kristie - I recently ordered the sigma 150, we shall see how that pans out. I am skeptical of sigma, but really wanted their flat top brush, so picked up the 150 as well. Have you tried any?
As for the 239, I use the loew cornell maxine mop, which I find to be very similar, so never had a need to buy the mac one, and I use elf brushes for eyeshadow application anyway.

@Carrie - checked out your blog and followed! :)

Crystal said... Best Blogger Tips

This post was really helpful! I have so much learning to do about which brushes work best for different types of makeup. Thanks, bookmarking it :)

PoorCollegeStudent said... Best Blogger Tips

I only have a 191, but I stop into MAC every once in a while to lust over 138.

Stavroula said... Best Blogger Tips

I don't own a single MAC brush, yes they're great, but they're also damn expensive!! :/ I have the Sigma SS150 and I love it! :)

Justine @ Productrater said... Best Blogger Tips

@Stavroula - It didn't smell like rancid did it? I am afraid that I am going to have a coastal scents disaster. Do you have any of the other Sigma brushes?

Stavroula said... Best Blogger Tips

Nope! :) at least mine didn't! I own 2 complete kits in black and 4-5 individual brushes! All bought by myself or gifted to me by my lovely boyfriend for my birthday! :) I should do a review on them soon, at least on the ones I've tried the most so far! :)

Justine @ Productrater said... Best Blogger Tips

@Stavroula - Definitely do a review if you can, I am curious.

Temptalia has a great comparison review on her blog, she says they are good brushes in their own right, some are better, some are worse than MAC. And they are changing their numbering system too and getting rid of the MAC numbers and creating their own, which I think is a very good move.

Stavroula said... Best Blogger Tips

I've mostly tried the following brushes: SS150, SS188, SS239, SS197 (is this the correct number? it's the F80 in the new numberring system) ! I'll definitely review them on my blog in the next few days, I already had this in mind, but I wanted to test them for a while before writing a review! :)

My favorite Sigma brush so far.. hmmm it's a tie between the SS150 and the SS188!! I use the SS188 to apply Maybelline's Dream Mousse blushes! ;)

Alina said... Best Blogger Tips

I only own two MAC makeup brushes, the 188 which is like the 187 but a bit smaller and the 217. I love the 217-it literally makes blending eyeshadows goof-proof. I can't wait to get more MAC brushes :)

Justine @ Productrater said... Best Blogger Tips

@Stavroula - It's the F80 that I ordered, I love flat tops for foundation application so I think I will love this one. It was my main reason to order cause I have been putting it off cause I really don't "need" more brushes and don't want to spend $80 or whatever on "dupes" that I will end up not using and buying MAC ones anyway. Shipping with Sigma is nuts too! $14 for two brushes to Canada, should of just got the brush set! same shipping for that.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Ooh I don't have any mac brushes haha, the 187 and 109 are probably the first ones I'd get.. along with the white contouring one! x

xAgnes said... Best Blogger Tips

aww i only have one MAC brush.. the 190 foundation brush, but i dont use it as often ever since i got the quo dupe for the MAC 187. Its a duo fibre stippling brush as well and although it works very well, i do find a stray hair once in awhile... maybe i should look into the 187 since i've used the quo brush every single day since i got it. these duo fibre brushes really makes foundation application so easy and so smooth :) hehe thanks for posting!!

Justine @ Productrater said... Best Blogger Tips

@xAgnes - I have that quo brush, and I hated it, it was waaay too big for my face and the bristles were too long and spread out imho.

Stavroula said... Best Blogger Tips

I really like the F80 :) I might do the Sigma review today, I have to do some ironing first! lol! :)

lilpil said... Best Blogger Tips

Justine - I have the MAC 217 and MAC 187. How does the sigma full size and travel size of those compare? near dupes or not even close?

Justine @ Productrater said... Best Blogger Tips

@lilpil - I have comparison reviews of the MAC 217 vs Sigma's mini and the MAC 187 vs Sigma's version here.

Just to sum it up.. the MAC 217 vs E25 (mini), the MAC is slightly more tapered, but they function the exact same way. I prefer my mini to the full size, but just because I like the shorter handle more since I just it for eyeshadow/blending concealer.

The duo fibre brush comparison: the sigma is slighly more floppy, bristles are slightly less dense, but very very comparable as well. The sigma is the best MAC 187 dupe that I have found so far. The Sigma travel 187 is nothing like the full size of either the two (it sucks imo), I have a review of that somewhere too.

Hope that helps! :)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips


Found an image from your blog copied here (MAC 217) - with no link/credit to your blog.

Justine (Productrater) said... Best Blogger Tips

@Anonymous - thanks for letting me know! I will contact them and ask to take it down. :)

_the jask said... Best Blogger Tips

for the MAC 109 brush it works beautifully for applying my foundation but it Does shed as well! i thought it was just me because this is the first place i have read that others have experienced the same thing! since yours has not, perhaps i should just purchase a new one, i like to keep things fresh anyway!