February 16, 2010

MAC Brushes 101 – A Review, Thoughts and Close-Up

Posted by roseannetangrs in M.A.C. | My Favourites | Reviews

Hey Everyone,

I don’t know about you, but I have crowned my brushes as the diamonds of my collection and if anything messed them up not only would I cry, I would probably come after them with pitchforks and flaming torches. They’re my babies, cuddled in brush guards with clear nail polish sweeped across their silver names, so I figured, hey, it’s time I do a review!

Overview – General Thoughts:

I remember when I first saw MAC brushes on Youtube and just like many, I asked the number one question out there:” Do I really need a MAC Brush?”. And the answer is: Honestly, no. There are thousands of brushes out there -whether they come from drugstores, online from ebay or even Sigma but I think the most important thing to remember is that MAC brushes are basically luxury items and just like you running out there to dump a few thousand at Prada instead of a few at your local market, your neglected Auntie is probably perplexed at why you would pay $60 instead of $1 for a brush. And, MAC brushes aren’t worth thousands of dollars don’t get me wrong but they are at the high end area of the cosmetic brush market. But honestly, no one is going to see your brush down Orchard Road unless you feel like flailing your brush collection at people and who knows, they might even give their spare change.

So really, who cares?

They say that there is one equation that all brand concsious people have etched in their minds and that is [ More expensive = Better Quality + Better Design + Longer wear + Lasting Finish]. It might be more so to really justify their expenditure, but I have to say that this equation also applies to MAC brushes. We pay money because:

1. They are HAND crafted in Japan, Europe and the sorts (anything not made in China or India is “supposedly” more awesome because its not mass produced)

2. Their um handles are made from not one, not two but three kinds of wood – Birch, Linden & Ramin and ferrules are nickel plated brass. (Honestly, I don’t even care what tree they use and I had no idea a Linden or Ramin actually existed till I did my research, and did anyone say Ramen? Yum.)

Special Edition brushes are MACHINE made :)

3. Animals died for your brush. A goat was eliminated from this earth for you, and maybe a squirrel or two.

And I would suggest them to you if:

1. You are brand conscious – if you do make-up for yourself and no one else and your daily routine is like a ritual to yourself then MAC brushes can def. add to the experience. Don’t look at me funny. I myself put a tick next to this one.

2. You want a brush that will last for ages –  one of the reasons why I even looked into MAC brushes in the first place was that I heard so many people saying that they’ve had their brush for 5 or 10 years and it still looks as good as when they bought it. Of course, that really depends on how well you take care of it, smushing it around and plucking hairs to play “he loves me, he loves me not” on Valentines Day is unfortunately not going to do the trick, but I hope my brush guards and clear nail polish might.

3. You want a brush that does many things – Mac Brushes are good for this, often a single brush can perform a variety of functions that you’ll see in my more indepth review below.

But if you aren’t one or all of the above, take the money and spend it on something else. There are thousands of dupes and substitutes, you don’t need a MAC brush. It really depends on you. I unfortunately am all of the above, so I raise my hand guilty of purchasing the six brushes laid out for you below.

This is going to be boring for you if you already know the MAC Brush Lingo so I won’t come after you with pitchforks and flaming torches if you don’t read it. Go..have a kit kat? For all of you just starting, get ready to know the MAC lingo bebe :)

1. MAC 134

*Tip: MAC Brushes – anything that starts with a 1 “like 134” is a face brush and anything that has number 2 as its staring number is an eye brush.

Purpose: Great for contouring or an all over face powder brush. I use this to apply my setting powder or to dust powder on my face. Extra luxoriously fluffy and large, it does it really fast and thats just what I need. The slim side is great for the hollows of your cheek and applying contour or bronzer as fast as speedy from Swan Princess can swim:

Why Did I Buy It? I genuinely needed a large powder brush and I love how this is a Paddle so I can dust stuff over my face really fast. I am the kind of person who always returns to buying the original one whenever I buy the substitute so I might as well save the money and just get the original one that I’ve wanted!

Do I suggest it? Starting with the most expensive brush if you haven’t even tried MAC brushes before isn’t really a good idea. I haven’t found a big powder brush like this before ( I’m aware Coastal Scents has one now) and I would say it really is worth it to invest in a big powder brush like this – super soft and makes a difference.

2. MAC 187

Purpose: Great for stippling on Liquid Foundation – love how its large enough to quickly and conveniently cover up my whole face while providing a natural coverage :) It’s also great for Blush to build it up so you can apply your desired amount or bronzer for a sheer look so that you don’t look two shades darker than you really are. I like using stippling brushes to stipple on powder as well on concealed spots with the studio finish so that when I apply my setting powder, I don’t mess up my concealed spots.

Why did I buy it? I needed a good stippling brush and I use this every single day – might as well invest?

Do I suggest it? Yes, it does so many things and it is a great brush to have as your first brush. It does everything I need in one.

3. MAC 116

Purpose: This is the smaller version (much smaller) of the MAC 129 and its great if you are a person who likes placing blush specifically onto cheeks, in specific places. I tend to pat my blush rather than just sweep it across, and it is great for that.

Why did I buy it: Because I’m just one of those people who needs a MAC Blush brush too!

Do I suggest it: I suggest a MAC Blush brush yes but this one? If you are just like me :)

4. MAC 109

Purpose: Described on the website as a small contour brush i think this is absolutely wonderful for that purpose because I dont have to align the brush (like the MAC 168) to apply my contour to the hollows of my cheek. Its also small and fluffy to buff out any harsh lines. Foundation is also a common use for this brush but I’ve tried that and I don’t like it – takes way too long.

Why did I buy it? Needed a contour brush – was my first MAC brush actually :)

Do I Suggest it? Yes, I do.

5. MAC 224

Purpose: You don’t want to walk around with blocks of color on your lids so blending it out is essential. This is fluffy and slim enough to do that. It’s also great with a liquid concealer on days when you don’t want to wear foundation for a natural finish.

Why did I buy it? I knew my parents would want me to not wear foundation some days so applying concealer directly had to be done. The SA suggested this to me for a more natural look so I took it.

Suggest? Nah, well I’m biased because I don’t really care for eye looks – as long as my eyes look good. There are tons of blending brushes out there, you don’t need one from MAC – its just as good as a substitute.


6. MAC 209

Purpose: For some reason, I feel out of breath when I’ve only been typing! The MAC 209 is only for gel liner fanatics, applies a really nice line.

Why: I like MAC brushes and they like me. I just had to get one since I use gel liner. Once I start collection, collection doesn’t end.

Suggest? Nope. The only special thing that sets this brush apart is that the hair doesn’t stray at all. Its always together which is good but I’m sure there is a cheaper dupe. I’m getting tired of gel liner too.

Wow. that was a lot and I really hope that helped! Please join my fb page if at all possible and I will see you later.

Juschev requested Prices:

Singapore: They can be found on the wonderful Diana or adorebeauty at


Australia: http://www.maccosmetics.com.au/

United States: http://www.maccosmetics.com/

They range from high thirties to high nineties :)



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