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

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
United States:
They range from high thirties to high nineties 🙂


  • juschev

    Your discussion on the brushes are really useful but I was wondering if you would maybe consider putting a guideline on how much they would costs??

  • roseannetangrs

    Sure 🙂 I’ll do it right now 🙂

  • retail_therapy

    Great overview!
    Like u, I like the 116 for blush…109 is good for powder products cos they shed like crazy with liquid & cream.
    I am thinking of getting the 150 for powder. :p

  • educatedbiatch

    I agree with what you say, make up for yourself. Do it for yourself. Feel luxurious every morning having MAC brushes softly swept acorss your face, pampering and setting th mood for a good day 🙂 Well, at least for me 🙂

  • roseannetangrs

    Thanks Sophia and Diana! Aw cool, I have yet to try the 116 for powder then :p and yes i apply make-up for myself 😀 my morning routine is so much better with these babies 🙂

  • annalim

    I have several full sized MAC brushes and SE brushes myself…… And i love them to death. So i know what you mean!! They’re like my prized possessions too 🙂

  • FacesBySarah

    oh wow i never knew that anything that starts with a 1 is a face brush and anything that starts with a 2 is an eye brush.

  • roseannetangrs

    Hey Anna! aww yea, they really are my prized possessions 🙂

  • debx

    i love the way you write, super entertaining!

  • roseannetangrs

    thanks! debx 🙂

  • noppi

    I love your writings. 🙂 So funny. :DD

  • roseannetangrs

    haha Sarah – yep – thanks to my youtube obsession, I got to know that 😛 Thanks Noppi!

  • tiarabangs

    love the entry, i’ve been wanting to get the 109 since forever! but have yet to get my hands on it yet

  • heavenlygorgeous

    I love this post! I’m still saving up to get 187, 224 and 266. 😉 But nevertheless, this post really helps me a lot about M.A.C brushes. Thank you, Roseannelove! 🙂

  • everbluec

    Interesting and fun post!!!
    I have afew no brand eyeshadow brushes that I have with me for more then 10yrs and I didn’t take good care with it, I soak it, dump around and it still work best and look good now (it a eyeshadow brush… and I got that less then $5.. always reach for this brush when I apply eyeshadow/)

  • roseannetangrs

    Thanks everyone! wow thats awesome to find such a good brush Chantana!

  • miwitch

    I am not so much into eyeshadows but MAC 224 really looks nice & useful to me~ =D

  • icyabstract

    Nice overview! I used to use the MAC 109 to contour too but over time I found that using an angled brush works a little faster. Like you, I’ve tried the 109 with foundation and think it takes way too long, plus the bristles tend to shed when used with foundation… or at least for me. haha.

  • everbluec

    Yes… and until now I still can’t believe that I got MAC224 for SD$10 at the Suntec sales! And I’m so loving it!

  • roseannetangrs

    OMG $10?? dude its like $40 haha when is that going to happen again? Sara, I was lemming for the mac 168 just now – oh no haha and miwtich yea its aweosme, but i think its not that necessary 😛

  • icyabstract

    Oh haha, yes I went through that phase of lemming for that brush too, but that Essence of Beauty dual ended blush brush (the white bristled one) is quite similar!

  • miwitch

    everbluec :: ((how about going for somemore MAC brushes for lesser than $10… XD~ ))
    roseannetangrs: I probably can try 224 (or subsitude kind) since i dun really have tat kind brush.. i think i probably have like only 1% brushes of what you all have.. ^_^”

  • everbluec

    Ming… hahaha.. not that Brand… I was thinking getting some flat top brushes

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, I dont belive a goat is dieing, because it gets a haircut. All coats wants a haircut now and then

  • roseannetangrs

    True that!

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