Makeup brushes, one of my greatest beauty loves! I have to start the post with thanking my colleague for the inspiration. We were caught in the rain leaving work the other day, and she asked me in passing if there were any MAC brushes I recommended… Errr, makeup brush recommendations in the rain? This is a conversation that needs to be had in drier conditions, because it’s definitely not a quick discussion. Now, she asked about MAC brushes, so it makes sense to naturally start there, and work our way through – this will be part of a series of posts about brushes. Obviously the prices of the brushes I mention today will make most people scream, but fear not, I will eventually get to some more budget options.
My love of brushes started way before my makeup collection grew. It was before the time of YouTube tutorials and #beautybloggers, so I’m not sure where the interest came from – I just had this strong feeling that brushes would be a really key component of my love of makeup. I got my first MAC brush set for my 18th birthday from my brothers – one was travelling overseas quite close to my birthday, so that was my request. 10 years later, I can tell you I still have all the brushes, and use 4 out of the 5 – truly an investment that paid off. They were a little disappointing in that they shed more hair than I expected, but Mr. Google told me that was because they were part of the Special Edition (SE) range, and were of an inferior quality to the full-sized (and therefore full-priced) MAC brushes. I’ve never purchased another SE brush set, and instead saved my pennies for the regular product instead, and the difference in quality is quite noticeable – minimal hair shed, and noticeably softer hair. Anyways, that’s enough about how and why I love brushes.
Today, I’m going to detail 3 excellent eyeshadow brushes that I really rate, and think are worth the investment. They are ridiculous in their cost, so if you have a friend or family member off to the US, MAC brushes are the thing to request – light and easy to bring back, extremely easy for someone to find for you, and essentially half the price of the Australian pricing.
MAC 217 Blending Brush
This is literally my Holy Grail in eyeshadow brushes. There is really nothing else like it on the market. I’ve even tried to find other MAC brushes that might come quite close (286 Duo Fibre Tapered Blending Brush for those hardcore fans out there), and it didn’t come close. Anybody who loves (or requires, in some people’s cases) a smokey eye, this is the brush for you. If you only buy ONE brush from MAC in your lifetime – make it this one. The difference this makes to any heavy eye look cannot be compared to any other brush in a kit – it softens and really polishes off the look. I personally don’t use it a lot to apply colour (I use the 286 for that), and instead try to keep it as naked as possible, so that it can really do its best blending work with no residual colour present. It’s essentially a fluffy white brush that softens up any harsh lines or over application of shadow, but does this in the most magical way possible.
MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush
Now this is one of the brushes that came in my beloved Special Edition collection all those years ago. It has been used with much love and enthusiasm, so much so that the top of the brush came away from the handle of the brush! Thankfully the brush hairs weren’t effected, and it can still be used – the full-sized one is on my list from the US this year. Now this is your standard eye shadow packer. I have two brushes in this same style – short, but firm and tightly packed hairs. None of this sweeping movement that you get from the 239, but just pure packing on of colour. The hairs are quite thick, so what I like to do is use one side for light shades, and one side for dark shades. Lately my go-to eyeshadow combo has been the Bourjois Cream to Powder shadow as the base, and the Rimmel Scandaleyes in Bad Bronze – so one very light shade, and one very dark shade, but both creamy, so needing lots of packing. One side gets used for the light Bourjois shadow, one side gets used for the darker Bad Bronze shadow – no colour transfer. This has been an everyday work look, so ain’t nobody got time to spot clean a shadow brush!
I don’t think that MAC are the only uses to do such a style of brush – I have a Lancome version that is very similar, but it definitely doesn’t have the firm packing ability that this brush has. I’ve always used this for very dark shades on the outer eyelid, and anytime I’ve used any sort of cream shadow (MAC Paint Pots, for example). So, keep your eyes peeled for a similar brush – keywords being short, thick and firm hairs. If you can’t find it anywhere, go for the MAC one.
219 Pencil Brush
Now, my final brush is just a little favourite of mine – it’s definitely a non-essential, but this also depends on how serious you are about eyeshadow. My favourite feature is definitely my eyes, and I enjoy trying out some different looks, and spending some time on my eye makeup. So, for someone like myself, I think this is worth it. For someone who doesn’t own a single brush, then this is definitely not necessary, and not something I recommend early on. This is another firm-hair brush – but angled like a pencil, as the name suggests. I generally use this on my inner corner, or when I’m doing a really heavy smokey eye, and want to go back towards the inner corner with some lighter shades. It’s precision is amazing – holds product beautifully, and really gets into those smaller spots. I don’t often apply eyeshadow under my bottom lash line, but if I ever do feel compelled, this is the brush for it. I’ve tried the 215 Medium Shader brush for the bottom lash line as well, but that is just too firmly packed for my liking. I have extremely sensitive eyes, so the 219 Pencil Brush has just the right amount of packing to reduce product fall, but still soft enough to use on the more sensitive parts of my eye. I haven’t even investigated any dupes from another other brands, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled to see if there any worthy companions. To be honest, this was a USA request from a friend a few years ago, which is why I frivolously got the MAC version without looking for any cheaper options. Let me know if you’ve seen anything like it.
All MAC products are available at MAC stores and counters (located within Myer) across Australia. They also have an online store which has free shipping for >$100.00 order (and often have >$50.00 free shipping specials).
Thanks for reading the first part of my brush collection series. I did forewarn you that the prices may make you extremely angry, but I feel minimal guilt with MAC brushes. They should last you easily over 10 years, you will start using them every time you want to apply eyeshadow, and you’ll be shocked at what a difference they can make to your final look.
Until next time, readers…
*Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a professional makeup artist – just a simple lover of products. I am merely giving my thoughts and opinions on makeup brushes for the average citizen, as a fellow average citizen.
(All photos in this post courtesy of Google Images)