What’s a pro makeup artist without a set of great make-up brushes? Yes, you can literally paint a face with just your fingers, but having a set of wonderful brushes will make everything much easier and faster–especially when it comes to blending! Blend, Blend Blend! I believe blending is the key to a great make-up application, so having proper blending tools and techniques, your make-up work will be more impeccable.
As a professional make-up artist brand, M·A·C brushes are designed with makeup artist in mind—the brand has all the brushes that you need to do professional makeup work. At M·A·C Cosmetics, there are 44+ brushes in its current line up (some are limited edition). As there are so many brushes designed for specific use, how do you know what they are used for? M·A·C brushes are numbered in three digits: 100’s, 200’s or 300’s.
Here is a category breakdown of M·A·C’s brush series:
Of course, many brushes are interchangeable and can be used for multiple purposes. For example, one of my favorite brushes of all time is the M·A·C #219 Pencil Brush, it’s designed to blend and define the eyes with eye shadow/pencil products, but I also used it for concealer spot-covering, and with its pointed tip, it’s also ideal for applying lip colors. I have also seen other make-up artists used the #219 brush to fill-in the eye brows.
In this blog post, let’s have a look at some of my Must-Have M·A·C Brushes that I use all the time. Find the ones that work for you and from there, you can start building up a collection of brushes that will make your makeup work more efficiently, so you can apply like a pro!
M·A·C FACE BRUSH
FOR POWDERS, SLANTED TIP, CONTOURS CHEEKS. For expert application of cheek contour. This brush is a large angled contour – the fibres form a buffed edge and are soft and firmly bundled.
- I like the gentle feeling on this brush’s natural fibers. Because it’s rounded at the side, so it fits nicely onto the surface of your cheek to do contouring and shading. I use it to apply powder blush for a soft effect, and I have also used it for applying foundation on the face.
FOR POWDERS, FULL ROUNDED SHAPE, SHADES CHEEKS. All-purpose for blush or face powder. This brush is particularly good for blush application. The fibers are soft and form a full, rounded shape.
- This brush comes in a short handle version as well (#129SH Brush that comes with a Reusable Pouch), which is perfect for traveling, or as a touch-up brush that you can carry inside your purse. If you absolutely need only ONE brush for the face, this all-time-classic brush is a great starter brush, it pretty much does all the work on the face—powder, bronzer, blush, and contouring.
FULL CIRCULAR SHAPE, TWO FIBERS, SHORT HANDLE. A large full circular brush used for lightweight application and blending of face powder or pigments. Use to create soft layers or add textures. Made from a soft blend of goat and synthetic fibers.
- It’s multi-functional for powder, liquid or cream blending with this brush. When you blend this brush in circular motion, it buffs the product onto the skin. Because this brush is large in size, it’s also ideal for make-up application on the body (eg. applying shimmering powder on the body). Many people like to use it as a bronzer brush as it delivers a natural-looking finish on the skin with its two-layered fibers.
FOR FOUNDATION, PADDLE-SHAPED, SHADES FACE. Pro-quality. A foundation brush designed to create even finish, flawless look. Works well with any M·A·C foundation. A professional-class foundation brush designed to provide a smooth, even finish, flawless look. Use to apply, distribute, and blend foundation into all areas in the face.
FOR POWDERS, ROUNDED DOME TIP, CONTOURS FACE. Use on the face to apply, blend or contour powder products. Softly rounded dome tip delivers just enough color; smoothly blends color into the face.
- Domed-shape and soft fiber that is great for buffing foundation (powder, liquid, gel or cream) into the skin for a polished look. When buffing foundation on your face with this brush, it will provide more coverage, but not heavy in finish. I use this brush very often.
M·A·C EYE BRUSH
FOR POWDERS/CREAMS, OVAL SHAPE, BLENDS SHADOW. For shading or blending of color or creamy products. This brush has fine, densely packed fibers that are arranged in an oval shape.
- Great for crease blending work, but also great for cream/liquid concealer application in the under eye area with its oval-shape tip. The natural fibers in this brush are a bit firmer than the #244 blending brush.
FOR POWDERS/CREAMS, PENCIL-SHAPED, DEFINES EYES. For precision shading on lid, in eye crease or along lash line. The soft, smooth fibers of this brush are gathered into a pencil-shaped tip. It is ideal for blending eyeliner into eye shadow to create a smoky looking eye.
- #219 Pencil Brush is definitely a must-have brush. It’s so multi-tasking! I mostly use as an inner & bottom eye shadow brush, eyeliner smudging brush for smoky effect, and to use it to define the crease. It’s pointed tip is short and soft, so it give a great control when you use it for concealer spot-covering purpose. I also like to use it as a lipstick color brush, and highlight on the cupid’s bow with a brighter color.
FOR POWDERS, DOME-SHAPED, BLENDS SHADOW. For controlled eye shadow application. This brush has soft fibers which taper to form a medium size dome shape.
- Winner of Allure Magazine’s ‘Best of Beauty’ Award.
- Well-known as the Windshield Wiper Brush by many make-up artists because it blends like it. It’s made of soft natural fiber, great for larger eye crease blending, highlighting, eye contouring, and/or concealer blending. This brush is one of the must-have’s for creating a smokey eye… it makes the blending edge seamlessly.
M∙A∙C #226 Small Tapered Blending Brush
Small, slightly tapered, dome-shaped brush designed for crease-work.
- This brush is currently NOT in the M∙A∙C brush lineup. I bought mine when it came out as a limited edition brush from the M∙A∙C Me Over Collection (2011). I have to mention this brush in this post because I absolutely LOVE this brush so much—I can add a few more of this brush into my brush collection! This brush has to come back again!
- #226 brush is slightly smaller & more pointy at the tip compare to the #224 Blending Brush, therefore it gives a more precious application in blending for smaller sized eye lids; it’s also great for droopy (or hooded) eyelids’ crease blending. I find this brush to be a great use as a smokey eye blending brush for the bottom eyes to give a diffused edge finish. I also like to use it for nose & eye contouring!
FOR POWDERS, ROUNDED EDGE, SHADES EYES. This brush has a tapered, rounded edge with smooth, firm, fine fibers. It can be used to build intense color on the eyelid.
OR POWDERS/EMOLLIENTS, ROUNDED EDGE, SHADES EYES. For powder, concealer or emollient-based product application. This brush has firm fibers carefully shaped to form a rounded edge for a smooth, even finish.
- This brush has both natural & synthetic fiber in one, so it’s ideal to use heavier formulation products such as concealer or gel. I like to use the side of this brush to pack-on eye shadow colors for maximum effect.
FOR ALL FORMULAS, ANGLED TIP, LINES EYES. For creating sharp, precise lines. This brush has fibers which are carefully arranged to form a perfect angle.
- This is another absolutely must-have brush because it does everything—eye brow filling & defining, eye liner (powder, gel, cream, liquid), lip liner shaping… every professional make-up artist has one of this in their brush belt. All time classic!
M·A·C #209 Eye Liner Brush
FOR LIQUIDS/CREAMS, FINE-TIPPED, LINES EYES. An extra-fine tipped synthetic fiber brush that delivers a precise, firm, even stroke with which to line the eyes. Use with liquid or cream products.
- Great for very detailed work such as tight eye lining in the inner eye line. You can also use it to draw lines and shapes on the face.
M·A·C #205 Mascara Fan Brush
FOR MASCARA, FAN-SHAPED, COATS/SEPARATES LASHES. A fan-shaped brush specially designed for root-to-tip mascara application. A small serrated, fan-shaped brush of synthetic fibers specially designed for root-to-tip application of Prep+Prime Lash or any mascara. For post-mascara, use it to groom clumps and perfect the lashes.
M·A·C LIP BRUSH
M·A·C #316 Lip Brush
FOR LIQUIDS/CREAMS, TAPERED TIP, SCULPTS LIPS. For controlled lipstick or eye liner application and comes with a metal cover. This brush has small, flat, firm fibers and a tapered tip. (17cm when metal cover is capped at the other end of the lip brush)
- There are other brushes in the#200’s eye category that can substitute for a lip brush, such as the #219 Pencil Brush or the #194 Concealer Brush (made of synthetic fiber) that I use often for lip color application.
M·A·C Brush Cleanser
CLEANSING, DISINFECTING, CONDITIONS BRUSHES. A product to clean, disinfect and condition brush fibers so that brushes last longer.
Remove excess makeup and residue while disinfecting and conditioning your brush bristles. The Brush Cleanser is convenient to use and specifically designed to extend the life of high-quality brushes while leaving them smelling fresh and clean. It also helps shorten drying time.
How to use: Apply the cleanser directly to the brush or on a towel. Run the brush along a towel until it no longer distributes any makeup remnants.
M·A·C Brush Canister / Large
HOLDS 25 BRUSHES, COMPARTMENTALIZED, CONVENIENT. A large brush canister that holds up to 25 brushes with compartmentalized sections. Any artist will appreciate the convenience of compartmentalized sections that allow for distinguishing between used and unused tools. Stores up to 25 brushes. A small size canister that holds up to 16 brushes is also available.
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