Okay, I know I made an entry about my usual eyeshadow brushes, but I want to focus right now on my MAC brushes. I am really into a lot of them right now, mostly because I've discovered how wonderful two particular brushes are (which I use the most, aside from the 187), and they are the 222 and 224.
The blenders side-by-side with my Japonesque squirrel hair blending brush
The 222 is the tapered blending brush which is a bit stiffer than the 224 and has a narrower head, which is perfect to contour the crease. It is not as fluffy as the 224, hence it gives better control for contouring. The 224 however is great for depositing just the sheerest amount of the darkest pigment on the crease and outer V, so that one doesn't end up looking bruised or sick. MAC shadows are very pigmented, hence just the slightest whisper of color can dramatically enhance the makeup.
In a MAC seminar that I attended last year (I don't remember the exact name of the event, but a senior MA came to town for a 2-hour talk on the newest MAC products and application techniques), it was noted that most of the top MAC MAs use the 224 brush. Not the 217, not the 239. Why? Because you can build color with the 224. MAC eyeshadows don't have sponge applicators unlike cheaper shadows, because the latter need that in order to build up the color intensity. MAC's do not need sponge applicators because the pigments are so intense, you only need a little to create a beautiful effect.
The MA proceeded to describe how to apply shadows: Use TIP of the 224 (the flowering tip only), then PRESS on the eyeshadow, TAP excess, then BLEND in circular motions. Then you can add color as desired using this technique. That's it. PRESS and BLEND both using the TIP of the 224 (don't forget to tap the excess before application). I don't really use this technique (I use short, one-direction sweeps), but I just might have to try it soon.
THE PACKERS (or THE WASHERS)
Top-to-bottom: 239SE, 217, 213SE
The 217 is a good brush as well for packing the pigment on the lid. I've seen many an MA use the 217 to really infuse color on the lid. The 239 and the 213 are also good to pack color or to create a wash on the lid. In the same seminar I described above, it was also mentioned that the 239 can be used when using shadows as liners. Honestly, though, I don't use these 3 so much. Maybe I've gotten so used to my Studio Tools and Sonia Kashuk brushes so my hands reach for them automatically every time.
Ah, my favorite brushes in the world. As some of you know by now, I love MAC's mineralized skin finishes (MSFs). There is only one perfect brush for this - the duo fibre, or stippling, or skunk, or MAC's own divine version, the 187. I call it the whisperer because the duo-fibres (a mixture of natural and synthetic hairs) deposit the most delicate whisper of color and sheen on the skin, it would seem that the skin is being lit from within. There is therefore no excuse for anyone not to wear the most garish-looking blushes in the pan, not if one owns the 187. It makes it possible for the most outrageous-looking blush or MSF to look beautiful and subtle when worn.
My friend Sophie created her own line of brushes, and it includes her version of the duo-fibre brush. She sent me one and I am really SO amazed by how it looks, feels, and applies just like the 187. It is aptly called Charm, because I really got enamored by how wonderfully it applies color. She also uses this for her mineral blushes, illuminizers and all-over face colors. Anyone who has tried minerals would know that these are really pigmented, and a special kind of brush should be used when applying such.
My eye makeup wouldn't be the same without lining my eyes. Here are the MAC (and one Mercier) brushes I use for lining my eyes, and also to smudge color on the rims.
As you can see in the picture, I have two 266SEs but they look so different from each other. Ironically, both were part of the Holiday brush collection of MAC, but they are 4 years apart. The 2002 version is thinner, more defined, and is better for thinly lining the eyes with gel liners (my favorite kind). The 2006 is more dense, and thus would make for a good eyebrow filler brush or for drawing a not-so-thin line. I use my regular 219 pencil brush for applying color (usually shadow) on my lower lashline, and I use my 219SE for smudging kohl pencils for a smoky look.
These brushes lay the foundation for your makeup, they help build the perfect canvas for your art. Hence, these are very, very important, and I expect a lot from my foundation brushes. If you notice, the 129 is deemed a foundation brush for me, because I bring this with me for touch-ups (I don't use traditional powder compacts, I use mineral foundations and Bare Minerals' Clear Radiance mineral all-over face color). The 182 is the most expensive single brush I own. For a little less than $50 a pop, it should do its job. Well, it does, and it does so excellently. It is one of the softest brushes ever to touch my face. It buffs mineral makeup flawlessly, perfectly. My only gripe is that it sheds. Not like a dog, but it sheds nonetheless. I hope mine is a dud because I really like MAC's brush quality.
There you have it, my beautiful MAC brushes!