25 Oct 2012

MAC Face & Body Collection Brushes - 215 & 163

MAC Face & Body Collection Brushes: 215 & 163

This post is a review of the latest limited edition (LE) brushes brought out by MAC as part of their recent Face & Body Collection (2012).

Let's move on from the LE nature of these brushes (LE makeup I can understand, to a point, although MAC takes the p*** somewhat.  The concept of LE brushes drives me bloody demented)...

As a point, I purchased these brushes myself and my opinions, as always are my own...

163 Flat Contour Brush (face)

MAC 163 Flat Contour Brush

Designed to be used for contouring, I was highly sceptical of this brush from the outset, and in fact didn't bother to acquire when I was buying the other items (mainly the Pro contour/sculpting creams - see here for more information on those).

However, I finally succumbed to the little brush demon in my head who kept knocking on my brain and reminding me that there was, in fact, a new brush out there that I hadn't tried yet, and would I ever get off my proverbial lazy arse and gogettit).

Ahem.  So, off I wentandgotit.

Boy was I wrong.  This brush is amazing for contouring.  I had thought that, given the plethora of brushes I already have, and which already work brilliantly for, contouring, why would I need this one particularly.  Well, truth be told, I don't need it - but if I want cheekbones, or a less squishy jawline*, and am in a hurry**, then this brush does the trick in double time.

* and I do.  I want both.  I'm such a demanding cow.
** and I am always in a hurry, with 10 mins to do a Full Face every morning because I am 
categorically unwilling to get up earlier than I do, which is already Stupid O'Clock.

With synthetic bristles, this was designed to be used with the cream contouring products released in the Face & Body collection, but can be used with powder products to help create a really sharp contour, which can then be blended out; however (a) it's better for cream products (b) if you're using powder products, make sure you tap-off before applying and you're probably going to need a separate brush for blending-out (for powder products in particular).  It fits exactly into the pan of the cream contour product/MAC powder/cream blusher.  So that was well-considered too.

Ignore MAC's claims that it has "luxuriously silky [...] bristles".  It does not.  However they're not scratchy, which is good considering the density of this brush, given its blunt, flat top and short bristles.
It's £26 in UK money, I can't recall what I paid for it here, it's sold out on the MAC website but available still in Brown Thomas Dublin (or at least they were yesterday anyhow).

If you can't get your teeny tiny mitts on one, I believe from my reading of other blogs and reviews that Sonia Kashuk has a dupe (but as I can't get these in Irelend, I can't comment further).

One small consideration - it takes a little while to clean this as it's so tightly packed/dense.  So I'm not going to be bothered using this on others, it's strictly for me, myself n I.

If you don't have a contouring brush per se, or are a little short on time, or not very au fait with contouring techniques, this makes it a breeze.

I love this brush and I definitely recommend.  Complete 360 for me.

215 Medium Shader Brush (eye)
MAC 215 Medium Shader Brush

Another complete 360 for me on the second of the two brushes released with this collection.  In the opposite direction however!  While I couldn't wait for this brush to make an appearance in-store, the resulting experience was a disappointment.

This is a paddle-shaped brush and is made from goat's hair - particularly scratchy, nasty goat's hair - and is essentially a (much larger) version of the MAC 214, a brush I also don't particularly like, although it has its merits as an alternative to a pencil brush.  That's how I see this brush, actually, a larger, flatter, more expensive, limited edition, and less useful pencil brush ;-)

Designed for shaping and defining the eye, supposedly for use with both powder and cream products, this is quite a wide, dense brush and feels more than a little harsh on my eyes to be honest.  Despite the "medium" moniker, it's quite a large brush, so is not going to work on smaller eyes.

Honestly, it's a bit pointless as an eye brush if you already have a pencil brush or a 214-equivalent (for example the Cozzette D230, mentioned here).  I have found the flat side is not bad for applying a sweep of colour, from the lid, up and out to "lift" the eyes - but really again, only on larger eyes.  The pointed edge can be used underneath the eye or to smudge liner, but again, a pencil brush is better here (look here for some recommendations, or look here for a comparison post for MAC 219/pencil brush versus the Lauren Luke equivalent) ... or a brush like the 215 but smaller (and as mentioned, I find it is a little too scratchy for this use for my liking).

It supposedly can be used for blending but it's a little too densely packed for that (in my opinion, and according to how I like to use my brushes).

I have used it as a highlighter brush on the top of cheekbones, and it works fine for this - but it's a bit of a stretch and I have other brushes that work as well.

This got a personal thumbs down from me.  I imagine that it was designed specifically for use with the pressed pigments released in the Face & Body Collection - this is quite likely as they need a dense, firm brush to pick them up and apply them - but this brush is just too large in general.  Perhaps this style and type brush, a size slightly bigger than a 239, would have been more useful in general.  That one, if it existed, I might buy and use.

If you like buying-and-trying new brushes, and you can still get hold of one, go for it.  I don't personally think it's at all worth splashing the cash.


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