Face Brushes Review and Comparison: Part 1 MAC 187 and 189

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So I said in this post that I should do a post on my face brushes. And here you go! Over the next few days/weeks/however long it takes (with interruptions), I'll be doing reviews of my favourite brushes in my stash! Here they are. Not all of them are here, of course, but these are my favourites, my must-haves, and the ones I use the most often. Just a disclaimer: None of these brushes are free samples etc. I bought every single one of these with my own hard-earned money! I'm just reviewing them because...well they're in my stash, and well, a HG powder or blush brush can be the hardest thing to find sometimes, and it doesn't help that brushes tend to cost a lot of money:

Makeup Brushes MAC Stila Body Shop and Flirt

L - R: Flirt! Feather Dust-Her, Body Shop blush brush, MAC 188, MAC 187, MAC 189, Stila #21, Stila #8, Stila #24

So here they are, after being washed, mostly dry. I thought it would be a good idea to take all the face brushes together, to give an idea of scale and relative size, so you can get a good idea of how big/small one brush is next to another. Sadly, the Stila #8 has been discontinued, much to my chagrin, because it was one of the best powder brushes I've ever had (and this is after trying the MAC 134 and the Shu Uemura 18R). *Shakes fist* When I contacted Stila Customer Service about it, the jokers at CS told me to go and look at the Stila #31, which is NOT AT ALL like the #8. The #8 is much better in quality than the #31, but then again I have a thing against retractable brushes in general (except my Too Faced Kabuki - wait, why is it not in the picture? Nevermind, it gets it's own review, then I guess).

Anyway, today I will kick off my Face Brushes Series with a review of the MAC 189, and the MAC 187, because I don't have much to say about them. To be honest, they're the least used and the least favourite in the bunch, but that's probably just me.

The MAC 187 brush has reached cult status across makeupdom, and is the HG brush of many a liquid foundation user. Which herein lies why I don't like the MAC 187 as much as other people do - I don't use liquid foundation. I did use it to try to blend out my Kevin Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, but somehow it didn't quite look 'right' even then. For blush application this is pretty good though - I like how the shape of the 187 fits just right onto my cheek area, not too small, and not too big. However, I tend to prefer the either the 188, the Stila #24, or the Body Shop blush brush, depending on what blushes I'm using (more on that in later reviews). So as a result, my 187 suffers from neglect. I do think this is a good quality brush though, it's just that the fact that I don't wear liquid foundation - coupled with the fact that I tend to use my other blush brushes over it - makes it rarely used.

The MAC 189 brush was first launched together with the MSF Naturals, and was touted as a blush that can be used for BOTH powder and cream. Now of course this flies against the face of all my makeup training and knowledge - traditional makeup theory says that synthetic brushes are best for cream, and natural brushes are best for powder, although of course in recent years the boundary has been blurred with the advent of better synthetic bristles etc etc. Anyway, I was curious to see how this worked for both powder and cream, and I have to say....I'm a bit ambivalent when it comes to poweder. Sure it applied face powder fairly well, but it just felt weird using a paddle synthetic brush to put on powder, if you know what I mean. I felt the finish was acceptable - it wasn't fantastic, but it wasn't le suckage either. I also tried using it for powder blush, but the effect wasn't as great as using an actualy blush brush, as the blending was a bit hard to do with the brush. I tried using this baby for cream blushes too, and once again, I found it a bit hard to blend out the cream blushes, as it tended to leave a hard line where the edges of the bristles were. Maybe I'm spoiled by all the skunk brushes out there, but this was just a meh for me. Not impressed.

So that's it for this brush post. I've no idea what brushes I'll cover for the next brush post, so feel free to comment and leave any suggestions :) I'll cover all of them eventually though :)


  1. please do a review on mac 129 and 116 or a review on mac 188 vs 187 thanks

  2. Hello Anonymous!

    Thank you for your comment! I don't actually have the 129 or 116. I've seen it in stores but I don't actually own it, so I wouldn't be able to do a full review on it. The 188 and the 187 are similar, it's just that the 187 is bigger than the 188. So which one you'd prefer depends on your use for it. If you're going to use it for things which cover a large surface area of your skin (e.g. foundation, face powder) it's better to get the 187, since the 188 will definitely be too small for foundation! But if you just want to use it for specific small areas (e.g. powder highlighter) then the 188 is better, because you may not get enough control with the 187. For blush, you can use either - some use the 187, some use the 188 - and I don't really see much of a difference other than that the 187 covers a wider surface area. Some prefer the 188 for blush as it gives them better control of where they place the blush, some prefer the 187 as it covers a wider area, so they dont have to move the brush around as much over their cheeks. It's all a matter of preference of course. I hope this helped!

  3. I've checked out the Mac 129 at a CCO and at a Mac counter and store. It felt scratchy.

    I know you don't have the Mac 129, but did you get a chance to feel it in store?


Thank you for commenting! I read each and every single comment! If you ask a question in your comment, please check back to this post, as I will reply in a comment to this post as well :) Please note that comments with soliciting links to shops or websites will be removed. Thanks!


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