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I was an avid user of the foam applicators that often come with eye shadows, however when I started using MAC eye shadows, I realised I would need to use a brush to achieve a flawless finish.
I currently have the MAC 228 and 217 brushes but have a wishlist of at least another five (it's always growing!). The brushes are really soft and feel great on my eye, which I think is important as you don't want to use harsh materials on an area that is really delicate!
Since I've started using these brushes, I have found the importance of blending in order to make my eye shadow look professionally applied, rather than being bulky and unfinished. I wear a lot of dark smokey eyes, so I think it's always important to make sure the colours are really well blended together to make what can be a heavy look, look girlie and pretty.
Also, I love to wear a glamourpuss neutral eye with a dark crease and slick of black eye liner a.k.a Megan Fox or Angelina Jolie. The shadow in the crease can only be applied using a shader brush to make the look natural.
As with MAC, the cost is a factor, however as they are expensive, you do look after your brushes more which makes them last longer. They can be purchased on eBay if you are looking to make a bit of saving!
I bought this brush a few years ago without having seen it in real life beforehand which is not something I usually do as I have had a few surprises when ordering sight unseen in the past! I had also not heard much about it online, but going by the description on maccosmetics.co.uk it seemed like it would be perfect for me so I went ahead with the order regardless. I'm very glad I did as this brush has become a staple in my kit and one I would recommend to others :-)
The #228 is a small, paddle shaped eyeshadow brush made from natural fibres (cruelty free pony hair). The head measures just over 6mm wide by 7mm high. It is soft and slightly flexible, but not so much so that it becomes hard to use precisely. It has a fluffed rounded tip and is gentle on the eyes.
It retails for £13.70 so is one of MAC's cheaper brushes.
There are many ways to use this brush which I have found so far:
~ Shading small areas of the lid. The small size makes this brush perfect for fitting into the contours of the lid where larger brushes can only skim over the top, so detailed or 'rainbow' looks are easily achieved.
~ You can also use the #228 to highlight the inner corner or tearduct of the eye. Doing this creates a wide awake, bright eyed effect that really brightens the area. Using a light, shimmery shadow in this area will wake up tired, dull eyes and can also help close set eyes appear a little further apart.
~ Lining the lower lashline is easy with this brush. Whereas some larger ones apply too much and some denser 'pencil / smudge' brushes apply too harsh a line, the soft, fluffy nature of this brush allows you to create a soft, diffused line of colour quickly. Perfect for a sultry, smokey eye or my favourite - a shot of bright colour along the lower lashline with an otherwise neutral eye look.
~ You can also use this brush to shade the crease if needed. Although it's not the best brush to do so with and I would recommend others for this purpose - if it's all you have handy, it can be done :-)
Simply turn the brush on it's side, hold it horizontally away from the crease and shade backwards and forwards along the socket line in a 'windscreen wiper' motion to really define and add depth to the eye.
~ I like to use this brush to highlight my eyebrow. When it comes to brow highlights I like to really push the colour into the arch of my brow only and the shape of this brush works perfectly.
~ I have also used the #228 clean and dry to blend and diffuse other colours and in a pinch it could be used to conceal pimples and redness, although synthetic bristles would be a little better for this purpose.
Overall, I love this brush and I'm very glad I bought it! It has plenty of different uses and really comes in handy when you want a precise finish. Larger brushes just can't rival small ones for detailed looks and this brush is one of the best available on the market today.
Number: 22 / MAC 228 Mini Shader Brush / Excellent for applying emollient-based products / This brush has fibres which are slightly round-tipped and firm / MAC professional brushes are hand-sculpted and assembled using the finest quality materials / They feature birch / linden and ramin wood handles / nickel-plated brass ferrules.