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I recently decided to grow in my brows in favour of a slightly thicker, fuller and more natural look. I needed a new, denser brush to fill them in with as my others didn't work so well anymore, so for that reason I headed to my local MAC counter and picked up the #208.
The #208 is marketed as a 'small angled brow brush' and works really well. It is made entirely of natural fibres (cruelty free I might add) which measure 6mm at the highest point of the angle by 6mm wide. It is quite dense but still soft enough to distribute colour evenly and naturally through the brow. It retails for £13.70 - great value in my opinion, especially since it will last years and years if looked after - and is available from all MAC locations and online at maccosmetics.co.uk :)
~ As mentioned above, I bought this to fill in my eyebrows and I mostly use it for this purpose. The size is perfect for all sizes and shapes of brows and the dense tip leaves a very realistic finish. Simply brush through, in direction of hair growth, flicking the brush slightly as you go so no harsh lines are left behind. I use a matte eyeshadow in a shade 1 - 2 shades lighter than my brows for the most natural finish.
~ It can also be used to apply MAC Fluidlines / Bobbi Brown Inks / any other cream or gel liner to the eye. The small angled head creates slim, precise lines that other thicker brushes struggle with. Perfect for both a simple line of liner across the upper lid or more detailed 'winged' liner. Out of all the liner brushes MAC sell I think the #208 actually does the best job for 'winged' looks as the small tip is easy to control and it lays down just the right amount of product, minimising your chances of applying too much and making a mess.
~ Although I prefer the #266 for this purpose, this brush can also be used to apply powder shadows to the upper and lower lashlines. Perfect for those occasions when you just want to subtly define the eyes, without the 'harshness' of liquid or gel liner. Simply drag the angled tip of the brush through the shadow before gently pressing it along and into the lashline.
~ In a pinch you could also use the #208 to shade the lower lashline with colour. However there are mch better brushes available (both from MAC and other companies) for this job so I wouldn't overly recommend it for this use. But it can be done if needed :)
~ Lastly, if you find yourself needing a lip brush - maybe for a bright red lipstick that needs to be applied carefully - flip this brush onto it's side and use the flat surface to neatly press the colour onto the lips. The angled tip also makes lining the lipline itself a breeze. However it is not synthetic and some brighter colours may stain the bristles so I recommend a lip brush (like the #211) if you plan on using such colours frequently.
Overall I really love this brush. Definately the best to use for filling in brows and lining with gel / cream liners. I love the slim, precise results and I have been using it almost everyday since I got it and it still looks brand new so it's definately worth it in my opinion!
If your brows don't need any work then it may not be a must have for you but it's nice to own regardless :)
Although I don't necessarily think that a lip primer is a must have item, they are definately useful - especially for those who don't have a lot of spare time throughout the day to keep reapplying their lipstick / gloss.
After many years of using MAC's 'Prep + Prime Lip', I was feeling decadent one day and decided to head to the Guerlain counter to check out their 'Kiss Kiss Lip Lift'.
Guerlain 'Kiss Kiss Lip Lift' is designed to design, smooth and reshape the lips leaving them 'perfectly prepared for lasting lipstick hold'. It uses 'dehydrated microspheres' that replump on contact with the lips natural moistures leaving them 'as soft as silk' with 'clearly defined contours'.
The supple, creamy texture is designed to adhere to the lips trapping the oils in lipsticks to create long lasting colour.
This product is packaged in a slim, gold, shiny tube (as shown in the picture). Although it looks somewhat exquisite it is actually quite lightweight with a slight 'plasticy' texture. If I didn't like Guerlain as a brand and hadn't heard good things about the product inside, the packaging may have put me off a little. I prefer simple, sleeker packaging but that's just personal opinion :)
It retails for just under £18.00 and is available from all large Guerlain counters - usually found inside deparment stores such as Harvey Nichols / House Of Fraser etc. There are also a few select websites that stock this product.
The primer itself has a cream-wax texture and is a pale pink-yellow shade, much like concealer. Once applied the colour is much more muted than it appears in the stick. A light coat ever so slightly neutralises the colour of your lips whilst a few, thicker coats will mute your natural pigmentation significantly. Although some are put off by this, I personally like it as I hav very dark lips naturally that cause some lipsticks too apply much deeper than they appear in the tube.
It has a strong sherbert / violet scent that althought it doesn't really bother me, some may dislike.
Although Guerlain market this product as 'creamy', I find it a little harder than most primers. I cannot apply straight from the tube as it can build up in patches, so I usually use a clean fingertip or lip brush to blend the primer along the lips and ever so slightly over the lip line too. You can then go ahead and apply your lip products of choice on top :)
On the days I choose to use this product I do find that my lipstick lasts a lot longer, I probably have to reapply every 3 hours instead of every 1.5 or so, however it does cause the lips to feel slightly 'heavier' and 'thicker' than usual and a little stickier than without. For that reason alone I prefer MAC's 'Prep + Prime Lip' and I will probably begin to repurchase that once I've used up all the Guerlain... Which shouldn't be long as you don't get much and it's used up quickly!
Overall, it works well as a primer but doesn't have the best texture. Although I like that it mutes my natural lip colour slightly I don't think I will buy it again as I do not like the way it makes my lips feel. I also do not think it is very cost effective, but it's Guerlain so I didn't really expect it to be!
In my opinion there are better, cheaper and nicer lip primers out there so test a few out before splashing out on this one :)
I bought this brush to use with my MAC Fluidlines on those days where I just want a simple, quick and easy line of liner across my upper eye lid only to open up and define the eye.
Although angled brushes such as the #263 and #266 create a finer, more precise line they also take little while to get used to and require a little more time each morning.
The #209 is a regular shaped, pointed tipped liner brush much like those you find included with most liquid liners - only a little thicker. It is designed to be use with cream, gel and liquid based products as it is made entirely from synthetic fibres which measure 8mm high by 2.5mm wide. It is available from all MAC locations and retails at just £12.72 - great value in my opinion, especially considering it will last you years if looked after correctly.
~ As I mentioned previously, I mainly use this brush with my MAC Fluidlines and Bobbi Brown Inks. The fibres are neatly bundled and pick up just the right amount of product. The tapered, pointed tip can fit into the inner corner of the eye easily and create a smooth, even line. It leaves behind a line that is about 2mm thick, so it's not the finest liner brush available but not the thickest either.
~ Another way I find myself using this brush is with my MAC Liquidlast liners. Anyone who owns one of these will know that the thick formula can sometimes cause the attatched brush to clog up slightly, making it harder to apply with and easier to make a mess!
By transferring the product from the attatched brush to a #209 and apply with that ensures a clean, tidy line everytime. Be sure to wash it off right away though or it will dry hard and be a pain to remove.
~ If you own any of MAC's "Mixing Medium" or Too Faced's "Shadow Transformer" type products this brush works well to apply your custom, home made liners, be they either glitter or pigment based.
~ Lastly if you were really pushed you could use this brush to apply colour underneath the lower lashes. However, the 100% synthetic fibres will not pick up powder products all that well so I don't really recommend it for this use.
Overall, although this brush doesn't have all that many different uses, it is still a must have in my opinion as it works very well with emolient liners and a simple stroke of those across the lid is an essential for many makeup users.
Looked after well and cleaned carefully after each use (wipe off any products slowly, following the direction of the bristles - never swirl or sweep back and forwards when cleansing) it should last you a very long time without fraying so I highly recommend it. :-)
The #275 is one of MAC's few angled shader brushes. Designed to fit into the contours of the eyes effortlessly, they generally work quite well for shading and defining the eyelid. MAC have both the #275 and the slimmer, denser #272 (also reviewed) which vary quite a lot and both have different uses.
This brush is hand assembled using only the finest materials and the head is arranged using cruelty free pony hair. It is incredibly soft and fluffy and feels luxurious on the skin. As it is 100% natural and so soft it does not work well with cream or water based products - it would simply absorb all the product and clump together - so only consider this brush if you use a lot of powder shadows. The head measures 11mm by 13mm at it's widest and highest points. It retails for £16.64 and is available from all MAC locations.
~ I personally like to use this brush for softly defining the socket liner / crease and the outer corner for a contoured, defined eye look. The brush head is just the right size to fit into these areas and the soft fluffed tip blends any lines effortlessly as it goes.
~ The angled head also lends its to highlighting the brow bone easily. The shape makes it easy to press directly under the brow and sweep across towards the outer corner in one go. Again, the soft bristles require little to no blending.
~ You can also use the #275 to shade all over the lid, although there are other brushes available both from MAC and other brands that work a little better for this. But just make sure that you point the angled downwards towards the inner corner of the eye and work outwards or the results may not be too even.
~ Lastly, I sometimes use this brush to contour smaller areas of the face such as the nose and inner eyes. Work especially well for the nose as the head is just the right size and doesn't apply too much product.
Overall, there is nothing amazing about this brush but it is nice enough to own regardless. Multi use and easy to use / hold but not a must have in my opinion. You definately don't need both this and the #272 in my opinion, so if you're after an angled brush I suggest you check out and compare both of them in person before making any decisions :-)
The #263 Small Angled is another brush I probably didn't need to buy! It's extremely similar to the #266 - just made from different materials - which I'm hard pushed to find all that many uses for either!
I bought it because I thought I might be missing out on something by not owning it, but I wasn't. (I've just about learnt my lesson now!)
MAC market this brush to line, shape and shade the eye and eye brow, but don't really go into much detail as to how to use it. It is made entirely of synthetic fibres and is fairly dense to the touch. It measures 8mm wide by 9mm at the highest point of the angle. It reatials for £12.72 and is available from freestanding and Pro stores, as well as online at www.maccosmetics.co.uk.
As this brush is 100% synthetic, it should in theory, work well with cream, liquid / emolient based products, so I primarily find myself using it with those. It's uses include -
~ Lining the eyes with Fluidlines and other gel / cream liners. The brush picks up just the right amount of liner and lays it down smoothly with no clumps. The angled shape makes it perfect for winged or 'cat eye' liner. Simply point the angle inwards, press against the very base of the lid and drag halfway along the lid, then flip the angle the opposite way and work from the outer corner until you meet in the middle. Simple and quick - you just need a steady hand!
~ I also use this to press Fluidlines onto the waterline. Regular shaped liner brushes to not apply to this area very evenly, but with the #263 you can just tap it into place extremely easily.
~ You could also use this to fill in any sparse areas in your brows although I would actually recommend you pick up the #226 instead as it's blend of natural and synthetic fibres work better in my opinion.
Although synthetic fibres lay product down smoothly, they don't 'grab' or pick up powders all that well so it may take you a while to do your brows using this. Worth a try though :-)
~ As above, it doesn't work all that well with powders but if you do get it to work, it can do a nice job of dramatically shading and defining the crease of the eye. Either leave it unblended for a Sixties or Twiggy-esque look, or soften the line with a cotton brush or softer brush for a lighter finish.
So, overall... I wouldn't overly recommend this brush. As it is the same size and shape as the #266, I'd say pick that one up instead as it can do everything this one can and a lot more besides that! I don't think you need both and this is definately the less useful of the two.
The #222 is another of MAC's blending brushes. Each brush is a different size, shape and serves a slightly different purpose. That said, I don't think you need every single one, but with so many to choose from it can be hard to work out which would be best for you.
This brush is one of MAC's slimmest blenders. It is made from extra soft, cruelty free white goat haird arranged into a long, slightly tapered bundle. The brush head measures just under 20mm long by under 10mm wide and it is quite flexible under only a small amount of pressure. MAC market the #222 as a tapered blending brush to apply, contour and highlight with using powder based products and it retails for £16.64 currently. Unfortunately it is not available from counters within department stores so you will need to order online or go to a freestanding or Pro store.
I'll start by saying that I rarely use this brush on myself or others, so that says something itself really! However, some of it's uses -
~ First and foremost this is a blending brush, so if you have any unblended or harsh lines in your eye makeup, simply take this brush and buff the edges lightly until they are softened and diffused. It's not the best brush for this as I find the bistles tend to bend under only a tiny amount of pressure - causing the handle to move, but not the brush head itself!
~ The slim head of the #222 fits into the crease or socketline of the eye with ease. If you want to contour or define your eyes / bone structure, gently sweep a darker shade of eyeshadow back and forth through the crease using this brush.
~ I sometimes use it to highlight my browbone. The small size fits well under the eye brow and applies just the right amount of product. Perfect for overly shimmery shades, which can apply too densely with some other brushes.
~ The #222 can also be used for under eye concealer if required. Although there are better better brushes out there for this purpose (I recommend MAC's #224), it will work well if it's all you have. Dab the concealer under the eyes in 3-4 dots before taking the fluffed, rounded tip of the brush and buffing it gently in small circles until completely blended.
Those with deep set eyes and / or prominent tear troughs may also find it beneficial to dip this brush in a tiny amount of highlighter / brightener (I use Benefit's High Beam) and sweeping it through the indentation to help reflect light away from the area.
You would be hard pushed to apply eyeshadow effectlively all over the lid with this brush - it's just too slim and flexible - so I don't really recommend it all that much. I have plenty of other brushes that work a lot better than this one, so I suggest you take a look at what else MAC has to offer before buying this one. It's too soft, too bendy and can be quite hard to control sometimes.
The #212 Flat Definer Brush is another one of my brushes that I sometimes look at and think 'Why did I buy that again?!". It's useful enough, don't get me wrong but by just looking at it you wouldn't really be inspired as to how to use it. It's a slightly wierd shape and you don't tend to see many similar to this for sale elsewhere and you'd be hard pushed to find one from a cheaper brand. But I love my brushes so I bought it anyway, determined to put it to good use!
MAC market this as a brush with which to line and define the eye. It has a small rectangular head - just under 10mm wide by 7mm high - and is hand assembled using synthetic fibres. Although the MAC website state that this brush is firmly bristled, I disagree. The bristles are rather flexible and move easily under only a light amount of pressure. It retails for £14.68 and I believe it is only available from Freestanding or Pro stores (as well as online).
~ The main way I use this brush is to highlight my brow bone. I usually do so using a cream (MAC Creme Colour Base), pencil (Benefit High Brow) or liquid (Benefit High Beam) and so a synthetic brush works best with these formulas. I simply dab the product under the highest point of my brow and blend downwards using the #212. The slim shape make defining easy, it doesn't move the product around my eye too much, keeping it right at the arch of the brow - perfect if you want a super define, eye lifting finish.
~ You can also use this brush to 'tightline' the lashes - basically pushing a dark shade of powder / liquid / gel into the very roots of the upper lashes to make them appear thicker. Simply dip the tip of this brush into the product than wiggle it densely through the base of the eyelashes. Very helpful if you have blonde lashes or if you wear dark eye makeup but sometimes find this area stays paler than the rest :-)
~ The #212 works well with Fluidlines and other similar eye liners. Due to the wide arrangement of bristles, you can line the eyes easily and quickly. Those newer to emolient liners may find it easier to 'stamp' this brush along the lashes in seperate strokes, whilst those who have got the hang of liquids can simply drag the brush along in one quick swoop.
~ Lastly, I have used this to line and define my lip line too. Perfect if you've forgotten your lip brush or are working with dark or bright colours that tend to look sloppy if applied direct from the tube. Simply dab this brush into the lipstick before pressing it onto the lip, following the natural curve / line of the lip. You can also use to it apply lip products all over, for a sheer, 'worn-in', stained finish.
Overall, although I have found a few ways to use this brush, it is still one of the least touched of my collection. I have plenty of other brushes that can do this one's job just as well plus more, so I won't say it's a must have and I wouldn't be surprised if this one goes Pro only - or even discontinued - in the future.
This is a strange looking little brush. As you can see from the photo above, it's a small serated fan shape and it looks more like a face / cheek brush than something you would use on your eyes in my opinion. I purchased this more out of curiosity than anything else and although it has its advantages, I definately wouldn't say it is a must have as I don't think the average many user would find it all that helpful.
The #205 is hand assembled using the finest materials (just like any other MAC brush) and the bristles are made from firm, yet slightly flexible synthetic fibres. They are tapered and become less dense as they reach the tip of the head, whilst the base is quite sturdy. The fan measures a little over 15mm at it's widest and around 10mm high from the base.
This brush is only available from Pro Stores unfortunately (perhaps Freestanding too - I'm not entirely sure), and retails at just under £16.00 if I recall correctly.
~ I bought this brush mainly to use on other people. I am always looking for clean and sanitary ways to apply mascara to others, and those disposable wands don't always do the trick. I needed something easy to use that I could clean well after each use and this brush seemed like it would be useful for this.
~ It also works well for applying cake mascaras or MAC Fluidlines on the lashes. Great for bright coloured eyelashes! Though since Fluidlines are not really intended for this use, they only add colour - not much thickness or length. So really it's best if you just want coloured tips to bring out your eyes or for a party look etc.
~ By dipping the tip into a dark creme or gel liner and wiggling it right into the base of the lashes - aka tightlining - your lashes look plusher and healthier in an instant. Sometimes mascara wands are too large to reach this area, but the #205 fits in perfectly.
~ You can also use it after mascara, to comb through and seperate lashes if required.
When it comes to mascara application, this brush only applys a thin layer so if you want thick, volumized lashes then it won't be for you. It also takes a fair while longer to apply your mascara if you're using this, so for those of you who don't have an extra five minutes spare every morning, you may want to stay away!
This definately isn't a must have brush and I wouldn't really recommend it to others. If you are a makeup artist and want to try a new way of applying mascara to clients then try it out, but for regular, every day use it's not all that useful.
That said, if you want very natural, long and seperated lashes and can't seem to find a mascara wand that gives you this - then try it out and you won't be dissapointed :-)
I bought the #252 Large Shader brush 2 years or so ago now, along with my first ever purchase of a MAC Paintpot. I had done a little research before and decided this was probably the best brush to get, so when the MAC Sales Assistant confirmed it, I was eager to purchase. I already owned the smaller version of this brush (#242) but wanted something that would apply product quicker and easier, but without losing too much detail.
The #252 is designed for shading the eye with both powder and emolient based products. The brush head is a dense yet flexible square shape that measures 13mm wide by 17mm high. It is a mixture of synthetic fibres and cruelty free hair, making it perfect for creamy, emolient products as some all natural fibre brushes tend to absorb too much product and leave streaks.
This currently retails for £19.57 and can be bought from any MAC location or online.
Due to the size and shape of this brush, there are lots of different ways to use it. Some of my favourites include:
~ Applying MAC Paintpots or other similar products all over the lid, to either wear alone or as a base. The bristles do not absorb too much product and it smoothly applies leaving no clumps or streaks. I like that it is a larger brush as it makes this process a lot quicker than when using a smaller one!
~ As with the Paintpots, you can also use this brush to apply powder shadows all over, covering a large amount of lid at one time. Perfect if you're in a rush or only want a simple wash of colour all over. Not so good if you are after a more precise, detailed look - in which case it's smaller sibling, the #242 may be better for you! Works very well with matte shades too.
~ I use this brush to apply my MAC Creme Colour Bases directly under the brow for a polished and super defined highlight. Some brushes cause the CCB's to apply with blotches, but this one works brilliantly, especially if you tap or press onto the skin rather than sweeping.
~ Also useful with concealers, especially cream types. The size and mixture of fibres works great for the undereye area and applies and blends the product like a dream. Some all synthetic concealer brushes tend to leave it a little streaky, but the natural fibres in this brush create a soft, diffused finish.
~ Lastly, I also use this brush to apply and smooth Benefit's "High Beam" onto my upper cheekbones and temple areas. It covers a large area at a time and leaves a gorgeous glow behind - though you may benefit from smudging further with your fingertips afterwards to ensure there are no harsh edges.
So, overall I really love this brush! Super useful and super versatile, I definately recommend it if you plan on using a lot of creamy or gel based products. I'm sure there are many more uses that I havn't discovered or read about yet - but if not, there's still enough up there to warrant getting one in my opinion! :-)
Maybe compare this in real life to the #242 before purchasing, as those with smaller faces / eyes may prefer that one.
I bought this brush as I didn't have many other angled eye brushes and thought I may be missing out on something amazing. When I recieved it it was much thinner / flatter than I had imagined it would be and so I struggled to think of ways to use it. I played around with it a little and decided to try it out the next time I applied my eye makeup and soon discovered a few of it's uses.
The #272 is a flat eyeshadow brush which has a slight angle at the tip. It is hand made using only the finest materials and the bristles are made from cruelty free goat hair. The head measures just over 10mm wide by 11m high at the highest part of the angle. MAC market it simply as a powder eyeshadow brush and it currently retails for £16.64.
~ This brush does a good job at applying eyeshadow quickly, as a wash, all over the lid. By pointing the longer side of the angle downwards, you can easily reach the inner corner of your eyelid, creating even and precise results. Brilliant with softer, lighter shades but doesn't work quite so well with darker or brighter colours as you need something a little more dense to apply those ideally.
~ Flip the brush around (so the long side of the angle points outwards) and press into the outer corner of your eye lid to create depth and define the 'outer v'. Placing a darker shade in this area and blending inwards looks really effective and professional, and will make close set eyes appear further apart.
Using the same technique but with a paler shadow, you can highlight the inner corner / tearduct just as easily.
~ You can shade and define the crease or socketline very intricately using this brush. Whilst some larger or more fluffy brushes can create a large, almost 'messy' crease, the slim #272 adds just the right amount easily. You can either leave it defined (for a 60's or 'twiggy' type look) or go over a few times to soften the line a little more. Perfect for those with smaller eyes who find most crease brushes too large.
~ The angled shape of this brush makes it perfect for highlight the brow bone. You can really push this brush up under the eye brow to lift and define it. I like using a creamy matte shade, one to two shades lighter than my skintone.
~ You can also hold the brush horizontally away from the face and use the edge to line the lower lashline with colour. Using short, quick strokes will result in a soft, diffused line of colour which looks great on everyone and every eye type!
Overall, I wouldn't really call this brush a must have as I have others that do the same plus more. The shape is interesting and useful though, so maybe check it out in person if you think it could be of some use to you.
There is another angled brush - #279 - which is similar but fluffier, so works as a nice blending brush too - I suggest you see which you would prefer before committing to this one :-)
The #225 Large Tapered Blending brush was the last MAC brush I bought. I always considered purchasing it, but it's very large and by looking at it I could never really see many ways of using it. However, it eventually became the only eye brush I didn't own and so one day I bought it for the sole reason of completing my collection (silly, I know!) and I'm glad I did since I have since discovered plenty of ways to use it.
The shape of this brush is just as the picture above shows. Long and tapered with a fluffed, rounded tip. It is made from cruelty free pony hair and is soft and flexible, yet slightly firm at the same time. The bristles measure just under 25mm at the longest point by 15mm or so at the widest.
It retails for just under £25.00 and is no longer available online or from MAC Counters within department stores, but can be purchased in Freestanding or Pro stores. Looked after correctly, it will last you years and years.
~ Firstly, although it is marketed as an eyeshadow brush, as it is quite large it has many other uses. I like to use it to apply lighter, water based concealers to the under eye area. By placing three or four dots of product under each eye with clean fingertips then blending in small circles using the #225, a soft, diffused effect is easily attained. It wont work so well with 'harder', creamier concealers however.
~ It also works well to apply powder under the eyes to set concealer. Whilst some larger, firmer brushes can move and dislodge concealer, the size and shape of this one means it only applies a light layer - which will also discourage creasing or settling into fine lines.
~ I sometimes use this to apply my face powder. Although it seems tiny - it works! If I'm wearing a creamier, dewy or satin finish foundation, larger brushes sometimes apply too much powder which creates a too-matte finish. Using this brush I can apply a small amount of powder to shiny areas only - keeping that dewy finish it takes so long to perfect! ;-)
~ It's great for contouring the nose and temples too, great if you want to fake perfect bone structure! Many contouring brushes are too large for the smaller areas of your face like these, but this one is perfect and works just as well with the paler, highlighting shades too.
~ Last but not least, it's great for blending eye makeup too. If you've created too harsh a line, then use this brush either clean and dry or with a matte shade similar to your skintone and buff lightly back and forth over the line until it appears softer and more diffused. It may be a little large for some eyes though, so I suggest checking it out in person before buying or go for the safer option - the similar shaped, but smaller #224.
Overall, although I bought it for a bit of a silly reason - I'm glad I did! :-)
It has become quite useful in my brush collection, but I wouldn't really recommend buying for the eyes only - it's a little on the large side. But for contouring or apply powder to smaller, harder to reach areas of the face it works extremely well.
I'm sure there are other brushes out there that could do it's job though, so I won't say it's a must have....
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.
I received this brush as a gift a year or so ago and I am very pleased I did as although it has many different uses and has become a firm favourite of mine, I doubt I would have purchased it myself as it doesn't appear all that useful at first glance.
I have plenty of other similar shaped brushes so I thought I could give this one a miss, but the flat, synthetic bristles lend themselves to many, many uses making the #231 Small Shader a great brush to own in my opinion!
This brush is made with firm, synthetic fibres, neatly arranged into a small paddle shape. MAC claim it is a 'precision application and blending brush' that works with both powder eye shadows and emollient / cream based products. The brush head measures 6mm wide and is just under 7mm high at the tip - very small. It retails for £12.72 and is available online at maccosmetics.co.uk or from freestanding / pro stores. (I don't think counters within department stores stock this, though don't quote me on it).
~ Due to this brush being made from synthetic fibres, it works very well with MAC Paintpots or Fluidlines. The bristles pick up just the right amount of cream products and apply them smoothly without leaving any harsh streaks behind. The small size lays them down neatly onto the lid, perfect if you need a detailed finish.
~ The size of the #231 also means that it is perfect for priming the lower lash lines, either with Paintpots or UD Primer Potion etc. Some larger brushes apply the product too low down the lower lid, which not only can look messy but can dry out the skin / cause concealer to look crepey etc. Look up whilst you apply and you won't get any in your lashes either!
~ Although I generally prefer using this brush for emollient products, it does work well with powders too so it's a great brush to use if you want to densely shade small areas of your lids with colour. Great if you are going for a multicolour rainbow look or even just to spot highlight the tear duct. I wouldn't recommend it for using all over the lid as it would take forever, but for small areas it works well.
~ You can use the tip of the #231 to apply Fluidlines or other gel liners to the upper lashline. Holding the brush out at a slight angle away from the face and sweeping it gently along the lashline results in a soft, yet defined effect.
~ By again coating the very tip the bristles with a natural coloured powder, cream or gel product and pushing it into the very base / roots of your upper lashes you can fake thick, plush lashes. Many larger brushes would simply make a mess if you tried this, but the small head of the #231 works well. You can also use the flat side to press Fluidlines on to the waterline if needed :-)
~ Last but not least; I have also discovered that this brush works very well with concealers to cover pimples / small blemishes. Although it would take forever to conceal undereye circles using it, it gets to work quickly on smaller areas of skin, disguising any flaws effortlessly. As it is synthetic, you can use liquid and cream concealers without clogging up the bristles.
Overall, this is a great multi use brush! Don't let the size put you off - often the smallest brushes are the most useful and it's definitely true in this case.
Great for both powders and emollients and both the eyes and the face. I may possibly get another of these sometime in the future and until then I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a detailed, easy to use and affordable brush. It will last years and years if cared for correctly too - so great value in my opinion :-)
I usually highlight both my skin and eyes using Benefit's High and Moon Beam's but those two colour choices get boring fast and so a while ago I decided to try and find a similar product, but with a few more colours available and as per usual I decided to look in my MAC store first where I found the 'Creme Colour Bases'.
'Creme Colour Bases' or 'CCBs' as they are more commonly known are versatile and have many different uses. They can be used on the eyes, cheeks or lips (though some shades are not suitable for the lips - a small leaflet is included in the box stating which). They can be applied to bare skin or layered over any other makeup be it foundation, moisturiser or even powder products. They promise to be 'smooth and easy to use' and offer either a light veil of colour or a deep, dramatic finish depending on the amount and application technique used.
There are a few different finishes available, ranging from metallic or frosty to flat creme shades that give a really nice, glossy finish. There are currently eight shades available from your MAC counter or online, though the Pro stores / websites have a lot more to offer so if you live near one of those definately check them out there instead.
They are fragrance free and non-comedogenic so suitable for even the most sensitive of skins. They retail for £11.74 each per 3.2g and are found under the 'multi-use' section of the website.
Firstly, 'CCBs' do not bode well in cold weather so be sure to keep them at 'normal' room temperature if possible or they will be harder in both texture and to use. It's sometimes useful to pop it in your pocket for a minute or so before use to warm the surface up. The texture is light and creamy, almost gel like and can be applied with either fingers or a brush.
Some of the ways I use them include:
~ To highlight my browbone. I like to use a subtle shimmer shade and push it right under the highest point of my arch to define my eyes. I like the 'CCBs' as they have an almost two tone effect - turn your head one way and it's barely visible, turn it the other and you see the shimmer. Really stands out and looks great in my opinion. I use the MAC #242 brush to apply here.
~ To highlight my cheekbones. I use a larger, fluffier brush like the MAC #225 to lightly swirl this product onto my cheekbones. Once blended this product really catches the light and looks more natural than most powder highlighters. My favourite shade for this is 'Pearl'.
~ Flatter colours such as 'Virgin Isle' (a gorgeos glossy coral) make great cream blushes that are easy to apply and last all day. I tap the product on my cheeks with my fingers then blend with a small brush or just use my fingers again. They give pretty, natural flushes to my cheeks that cannot be achieved with most regular blushes in my opinion. I sometimes use the paler frosty shades very sparingly across my middle upper lip to accentuate the cupid's bow too.
~ I rarely use these for my lips as my lips are usually dry and as well as being slightly drying to this area anyway, I find the 'CCBs' tend to settle into dry areas which is not an attractive look.
I'm sure there are a few more uses that I havn't discovered or heard about yet but they definately are a multi use product so worth the money in my opinion! The only downside to these products is I find that some of the shimmery shades fade rather quickly once on the skin. The creme shades last all day without a problem but sometimes the frosty ones don't which is a little annoying as I prefer not to have to touchup my makeup at all if possible. However, this doesn't happen to everyone so I guess it's something you just have to try out. Perhaps pop into MAC and ask an SA to try one on you then see how it wears throughout the day? If it does last though, I really recommend them as they're useful to own and pretty to look at :-)
I have been using a lot of Dr. Nick Lowes skincare lately, and my most recent purchase has been his "Purifying Foaming Cleanser". It is part of the 'Anti Blemish' range is available from Boots - both online and in store.
Dr. Nick Lowe is an internationally established dermatoligist with over 30 years of experience. He uses cutting edge technology and strongly believe that youthful, healthy skin lies in a simple yet regular skin care regime. He boasts of his 'Cranley Complex' - a 'combination of naturally derived oil-controlling active ingredients and calming agents which target bacteria and regulate over sebum (oil) production'. It all sounds very promising and I have been happy with the results of his other products so I was willing to shell out the case for this one too.
This cleanser promises a deep cleansing action which replenishes and brightens the skin. It is an anti bacterial face wash enriched with his 'Cranley Complex' to deep clean pores and lift daily impurities. It uses gentle exfoliators (chemical, not physical. There are no micro beads or anything in this.) to slough away dead skin cells.
Active ingredients are: Salicylic Acid, Willow Bark and Arnica known for their cutting edge anti-bacterial efficacy, Niacinamide to help target skin that is prone to spots and blemishes and Vitamins A, C and E to 'maximise the skins absorption'.
It claims to leave skin deeply cleansed, refreshed and brighter and is dermatologically tested.
This cleanser is packaged in a simple white bottle with a pump on the top. It has a clear lid to keep it clean and hygenic and is easy to use - one full pump releases just the right amount of foam for each wash. Any infomation and directions needed are also printed on the bottle so you don't need to keep the outer packaging. It has a shelf life of 12months and retails for £9.74 per 150ml.
The "Purifying Foaming Cleanser" has a slight 'medicated' scent, but nothing overpowering at all so I have no complaints there. It has a light, foamy texture that is unlike most of my other cleansers. Lighter and less dense than say, a shaving foam, it spreads easily over the face and doesn't feel sticky or anything. I use every morning and night after splashing my face with warm water. At night I remove all makeup using a cleansing balm prior to washing with this. I press into my skin using firm, circular motions all over or pump a little onto my cleansing brush and work it into the skin that way. As there are no physical exfoliators in this it doesn't really feel like it is doing much but once dried the skin feels soft and smooth. I follow with my regular moisturisers.
I havn't experienced any sensitivity to this product, however it did make me break out a little, but this was somewhat expected by me as I had to take a short course on skincare with my Uni course and discovered that some stronger, more medicated cleansers such as this will penetrate the pores and force any existing dirt / underlaying pimples to the surface quickly - causing your skin to 'purge' before clearing. It makes sense really... I had blocked pores to begin with and this product brought them all to the surface at the same time. Either way, it's not a problem as they went away in a few days leaving behind clear, uncongested skin :-)
Since this initial breakout my skin has cleared up a lot! I find that my breakouts are a lot more sporadic now and my skin looks and feels a lot nicer all over.
It has really smoothed, exfoliated and tightened my skin leaving it cleaner and more brighter. Teamed with my Dr. Nick Lowe spot gel this product has worked really well on my skin. I still use a physical, grainy exfoliator once or twice a week to really renew the skin, but this definately does it's job.
Overall it is easy to use, relatively cheap (I will update with how long one bottle lasts, used twice daily) with great effects. I recommend it to anyone with slightly problem skin! Although I have found it can be ever so slightly drying (probably due to the Salicylic Acid) so be sure to moisturise lots too.