A Guide to MAC Eye Brushes

Hello my dears!! I thought I would put together a guide to MAC’s eye brushes after my recent acquisition of the 226 and the 214. I wanted to write this because there is a lot of hype around MAC brushes, and while many of them are absolutely amazing brushes, quite a few I could do without. I’d like to help you ladies save some money where you can and point you in the direction of their stand out brushes! I wouldn’t really call these little snippets “full reviews”, more like my overall opinion on each brush. Hope this helps!!

* denotes brushes that I recommend and would repurchase
**denotes MUST HAVE brushes… in my opinion, of course!

MAC 208 — Angled Brow Brush ($20)*

Synthetic/natural hair blend. I really like this brush and use it daily. It is very dense and small. I think it works best with powder products, but you can use it with gel/cream liners. I typically use it on my brows or when applying eyeshadow to the lash lines.

MAC 210 — Precise Eye Liner Brush ($20)*

Synthetic. This is a super fine liner brush that is perfect for applying gel liner. I really love this brush, but you can find cheaper alternatives at the art store if you are on a budget. If you purchase the 210, make sure to keep the clear plastic bristle protector that comes with it! I’ve had mine for over a year and it is still in perfect condition.

MAC 212 — Flat Definer Brush ($24)

Synthetic. Also called a push liner brush; I use the 212 to apply eyeshadow to the lash lines.  I have a love/hate relationship with this brush. The bristles are very soft, which I love, but it is very wide which makes it awkward when you try to follow the natural curve of your eye. I probably wouldn’t repurchase.

MAC 213 — Fluff Brush ($25)

Natural hair. I have had this baby for over ten years and it was my first MAC brush. The 213 is a very basic eyeshadow brush that I don’t reach for often. If someone were just starting out and wanted a brush to apply shadow to the lid softly, then this would be a great choice. I’m glad that I have it, but I wouldn’t consider this a must have.

MAC 214 — Short Shader Brush ($25)

Natural hair. I recently purchased this at the CCO and I think it is a decent brush. Typically this brush would be used for smudging or applying eyeshadow along the lash lines. The bristles aren’t as soft as I like and Revlon does a better version of this brush for a third of the price.

MAC 217 — Blending Brush ($24)**

White goat hair. I absolutely love this brush and cannot recommend it enough! Many companies try to duplicate its majesty, but none compare to the 217. This brush can apply color softly and blend like no other. MUST HAVE.

MAC 219 — Pencil Brush ($25)**

White goat hair. There a plenty of pencil brushes in the world but few are as soft or as pointed as the MAC 219. You can use this to apply/blend shadow on the lash lines or do precise crease work. Definitely a brush that I recommend and use on a daily basis.

MAC 224 — Tapered Blending Brush ($30)*

Goat hair. The 224 is a brush that I use daily but not one without its faults. It sheds more than I’d like, is somewhat scratchy and I wish it were more densely packed. I use this to apply my transition shade or for overall blending. This brush may be a bit too big for ladies with small eyes. I have tried to find a better alternative but have yet to find a replacement.

MAC 225 — Large Tapered Blending Brush ($36)*

Pony hair. The 225 is a larger, softer version of the 224. I use it for overall blending and it can be used on the face as well. While it is discontinued, you may still be able to find this at a CCO.

MAC 226 — Small Tapered Blending Brush ($25)
[limited edition]

Goat hair. The 226 brush came out with a few different collections and I recently found mine at the CCO. This brush is used for defined crease work. Sigma (E45) does one that is somewhat similar as does Louise Young (LY38). I find the 226 precise but slightly scratchy.

MAC 227 — Large Fluff Brush ($30)

Goat hair. This brush is HUGE. Honestly the only thing the 227 is good for is applying a wash of color and there is no reason to spend $30 on a brush for that purpose alone. EcoTools makes a great dupe for this brush that is much, much softer.

MAC 239 — Eye Shader Brush ($25)**

White goat hair. The 239 is used to pack on color. Although that is its only purpose, I consider this brush a must have! It has the perfect width, density, and its bristles grab and deposit shadows perfectly. Because it is natural hair the 239 works best with powder products.

MAC 242 — Shader Brush ($25)

Synthetic. The 242 is similar to the 239 in that it is used to pack on color but it is slightly more versatile. You can use it with powder, cream or liquid products. While I like the 242, I much prefer the 239.

MAC 266 — Small Angled Brush ($20)*
Natural hair. This brush is similar to the 208 but the bristles are slightly longer and it is thinner. Like the 208, the 266 can be used on the brows or to apply liner/shadows to the lash lines. Overall I think it is a great brush and would definitely recommend.


(l-r) 227, 239

(l-r) 212, 214, 266, 208
(t-b) 225, 224, 217, 226

(l-r) 239, 242

Do you have any MAC brushes? Which are your favorite?

One thought on “A Guide to MAC Eye Brushes

  1. Vanessa N

    Oh man, I LOVE this post! I'm always hearing fantastic things about the 217, but I've yet to actually take the plunge and buy it…or any mac item for that matter ._.'

    I have no idea why anyone would buy the 227 considering it's size, price, and the fact that there's a dupe ._.

    Vanessa | Citron and Guavaberry ส˜‿ส˜ | Makeup & Silly things

  2. Hannah S

    They all look so pretty (I know that's weird referring to brushes as pretty but I love them!) This had made me want to go out and buy loads of brushes now lol!
    Hannah ๐Ÿ™‚ x

    Love, Life, and Makeup Blog/Twitter/Pinterest

  3. Stacey Jane

    Totally agree that the 217 and 239 are must haves, I have bought about 4 of each!This is such a great post for anyone wondering about Mac brushes xx

    Stacey Expat Make-Up Addict

  4. kissandmakeupsbeautyblog.com

    The 217, the 219 and the 239 are my three all-time favorite brushes! I cannot live without them ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Lucy Sprowell

    I have yet to buy a 217! This post has been really helpful, thank you!

    Lucy | Lucys Lifestyle

  6. Soledad

    Useful review!!
    Muy favorites are 239, 217 and also 252! Recently I bought 286 (duo tappered blending) which I loved! I use it to blend concealer.
    I read that 227 can be useful for highlight cheecksbones with mineralize skinfinish, but I do not have that brush to try!
    Can you do a post with a review of brushes for face and cheeks?

  7. Gemma Turner

    Oh wow this is such an helpful post! I don't own any MAC brushes, I have just bought a load of Crown Brushes which are amazing quality. I would love the 217 to try it and see how it compares to the rest of my brushes! xxx

    Gemma |Miss Makeup Magpie

  8. beautylovesbooks

    I really like 211 for gel eyeliner. My absolute favourite blending brush is 222 and I am so sad that it is discontinued. 226 is my close second.

  9. beautylovesbooks

    I really like 211 for gel eyeliner. My absolute favourite blending brush is 222 and I am so sad that it is discontinued. 226 is my close second.

  10. Nur Aza Mohd Farit

    What brush do you use to apply foundation on, Sarah? This very post is very informative and helpfull btw, tqvm! :))

  11. asianhomie101

    Holy crap this is such a useful post! Definitely favoriting this post so that whenever I do decide to take the plunge and buy Mac eyeshadow brushes, I know exactly what to get! Thanks dearie!
    <3 Pauline, ­­Addicted to Makeup

  12. Halima - Fashionicide

    Yes mama! Love love LOVE this post!

    Big fan of MAC brushes. My faves has to be the 217 and 219 for the whole blending and smoking out malarky.



  13. Anonymous

    what cco did you go

  14. Laura Mackay

    Hey there, just wanted to leave you a comment to say that I really liked thispost a lot, it was very helpful as i've been looking at investing in MAC brushes for a while but really didn't know much about the different types.New follower.Love Laura | A Scottish Lass ❤

  15. Rebekah

    Wow! Thank you for such a thorough review on all of these MAC brushes! I've been thinking about buy the 217 for months, and this review just made me want to go out and purchase it even more. ๐Ÿ™‚
    My Blog!

  16. maxine_marcelino

    thanks for such an informative post! my fave mac shadow brushes would have to be 217 and 239 though ๐Ÿ™‚


  17. sanam arzoo

    Thanks for visiting my diary and commenting during a constructive manner, following on already! nice diary your have-I notably enjoyed your post on top of as I simply attended a Smash box event wherever the conjure artists all used brushes to use foundation giving a pretty mat and even finish!
    cricket brush


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