Tuesday, May 17, 2011

“Brush”ing Up on Makeup Applicators: M.A.C. Brushes vs. The Other Guys

In this economy, it seems that everyone is trying to save a buck where they can, which usually means that makeup brushes don’t rank very high on most women’s list of priorities. It has become a recent trend amongst my fellow beauty mavens to try out M.A.C. brush knock-offs. When it comes to makeup, I have never been traditional in my application (I’ve been known to use eyeshadow as eyeliner for the effect, and everyone always raves!), so on a "recessionista" budget I had to try a few out just in case there were brushes I could save some cash on. Here are my findings:


Contenders: M.A.C. 182 Buffer Brush vs. 182 Knock-off

The M.A.C. brush wins hands down. There really isn’t even a comparison to the knock-off and nothing positive to say about the particular one I used, therefore, I won’t even mention the other.

Winner (by a landslide): M.A.C. 182 Buffer Brush


Contenders: M.A.C. 239 Eye Shading Brush vs. 239 Knock-off

The M.A.C. 239 is supposed to be great for really packing on color. It was very stiff and quite dense, making it a “staple” brush. The 239 knock-off was less dense and had absolutely nothing special about it. It really was like an average brush that could be found at any drugstore; in fact, I’ve found better at the drugstore.

Winner: M.A.C. 239 Brush, a true staple in the brush collection of any makeup maven.


Contenders: M.A.C. 275 Medium Angled Shading Brush vs. Knock-off

This brush was purchased to use for my eyelid creases. I found that while it’s a great brush, and incredibly soft, it didn’t really work for the purpose I purchased it for because my eyelids are so small. However, I’ve found that this brush works really well for nose contouring! The knock-off was a dud. It was almost twice the size of the authentic so it became useless to me almost as soon as I removed the packaging. It also didn’t even resemble the authentic, which was pretty disappointing.

Winner: M.A.C. 275, because while it didn’t work for my eyes, at least I found another use for it, which is a way better ending to this story!


Contenders: M.A.C. 168 Large Angled Contour Brush vs. 168 Knock-off

The M.A.C. 168 Large Angled Contour Brush was soft, had smoothly cut bristles and was denser, resulting in it lasting longer. The knock-off was actually softer than the authentic brush, but not as dense and the bristles were choppier looking. This one is actually tough because even when using the same amount of pressure using both, the authentic applies heavier than the knock-off, making it slightly more difficult to control the amount of makeup applied.

Winner: The Other Guys, because I’m a control freak and prefer to start out with lighter application and apply more as necessary.


Contenders: M.A.C. 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush vs. Knock-off

The authentic brush was great! It was dense, really soft and required less pressure to achieve the desired effect. It is also pretty small, making it easy to control color and perfect for me because I have a small face. The knock-off was also really good; the density was great and it was soft. However it was larger (which doesn’t really work for me) and required more pressure, which sometimes makes my face itch.

Winner: M.A.C. 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush because it took much less work and gave me a better airbrushed effect.

In the end, I’d have to say that you get what you pay for. While I was able to enjoy a few of the knock-offs, as a whole, they didn’t compare in to the M.A.C. brushes in most cases.

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