The 5 Essential MAC Brushes



 Top to bottom – Brush 217, 239, 266, 129, 137

For some years now, I’ve wanted to know more about MAC’s brushes which are used by many professional make-up artists. These brushes are among the creme de la creme in the industry and if you’d like to read more about MAC’s brushes, this is a good and informative article.

The extent of my knowledge on MAC’s brushes was pretty basic, I knew that if the number of the brush began with 1, it is a face brush. If it began with 2, it’s for the eyes and if it began with 3, it’s for the lips. Then there are the abbreviations SE and SH after the numbers. I knew that SE stands for Special Edition which are the short-handled/travel-sized brushes which usually come out in limited edition collections. SH stands for short-handled and although they have the same sized bristles as brushes in the permanent collection, these ones also come out in limited edition collections. The SE brushes are generally made in China whereas the other brushes may be either from France, USA or Japan (where they are made by one of Japan’s most well known brush manufacturers).

I was privileged to be given a 1-hour tutorial by MAC Senior Artist, Haritha Shan on the 5 essential MAC brushes. These 5 don’t include a lip brush which will be highlighted in another post. For now, these are the 5 essential brushes:-

  • 137  duo fibre brush (similar to 187) – fiber/synthetic
  • 129 powder/blush brush – natural hair
  • 266 small angle brush – synthetic
  • 239 eye shader brush – natural hair
  • 217 blending brush – natural hair

MAC brushes are multi-purpose, although they are said to be for eye shadows, often you can use them on other areas of the face.


The 137 stippling brush can be used to apply moisturiser before foundation. Use a circular motion when applying foundation.


128 powder/blush brush is particularly good for blush application. The fibers are soft and form a full, rounded shape. Dab powder in a circular motion.


266 angled brush can be used for eye and brow liner. For the brows, start lining from the edge and bring it to the front of the brows (towards middle of the face). To achieve the winged liner look, start from the outer to inner corners of eyelids.


The 239 eye shader brush is very suitable for applying pigments, just dab lightly into pigment bottle and use a dabbing and blending method on eyelids to prevent fall-out. I have already reviewed brush 217, the blending brush and still use it everyday as it’s very, very useful and indispensable.






When looking for brushes, take into consideration the price as well as quality. A good brush can be used for not just one purpose. You’d also want a brush that will last for years and that can endure numerous cleansing without losing any bristles.


  1. Yes, and add my favourite MAC 226 brush to the list please!! MAC’s 226 brush is a limited edition brush, and so do keep a lookout for it, and make sure you grab it the next time it is repromoted!

  2. Yes I love MAC brushes! I wish I can bag all of them home but their price tags are not so friendly haha>.< If they are going to have warehouse sales on the brushes, I will definitely make my way to KL to grab all of them!