Out of all makeup things, it seems like I’ve held out on investing in beauty tools the longest. It primarily has to do with budget and a laziness when it comes to maintaining brushes and sponges. But when I started receiving brushes as gifts (and started buying a few here and there), I was able to get used to clean-ups and decided that it was time to start investing in some premium picks. So I recently splurged on MAC Nutcracker Sweet Mineralize Brush Kit (USD 52.50)
Quick Specs: made in China
The Nutrcracker Sweet brushes are distinct due to their eye-catching pink-purple-yellow design that’s festive, but not entirely associated with Christmas. There is an included flat-ish zippered pouch to store the brushes in, and it somewhat resembles an old-school pencil case with its glossy, plastic material. Though it is quite cute to look at, the material of the pouch makes it a magnet for those phantom scratches while in the bag.
I specifically chose this duo-fiber set as I wanted to start using tools to work with cream formulas better and to perhaps start experimenting with mineral makeup. It’s always been just using fingers to get cream shadow or cream blush on, but I’ve seen how makeup artists are able to do precision application with brushes. I want in!
Here are the included brushes:
- 188 SE Small Duo Fibre Brush Face Brush — This is meant for highlighters and blushes, but I actually use it as a stippling brush for getting foundation on hard-to-reach places (e.g. corners of my nose, the huge pores on either side of my nose).
- 159 SE Duo Fibre Blush Brush — Pretty much serving its purpose. I use it to apply cream blush, and it is able to blend without disturbing the base makeup underneath.
- 287 SE Duo Fibre Eye Shadow Brush — It’s wide and flat (paddle-shaped), so I initially wrote it off as just another applicator for base shadows. However, I recently played around with my cream shadow stick and found that this does a swell job of blending for a gradient effect.
- Double Ended 283 SE Duo Fibre Small Eye Shadow and 286 SE Duo Fibre Tapered Blending Brush — 283 is the tinier version of 287, and I use it for applying/blending cream shadow on the area near the lashline. 286 is the discovery that has made me very happy, indeed. I have hooded lids, and contouring with powder eyeshadow can be so tricky for me. The tapered shape and the just-right width of the hairs help the shadow get right into the socketline without creating harsh lines.
If there’s one con, I’d have to say that it is the shedding. While the shedding isn’t heavy, the brushes definitely have to be handled with care, especially when washing. But this is not specific to this holiday set. Even the reviews for the individual, full-sized brushes say the same thing. So stick to lighter strokes and don’t rub down hard when washing.
Verdict: I’ve used synthetic fiber brushes before, but this is my first time to try duo fiber brushes. I feel like this is upping the game for me as learning how to use these feels like I’m navigating my way through the intermediate level of beauty tools. If you’re tired of using your fingers (read: messy!) to apply several types of cream makeup or you want precision with cream formulas, give these brushes a try. It is a value set, so you are getting more bang for your buck and more variety at the same time.