It seems as though my mood as of late leans toward the review of beauty tools rather than makeup. Seems fitting, because I have been using several makeup applicators that I consider to be game-changers. As in, love at first swipe, and they haven’t left my rotation of daily tools ever since their discovery. One of the first rave-worthy tools that I ever invested in, even before the purchase of a limited edition brush set, is the MAC 217 Blending Brush (PHP 1,600 ; USD 25). And I’ll tell you why it has now become one of my absolute favorites.
Quick Specs: 17 cm ; made in Japan
Along the way on this beauty journey, I have picked up a few eyeshadow application techniques for blending and contouring. And for the longest time, I’ve done that with a trusty drugstore-bought Fashion 21 brush that I got in the early 2000’s. (And, by the way, that brush is still alive and kicking, FYI.) But during a MAC workshop, I was lent a 217 to try and imitate the Light and Bright eyeshadow look that was being demonstrated in front, and that was when my mind was blown.
Hmm… How do I break it down? The MAC 217 brush is such a success in the eyeshadow department due to two things: Its fluffiness and shape. From what I’ve read, the brush is made from goat hair that likely lends to its softness and fluffiness. And then those hairs are arranged in such a way that they taper just so at the tip, allowing it to pick up a lot of pigment in a few dabs. And then the fluffiness and the width of the brush help diffuse and blend the shadows evenly. That’s how it is capable of giving a hand with the gradient shadow effect.
As for maintenance and longevity, I find that 217 is no shedder, suffering little or no falling hair after regular washing (every 2-3 weeks). Depending on how you store them, the hairs on the brush occasionally fan out, though they haven’t affected overall brush performance in my experience. If you are strict about maintaining the shape of your brushes, however, don’t hesitate to get yourself brush guards.
Verdict: Are you all about gradients and shadow contouring? That’s when the 217 shines. It also works as a decent shader brush, so it was quick to become the only eyeshadow brush I carry around all the time in my travel makeup kit. And, yes, I liked it enough to get a backup. ‘Nuff said.