For the period that I've been doing makeup, I have been using mostly inexpensive brushes that have served me well. Yet, I am still curious if pricier brushes would actually be better. No, I still can't justify spending over RM100 for a single brush. Two MAC brushes were given to me and I couldn't be happier. Happy that I no longer have the urge to buy expensive brushes, that is.
This post will be featuring the MAC168 Large Angled Contour Brush and MAC109 Small Contour Brush. Read on for the reviews and video tutorial... The MAC 168 is designed for application of cheek contour, which is something that I've been searching for since my Crown Brush one is scratchy. Made with natural bristles (albeit I prefer synthetic), the brush is soft and fluffy. Unfortunately, this isn't a positive feature for this brush. The sparse bristles make a mess by sweeping powder all over the pan but not picking up much product. They are also flimsy thus, if you're looking to use this for contouring, don't expect much precision. I was highly disappointed with this brush because it doesn't do what it's supposed to. I now only use it for applying bronzer or blush though I still prefer using my duo fiber brushes ( MAC187 and Silk Naturals MAC188 dupe ).
Retails for RM125 if the price hasn't increased or $32 USD. No way in hell will I ever pay that much for a brush like this.
MAC calls the 109 a Contour Brush but it's more acclaimed as the "next MAC187" which was ultimately more famous for being a liquid foundation brush rather than the intended powder brush. The head is about 2/3 the size of MAC187, which makes it really handy to get into tighter areas like the nose and under eye. The effect is quite similar to the MAC187's if the the stipple-and-buff method is being used. I find the best kinds of foundation to use with this brush are fast drying ones such as Revlon ColorStay and other liquid foundations with semi-matte or matte finishes. Those foundations tend to look streaky when applied with regular brushes or fingers. Using the stipple-and-buff method, the foundation blends easily eliminating streaks. I wouldn't recommend this brush with very "wet" (moisturizing/watery) foundations because the natural bristles will absorb too much moisture affecting the texture of the foundation.
On the down side, this brush isn't the softest and can feel slightly abrasive when buffing, On top of that, it bleeds and sheds endlessly. I've washed it about 4 times and it's still bleeding and shedding. The elf Powder Brush still gives the best effect for liquid foundations but the MAC109 is more suitable for working with fast-drying and streaky formulas. I've never used this brush for contouring so I can't comment on that. Although, judging from the size, it should be quite ideal to contour the cheeks with this brush.
RM125 (I think) or $32 USD. Acceptable brush but not really a must-have.
I've made a video showing how the MAC109 is used to apply liquid foundation: