Beginners MAC Makeup Brushes

Published in: MAC Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To, Video

The clouds parted, angels sang, and there they were — the four makeup brushes that rocked my world. Here’s a short video on the MAC makeup brushes I couldn’t live without. 🙂


Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 67 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Christina says:

    really adorable introduction. and it’s nice seeing the brushes up close and personal and having you tell us what they can be used for.

  2. Dao says:

    Love the way you talk about your 217! I’m lemming on one myself atm 🙂

    Dao´s last blog post..My Quest to the Perfect Gel Liner, Part 2: Coastal Scents

  3. Shefali says:

    Hey Karen! Nice vid. Funny…those were the first 4 brushes I ever purchased… EVER. Of course they were MAC. I love all of those brushes. I actually used the 252 for everything until I started reading beauty blogs and using the 239 as my HG shadow brush. However, I’ve recently gone back to using the 252 more. I need to use my 266 more often for brows, especially since your eyebrow tut last week.

    I just watched your Shopping Cart video…hysterical! Love it. Totally made me laugh and relax which I needed, because…we seriously just had an earthquake here about 25 minutes ago. Centered in San Bernardino. I’m in Pasadena and it felt horrible. I seriously dropped my laptop on the floor and ran out to get my little dude and hubs.

    OK I’m rambling…totally PTSD reaction.

    Anyway, thanks for the shopping cart vid. Totally made me feel better!

  4. I love your videos! You are adorable!

    You and I would so be best friends if I lived near you…

    The Fashionable Housewife´s last blog post..What Not To Wear

  5. Brenda says:

    I love your videos they’re really cute!
    BTW You have a nice voice.

    Brenda´s last blog post..FOTD: Half a geisha

  6. Debby says:

    wow great! and the best part is that mac is having a 25% sale right now!!

  7. pia says:

    The video reminds me of my missing 266! waaaahhhhh….that was my first MAC brush and I sulked for days when it was missing a couple of month ago. Couldn’t really afford it now as it’s wayyyyy too inflated in my currency.

    Great vid and you look stunning, Karen 🙂

    pia´s last blog post..Nail Color – December 2008

  8. Vanessa H says:

    You look so pretty Karen!
    Love the angled brush, it helped make my eyebrows look amazing lol. You know, there are some brushes at Target by Studio Tools (I think that’s the name..) that are pretty awesome for girls on a budget. The medium shadow brush is so awesome for blending and layering colors…and for an easy gray smokey eye.

  9. allie says:

    i absolutely love your videos!
    you’re adorable and informative and very engaging
    definitely continue to post videos on the blog!

  10. SP says:

    Loved the vid and also everything about your blog.

    Above all I admire your confidence 🙂

  11. Anna says:

    You’re really getting into the swing of the videos Karen !!! Very nice !!! I luurve the 217 too 🙂

  12. Sylvie says:

    Maybe they’re just French but the makeup artist at the MAC I frequent in Paris was horrified when I said I’d wet my brush tip to apply their eyeshadow wet. She said never to do that because it would spoil the powder and that that mineralized eyeshadows should be the only ones that can be used wet. I’m not sure if that’s true but I have noticed dark bumps on some of the shadows that I’ve used wet. Who knows.

  13. Jen says:

    Keep these up! The videos are awesome!

  14. ZAJA Natural says:

    Thanks for the lovely review!

    ZAJA Natural´s last blog post..Japanese Ume Flower Blossom Handmade Soap by ZAJA

  15. Nadia says:

    Ahhh you’re so cute!
    I’m not sure why but you kinda remind me of Reese Witherspoon! Maybe it’s the voice?

  16. katee says:

    I love that you are doing videos now! Fabulous.

    katee´s last blog post..OPI South Beach Collection Spring/Summer 2009 – Swatches Part 1

  17. Elle says:

    I love these videos, Karen! You look fabulous in them, too, btw 🙂 And who doesn’t love the 217?

  18. Candice says:

    I just bought the 217 online with the F&F sale…I can’t wait for it to come!

  19. Erin says:

    Thanks for this… I feel like there are so many MAC brushes that I don’t know where to start. This helped though!!

  20. Love the vids Karen, keep ’em up! I have all these except the large shader brush and love ’em all! So I have a question that maybe you can help with. Three of my brushes are SO old that the numbers aren’t even the same as the numbering system now and I am wondering if they are the same, but with different numbers. I think one is 34 (or thirty something) and looks like the 116 now. One is 124 and looks just like the 244. And the other is a 139 but looks like the 239 except it has black bristles. I believe they are all made in either Japan or France also (where ever they don’t make them now). Are these really the same brushes?

    Vampy Varnish´s last blog post..Dashing Diva Nail Polish

  21. Karen says:

    Hi Christina,

    Thanks! Are you new to MAC brushes, or have you been using ’em for a while now?

  22. Karen says:

    Hi Dao,

    It is a fantastic brush… probably one of my faves. 🙂

    Happy Friday!

  23. Karen says:

    Hi Shefali,

    Earthquake! Oh no… are you guys okay? I hope nothing fell off the shelves or broke. I was a teenager when our last big one in the Bay Area hit in 1989. So scary!

    That’s a coincidence how we both started out with the same basic brushes. I agree with you regarding the 239. It’s a fantastic brush. I really like it for getting color into the outer V (makes it so easy!).

    So did you get to treat yourself for studying this week? 🙂

  24. Karen says:

    Hi The Fashionable Housewife,

    Oh yah! I bet we would all hang out and have so much fun talking shop about makeup. 🙂

  25. Karen says:

    Hi Brenda,

    Thanks, hon! LOL, sometimes I’m still can’t believe that is what I should like. Does that ever happen to you?

  26. Karen says:

    Hi Debby,

    Sweeeeeet! Do you think you might get anything?

  27. Karen says:

    Hi Pia,

    Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that. Hopefully you’ll be able to find a nice equivalent. That’s a bummer though… I’d pitch a minor fit if I lost mine, too.

  28. Karen says:

    Hi Vanessa H.,

    I’ve seen those before and have always wondered about ‘ly seem. I am a junkie for shadow brushes so I’ll check it out. Maybe it will be the key to achieving smokey gray eye nirvana. 🙂

  29. Karen says:

    Hi Anna,

    LOL, the 217 is such a brush BEAST! I heart her. 🙂 What are you other fave MAC brushes?

  30. Karen says:

    Hi Sylvie,

    Hmm, that’s interesting, considering MAC actually makes and sells products like Mixing Medium to use with their powder products. I guess every artist has a different makeup philosophy.

  31. Karen says:

    Hi Jen,

    Thanks m’dear! Happy Friday. 🙂

  32. Karen says:

    Hi Katee,


  33. Karen says:

    Hi Elle,

    🙂 Thanks hon! Seriously… I need about three or four 217’s in my life. 🙂 What are your other MAC faves?

  34. Karen says:

    Hi Erin,

    Yay! I’m so glad to hear that this helped! After you get down these basics then you can move onto the other great eyebrushes, like the 219 and 239. 🙂

  35. Shefali says:

    Hey Karen! I’m actually going to treat myself in about 48 minutes, LOL. After I make this comment I’m going to take a shower and head over to Nordies. My MA wasn’t working until today (we text each other when new releases come out, LOL) so I didn’t go. I’m so excited, I can’t contain myself.

    That’s so thoughtful that you remembered I was treating myself!! My studying is going well. I’m passing the practice tests I’m taking which is a good sign!

  36. cloudburst says:

    Nice vid, short & to the point. Your first 3 choices are my favourite brushes too! I love the 252 – I should buy another one. Incredibly I don’t own a 217…but I will probabyly buy one soon. have you tried the new 226 released w/ BBR? It is fantastic for doing creases!

  37. cloudburst says:

    Oh I wanted to mention another favourite – the 231, a makeup artist recommended it in a magazine. It may look tiny, but it is a great rbush for laying down small areas of intense colour, also great for lining your eyes & I even use it to define my crease.

  38. Rachel says:

    I don’t know how I missed your videos. Seriously, I’ve seem a lot of crappy M/U videos, but I love yours. To the point, funny, and even occasionally featuring Tabs! Thank you so much!

    Rachel´s last blog post..Daisies and Hip Hop Don’t Mix

  39. Elle says:

    Hey Karen!

    No prob. 😉 I just got hooked on the 252 (nice for days when I’m really lazy and only feel like doing–the horrors!–one eyeshadow color 🙂 ), and I love the 249 for paint pots. I also still love the 239, the 266, the 181 for the Sonic Chic blushes (I went insane on that collection), and the 182 is awesome for my MSF natural that I use as a foundation. (Oh, and FYI–that foundation stick totally made me break out. I had to return it. It might not be the same on everyone, but I rarely break out from a product. I’m sticking to my MSF Natural as my foundation!)

  40. meimei says:

    Hey – I have both the #266 and the #224, and I can’t live without them either! I should check out the other ones as well – my other eye-makeup brushes right now are from Sephora and Smashbox (not to mention an excellent dollar-store find that I use for allover sheen), and I’m always on the lookout for better tools!

    meimei´s last blog post..I Wish I Had A Red Pen

  41. Gloria says:

    you are toooo cute!!!

    Gloria´s last blog post..New Year, New Hair

  42. Daya says:

    I’m in love with my 217-it’s my crease brush 🙂 Thanks for the new video!!

  43. simplicity says:

    Love your video & thanks for the introduction, Karen! 217 is a DOLL!

  44. Karen says:

    Hi Candice,

    NICE! I really hope you like it. It’s such a fantastic brush! Did you order any other brushes or products?

  45. Karen says:

    Hi Erin,

    You’re welcome! If you ever have any MAC brush questions I’m happy to help. 🙂 If I don’t know the answer I can try finding it for you, too.

  46. Karen says:

    Hi Vampy Varnish,

    Wow! That’s like a makeup final Jeopardy question! I wish I had the answer for you… but unfortch I don’t know. I haven’t heard of an older numbering system. I can always ask my MUA buds at MAC if you’re dying to know… just let me know.

    I gotta say, though, that’s a quite a testament to how long MAC brushes last. All of mine have the numbers rubbed off, too, LOL, and they are still going strong after all these years!

  47. Karen says:

    Hi Shefali,

    Hooray! You’re going to do great!

    What did you end up picking up from Nordies? That’s so cute that you and your MA text, LOL!

  48. Karen says:

    Hi Cloudburst,

    GIRRRRL you better get on it and get a 217 ASAP. It’s one of those life changing brushes, for sure!

    I went to go see BBR today and although I was very tempted by the 226 I ended up passing… I figure I’d mostly use it for detail work in the crease, which I end up using the 219 for anyway.

    I’m weirdly tempted by the 214!

  49. Karen says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I just started doing videos recently. 🙂 I hope to do ’em a few times every week… I like doing ’em. If you ever have a topic you want me to cover let me know!

  50. Karen says:

    Hi Elle,

    Oh, good to know about the foundation stick! I know you’re a MAC junkie, but have you ever tried Becca’s? I have the stick and it’s fantastic.

    I was eyeing the 181 today! It’s sooooo cute!

    I totally use the 182 as a foundation brush, too. I used to use the 190 but it takes me forever to blend foundation when I use it.

  51. Karen says:

    Hi Meimei,

    Some of the Sephora brushes are great! I have a few from the smokey eye kit and I like ’em.

    What Smashbox brushes do you like?

  52. Karen says:

    Hi Gloria,

    Awww, thank you!

  53. Karen says:

    Hi Daya,

    I *love* using the 217 in the crease. If I had a nickel for all the times I used that brush with Soft Brown in the crease I’d be a rich woman!

    BTW, what are your fave crease colors?

  54. Karen says:

    Hi Simplicity,

    The 217 ROCKS! What other MAC brushes do you like?

  55. Charlene says:

    WORSHIP U KAREN. u are so LOVABLE!!!! <33333

  56. meimei says:

    Karen, the newest brush in my arsenal is the dual-ended brow #12/liner #9 from the Smashbox Try Me kit. The #9 is fast becoming a favorite; it’s actually easier to work with than the other square-tipped eyeliner brush that I used to have (a Stila brush that has sadly gone missing… for now) because it’s much softer and less likely to poke me in the eye while I’m using it!

    On another note, you also sound and look so confident on camera! You’re practically a natural.

  57. Sylvie says:

    Well, maybe the mixing medium isn’t exactly water, and its chemical properties inhibit the growth of micro-organisms. Oh well, if a civilization of stuff establishes on my eyeshadow, I’m just going to throw it out and get a new one. It doesn’t cost that much. 😛

  58. lexi says:

    I’ve got all those brushes except for the #244 – I feel so proud and also I’m a real MAC hoarder! My oldest brush is my #266 – I’ve had it for more than 5 yrs – actually i think i need to replace it. even though i clean it regularly the bristles are kinda warped. I heart my 217 as well! I should experiment more with this brush – i only use it elementary by blending the outer corners of my eyes.

  59. Rach says:

    You’re freaking adorable. I have two of those; just need to get the 217 and the 252.

    Rach´s last blog post..TV inspiration and bedtime hair

  60. Karen says:

    Hi Charlene,

    You are so sweet. I am glad you like the vid! 🙂

  61. Karen says:

    Hi Meimei,

    I am intrigued by the #9 brush. I’m just getting into Smashbox so I’ll have to note that brush on my “to try” list. Thanks for the rec!

    And thanks for the complement about the video. Honestly I just try a bunch of times and pick out the one where I look the least dorky, ha ha!

  62. Karen says:

    Hi Lexi,

    I’ve had my brushes for hella long, too. Have the numbers on your handles disappered?

  63. Karen says:

    Hi Rach,

    Thanks, hon! It’s very nice to meet you.

    And girrrrrrl, seriously RUN, don’t walk, to your nearest MAC counter for the 217. Tis a fantastic brush. 🙂

    Are you a MAC addict, too?

  64. lexi says:

    yes i hate that the numbers rubbed off – i had my #15 stila brush for 10 years and the numbers haven’t rubbed off until now!

  65. Karen says:

    Hi Lexi,

    That’s amazing! I need to get on the Stila Brush Train, ASAP.

    Yah, I end up figuring out which MAC brush it is by looking at the shape of the head, as my numbers have also disappeared.

  66. natasha says:

    Karen what is your most favorite MAC eyeshadow brush that you can never live without?

  67. natasha says:

    Karen, I forgot to mention that I am thinking about getting mac 239 or mac 217 but honestly I just want one that can multi-task or will do everything lol

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