MAC Unsung Heroes: The 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush

Published in: MAC Makeup, Unsung Heroes

mac 188 small duo fibre face brush

I had a brush with a skunk today! And yesterday. And the day before that. Actually two skunks. The first was the MAC 187 Duo Fibre Brush ($42), lovingly referred to by some as “the skunk brush.”


Beloved by bazillions of MAC-aholics (like me), this black-and-white classic has a way with foundations, in particular, and can produce an almost airbrushed look.

Have you ever noticed how often it appears as a repromote in MAC’s seasonal brush kits? Yup, this stinker’s a popular product, and I like it, too, but I prefer its often overlooked little buddy, the 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush ($34).

With bristles fashioned from a blend of goat hair and synthetic fibers, this flat-top circular brush, a member of the MAC permanent line, excels at lightly applying liquid and powder products. The brush head is about half the diameter of the 187’s.

mac 188 small duo fibre face brush
So soft!

It’s one of my most frequently used beauty tools, and I reach for it daily to…

  • Apply liquid foundation. It’s not a heavy-handed brush and never leaves telltale brush marks on my skin, yet it’s still able to cover everything flawlessly.
  • Blend. I also use the 188 to blend under-eye concealer into my foundation, which I think it does seamlessly.
  • Apply powder blush. To give my cheeks a light flush, I swirl the 188 to apply powder blush on the apples of my cheeks. I don’t really use it for cream blushes or cream highlighters, though, as the soft, flexible fibers struggle to pick up denser products.
  • Apply powder highlighters like the MAC Mineralize Skin Finishes. I usually wet the brush first with a little MAC Fix+. Together I think the pair give a really pretty glazed look to skin.

While the 188 and 187 can tackle many of the same jobs, the 188 just suits me better. I feel I have more control with the smaller brush head, and it fits into the tight spaces around my nose and chin.


mac 188 small duo fibre face brush

mac 188 small duo fibre face brush

If you wear liquid foundations, liquid highlighters, powder blushes and/or powder highlighters often, consider adding the multitasking mini-skunk 188 to your makeup kit.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


The MAC Unsung Heroes series features some of my favorite products from MAC’s permanent collection


Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 21 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Tracy says:

    Definitely my favorite brush! I do want to get the 187 at some point, but I heart the 188!

  2. Vijaya says:

    I absolutely adore this brush. I use it every day!
    Vijaya recently posted … Linnaeus Cosmetics Review- The Maned Wolf Collection

  3. ReneeT says:

    Aaaaa-gree!!! I’ve been using it to do some detailed contouring with creme products as well…it stayed a little lonely in my kit for a while, but I’m so glad we have found each other again!!
    Great Unsung, Karen! Thank you, and Happy Friday!!

  4. Scazza says:

    I just got the Sonia Kashuk version for my highlighters/iluminators and it works so well. I was skeptical but it’s great.
    Scazza recently posted … scazzasofija- Toms of Maine is now in plastic tubes rather than recyclable aluminum Im totally bummed green

  5. Fieran says:

    Word! This brush is awesome. I use it for applying powder blush and it does a wonderful job. Just as good as my 168.

  6. Jessi says:

    I LOVE the 188. I only have a few MAC brushes but this is by far my favorite. I use it exclusively for cream blushes and I have to stop myself from using it everyday and actually use some of my podwer products. I want to get a few more of them to apply foundation, etc.
    Jessi recently posted … More 69 cent Wet n Wild Lipstick Swatch Spam!

  7. Tiffany says:

    Love this too! Use it all the time for highlighter!

  8. Tracy says:

    My favourite brush for highlighter for sure!
    Tracy recently posted … Becca Beach Tints

  9. Landers says:

    Have you tried the 130? It’s the only skunk brush I have, so nothing to compare it to. It’s my most used and loved brush by far, but I hope to get a 188 or 187 someday.

  10. Nikolas says:

    I love both the 187 and the 188, but yeah I love the 188 more as well because it’s smaller and I can really control the application of my makeup better, and I feel like the 187 is way too big for putting on blush & creme blush & highlighters… Lol and when I apply my foundation, I hate when it gets on my hair or my eyebrows so the 188 is the perfect size 🙂 And it doesn’t shed like the 109 lol 🙂

  11. natalie says:

    i use dior airflash so i spray my makeup right on the brush, is this good for that, i know nothing of brushes

  12. Nina says:

    the 187 kinda outshines this brush — but this brush is awesome for blush, cream blush and even setting powder for under eye concealer! 🙂

  13. Eesha says:

    Thanks Karen for reviewing 188. I have seen very few beauty gurus on YouTube using this brush. I would like to make it part of my face brush collection considering it’s versatility. Thanks again.

  14. shusheshe says:

    I have the Sigma version of this, which I’ve tried with liquid foundation. There’s streaks though which I have to blend away with my fingers.

    How do you not have to do that?

  15. I have it! and I don’t feel I need the 187 ^^

  16. Emmaline says:

    I was in love with this brush for the longest time, then I tried the 130 and it changed my life! I need to buy another. I use it for liquid foundation, creme blush, msf, blot powder, Bronzer, blending Concealer, basically everything but eye makeup. My 188 now only applies my strobe cream and my primer. I use my 109 for powder blush and msfn.

  17. steph b says:

    I love the 188 for blush. Blush totally scares me. I play with it all the time and try to get anything close to the natural looking flush y’all seem to get. The 188 and beauty powder can get me close. Anything else– same powder, different brush or blush with this blush — seems to cling weirdly to my skin, highlight my pores, and make me look blotchy. I used to use this for tinted moisturizer until you recommended the SK flat top brush and, now, the Sephora small airbrush foundation brush.

  18. Bonny Y says:

    Since you use your 188 for so many different purposes, do you own more than one? Just wondering since you use it wet to apply liquid and dry products.

  19. Savannah says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’m not sure if this has been answered, I’ve read multiple sites and I’m still unsure.
    My skin is sensitive to liquid foundation, and I only use powder foundation. For the longest time I’ve just used the sponge that comes with it, and I’ve just started using an extra blush brush I have to work it into my skin. I like the way it looks, and I’ve been looking for an even better brush for the job. Would you or anyone else reccomend this brush? Thank you !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge