MAC Unsung Heroes: The Marvelous Multitasking MAC 217 Blending Brush

Published in: MAC Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To, Product Reviews, Unsung Heroes

I was having coffee with my makeup artist friend, Melissa, last week, and in between bites of pumpkin pie we got into brushes. She brought up the marvelous multitasking MAC 217 Blending Brush ($22.50), one of my go-to faves.


With a goat hair fiber brush head, it applies and blends powder and cream products with much aplomb. I use it for everything from powder and cream shadows, to loose pigments, to under-eye concealer.

The domed brush head is neither too big, nor too small, and the rounded tip perfectly fits the nooks and crannies (like the crease, outer V and inner corner) around my eyes.

Cover Dark Circles with the MAC 217

Try covering your dark circles with one or two drops of MAC Fast Response Eye Cream ($30) mixed in with your regular liquid concealer and applied under your eyes with the MAC 217. The brush is good at very soft, light applications (the airbrush effect), and with this blend it works great for gals who need light to medium dark circle coverage.

You can’t go wrong with the MAC 217. I actually have two in my stash — one I use strictly for eyeshadows, and one for under-eye concealer.

PRICE: $22.50 (but it’s an investment)
AVAILABILITY: At MAC counters, stores and online

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. If you’re a MAC fan, get a load of this: the company just launched a new contest called MAC Me Over to find models for their fall 2011 color collection.


OOH! Pick me! Pick me! πŸ™‚

To enter, submit a video or a photo and finish this sentence: “MAC me over because ____” (full details here).

I think we should all go for it! Who’s with me?


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So far, 45 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Citrine says:

    Love that floral paper board you used as the background! Anyway, most of the time I like my blending brush fibers black, pigments on white brushes just irks me and makes me want to wash it right after each ruse (which I am too lazy to do anyway)…
    Citrine recently posted … Revlon Pink Pop Super Lustrous Lip Gloss

  2. Advah says:

    ^ I agree, I can’t stop staring at those flowers!

    Mm I’ve been looking for a GOOD blending brush for a little while, and it looks like it’s time to invest in one quality instead of considering buying several cheap bad ones (my usual technique).. I’m terrible at blending now matter how much time I spend on it, but I don’t know if I can blame it all on the brush!

    Only US residents. πŸ™

  3. Stephanie! says:

    Gosh… I just bought this brush two weeks ago, and not a day has gone by without me using it!! I love how it handles and how its so versatile.

    I thought it was a lot of money, but its actually very cheap for a blending – crease – outer V – under eye – and I can go on and on – brush πŸ˜‰

  4. gio says:

    I agree, the flowers in the background are beautiful.

    I heard raves about this brush and can’t wait to get my hands on it. My blending brush is becoming too old and ruined and would be a perfect replacement.
    gio recently posted … Wanted! Collistar Tameable Shaping Line for Curly &amp Wavy Hair

  5. Maria says:

    MAC recommended brush 224 for undereye concealer application, what are your thoughts on this brush versus the one you have?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maria,

      I think it’s fine for concealer application, but for me personally I think the brush head’s too soft. I like a bit more firmness, but then again I need medium to heavy coverage. If you only need light coverage and you already like the brush then you’re good!

      • Maria says:

        Thanks Karen. I may get the brush you mention and try both because 224 is also $30. What is your fave undereye concealer (or combo)? I’ve just been using MAC’s select cover up and that has been pretty good but I’m always looking for something just a bit better! (I’m very fair and I feel like my undereye circles are just black!)

  6. Anina says:

    I find that you can replace any of the MAC brushes with cheaper brushes, except this one. I can’t figure it out!

    This one is just un-dupable.

    (I’ve started using books as background for my product photos! Heehee)
    Anina recently posted … For doll lashes!

  7. Kim says:

    Oh, they should definitely pick you!

    The 217 would have come in handy this AM while I was putting on my pink shadow (with blue liner). Yes, that’s right… I’ve gone there! πŸ™‚

  8. Fieran says:

    I love this brush – coincidentally I have two of them. I use them to pat on eyeshadow colour and to blend a little bit, but my favourite blending brush is actually 224 because it is even better than this at blending the colours to give them a nice, smooth look. I also use the 224 to blend Mineralize Skin Finish Natural on the edges of my eyeshadow to soften them. Just my two cents πŸ™‚
    Fieran recently posted … An Eye Opening Trip to San Francisco

    • Karen says:

      The 224 is pretty rad; I really like that one, too, especially for very soft effects.

      Have you ever tried using it to apply color in the crease? I know a lot of people love it for that, but for me it just doesn’t work. The shadow ends up all over the palce.

  9. Nina says:

    i have the 217 and i love it. the only thing that bugs me a bit is that brush does have a tendency to splay … i make sure that when i wash it, i wrap it w/ a piece of tissue paper to make the bristles stay together! πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nina,

      I hear ya. One thing that also helps is re-shaping the brush bristles before you lay the brush down to dry!

      • Nina says:

        that too! πŸ™‚

        thats all i used to do until i saw a youtube vid about drying brushes. the guy who made the vid wraps the bristle part of the brush with regular ole tissue paper and just lets em dry that way. kinda like a DIY brushguard! πŸ™‚

  10. Missa says:

    I love 217, it was my first MAC brush. I use it for eyeshadows and also for applying MAC Moisturecover concealer.
    Missa recently posted … MAC A Tartan Tale Haul

  11. Ruchita says:

    I do love me a good blending brush! Right now, I am using one by Sonia Kaushuk that I really like. I have yet to expand into the world of more expensive brushes, but I think I would try this. Thanks for sharing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruchita,

      I gotta say, SK makes some fantastic brushes for the price point. I really like the ones she has with the black handles, especially. πŸ™‚

      What other budget brushes do you like?

      • Ruchita says:

        I like the Essence of Beauty brushes from CVS. I have a foundation brush and two eyeshadow crease brushes that I use on a daily basis.

        I have heard good things about Eco Tools as well, but I haven’t tried those yet.

  12. Gina says:

    This looks pretty similar to my Sephora #29 blending brush. I think it was about $2 cheaper, which isn’t much, and I think it’s made from different hair (since it has brown bristles). I never thought to use it for concealer, I might have to give it a shot!

  13. Lynette says:

    I adore this brush. I lost mine for about 2 weeks, and I freaked out. I felt like I couldn’t do anything without it! <3

  14. Appu says:

    Love the black and white background!!! I still haven’t “invested” in my MAC 217 πŸ™‚ I have some other crease brushes and I am kinda using the Loew Cornell dupe for the same and got it at Michael’s for $3. It works pretty well, but I think the MAC one might be a bit more softer πŸ™‚
    Appu recently posted … Smashbox Blush Rush in Chiffon

  15. ALEX says:

    I actually think this is pretty cost effective. I have had this brush since sophomore year of high school (I’m in my last year of college) and it still looks brand new in terms of shape and power (its not as white though…more like off white, which is not too bad considering I use this to darken my outer v).

  16. Janelle says:

    I LOVE this brush! Have you ever used the 219? I’m thinking about getting it, because it seems like it’s a similar-but-smaller version of the 217, which I could use for creasework or lining the eyes.

  17. kali says:

    Hey Karen,

    What MAC brushes do you like BEST for your eyes? I really need help with brushes. =O Would you say the 217 is best for blending? My eyes are sort of like yours.. Thanks!
    kali recently posted … My Birthday Giveaway Open!! Enter Now

  18. happybadfish says:

    I think I have four 217 brushes. You can never have too many. It’s on my list for something to get when I have spare cash.

  19. knownever says:

    I don’t think it’s as stiff as the MAC brush, but I’ve found an amazing vegan alternative to this in EcoTools’s five piece brush set. Unfortunately this eye shading brush isn’t available on its own but it gives that perfect diffuse look to powder shadows.
    knownever recently posted … Nail Of The Day

  20. The 217 was one of my first MAC brushes ever. It’s definitely one of the must have brushes.
    Jenn @ So Very Fabulous recently posted … IMATS Toronto 2010 Haul!

  21. Dea says:

    I have a story concerning that brush! One weekend I visited my parents and then I packed my things to leave again. The 217 fell on the floor without me noticing it. Next weekend I came back and found it, still lying on the floor. I picked it up and suddenly little parts of bristles fell down. SomeTHING had EATEN parts of the bristles on one side! I mean, which bug (or whatever it might have been) eats bristles?!

  22. Shanda says:

    Hey Karen, I know this is a weird question, but can you compare your two 217’s side by side. i just bought another one from MAC and when I compare it to the one I got at Nordies, there are noticeable differences. Has anyone else noticed this?

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