Monday, November 15, 2010

Stop Bagging On MAC Bags (Brush Sets That Is)

Every holiday season MAC releases brush sets, and every holiday season you hear bloggers saying not to buy them because the quality is not as good as the regular brushes. Well, I have nothing against those bloggers, but seriously, the brush sets are not as bad as people make them out to be. In fact, if the brush combo is right, the brush sets are GREAT!!

The brush hairs in full size and the sets are the same, the only difference is the full size are man made, and the sets are machine made.

The first negative I always hear is the brushes are scratchy. When machine made, there is a little more room for error, so some bristles might go in backwards. With face brushes, if a few bristles are in backwards, it won't make a difference, but with eye brushes, that can affect the feel.

I have both version of the 187 brush and I love them both! I can't tell a difference in feel or performance. And if you look close enough, you will notice there are more backwards bristles in the full size brush! I actually use the small set brush more because I like the short handle, so the bristles have spread out a bit more, but that is purely due the amount of use. The face brushes, which are most expensive, make the sets a great value and the quality is pretty much the same as full size!

With this 239 shadow brush, there is a slight difference in width, but nothing that affects the performance of the brush. There is only one type of bristle and since there is very little tapering at the sides, a backwards bristle won't affect the performance. From the side the thickness is pretty much the same:

Now the only time I think the set brushes are not good are when it comes to small eye brushes that are tapered, like the pencil brush or the angled brush:

This one is a 266 brush and it is useless. The bristles have started shedding and coming out and the tapering is not even. 

Ladies, if you want the brush sets mostly for the face brushes, go for it! If you want the specialty eye brushes, save up for the full size. This makes the most sense too because the face brushes are more expensive and a better value to get the kits, and the specialty eye brushes are cheaper so you don't feel as bad buying the full size ones. 

What do you think?


  1. This was very helpful, thanks for posting your comparison! xxx

  2. @Rocaille Glad this was helpful! =) Will you be picking up any of the new brush sets?

  3. This was really useful as I'm picking up some MAC brushes when I go to the US next week, and always wondered about the supposed difference in quality. Interesting to hear that the holiday set brushes are machine made - I would think it would be the other way around since they are needed on a smaller scale

  4. @KatO I'm not sure which brushes are sold in larger quantity, but I know the brush sets are very popular! Man made is more expensive so it does make sense though. Glad this post was helpful! What else are you planning to pick up when you visit the US? Where are you visiting?

  5. Oh geez, how can you stand such small handles? I need my longer handles! I NEED. I literally keep dropping my shortest brush because the handle is too short. It's not that my hands are too big, but I'm so used to paint brushes that short handles are so cumbersome! Gimme my normal and longer-handled brushes!

  6. Well, I guess that those sets are ideal for traveling or to throw in your makeup bag or for sm1 who's just starting from scratch and wants a handy little brush set!
    And you 're probably right, there isn't such a huge difference between the regular face brushes and these LE ones, but things start to change, when we're talking about the eye brushes: the 219 le for example is a joke, compared to the full sized one!!!

    That said, I only buy my MAC brushes during the sales now, that way I save some money and still get the original hand made product!


  7. @Katie When you hold a brush closer to the bristles, you get more control, so I like the shorter handles. It's just personal preference I guess!

    @tina Yeah, as stated in the post, the eye brushes with tapering, like the 219, are worthless. Unfortunately in the US MAC rarely has sales, and the brush sets are the only way to get MAC brushes at a discount.

  8. Ive done a lot of research on this and the issue is that Mac turns to china to make the sets. Its not a knock on them at all, as I have closely monitored the cosmetic manufacturing/brushes coming out of the region for the last 3 years and the things they are doing, at the price point they are doing is really remarkable. Places such as Benefit, helena rubenstein exclusively make their products in china.



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