The 2nd installment of “Comparison Week” will feature the ever popular MAC 217 Blending Brush:
This versatile brush regularly appears on “Best Makeup Brushes” lists due to its high quality and multi-purpose-ness (yes that’s a word now). It is rated 4.7 out of 5.0 on MakeupAlley with 946 reviews and 92% stated they would repurchase this brush again. It is a universally lauded beauty tool. But should you rush out to buy one?
The MAC 217 Blending brush costs $29.50 and is made in Japan. The hairs are white and made of goat. The hairs are tapered to a slightly bulbous shape, with a flattened pinched base – it’s like a lovechild of a flat shader and a rounded fluffy crease brush.
The 217 is not the softest brush out there, but, it has a fantastic ability to both lay down and blend eye shadow with ease. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a super soft brush is not always the best brush for the job. Sometimes you need a bit of “grab” from the hairs in order to pick up powder from the pan and then push them around on the eyelid (ie. blend) rather than the super silky filament in synthetic fibres which just glide over everything. But I digress. The 217 Blending has no rivals… or does it?
The success of this brush has spawned many MAC 217 copies. Most are less expensive than MAC’s while others are around the same price. Here’s what I own that have a similar shape and function:
• bdellium tools Blending 776T – $9.00 USD
• Sedona Lace Universal Blender EB09 – $13.95 USD
• Coastal Scents Pro Blending Fluff – $4.95 USD
• Trish McEvoy #30 Eye Blending Brush – $30.00 USD
• MAC 234 Split Fibre Blending Brush – $30.00
I actually took close-up photos of each of these brushes against the MAC 217 in various angles (front, side, top views) but upon editing the pictures, I found them to be really repetitive since they all look so similar to each other. Here’s MAC 217 beside bdellium 776:
Pretty darn close, really. You don’t need to see 4 more sets of pictures which look just like that, so I’ll spare you. I should also add that the hairs on the dupes feel just like the MAC, their bristles don’t shed, and they perform similarly. My 2 personal favourite MAC 217 dupes are bdellium and Trish McEvoy because they have shorter handles.
I do own a bunch of the Coastal Scents version because they often go on sale for $2 each (let’s be honest, I own so many of these because I’m lazy with washing my brushes!) It is a decent dupe and I would wholeheartedly recommend it as a MAC 217 dupe if you’re on a budget:
However, it remains to be seen how long these Coastal Scents ones will last me – I’ve had the MAC 217 for at least 7 years and it has kept its shape and not stained. A few of my Coastal Scents brush bristles are tinted green at the base where the hairs meet the ferrules – I don’t use green eye shadows so I’m thinking it’s from the metal used for the ferrules. The handles of these also feel very lightweight / weak so they may warp over time. I’ve had the Coastal Scents brushes ranging from 5 to 2 years.
The other famous MAC 217 dupe is the Sigma E25 Blending brush ($14 USD), but I don’t own it.
I’m really not interested in Sigma brushes – they don’t seem like good value for the quality.
The two dupes that I am interested in purchasing are the Zoeva 227 Luxe Soft Definer brush (€7.85):
Bottom line: MAC 217 is a fantastic brush, but they didn’t break the mold when they made it. I think the dupes are great, and are good alternatives depending on what you’re looking for (less expensive, different handle length etc).
Do you have MAC 217 Blending brush? What about the dupes?