Even though I’ve mentioned the MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush on Swatch And Learn before, it surprised me that I didn’t give it a separate review.
Yes, I use a lot of Sigma Makeup brushes (because they’re more affordable and work nicely), but this MAC makeup brush is still a staple in my morning routine because it does a job that’s different than the others.
Why? The size and shape are perfect for applying eye shadow precisely on the lid.
And I still haven’t found another brand that makes a dupe of this. Sure, some come close, but they’re not exactly the same, so they perform differently.
As you know, I get more excited about nail polish than about reviewing makeup brushes. But this is one brush that I need to tell you a little more about.
If you’re seriously into makeup, the MAC 239 is worth the higher price tag than its competitors.
MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush Pictures
- √ Soft & dense brush with a tapered, rounded edge & smooth, firm, fine fibres
√ Can be used to shade or blend eye shadow or emollient-based products
√ Can be used to build intense color on the eyelid
- Name: MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush
- What I Paid: $29.50 CAD
- Where to Buy: MAC website (US/CA), MAC stores & MAC counters
MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush Review
The MAC 239 brush has firm, natural bristles. And while I prefer synthetic brushes, for eye shadow, I’ve found that natural bristles work best for the powdered shadows that I tend to use most often. (Natural bristles pick up the powder and distribute it more easily.)
The soft bristles are white, so they’ll appear dirtier than if they were black. This isn’t an issue for me since I spot-clean and deep-clean my brush regularly, which is also a habit that you should be doing, too, for hygienic reasons.
You may be worried about staining since the bristles are white. It all depends on what specific products you’ve used it with, but I want to let you know that I’ve had this MAC brush for about 3 years now and it has never been stained yet. I’ve used it with a rainbow of eye-shadow colors (including jet black), and it has held up perfectly.
What I love most about the MAC 239 brush is its shape. It’s small, but not too small. It’s the perfect size for packing shadows onto your eyelid. And it goes on precisely where you want it with minimal fallout, too, which is a huge plus.
It’s slightly tapered, which I think helps to add greater application control. And because it’s not a wider or fluffier brush, it allows you to build up to intense colors. Fluffy and wider brushes often wash out the color because they blend as they apply. With the 239 MAC brush, you decide when to blend. This can make all the difference in your finished look.
Had this exact same brush shape, size, and quality been offered at a lower price point, I would be all over it! Unfortunately I find that other brands’ eye-shadow brushes are different enough that they alter their performance. (I do use a lot of brushes from other brands, but specifically for the MAC 239 brush, I haven’t found a dupe out there.)
Handle & Ferrule
The handle is made of wood, and the ferrule (the metal part) is made of nickel-plated brass.
The 239 brush by MAC feels lightweight yet sturdy in my hands. And despite me using it so often for a few years, the ferrule has never come apart from the handle. A lot of cheaper brushes fall apart like this, especially after a lot of use.
Since the first time I washed it up to now, it has never shed at all. This speaks to the quality of the brush. A brush that sheds slightly every time you use it will eventually lose its shape and fall apart. The MAC 239 is built to last, and if you only want to buy one professional eye-shadow brush to last you for years without worrying about replacements, this is it!
Price & Value
The MAC 239 brush is hand-sculpted and assembled. This is really why you are paying what seems like a ridiculous price for just an eye-shadow brush.
I love scoring a deal and getting things for pennies, but not if the brush is mass-manufactured and already has messed-up bristles right from the get-go. Plus if it sheds or the ferrule falls apart from the handle too soon, that means I’m going to have to find a replacement and, if the brush becomes unusable, it essentially becomes a waste of money and only adds to the increasing waste problem where our landfills are piling up.
All that being said, this brush isn’t for everyone.
Who it’s not for: Someone who doesn’t wear eye shadow daily or often and who only plays around with makeup sometimes. If you fall into this category, you can get away with a much-less expensive brush because longevity and precision are outweighed by price and frequency of use.
Who will love it: Someone who is more serious about makeup, wants to invest in a brush that lasts versus buying several that will fall apart, and who wears eye shadow daily or extremely often.
Final Verdict: 9.5/10
I took off half a point because I realize that the price is exorbitant. But in all other areas, I feel that the MAC 239 is a clear champion. It’s a must-have for me!
What eye-shadow brushes do you swear by? Do you prefer to invest in a single brush or score huge deals on cheaper brushes, but have to replace them occasionally? Do you have any favorite MAC makeup brushes?