I had an inspiring conversation with my friend two days ago about brushes. She told me she couldn't get the hang of smoky eyes, and while I think that is mostly due to her (our!) eye shape, I agree with her that the right blending brushes would help a lot!
Now, with all the beauty "gurus" around youtube, I think we all know what a blending eye brush is, and that the two most effective ones are the MAC 217 and MAC 224.
Of course, the two serve different purposes even if their mission is to give a good blend. Both are domed-shaped brushes, but one is bigger and circular in circumference (224) and the other one is smaller and flatter (more like an oval-type of circumference, the 217). Also, 217-type of brushes are stiffer than 224's.
|source: Google Images|
What can you do with a 217?
Get a perfect, gradual, but visible blend on the crease. Also, you can use the flat side of it to pack on some eyeshadow on the eyelid. This is the type of brush you want to use to pack on the color that you need to blend.
|source: beautynomics.com via Google Images|
What can you do with a 224?
Just blend. Dissolve the color from the crease right up to the brow bone. This brush is not meant to pat on the color and blend it. On the other hand, it will help you very much when you want the colour that you previously put on the crease to fade into the brown bone.
It is also a good concealer brush (given the nature of its bristles and its size), but that's another story.
Now, I understand that not everyone - for many reasons - can get hold of MAC brushes (I myself, could not afford them until this year, and now I can't get them because I don't have a MAC store near me) so my aim with this post will be to provide you with a list of good dupes for them, since not many companies produce their blending eye brushes in these two shapes.
First on the list is Sigma brushes, a US-based company I am ambassador of. They have the best quality/price deals worldwide, and they were my first real brushes ever.
Their dupe for the MAC 224 is called E40 (Tapared Blending) and costs $ 9,00 if bought individually (I personally recommend kits where this brush can be found, because kits are always the best deals).
Their dupe for the MAC 217 is called E25 and also costs $ 9,00 (when you buy a kit, most of the time this brush, in its travel size, comes for free!)
These two are the most similar and faithful replicas I've ever come across.
Where can you buy them?
- Official Site: www.sigmabeauty.com (in case you decide to make a purchase there, you can use the banner I have on the top right sidebar, so that you will get a free gift if you spend at least $ 30);
- if you are in Europe and you think shipping costs are too expensive, or fear the hand of the customs, there are two authorized sellers:
Cocktail Cosmetics: http://www.cocktailcosmetics.co.uk/Sigma-Brushes
Love Make-Up - Premium and Professional Beauty: http://www.love-makeup.co.uk/brushes-accessories-c-16.html?filter_id=34&sort=3a
Another brand I tried that makes very good dupes is Bdellium. This is another US-based manufacturer that specializes into anti-bacterial brushes (I reviewed their brushes here).
Their replica for the 217 is called 776, while their dupe for the 224 brush is called 785.
These are very good brushes too!
Where can you buy them?
- Official Site: http://bdelliumtools.com/
- or, again, if you are in Europe: www.cocktailcosmetics.co.uk
Some brands I have not tried yet produce their own replicas, and while I cannot comment on their quality, I can always point out to you the brushes:
Cozzette (available throught Love Make Up) makes an S150 (224) brush.
Crown Brushes also makes several dupes in their lines. The brushes are the same shape, but the bristles composition might change.
Boots N7 also makes a travel size replica of the MAC 217. It is a decent brush, but cannot surely equal the Sigma or Bdellium brushes.
Sorry girls, but Real Techniques by Sam Chapman does not produce these shapes.
Any other blending brush that is shapped differently (eg. elf) will not have the same blending.
I hope this has been useful. If you have any questions or remarks (or know any other brand that should be included on this list), please leave a comment.