MAC Baking Beauties Brushes
MAC Baking Beauties Brushes include two styles: 252SE Large Shader Brush ($31.00) and 129SE Powder/Blush Brush ($35.00). Now, the first thing I noticed was that both brushes are listed as SE and are printed with “SE” on the brushes themselves. This distinction is important or, at least, curious, because in the past, MAC has used “SH” to denote a short-handled brush that is still made in the same fashion as their full-sized brushes, while “SE” has been used to denote special edition brushes that are machine-made (as compared to handmade). The majority of the brush sets MAC puts (think Nordstrom’s anniversary sale and the holiday kits) are SE, and SE brushes can have great inconsistencies in quality–from density to the way the bristles are cut (and shaped) to quality of the bristles themselves.
I really hope that they are, in fact, made the same way the full-sized brushes are, because you’re paying the same price as you would be for the long-handled versions that are available permanently. (You can even purchase a short-handled version of the 129 brush, actually.) Both my full-size 252 and 129 were manufactured in Japan, as indicated by the imprinting on their handles, and I’ve had both for a few years now. The handles of the SE brushes from Baking Beauties has “China” imprinted. Several of MAC’s more recently launched full-sized brushes have also been stamped with China, so MAC may have moved some of its production to China. There were some minor shape differences I noticed, but the density, fullness, softness (or lack thereof), and so forth were consistent with my full-sized versions.
The densities seemed about the same across these limited edition brushes and my full-sized ones. What I noticed was that my full-sized 129 brush had a more dome-like shape and wasn’t as wide as this 129SE, and then the 252SE had more of dome-like shape than my full-sized 252, which was slightly less curved on the edge. The SE brushes are both very light, which is somewhat expected, given they have a lot less handle–but they did feel lighter than they looked. I’m not in love with either brush, period, full-sized or not, because the 129 is one of MAC’s scratchier face brushes, and the 252 is really large. If you have normal or smaller eyes, it’s not the most versatile brush, and it can be a little scratchy at times. I’d recommend MAC’s 116 instead of the 129 and MAC’s 242 in place of the 252.