Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

MAC Baking Beauties Brushes
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.

See more photos!

MAC Baking Beauties Brushes
MAC Baking Beauties Brushes

MAC Baking Beauties Brushes
MAC Baking Beauties Brushes

MAC Baking Beauties Brushes
MAC Baking Beauties Brushes

MAC Baking Beauties Brushes
MAC Baking Beauties Brushes

MAC Baking Beauties Brushes
MAC Baking Beauties Brushes

MAC Baking Beauties Brushes
MAC Baking Beauties Brushes

MAC Baking Beauties Brushes
MAC Baking Beauties Brushes

MAC Baking Beauties Brushes
MAC Baking Beauties Brushes

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14 thoughts on “MAC Baking Beauties Brushes Quick Review & Photos

  1. koolchicken

    While I’m intrigued, I suppose I’m still on the fence. While I do have brushes, I don’t have very many high quality ones. At most I have a few Bobbi Brown ones, I like them but I don’t love them. I’ve thought about MAC brushes, and this might be a good place to start. I would prefer a short handle, and I like the colors. I’ll think on it, while waiting for the full review. Thanks for the quick review so far, I will look into the other brushes you suggest in the mean time.

    • Avatar of Alex Alex

      I’d nudge you away from these even if you do prefer the short handles. They’re not awful brushes but they definitely wouldn’t be great brushes to start out with if you’re trying Mac brushes for the first time. They do make some very, very nice brushes and even I [who isn't really a huge fan of their cosmetics] really, really enjoy the ones I own. Check them out if you’re curious for sure! But not these as they won’t leave such a great first impression I think.

      • koolchicken

        Thanks for the tip. I think I may just like the because of the color (and by like I mean love, that blue is my favorite color). Not a bad reason to like them, but perhaps not the best either. I’m also interested in Sigma brushes, but again it’s because of the color. I think I need to get over that. :/

        • Christine

          I prefer Sigma brushes myself. I have a few MAC brushes but they shed terribly and the eye brushes are not very soft (the one exception is the mini kabuki brush, I don’t recall the number – 282 maybe?). Sigma brushes on the other hand, are extremely soft but still very effective. I have purchased numerous kits (complete kits, HD kits, Eye Kits, Travel Kits) and individual brushes from Sigma, both long and short handled and I am very happy with ALL of them. I even bought a complete set for my niece who has only been wearing makeup for about 2 years. I think the Sigma brushes are worth the investment and there’s nothing wrong with the fun colors they offer! Could help keep you from mixing up your brushes with someone else’s, too.
          The one thing I would say though, is can the foundation brush! I think they are worthless personally.
          Happy brush shopping!

    • Dolly

      Listen to Alex, don’t do it!!!

    • Avatar of Sarah Sarah

      If you like short handles – try checking out Bdellium Tools. They’re great quality though not considered “high end” but they have a bamboo range that comes in a rose-pink or mint-green. Also, try Sigma (their face brushes are short) because great quality & super soft. Sadly, I dont care for MAC’s face brushes and the SE or LE brushes are kind of known for being scratchy & shoddy quality.

  2. Stacey

    Ugh. Dont buy these brushes. They dont even look like the regular MAC brushes. Even the metal section is not the same. When companies start making their brushes in China…I stop buying from those brushes. Even thought the Japanese brand brushes are bit more expensive…consider buying from them. You can have good brushes and make the low end makeup look good but not the other way around.

  3. These don’t look that exciting.. And I hate that they charge the same amount for the long and short handle. It’s a bit odd haha.

  4. I’ve been fighting this thought for a year or so now but I keep feeling like the overall quality of MAC’s brushes – even the regular perm. ones – is sliding downhill. The last few brushes that I picked up from them (these are brushes that I buy all the time and have several of already like the 109, 217, etc.) have all felt worse than ones I’ve had for years and the handles absolutely feel lighter weight. MAC has always been my go-to for professional brushes but I’ve been hunting for something new recently (I don’t really care for many of the MUFE brushes, next step is Loise Young).

    • What about NARS? I know I hear a lot of raves for the Y-something brush for blush (Yachiyo?). I only have their small crease brush, which I do like.

      • Never looked at them – actually never even thought to. I’d have to get over my NARS-a-phobia first! LOL

        I thought about Hakuhodo because everyone raves about them but ooooh that’s a high price point!

    • Eeekkk :S I’ve been saving for MAC brushes for a little while, and the fact that you think that the quality has slipped (I highly value your opinion!), stops me cold. Would you advise to invest in a set of MAC brushes at this point in time?

  5. Alethea

    I felt 129 looks cheap.

  6. Edna

    I’m going to pass. I’m trying really hard this year to not buy anything that’s MADE IN CHINA unless I really need it. Which is really hard since most makeup brushes are in fact MADE IN CHINA. I’ve only found some crown brushes that are MADE IN USA. So if anyone else knows of more American made makeup brushes, let me know.