Saturday, November 30th, 2013

MAC Masterclass Brushes
MAC Masterclass Brushes

MAC Masterclass Brush Collection includes three new (and permanent) brushes that are exclusive to maccosmetics.com and MAC stores. I’ve been waiting to post this, as the brushes have been out of stock for almost two weeks now, but they’re back in stock for those who had them on their wish lists. They’re interesting brushes, and I think for some, they’ll be great, and others will find more traditional brushes more compelling. All three brushes felt sturdy and well-made; and the bristles felt very, very soft and silky. The Oval brushes are incredibly dense. They are comfortable to hold, and if you have larger hands or wear glasses, holding the brushes this way and having the brush heads facing this way greatly improve visibility.  I didn’t find that these were as multi-purpose as they’re touted, as the shapes didn’t work for as some of the recommended applications. Again, they’re intriguing and worth checking out, but they may or may not be a good fit in your routine.  I also highly recommend checking out Dustin Hunter’s video on these, as he’s a glasses-wearer as well as a professional makeup artist.

Linear 1 Brush ($25.00) was designed a liner brush; MAC’s website says “to line lashes and lips… also defines and fills brows.” It is 17mm in width, 8mm in length, and 3mm in thickness.  It has a total brush length of 5.75 inches or 14.5 centimeters. I think it’s too long, both in terms of the horizontal length but as well as the vertical length of the brushes (as they extend away from the brush itself)–it feels too large against my eye. It may be too wide, depending on how you like your eyeliner. The brush head is rather large relative to most openings of cream/gel eyeliners, too. The light curved edge on the left and right of the brush doesn’t seem intuitive as it doesn’t contour to the shape of the eye (or lip) well and instead lifts away from it. I liked using this best to fill in brows, where the longer shape worked better, and I didn’t need as much precision.

Oval 3 Brush ($32.00) was designed to be used (primarily!) for “[blending] powder or cream eyeshadows, powde, and liquid, or cream concealer.”   It is 15mm in width, 10mm in length, and 8mm in thickness.  It has a total length of inches 5.75 inches or 14.5 centimeters. This brush, again, was very large against my eye. The only practical way to use it is for applying an all-over color, whether a wash of eyeshadow or setting down an eyeshadow base. For blending, I felt it was too dense–better for application, particularly of creams–to get really soft, feathery strokes. I liked it best for blending concealer, as the slightly rounded edge fit into the hollows underneath my eye and along the contours of my nose. Against the eye, it felt too round, and I would have preferred something either less dense (so it would be more flexible and wisp-like) or flatter across the edge.

Oval 6 Brush ($42.00) was designed to be “ideal for blush, foundation, or powder, the rounded, medium-sized brush applies, blends and contours all over the face and cheeks.” It is 30mm in width, 14mm in length, and 20mm in thickness. Of the three, this was my personal favorite, as I felt like the size was right, and it’s very, very soft. I worked with this brush with blush, foundation, bronzer, contour powder, moisturizers, and primers. It worked best for applying product all over (like a primer or moisturizer) or contouring, as the rounded edge does work with contouring (but it can be a bit wide, depending on your face shape), but for applying blush and the like, only the middle portion of the brush really hits the skin, as it is curved opposite of the face. The dome shape just doesn’t deposit blush that well, and it’s so dense that blending is easier and more naturally achieved with a fluffier brush. It applies foundation beautifully, and it definitely gives a natural, even, and smooth finish.  This brush took a few washes to clean of foundation, and I imagine the density is part of why this is a harder brush to clean.

The Glossover

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Linear 1 Brush

I think it's too long, both in terms of the horizontal length but as well as the vertical length of the brushes (as they extend away from the brush itself)--it feels too large against my eye. It may be too wide, depending on how you like your eyeliner.

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Oval 3 Brush

For blending, I felt it was too dense--better for application, particularly of creams--to get really soft, feathery strokes. I liked it best for blending concealer, as the slightly rounded edge fit into the hollows underneath my eye and along the contours of my nose.

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Oval 6 Brush

It worked best for applying product all over (like a primer or moisturizer) or contouring, as the rounded edge does work with contouring (but it can be a bit wide, depending on your face shape), but for applying blush and the like, only the middle portion of the brush really hits the skin, as it is curved opposite of the face. It applies foundation beautifully, and it definitely gives a natural, even, and smooth finish.

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After trying the brushes for a few days, I then spoke to Louise Zizzo, a MAC Senior Artist, who I’ve known for five or six years now! I definitely had a few questions about these new brushes. Since our chat, I spent the next two weeks really putting the brushes through their paces.

Check out the Q&A and see more photos!

What’s the best way to clean these brushes? How does the process differ from cleaning regular brushes?
Louise Z.: “Two ways that work well… Between uses: just like other brushes, just use the brush cleanser on a paper towel and just swiping them will get rid of topical of whatever you’ve used. For a proper clean: again, use the brush cleanser with water, you want to make sure not to submerge the whole brush into the water, just in the cup in your hand and swirl around with the cleanser and water, rinse out. You want to lay them down to dry on paper towel with the bristles touching the paper.”

What are your favorite type of products to use with each brush?
Louise Z.: “They’re great for people just getting into makeup who aren’t used to using brushes! Linear 1 – tiny one – originally designed use was to make it easy to do eyeliner. With the handle shape for the average consumer, a lot of people have trouble with liner because they can’t see. [This] makes lining easier. It’s also useful for brows–brilliant to use with an eyeshadow or a brow gel to run through the brow! Clean sweep. You can lightly brush through the brow, and it brushes the brow hairs themselves. Great for fuller brows as well as someone who needs to fill in their brows. Another use, a couple of other things that I’ve used this brush, actually really nice for… you could use this to brush mascara, just like brushing your hair, great for a tint, not a heavy look. Great for smoky liner, because it smudges well.

Oval 3 – mid-sized – Love this brush for concealer, around the eye area, as it buffs really nicely. I also really like this brush with pigments, as sometimes they can be a bit messy, so I like how this brush holds the pigment and then there is less fall out. I really like this brush to create a lipstick stain on the lips–it just brushes it on so easily, you get an even application, not blotchy. Works nice to run through the crease, contour the eye a little bit. Highlighting around the eyes is fantastic. These, because they’re a synthetic material that’s so soft, they’ll work with any type of medium really well.

Oval 6 – big one – I actually really like putting moisturizer on, because it really massages the moisturizer into the skin. I use it for foundation, [and] it helps to glide the foundation on. I love it with Mineralize Moisture foundation, gives it a really polished look to the skin. I like it for contouring and highlighting. Makes contouring easy when using powder or creams as the shape of it really contours the face perfectly. [It's also] nice with CCBs for highlighting the skin. Great for concealing on the body for professional artists. The buffed product looks seamless, not topical, makes it look like its your skin.”

How have these new brushes changed the way you apply makeup on yourself and/or clients?
Louise Z.: “On myself, ease of application. You can really see [the difference], especially for liner or brows, as it can be hard to see with your hand in front of your face. The way the product goes on, it [also] leaves out a lot of the technical aspects. [From a] professional point of view, it’s just having another option, as we’re always looking for a new tool.”

What would your best advice be for someone skeptical of the new style of brush?
Louise Z.: “The way they feel in the hand, they’re comfortable to hold, they seem very natural when you pick them up. They have to give it a chance, tehy’ll be shocked on how easy it’s going to apply their makeup. If you had only had these three brushes, you could do all your makeup, and it would be quick and easy.”

If you could only recommend one of the three to someone, which would it be?
Louise Z.: “Oval 3 is most versatile for ANYONE. Oval 6 for anyone who uses more face products, [as] it really enhances every foundation.”

Is there a shape or size you’d like to see in the future?
Louise Z.: “I’d love to see another Oval brush that was smaller and rounded for more detailed work for the eyes or highlighting on the inner corner. ”

MAC Linear 1 Brush
MAC Linear 1 Brush

MAC Linear 1 Brush
MAC Linear 1 Brush

MAC Linear 1 Brush
MAC Linear 1 Brush

MAC Linear 1 Brush
MAC Linear 1 Brush

MAC Linear 1 Brush
MAC Linear 1 Brush

MAC Linear 1 Brush
MAC Linear 1 Brush

MAC Linear 1 Brush
MAC Linear 1 Brush

MAC Oval 3 Brush
MAC Oval 3 Brush

MAC Oval 3 Brush
MAC Oval 3 Brush

MAC Oval 3 Brush
MAC Oval 3 Brush

MAC Oval 3 Brush
MAC Oval 3 Brush

MAC Oval 3 Brush
MAC Oval 3 Brush

MAC Oval 3 Brush
MAC Oval 3 Brush

MAC Oval 3 Brush
MAC Oval 3 Brush

MAC Oval 6 Brush
MAC Oval 6 Brush

MAC Oval 6 Brush
MAC Oval 6 Brush

MAC Oval 6 Brush
MAC Oval 6 Brush

MAC Oval 6 Brush
MAC Oval 6 Brush

MAC Oval 6 Brush
MAC Oval 6 Brush

MAC Oval 6 Brush
MAC Oval 6 Brush

MAC Oval 6 Brush
MAC Oval 6 Brush

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64 thoughts on “MAC Masterclass Brushes Reviews & Photos

  1. wow….These look cute…. But, just wondering whether it would be convenient than using normal brushes…What do you think dear….can it be used by beginners too or is it just for MUA’s

    • I don’t think there is a big learning curve to using these, but I do think that the tend to be best for ways that aren’t exactly as specific – like lining is OK but the shape of say the 208 or 2066 makes more sense. I think putting something more like those shapes onto this type of handle would be better. The Oval 3 would be a nice concealer brush–I think it works really well for that purpose, and that’s a brush everyone could use. The same to be said about the Oval 6 in regards to any liquid or cream foundation – it is easy to use and works well for applying liquid or cream products.

  2. This was a great review! I never even thought about the implications of wearing glasses while using makeup brushes until I saw Dustin’s video. It seems like MAC had a good idea but maybe had a little trouble with the implementation. Still, it will be interesting to see if this is an idea that catches on…

  3. They looks so weeeeeird :-) But being the make-up addict that I am I just have to try them, to just to know what they’re like to work with.

  4. I knew these wouldn’t come in handy. They just don’t look practical

  5. bella

    the liner brush looks ginormous in your hand, can’t believe it would be easier to use for a second! these brushes just seem contrived to me, not easier to use at all!

    • The idea of the angle/positioning of the brush head and the handle makes sense, because if you find yourself up against a mirror, the longer brush handles do run into it, so this totally solves that problem, but the size of the brush head doesn’t work as well!

  6. I did wonder how the toothbrush-head shape would allow blending out powder eyeshadows. I might give Oval 3 a try for concealers, since I need a new concealer brush. Will avoid the Linear brush, though – thanks for the review!
    Renu Recently Posted: Glamabox November 2013 review, unboxing, photos: International beauty box

  7. pixxie

    Christine, as your post at link : http://www.temptalia.com/happy-thanksgiving-2013-edition

    “5 Things I’m Thankful For — Beauty Edition
    Smart doctors; this year, I finally managed to get a handle on my acne, and I owe that to my primary care doctor for prescribing me topical treatments. I am forever indebted to her for the state of my skin right now!”

    Pretty please share with us how to overcome acne based on the doctor’s recomendations and what kind of treatments u’ve done.. thank you!

  8. Elísabet Ormslev

    I think this judgement it really harsh. The linear brush does not HAVE TO be used as an eyeliner brush. Its actually awesome for brows and under-eyeshadow work.
    The same with the Oval 3 brush, no one said it had to be used for eyeshadow. It´s brilliant to apply concealer, contouring the nose and highlighting.
    The Oval 6 brush is fantastic for both cream and liquid foundation, and like you said, moisturizers. Also cream blushes.

    Play around with them more :)

    • Hi Elisabet,

      Did you read my review? I mentioned that I used the Linear 1 in my brows as well. Here is the relevant portion copied and pasted, ” I liked using this best to fill in brows, where the longer shape worked better, and I didn’t need as much precision.”

      Also, again, with the Oval 3, I mentioned I used it for concealer and to get product along the contour of the nose. The relevant portion copied and pasted for your convenience here: “I liked it best for blending concealer, as the slightly rounded edge fit into the hollows underneath my eye and along the contours of my nose.” I didn’t like it for highlighting, as it was too dense and stiff to really give an ethereal glow to the skin – that’s just my experience.

      I didn’t like the Oval 3 for any color products – only foundation, primers, and moisturizers. It was OK for contouring, but it can be too wide at times and I still opt for a different brush to blend. I didn’t like it for cream blush, personally – felt it applied very, very densely and then made it look almost streaky when I attempted to blend!

      If they’re working well for you, that’s great! I didn’t have the exact same experiences as you – we can both have different experiences :)

  9. Interesting brushes. But i love Dustin’s review. They can definitely look into the flaws and it will be perfect!

    • After playing with them for a few days initially, I kept going, “I hope they’ll do other shapes,” because I wasn’t sold on the shapes then, and even after using them for a few weeks, I’m still not sold. I like the Oval 3 and 6 enough, but I LOVE my other brushes so neither have replaced any of my other favorites!

  10. Have you tried Oval 3 for leaving down a transition color in the crease? Thanks for the review.

    • It’s too large to use on my eye, to be honest – it takes up all the space. I tried using it to apply eyeshadow (lid, crease, brow, blending, etc.), and I didn’t like it at all for any of those purposes as it was very large. The only way it worked for me was to apply a color all over the eye.

  11. Karla

    Hi christine thankyou so much for this detailed and very good review, i was waiting for it :) What a coincidence, i just watched last night Dustin Hunter video explaining these brushes, and i honestly feel that i dont need or want these brushes, i know they are modern, innovative, etc but im just planing on getting only 5 mac brushes the 217( which i just got a week ago an its awsome !) 239, 208, 116 and 168 and maybe later buy duplicates of 239, and i dont want a foundation brush as i just like using my fingers

    • Nothing wrong with leaving these, Karla! I think they need some work, and the ways they work best may not be important functions to use OR there may be better alternatives for those uses. But on the other hand, I think some people will love these!

      As lovely as it is applying primer or moisturizer with this brush, using a brush (on myself) for those things always feels funny – because I’m so used to using hands for both of those things! It seems a little… expensive? or indulgent in a way to have a brush just for that, which is totally fine, but for me feels TOO indulgent I guess :)

  12. I’ve been waiting for your feedback on theses brush but couldn’t wait to buy them. I’ve been really liking the Linear brush for my brows, I use to different color pencils and this brush blends them together beautifully for a natural look. As, I tried it with a gel brow and it nicely. The Oval 6 brush is my new staple for my foundation, it looks so natural! It works with my Kat Von D foundation. The Oval 3 is ok, too small although it dips perfectly into my Kevy Aucoin concealer.

    • Glad you like it for brows! I didn’t like it enough to swap it out for what I currently use (MAC’s 266), though.

      What brush were you using for foundation prior? I am always curious when a brush replaces another, because that means it’s really good!

  13. I am definitely willing to try these out, but I still think I would prefer traditional brushes.

  14. Malia

    Totally awesome review! I don’t know if here they will get these, but in any Case I will get both ovals… I think I’ll pass on the linear one… Thanks for reviewing these and linking the video too :)

  15. I find them really too gadget for me. But the concept is quite unique! I don’t use much face brushes and the eye brushes aren’t that appealing.
    Judith Recently Posted: Eindhoven make up city?

  16. Patrick

    I bought the Foundation one and I love it! It blends/buffs foundation with ease, minimal pressure. I love how densely packed the bristles are, not flimsy either. I may look into the concealer one.

  17. patsyann

    I definitely think I will take a pass on these. Even though I do wear glasses and fine detail work on my eyes is a problem for me, I can just tell that these will never work for me. Intriguing idea for sure, but I am not sure that MAC has gotten it quite right with these brushes.

  18. stacey

    These kind of brushes are not “innovative”. MUFE had a brush like this for the face over 10 years ago. I own the brush which is for the face after foundation or powder application for a flawless finish, I gues. I am a hoarder so I dont use the brush. MAC tweaked (sp) the concept a bit 1) various brushes for different application 2) longer handles. The MUFE is made out of goat hair and was from France. Thanks for taking the pics of the boxes too.

  19. These look like dentist tools. So cute! Haha thanks for the review!

  20. I have a number of brushes on my want list right now and these are not doing it for me. I have smallish semi-hooded eyes and the size and shape of the Linear 1 and Oval 3 certainly detracts me. I can just picture myself trying to put eyeliner on with L1 and yeah I know it would definitely get very messy. Oval 6 confounds me for blush application, but I can see working nicely for foundation and larger highlight/contour areas, but I like slightly cut angle brushes best. Their novelty doesn’t compel me to buy either. Perhaps MAC will come up with other shapes in the future that interest me a little more. I do like the idea of ergonomic handles as I have hand mobility issues. Brushes are a weird thing though, you go along using a brush in a particular way and then all of a sudden you use that same brush for another purpose and eureka.

    • I hear ya – I don’t have small or large eyes, and both felt unnaturally large against my lid. Reminded me of the 227 I think by MAC… it was a huge shadow brush and was like, “Hmm, no, not for me!”

  21. I just watched Dustin’s video a few days ago lol. I wasn’t interested in these brushes at all until he mentioned the part about wearing glasses. I’m always hitting my brush against the mirror so I’m thinking about checking out the Oval 3 or 6. Both seem like they would fit into my routine well.
    fancie Recently Posted: Holiday Gift Guide

  22. I saw the MUA’s at my local MAC store using the new brushes on customers. The Oval 6 was the only practical one in the bunch. The MUA did a great job with applying the foundation using the new brush and the customer said they felt really soft against her skin. I’ll wait for the 2.0 version. In the meantime, I’ll stick with my Hakuhodos that I absolutely love and my old faithful MAC brushes.

  23. I can’t wait to get my hands on these! They look like great brushes and I’m in need of some replacements anyway. Merry Christmas to me :)
    StylishlySocial Recently Posted: Cyber Monday & Cyber Week Deals!

  24. connie

    They seriously look like toothbrushes

  25. Christine, Thank You so much for your review of these and all other products.
    I hope you know how we all love and depend on you and your diligence.
    You are trusted and respected. You are a small, and at times large, part of so many lives and we are Thankful for you.
    As for these brushes I was really looking forward to your take on them.
    Thank you!
    A~~

  26. I feel like the two smaller brushes definitely have room for improvement. The Oval 6 brush looks the most user-friendly, but mainly in terms of base make-up application (primer and foundation). It looks like it might work okay with powders, but for those who like a barely-there dusting of powder, it might be too dense. Like you said, the shape isn’t ideal for blush or contouring, either.

    Obligatory comment: Toothbrush. XD

    • Yeah, I think it provides such a heavy, dense application with powders, which is great if that’s what you need it for, but for a lot of highlighters, blushes, etc. it’s a lot!

  27. I loved the soft, plush feel of these in stores so I got the Oval 6. I actually haven’t used it for cream products yet, but I find that it’s very good for applying less pigmented blushes, because it picks up more product at once. I also find it nice for buffing colours into the skin, whether blush or highlighters.

    I’m not as sure about the eye brushes. I’d almost like to see a mini version of the Oval 6 for applying colour. I think it would be good for brow highlights or on the inner corner, or softening very frosted shadows.
    Kate Recently Posted: things to do when you’re more or less stuck at home which are also better than trying to brave crowds at black friday sales

    • Glad you’re enjoying the Oval 6, Kate! It’s SO, so soft. I wish the Oval 3 was a bit smaller or maybe less dense to be used more as an eyeshadow/eye color application brush!

  28. Kudos to MAC for their innovation. Only time will tell if these become accepted. I plan to give them a try. I can see the smaller brushes being especially useful for people who need to wear glasses while putting on their eye makeup. Not everyone can wear contacts. Thanks for the review and interview, Christine. Thorough and professional as usual!

  29. Avatar of A A

    I wish MAC would stop trying to revolutionize everything and just focus on making some really high-quality cosmetic products. The Christmas collections and recent RiRi products were a disappointment to me. I can only hope 2014 will be better :)

  30. Hi Christine,
    Any word on when these will be released internationally..?
    Thanks for reviewing these; I’ve been interested in getting the Oval #6 and I think you’ve sold me on it ;)

  31. These seem like really odd brushes. The idea makes sense but maybe they needed to think it a little more. I’ll stray from these ones although they do spark a bit of curiosity.
    Kiara Recently Posted: Brown Smokey Eyeshadow Tutorial!

  32. Tracy

    I know I’m late on this but I purchased the Oval 6 as I was impressed by the demonstration in store when tinted moisturizer was applied. One month later, I’m still loving it, and as someone who wears glasses during the day it’s perfect.