MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush Review, Photos, Swatches

MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush
MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush

MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush ($38.50) is a widened, dense face brush with two distinct sides–one with natural fibers and the other with synthetic fibers. The idea behind these split brushes is that the natural bristles give a “soft, diffused look” while the synthetic bristles “fuse colour onto skin.” The brush head is 25mm in length, 39mm in width, and 19mm in thickness. It has a total length of 6.5 inches / 16.5 centimeters with a pinched, multi-colored ferrule. The weighting is nice and it doesn’t feel too top-heavy nor lightweight.

I wouldn’t describe the edge as blunt, but it is only lightly rounded and more of a narrow, flattened surface, which makes it useful for contouring and getting into the hollows of the cheeks. Both sides of the brush are incredibly soft and smooth, which was a bit of a surprise, as I haven’t found a lot of the recent brush releases to be as soft as brushes from years ago. The synthetic side is good with cream contours or highlighters, while the natural side is really good for blending and buffing out contours and highlighters. The only caveat to that is that it is wide enough that it may not work well for those looking for more precise contour lines or who have smaller hollows where the brush would simply be too large to work with. It would still work well for blending out of contour powders and creams, though. I’ve also used it to apply foundation, which it does a nice job of, but I find I prefer the synthetic side more and would rather an all-synthetic brush (as I work primarily with liquid foundations). I’ve washed it five times, and I haven’t had any issues with dye, smell, shaping, or shedding.

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MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush
MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush

MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush
MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush

MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush
MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush

MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush
MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush

MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush
MAC 125SE Split Fibre Dense Face Brush

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About Reviewer
Review FAQ

Christine Mielke is the editor-in-chief and has been reviewing products for over 14 years.

She has normal-to-dry skin with occasional dryness on cheeks and nose. She has a light plus skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones (view her foundation matches here).

Learn more about her review process here.

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I’m intrigued by this. I have no need for any more brushes for contouring. But, for cream contouring I could use a go to option. As of now it has been my Mac 189 or my fingers and shared brush to blend.any recommendations are appreciated. 🙂 I may pre sale this or I may wait and just look at it at the counter. Part of me says this brush may go quick because it’s contour and it’s pretty handle . part of me says the LE brushes generally seem to hang around. I do mostly use powder contour so I do like the versatility the price isn’t too bad.Christine,im sure it’s been asked, but why do you not rate these. Not long enough to use?

Hey Nicole,

The system that we use is only set up to have the exact criteria that you see – e.g. pigmentation doesn’t make sense for a brush 🙂 If we ever do another system, it requires a complete redo of the entire Glossover and how it works/functions as well as having to absorb the original stuff, too. And then on top of that, it would still have to be a generic enough secondary rubric that could apply to enough products to merit doing all that work in the first place. I have drafts of ideas for a secondary system as I try to figure it out a few times a year, but I’ve never been happy with them.

It’s really the latter that prevents it, because if I felt happy with a secondary system, then it could be something we work on in the future.

I understand.
I actually use my Mac #159 ,not 189 for cream contouring when I do use cream. I get those numbers flipped a lot for some reason. The more I look at this brush, I wonder if the other bristles would interfere. I’ve never used a ssplit fibre type brush. Did you find this awkward? I’m not sure if I may be better off picking up a second 159. Hmmmm..decisions,decisions!

I’d get another 159, haha! I don’t find it awkward in the sense that I know it’s split in half, so I look to use the right side, but based on how many brushes I have… I tend to prefer single-task brushes! Like a good multi-tasking brush is awesome, but I almost always reach for the one that does that ONE task best.

I hear ya. I have plenty of brushes too. I also have a few brushes that I bought and don’t get used and that feeling of wasted money and an used brush which can’t be returned now for whatever reason is not good. A couple were somewhat pricey and a couple are just not stellar enough and I plain forget I have them ( mufe brushes mostly) . I think I will just add a #159 to my pre sale and mention that I’d like to look at this. I’m pretty friendly with the counter manager. She always throws in a free bag or lipstick or something nice. I’ll just run in the day it hits stores if I can to settle my curiosity. I’m thinking the shape may be off for me .I think the 159 is a bit cheaper too. I wouldn’t mind have 3 total actually..1 for contour,cheek,highlight…may do it. I might just bite the bullet and get a extra! Thanks for your advice!

I’m always so intrigued by these split fibre brushes. I have been really into brushes with this shape so depending on how well I can convince myself I don’t need it, this might just come home with me. lol. I can tell myself it’s for review purposes. lol

I still find that I haven’t been able to decide if I like them or not (the split fibre brushes in general), lol. I lean towards preferring separate brushes, though.

Ooh, plot twist! Every photo of this brush that I’ve seen only showed the darker bristle side. I had no idea it was a split bristle brush. Now I’m even more intrigued!

I’m intrigued by the two split fibre brushes in this collection. I have this huge affinity with MAC duo fibre brushes.. so would probably enjoy half this brush anyway ;0)


Have you tried any of the other split brushes? I was really happy with the 125SE softness/smoothness, as I’ve been more disappointed with their LE/new brushes on that front.

Now this one sounds like it’s worth getting! I’m glad the quality seems good and cut and shape are really interesting. Glad this one turned out to be better

I’m curious if this would work well with something like the ColourPop blushes? I’ve been using a stiff, dense synthetic brush (can’t get the hang of it with my fingers) to pick up and pack the color on my cheeks and then a separate, softer brush to blend it out. I wonder if this could do that with one brush.

Hey Jess,

I like the MAC 159 with ColourPop’s blushes better 🙂 I think this might be too dense/too large.

They’re different shapes, as the 128 is shaped more like a traditional blush brush, so it is curved and not really as wide or as flat as the 125. For example, this brush is 39mm in width, whereas the 128 is about 25mm! 🙂

I was really into this until I saw what they meant by ‘split fibre’, I’m not into natural bristles. Part of me still wants it from a collector’s standpoint because that ferrule is very, very pretty.

Thank you so much for reviewing this brush. I’ve been looking to expand my brush collection a little over the next few months and this looks amazing. It reminds me of the 127 they released with Alluring Aquatic last year (one of my HG brushes btw) only denser, stubbier, and better suited for creams or more intense blending/shading you can’t get from a brush like the 127.
I have been appalled at the quality of this release but it looks like the brushes are its saving grace!

No problem, Andrew! I think if you love the 127, you’ll like this one 🙂

Any tips for the 127? What do you use it for most?

Well when I first got it I was hoping I could use it for finishing powder, but it’s a bit too small for full-face application. It’s still great for spot application though, especially to set concealer under the eyes. Other than that I use it with basically any other powder product. The natural side does a wonderful job at picking up just enough product for an even flush or a nice bronzed glow.
For some reason I don’t really use the synthetic side all too often but on the off chance I use a brush with cream products it does an amazing job. I know it’s not the most hygienic but I use my fingers with cream products a good 95% of the time. With a stiffer cream product like Diorshow Fusion shadow I find it helps to pinch the base of the bristles with your thumb and two fingers to make them a little denser.

Fun side note: I actually ended up getting the brush by accident. It made its way into my order from MAC while it was being packed; I emailed them to see how I needed to send it back to them and they insisted I keep it. Gotta love a good free brush!

I can see how a flat sided eye shadow brush having split fibers would be a great thing. Since you use each side independently of one another. This contouring brush, and please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t you want to use the top edge, not the sides, for contouring? So the split fibers don’t make much sense, at least to me they don’t. I would think each kind of fiber would pick up and disburse product differently. I don’t know, I guess I’d have to try it to find out! 😀

I have a few other brushes that look similar to this so I am purely buying this because of that ferrule. I LOVE IT! Is that wrong 😉 I did choose to skip on the 126 based on your ‘scratchy’ review. My wallet thanks you Christine. <3

Hi Christine!
How would you compare this with the NARS contouring brush Ita Kabuki Brush, if you have used?

I’m loving the new layout you have for new collection-wide reviews! 🙂 Been away for a bit – I hope is well! <3

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