MAC 130 Brush Review, Photos & Swatches

MAC 130 Brush

MAC 130 Brush: New Cream Blush Hero

The MAC 130 Brush ($38.00, supposed to be permanent now) is described as, “A short, round, flat-topped brush ideal for the smooth, easy application of foundations, creams, emulsions, and select powder products [and] features a blend of natural bristles and synthetic fibres.”

How does it work for…

FOUNDATION: I think those who normally use the 187 will find the 130 a welcome addition to the duo fibre line-up. Though the brush head is much, much smaller (think like a stumpy 188), the compact, dense brush head allows for greater control and blending as well as it’s small enough to get into the nooks and crannies (like around the nose). The shorter fibres also provide for significantly less streaking and clumping of the bristles (huge reason why I’m not a big fan of the 187 for foundation). If you liked the application of the 109 but found yours shed unbearably, I think you’ll also like the 130. I still prefer my 109 a little bit over the 130.

CREAM BLUSH: I’ve been finding that the 130 is better than the 188 for cream blushes lately. I like the firmer, stiffer brush head, rather than the more springy fibres of the 188. It gives me more control, precision, and helps to blend out the color in small, buffed circles. You can see me demonstrate how to applying cream blush using the 130 in this video (along with the 131).

POWDER BLUSH: Really not a big fan of this brush in powder products — I just don’t find that it delivers the soft, natural, and effortless color and finish that traditional blush brushes do, like the 116.  It’s better for buffing out blush than so much for applying it.

The 130 is definitely a must-have brush for those who wear cream blush or bronzer on a regular basis. The stiffness (it still has give, though!) makes it so easy to apply and the circular brush head makes it easy to buff into the skin. The bristles themselves are as soft as you would expect from MAC.

The only thing I noticed is the brush has a tendency to have some splayed bristles if you aren’t extra careful to reshape it perfectly after washing. (I re-washed the 130 brush last night, and it’s much tighter, with only 3-4 bristles pulling away.) It doesn’t affect the utility or the application of the brush, but it’s something I noticed when photographing.

What do you use the 130 for?  Is it a must-have for you?

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re in the market for a brush to apply liquid foundation or cream blush, the 130 excels at both tasks. It’s better than the 187, arguably as good as or better than the 109 (depends on who you talk to, ha!), and beats out the 188 for cream blush.

Availability: Nordstrom

See more photos!

MAC 130 Brush

MAC 130 Brush

MAC 130 Brush


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Sheila Avatar

I agree with everything you said about the 130! I bought it a few weeks ago at Heathrow airport’s duty free and I’m really loving it for foundation application when I have a bit more time and want a more flawless application (when I’m lazy, I just use my fingers, LOL!). I do use this brush for my blushes that are less pigmented and require a bit more working on my medium-tone skin (like MAC Blush Ombre in Ripe Peach) because its able to grab a lot of colour and just pile it on. I do agree, though, that if I do use this for blush its not as natural as an actual blush brush like the 116.

I think the only cons I can think of for the materials in the brush is how hard it is for it to keep its shape! I was smart enough to keep the plastic sleeve that it came in, so I always dry it in that sleeve now. It takes a lot longer, but its worth it because it helps it keep its shape. Otherwise its a big mess!

Thank you for this review =)

Christine Avatar

Glad you liked it, too, Sheila! 🙂 Yeah, I find the 116 just does the trick for me on blush… and then I can always buff with another brush (including the 130, if so desired) to take it down a notch on more pigmented blushes!

I can’t do brush guards, plastic sleeves, etc. My thing is I lose them quite easily, and I just find they sit all over the place, LOL. It’s like keeping boxes for me – just takes up space and looks more like clutter. I was really only peeved at the splaying for photography purposes, haha. I was like, “Ugh, why do you have to look so ugly?”

Dusty Avatar

Gasp! You guys!!! I have the best getto-chic tip for drying brushes in shape (I use it on my 109’s because I HATE HATE HATE how they dry all flayed out and mushroomy). I’m going to do a video on it soon (I need to finish Paint Stick Part 2 first though! LOL). BUT…

Once the brush is washed and dryed a little (I always swirl mine on a clean towel first). Take a piece of tissue paper (toilet paper is fine), wrap it around the handle of the brush and then slide it up and over the bristles. 99% of the time it will stay in place but you might need a small piece of tape to hold it in place. Then you can lay it upside down in a glass if you want, to keep the water away from the base. THIS WORKS ALL THE TIME WITH ANY BRUSH.

I came up with it because I didn’t want to spend the bucks on brush guards that I KNEW I would just loose.

Wilcoa Avatar

I’m a huge bronzer wearer, so I was hoping this would be a good one for me (which is sounds like it will be!). Thanks for the review, will definitely be picking this one up!

Christen Avatar

Are those the right pictures of the brush after the review? i think it’s the 131 which you previous reviewed…plus its different from the top picture. Good brush though, judging from the review; i want to check it out!

wbwrightMakeupArtist Avatar

I love it for the Mineralize cream foundation, cream blushes (especially firmer creams as it picks up far better than 188) and masks (I found it gives a nice even coverage and keeps my hands clean)
I truly do adore MAC’s duo fibres, and in fact THREW away a Sephora Platinum brush that simply kept bleeding black and refusing to come clean on the synthetic bristles. I finally had enough once I got my hands on the 130…

Jessica Avatar

Hey Christine! Just wanted to let you know you’ve got the 131 photos in this post (aside from the top one, of course!) by accident. I LOVE the 130 brush — it’s amazing!

evo Avatar

i love this for cream foundations and blushes. i haven’t had a chance to try it on liquid foundationns/powder blushes/bronzers yet.

Tawny Avatar

UGHHHH it does look ugly in the 3rd photo ( top down) LOL but I agree, it does a much better job of blending out streaky lines for liquid foundation than the 187. It’s like an ugly duckling in the double fibre line, but it does the same job, if not better than the 187 and 188.

Dusty Avatar

I… LOVE… This brush.

I think the 130 is like a little magic eraser with foundation – Seriously! It actually feels like I’m erasing away to pretty skin when I use it! Hah! I use this for just about ANY cream/liquid product on the face: Foundation, blush, bronzer, highlight, etc. This is my favorite of the duo-fiber brushes by far.

If someone was looking for a good foundation brush but wanted something multi-purpose I would still favor the 109 though – Just because I can use the 109 for foundation, blush, bronzer, contour, highlight, set powder, etc. with BOTH powder and cream products. (Though the 109 does usually leave one hair behind when I’m using it for liquid foundation – The 130 does not.)

Dusty Avatar

Hehe! I was happy to post the tissue-paper trick too 🙂 Hopefully people find it useful (it makes my 109’s look brand new).

But yes… The 109 is still a favorite of mine. I can do an entire face with just one 109 and a 242 (I use the 242 as a packing on color, blending and smudging brush and like the 109 I can use it with both creams and powders). I’ve even been known to use the 242 for lips on more than one occassion! Hah 🙂

Melody Avatar

I bought this brush two days ago and used it today to apply my NARS Sheer Glow foundation and I LOVE it! It’s amazing! My foundation never looked so good 🙂

Victoria Avatar

I bought this a couple of months (or something) ago when it came out and I always apply my Studio Sculpt with the 130 now! My foundation never gets streaky with this one =)

stephanie Avatar

I love this brush for foundation. I think its better than the 187, just as you said, you have greater control over application.

Liz Avatar

I have this brush for my mineralize spf15 fondation and I LOVE it! It works amazing at getting in all the nooks and crannies of your face. I’m planning on getting the mineralize skin finish natural to compliment the cream foundation. What brush would be best for that?
thanks 🙂

Steph B Avatar

I like the 188 but always think how much better it would be if only the fibers were a little shorter, the head a little bigger, and slightly denser bristles. My local store ran out of these quickly when they first came out but now that I’ve seen this, I’ll have to stop in and see if they have restocked.

Al Avatar

This brush is amazing for cream/liquid concealer! especially if you want to cover a large area, really buffs it in beautifully. That’s what I use it for and it really gets into the small crevices around the nose and mouth.

Love it! One of my favorite brushes now.

Kim Avatar

i bought this about a month ago and i love it. i think it’s my fave. i dont use it it often for foundation because it takes a while and i usually like a sheer layer anyway. but i do use it daily for blush (i actually like using it on powder blush though, too!). glad you liked it!

Jen Avatar

I am seriously considering buying this brush, I love the 109, but I’m finding it a bit flimsy for foundation application? It just softens too much when its damp and doesn’t buff out properly. Even as it is though, I find it works for cream blush, it softens and fluffs it out perfectly. Do you think this would work for a firmer application of foundation? How do you think the coverage would vary? Thanks for posting this review, and for all the work you do to help us all! You’re fantastic!

Jessica Allison Avatar

If this brush was larger, I’d be all over it. I was searching all over a few months ago for a short, densely bristled flat top brush that would stand up to thicker cream foundations (specifically, my Illamasqua Rich Liquid Foundation, which is the consistency of Tahini!)

I finally grabbed the Sonia Kashuk synthetic flat bronzer brush, simply because it was the closest I could find. It reminds me a LOT of this brush, though I imagine the bristles on the MAC brush aren’t quite as dense. I’ve actually been very happy with my cheapie Kashuk- the bristles, which at first looked loose in the ferrule, have kept their shape perfectly- no splaying, no fall out, not really any spreading. My only complaint is that my arm gets tired from buffing, because the brush is relatively small for the entire face.

I’d highly suggest trying the Kashuk brush if you’re tempted by the 130- even with my MAC Pro card, the MAC one would still be $10 more than what I paid for the Kashuk! (BTW, the male client at my last commercial video shoot actually asked what kind of brush it was when I used it, he was amazed at how soft it was!)

Rita Avatar

I originally bought 130 for applying foundation, for which it is great, but lately I have not used it since I’m using Mac Face & Body now, and I’m used to applying my foundations with hands really. This morning I tried to apply Cremeblend Blush with 130, and it felt better than 187 in that job.

Andrea Avatar

Bought this brush a couple months ago. I found that its good at applying cream blush. But I love it for Highlighting. (And the fact that I hate getting the white fibres full of blush)

Ribbons Avatar

I got this brush a couple of months ago from the MAC store in Liverpool as I bought a Mineralize blush and the guy told me to try one of these brushes as well so I thought I might as well. He said that it’d been made specifically for Mineralize products but like you said I’ve been using it from cream blushers and for around the nose area and blending into the hairline. It gives a really nice flawlwss finish that rivals airbrushing at times. My brush has also held together really well after washing, it’s only shed one of two bristles since I bought it and has kept the shape perfectly but I do always reshape after cleaning.

Melanie T Avatar

Christine, thanks to you I’m a proud owner of a mac 130~! Haha, it’s my first MAC brush *shy* I’m still trying to get to “know” it, if you get what I mean. Here’s my question, what do you use to clean yours~? I’m using Johnson’s Top to Toe Baby Wash ( since it’s supposed to be “gentle” ) and I’m not sure if I’m doing it right. And I don’t have brush guards, and I heard you don’t use them. How do you dry them?

Thanks for the tips Christine!

raeda Avatar

I had the same question when I got this brush. It is hard to clean. What I do is put Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in the palm of my hand. After letting the brush run through water face down and soaking it, I swipe the brush back and forth, back and forth, and in circular motions in the palm of my hand with the baby shampoo. I do this for a good minute. I then rinse the brush. I then put a pump of MAC Cleanser in the palm of my hand and go through the same process. I gaurantee it will be like new. You have to wash this brush after every use.

I don’t use brush gaurds either. I take a paper towel and wrap it around the ferrule, push it up and set it in place with a small elastic band around the handle (I get 500 clear small ones from the dollar store). I let the paper towel go past the hair about an inch so I can dry it standing up. If you lay it flat, you will have once side that is flat when dried instead of round.

Hope this helps!

Lexy Avatar

I don’t think I’ll be getting this brush. I already have the 188 & 187. The 188 works okay for bright blushes, but I just don’t think it’s the best blush brush. I did read that some people used the 188 for blush and tried it but I think it’s to big to use for blush. (For foundation it’s perfect, though)

So, what are your favorite blush brushes? If you can name some brushes that good for powder blushes that would be better, because I have more powder blushes.

Oh, and your favorite flat top Kabuki Brush?

Thanks! :] I really enjoy your site and all your reviews.

jing Avatar

hi kristine… i wish to buy this brush but unfortunately, the mac stores here in UAE dont have them so with 109. I just want to ask you if its safe to buy on ebay? for these brushes only. do you think they can be authentic? please please..i hope someone can help me…tnx guys

Ikke Avatar

I loooove the 130 brush. I use it for my entire face. The application of studio tech foundation, concealer and creme blush. Super easy to use. I think it is one of the most versatile brushes. I prefer it over the 109 and 190 brush…

raeda Avatar

It is an ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE for me. It is hands down MY FAVOURITE brush. Has no dupe. I use it for my Estee Lauder DW light foundation. I have a lot of pigmentation on half my face. I would always see my spots seeping through the foundation, no matter what foundation, no matter what type of tool until THE MAC 130 came and saved my life. My face looks flawless. I don’t know how, but my medium coverage foundation that I would try to build and build and build to no avail, became a full coverage foundation with less product. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE THIS BRUSH. IF it was $100 I would buy it.

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