MAC 131 Brush Review, Photos & Swatches

MAC 131 Brush

MAC 131 Brush: A Duo-Fibre Multi-Tasker

The MAC 131 Brush ($40.00, limited edition and available with To the Beach) was originally released with Colour Craft (July ’09), and I’ve owned it since and used it once. I spent the past couple of weeks testing it out for the first time and seeing what it works best for. MAC describes it as, “Flat, tapered brush that contains a combination of short and long fibres … [i]deally suited for Mineralize Skinfinish Powders.”

How does it work for…

FOUNDATION: When it comes to liquid foundation, it does the job. I liked the application and finish better than the 187, because it seemed a lot less streaky (which is why I moved past the 187 to the 182 and now use the 109). The application with the 131 is quite a bit different, given that it’s a flatter, slightly tapered and angled brush–you don’t blend in a circular motion here. It’s more about soft sweeps and pulls to get the product blended on your face.

CREAM BLUSH: I prefer the 130 (also available with To the Beach but appears to be permanent) or the 188 (permanent) over the 131. The 131 is nice for blending out the color initially, but I find that being able to buff small circles is one thing I really find preferable in technique that the 131 doesn’t make so easy. You can see me demonstrate how to apply cream blush using a stippling brush like the 131 in this video (along with the 130). It is better with more emollient/thinner cream blushes than thicker consistencies.

MINERALIZE BLUSH/SKINFINISH: Like the 187, using the 131 to apply mineralize color products like the blushes, blush duos, and skinfinishes helps to soften the color and diffuse some of the glittery particles. It gives a very soft, subtle color and deposits a light layer of the sparkler/shimmer. I think it’s nice on some of the more pigmented, dirtier, or glitter-heavy shades, particularly for those with more visible pores. I think if you have the 187 or 188, you may not find the 131’s application far superior. I like the 131 a bit more, but it’s a close race. It’s also smaller than the 187, so it may be more manageable on cheeks in comparison.

MOISTURIZER: I actually found myself liking the 131 more to apply moisturizer than anything else. I spritz the brush with a little water, and then I apply my moisturizer–very clean, sanitary, and soothing. Of course, whether it’s vital to have a single brush for this purpose is debatable!

My personal feeling about the brush is that it’s a nice, high-quality brush that certainly is useful and can be used with different products, but if you are an avid brush collector, it may not be a must-have brush. I just didn’t and still don’t find myself reaching for it very often. I just want to repeat that there is nothing wrong with this brush–it has the same excellent standard of quality from the softness to the construction to the ability to multi-task as MAC brushes. It hasn’t reinvented the wheel for me, since I already own the 187 and 188.

I did an entire series of reviews on all of MAC’s Face Brushes, so definitely check that out if you’re looking for a particular brush.

What do you use the 131 for? Is it a must-have for you?

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! 🙂

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

Recommendation: If you already own the 187 and 188, you may not find this brush revolutionary. You may not even find it’s worth it, if you’re on a budget, and you own those two. It’s better suited for blush and mineralize products from the testing I did.

Availability: May 25th online at, May 27th in-stores

See more photos!

MAC 131 Brush

MAC 131 Brush

MAC 131 Brush

MAC 131 Brush


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Comments on this post are closed.
Sheila Avatar

I’m getting this! I think this might be the only thing (If I’m sticking to my list) I’m getting from To the Beach as I’m trying to save money… I don’t have either the 188 or 187 (I do have 130 tho), so I guess its a good replacement for either of those. Plus I’m not a fan of the stippling in circles thing, so I guess the flat-ness of the brush will be easier for me to use.

Thank you so much for this review!!

stephanie Avatar

I agree. stippling was not something I prefer to do either. I also like the streak free application I get from this brush. I use this for all types of blushes as its flat on both sides like the 116. I think its very soft as well. I think the 130 and 131 are better than the 187 and 188.

mary Avatar

i disagree on the 131 being better than the 187. the 187 is an all around amazing brush. it does so many things and applies almost everything flawlessly. ive never had a streaky finish with liquid foundation using it. love love love the 187. but i do agree that the 130 is way better than the 188. 188 is so flimsy.

Dusty Avatar

I’m a fan of multi-purpose brushes and I haven’t found enough tasks this brush does well to call it multi-purpose. I do use it though – This is the brush I’ll grab if I’m applying a loose powder highlight or reflects glitter as a highlight. It is the BEST brush I’ve ever used for a light-handed, swooshy, sweep of loose, glittery product.

Christine – Do you always apply moisturizer with a brush? I’ve tried it before but 1) since I clean brushes after each use it’s a PAIN in the ass and 2) I find that I get better results using my hands – Honestly I find that I get better results with many make-up products just using my hands and fingers (especially blending creamy products).

Christine Avatar

No, not typically! I keep my skincare in a different bathroom (the one I actually use!) so I can put my moisturizer on post-shower, but my brushes are in the other one… so you can imagine laziness gets in the way. I *do* like the feel of applying moisturizer with a brush, though.

Now I am curious to hear your thoughts on the 130 😉

Anna Avatar

I agree with you Christine.
I bought it last year too and I still wonder why I did ( I think it was an impulse buy). I rarely used it too since I dont really use mineral makeup. But thanks for reviewing it, now I am going to see how it will do with foundation!

Christina Avatar

i am a beauty beginner. haha that sound weird?? but yes, that is what i am, and i am planning on buying some mineralize skinfinishes and i was wondering, what brush should i get for them (not the natural one but the shimmery/sparkly on) should i get this brush? please help me find a good msf brush!

lily Avatar

DANG, when i saw that it was $34 it was on my list, but 40 bones is a no-go!
ps. i’m glad i ordered marine life when i saw your tweet! i should have ordered 2!

Alabee Avatar

Would this brush be better than the 187 for mineralize skinfinish natural? I don’t own any duo-fibre brushes and am looking to use a brush for light coverage.

Rita Avatar

I bought my 131 last summer, and I’ve been using it for blush (powder), MSFs especially. Though I prefer to use a round blush brush for those circular motions. Lately I have used 131 to apply highlight powder.

Kappie Avatar

I normally use this brush with the Mineralize skinfinish line for blush and highlight. And I have to admit that I love it 😀

Dao Avatar

You know what I would buy? A dual fibre kabuki brush. That would be awesome for foundation and powder. This brush looks interesting but I don’t think I’ll use it since I don’t wear liquid foundation anymore.

mary Avatar

i bought this for liquid foundation but i think i prefer my 187 better. this does a good job but ive always been a fan of the stipple than swirl motion and this isnt as good for that purpose. also its so soft and sometimes doesnt spread the product that well around. u’d have to spray with fix+ to really get the product smoothed out (i use studio fix fluid).

my fav brushes for liquid foundation are still the 130 (the BEST) and the 187. 187 i use lately because it is bigger and just survives my morning routine a lot better than the 130. i mite just return the 131 and get another 187. one for blush, one for foundation

Kris Avatar

Christine how do u get it sooo clean. Every time I deep clean this the bristles get stuck together when it’s dry. It’s soo annoying. Pls tell me ur secret or pls post a vid on how to clean brushes

KrystolJoi Avatar

I clicked on the link for the video and it never mentioned anything about how you use the 131 or the 130. The only stippling brush used in the vid was actually the 187 (which you called a 188). I rely on this blog for EVERYTHING mac and was extremely upset that you essentially lied to your readers. Ny suggestion would be for you to take that link to the video off from this post. Watching that vid was nothing but a waste of my time!

Christine Avatar

My apologies – I am merely showing how one would stipple with a stippling brush (which is what the 131 is). If you find what I have done so offensive, my sincere apologies. I’m terribly sorry for wasting your time, but I would have hoped that if you found my blog useful that you would at least give me the benefit of the doubt and merely point it out rather than deliberately trying to make me feel badly about myself.

Krystol Avatar

I wasn’t trying to make you feel bad at all! If you did feel this way, I apologize for you feeling that way. I love your blog! Like I said, I use it for everything MAC related. I was just upset that you didn’t use the 131 in the video. My words may have come across offensive to you but it wasn’t meant that way. It wont stop me from reading. I recommend your blog to everyone I know who doesn’t know about you. Keep doing what you do best!

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