MAC 165 Tapered Cheek & Highlighter Brush Photos & Review

Beauty Basics: MAC Face Brushes

Beauty Basics is a series covering basic products and tools that help to make applying your makeup easier. To view the entire series to date, be sure to visit the beauty basics, or you can view posts within the series about MAC Face Brushes.

Focus On: MAC 165 Tapered Cheek & Highlighter Brush

MAC 165 Tapered Cheek & Highlighter Brush ($34.00) is a medium-sized, tapered face brush with natural bristles. This was a limited edition brush that was launched with Brunette, Blonde, and Redhead in early 2009. It will be making a reappearance in October 2009, for those who wish to purchase it, too. (As of time of this writing, it is still available via Nordstrom.com.) I adore using this brush to highlight cheek bones. It just works effortlessly and places the highlight perfectly. It is a soft, dense brush, so it picks up color easily, deposits well, and doesn’t eat up product. It works well to blend out color and powder products, too.  This is one of my favorite brushes, so I would definitely urge you to pick it up if an opportunity presents itself!

How do you like to use this brush?

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About the Reviewer

Reviewer

Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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49 Comments

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I’ve been eyeing this brush for so long and have never been able to pick it up, but this certainly increasing my lemming for it!

I have this brush and I have to agree with you that it’s perfect for highlighting! I also use this when I apply blush as I have small cheeks. Plus, it hardly sheds. This is a must-have!

I totally agreed I love this brush 4 highlighting and also use it with loose powder 4 under the eye area it is abit pricey but soft n worth it x

This is one of my fave brushes as well, it is amazing for controlled highlighting. You could use it to contour well too! I will be buying another of these if my local stores still have them, if not then in Oct. I think they should make this one permanent because they don’t have another brush that highlights as well, especially when using MSF or something really glittery.

I missed this brush when the BBR collection hit, so I am glad it will be making a reappearance in October. I plan to use it as a blush brush.

If you can’t wait until October some of the CCO stores have this brush. So you might want to check them out if you have a store near you.

I agree, this brush is perfect for highlighting. I use it for blush sometimes, too.

I love that it’s not super huge and fluffy, so if I only want to pick up 1 or 2 shades from my striped MSFs, it can do that easily.

I’ve been checking this out a bit more and WOW, ***** (5 stars on Make-up Alley out of 52 reviews when I checked – impressive) some mentioned using this for fluid foundation application – very interesting!

oooh! i just bought this! haven’t bring myself to even open it and use, but i heard so much good reviews! 😀

i am just glad i bought this despite the heavy price tag…

i don’t think they sell the 138 at my counter cos i wanted to get that for contouring. but on second thoughts i wouldn’t want it cos it’s probably a little big for my face. so i’ve been using my 165 for contouring and i must say it does a really good job c: i can also use it for blush and needless to say highlighting. close to zero shedding so that’s another plus point. must have!

i bought it today, even if the price is about twice as much compared to the us, but its definately worth it 🙂
thank you very much for your review christine, it helped me a lot to decide 🙂

I picked up this brush at my local CCO and I love it for applying my Mac Studio Fix Fluid it blends it so nice. It’s also great for applying blush. A must have in my stash.

which one would you suggest i get between this (165) and the 109? i need it for contouring, highlighting and blush ( for the crazily pigmented nars crazed).. overall looking for a multipurpose brush.. thank you!!

If you want it for everything… I’d say the 116, actually. Between the 165 and 109, the 165, because the tapered edge will make it easier for contouring.

Just picked this brush up at my CCO today and I absolutely love it. I came home and used it with my new porcelain pink MSF and I love the results!!! Your review of this brush is what pushed me to get it! And I’m soo glad it did lol!

aaah im new 2 the mac obsession and missed out on the last opportunity 2 pick this brush up….any ideas if they’ll be relaunching the 165 brush in the near future???

Just picked this up with the 225 at a CCO in the Orlando Premium Outlets in Vineland…so if your visiting or in the area, hurry on over before they’re gone!

Hi Christine,

Thanks for your awesome review! I really really want to get this brush! Any idea when and where I can get it? I’m located in the GTA. Lemme know plz. Thanks!

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