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MAC 239 Eye Shading Brush Photos & Review

Beauty Basics: MAC Eye 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 Eye Brushes.

Focus On: MAC 239 Eye Shading Brush

MAC 239 Eye Shading Brush ($25.00) is flat, slightly dome-shaped goat-hair brush. The brush head is 11mm in width, 10mm in length, and 5mm in thickness. It had a total length of 6.6 inches / 17 centimeters. The handles are smooth, black in color, and have held up well over 5+ years of regular usage, though the brush numbering has worn down on some brushes within a few years. There is a silver, metal ferrule that is crimped just below the base of the brush head.

The 239 is best for packing and patting on eyeshadow to the lid, though the rounded edge works well to distribute color into the crease and along the lower lash line (if you want a more blown out look). For me, it’s long been my do-it-all eye brush; I really don’t need additional brushes to create a multi-colored look, as this works to apply color onto the lid, crease, and brow bone, as well as to blend and diffuse edges with little effort. It is dense without being too firm, and it has enough flexibility to maneuver around the curve of the eye socket with ease. Over the years, I have acquired new ones (I have at least five), and I haven’t found the quality to be any different today as it was 5 or 10 years ago.

Editor’s Note: This review was re-written August 1st, 2016.

See close-ups


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Nathalie Avatar

I apply, blend and crease with it. The top of the brush is so thin that I can apply my eyeshadow on the bottom lid without problem. Really, my favorite brush.

Macaddict Avatar

My fave too Christine! And, like you, I can do all my eye make-up with it (it’s very versatile). So far, I have 4 of them and working towards getting 2 more! For sure, it’s a MUST HAVE!!

Nicole15 Avatar

The 239 is heaven on earth. I absolutely LOVE this brush…so much so that there are many times i just find myself staring at it as i run my finger back & forth across it. Think I’m in love?!?! It is so versatile but I definitely find myself using it most for color application & crease defining. I, too, own a 239SE as well & it is in no way comparable to the regular 239. You’ll never know the true capability of the 239 brush until you get the regular one.

Nicole15 Avatar

I first owned the 239SE & when I used it I was so unimpressed. Didn’t feel like it grabbed the color from the pot properly (kinda fell off brush isntantly) & it definitely did not pack it on the eyelid well at all. It was extremely flimsy, not dense & could not blend for anything. I kept wondering what the hype over this brush was all about. And then, I got the regular 239 & understood how it was so wondrous. Maybe some SE’s are better than others, but mine was the worst so I’m glad I persued purchasing the real deal.

Nathalie Avatar

Thank you for sharing your experience, Nicole. 🙂 I’ve never been tempted with a SE pack yet but I will remember (if so) that I should think twice before picking one!

aradhana Avatar

i have an SE face brush set from a couple of years ago and i think it’s very good! i don’t think i would repurchase any of the brushes in full size (190, 168, 187, 194) unless i strike it rich…
i prefer the SE 190 foundation brush to my full size armani foundation brush…which when i first bought i thought it was the best thing ever…

LoveCelebGossip Avatar

I’m buying this brush! What is the SE version? “For anyone who has the SE version (from MAC’s brush sets), the full size is many times better.”

Nicole15 Avatar

See my comment above about the 239SE specifically. This was just my personal experience with it. Others may have more to say in response. In regards to SE’s in general, they usually are special edition versions of the brushes that come out in palettes & brush sets/collections. They are mass produced & not hand made like the regular brushes are.

Radhika Avatar

The 239 is my absolute favorite brush too! I don’t know how I did my makeup without this brush! @Nicole15, I find myself doing the same thing… just running my finger over it. It’s perfect for everything! It packs on color perfectly, adds color to the lower lashline, defines, blends, everything! I can go on for days!!!

Natalie Avatar

My favorite brush too! The bestest 🙂
I love using it for the same reason as you listed, it is also excellent for picking up and applying pigments!

IZzySA Avatar

oh oh.. this is one of my favourite brushes but I note that since my last purchase of this brush (I have 7), it has gone up one USD.. lol… and prior to that another $ !! .. MAC keeps on raising prices!

Karen Avatar

This is my favorite brush too. A must have. I wish I would have thought to buy more brushes on F&F since I am maxing out my credit card anyway, being unemployed, and spending $1500 between Mon-Wed for my cat, (the emergency night vet, ICU, the regular vet, ICU,) who was 14 but I had her for 13 years, who died on Wed at 134pm. RIP Shelby Mama loves you!!

Lynne Avatar

So sorry to hear about Shelby…(I’ve “been there”)…and I know what emergency visits to ICU vets can do to wallets…it’s a sin. Again, sorry for your loss.

Barbara Avatar

I love this brush. It’s my favorite eyebrush that i currently own 3. Thanks to the sale. It’s very soft and pick up color like no other.

Emily Anne Avatar

Thank you so much for this review!
I was looking to buy my first MAC brush. After I saw this, this seemed like the perfect brush to get.
I just bought it today, and got a chance to use it for my fourth of july look, and it’s amazing!

Nosheen Avatar

Wow…these are some great reviews. I finally decided to buy my 239 brush as well. I was thinking to buy 217 as well for blending purposes but at the moment I can only afford one. I wonder if I need 217 or not?

DEENA Avatar

I have purchased the 217, 239,222 and 224 and was wondering if you could tell me which eye brush is great for applying pigments to the eyes? None of the brushes that i bought blend pigmented eye shadow well with other colours as the brushes just take the application off. Thank you

DEENA Avatar

also just for reference the pigments i am talking about are BARRY M dazzle dust i dnt think you can get them in the US but they are really popular in the uk and u can see the dazzle dust on
my brushes are doing nothing but taking them off my eyelids instead of placing and blending :((((

Lily Avatar

This is going to be my first eye brush too! I’m buying it for pigments and just overall shading and blending 😀 I’m so excited!

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