MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush: A well-used daily staple

by Paris B on · 28 comments

in Brushes etc.,Eyeshadow,Makeup,Product Reviews


Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On May 14, 2014
Last modified:May 13, 2014

Summary:

By now my anti-MAC feelings are probably quite well known amongst regulars. I make no apologies as I’ve had my run ins with the brand and the (lack of) service and there is very little from the brand that I’m attracted to. Yet, there is one item I own from MAC that I do like using.

Fortunately, it’s one item that I don’t have to go back and replenish so I can continue to avoid the stores LOL icon biggrin MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush: A well used daily staple

mac 239 eye shader brush MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush: A well used daily staple

The one item I have from MAC that I really enjoy and use almost every day is the MAC #239 Eye Shader Brush. I picked this one up many years ago as one of my first “high end” makeup brushes because at the time, I was really into loose pigments and loose powder eyeshadow, and the advise I got then, for the best brush to use those products with, was this one.

I bought it for about RM80 back then but it now retails for RM103 and from the very faded lettering on the handle, you can tell that I’ve had this for a very long time, and that it’s very well used! icon biggrin MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush: A well used daily staple

The MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush is a natural hair brush, with short, rounded bristles that are densely packed. The bristles are, I believe, white goat hair, and very soft on skin.

mac 239 eye shader brush2 MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush: A well used daily staple

I’ve had mine for so long (pre-blogging! That’s more than 7 years) that the constant use and washing has turned the bristles a shade of cream but I’m fine with it. I don’t have much of a problem getting it clean with just regular soap or baby shampoo and it cleans out quite easily.

What I use this brush for is to lay down colour for eyeshadow. The density and firmness of the bristles allow you to really pack on colour on your lid if you use a dabbing motion, which makes this useful for product that is loose like pigments or colours that aren’t as intense as you like. This is the upside – that you can get vibrant colours to look vibrant, and to get lots of colour on your lid.

The downside is that it can sometimes be easy to overdo if you aren’t careful. This is especially true if you’re working with dark colours. It always surprises me how intense dark colours look when I use this brush and this is one brush that works well with harder eyeshadow textures like those in the Narsissist eyeshadow palette. This is the reason why I didn’t hate the palette nor have a lot of problems getting colour to show. I just used a brush I knew would do the job, and it saved the day! icon smile MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush: A well used daily staple

This brush really does make life a lot easier. I use it mostly for lid colour and shading, using one side for colour and the other side for a dark colour to shade. If I want a less intense look, I swipe on colour instead of dabbing. In between washes, I just run it on a piece of tissue paper to clean it, since I use it almost daily, but it works fine.

The short bristles mean however that it doesn’t blend out colour very well so you may need a blending brush to blend out the edges of colour. I usually use just 2 brushes everyday – this one to lay down colour and shade which I then blend together, and then I use the Sigma E25 or similar to apply highlight colour or a nude blending shade.

I really like this brush and it’s one I’m happy to walk back into the MAC store to repurchase should it ever happen. But it’s been years and it’s still going strong so I (thankfully) do not have to make that trip any time soon! icon biggrin MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush: A well used daily staple

In a nutshell

The MAC 239 Eye Shader brush is a natural bristle brush with white goat hair, that has short dense, firm bristles. It works very well to pack on colour on lid and to blend out using the edge of the brush. The bristles are soft against the skin and it works very well if you want intense colour or have to work with hard textured eyeshadows that you find hard to pick colour up and to apply on skin. I love this brush and I don’t like many (or any) things from MAC icon smile MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush: A well used daily staple

Brush Hair: Natural (white goat possibly)

Pros: Soft against skin, Picks up colour very well, Packs on colour on lid with little trouble, Very good for hard textured eyeshadows

Cons: None that I can see

Who will like this: Anyone who wants to apply intense vibrant colour on lids, Anyone who likes using loose pigments or loose powder eyeshadows and want an intense effect, Anyone who wants an all in one brush

MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush vs Hakuhodo J004G Eye Shadow Brush

mac 239 eye shader brush hakuhodo MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush: A well used daily staple

Front View – Left: Hakuhodo J004G Right: MAC 239 Eye Shader brush

When I picked up some Hakuhodo brushes recently, I picked up one that I thought was similar to the MAC 239 on the basis that if it worked as well as the MAC 239 (It’s a wee bit cheaper) then I would have a winner or at least 2 brushes I could rotate.

However, I found that they weren’t quite as similar as I first expected. The Hakuhodo has longer bristles so there is a little more give and flexibility and it blends better. It also means that it doesn’t deposit colour as well as the MAC one does.

mac 239 eye shader brush hakuhodo side MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush: A well used daily staple

Side View – Left: Hakuhodo J004G Right: MAC 239 Eye Shader brush

From the side, you can see that the Hakuhodo isn’t as thick nor as dense as the MAC brush. Don’t get me wrong, I like it. It’s just that I actually found myself preferring the MAC 239 all said and done. It’s rare that you’d see me say this, but I’ve said it. Get the MAC 239 and save yourself looking for dupes icon smile MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush: A well used daily staple

Do you own the MAC 239 Eye Shader brush? Do you like it as much as I do or do you know of similar ones?

I love this one. It really changed the way I saw eyeshadow application and with it, I have little trouble getting most colours or product to show up on my lids. So, if I complain, you can bet you that the quality of the product must be really crap! LOL icon biggrin MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush: A well used daily staple

Paris B

MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush Price: RM103 | US$25 Availability: MAC Cosmetics stores or online

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[ 28 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

LeGeeque May 14, 2014 at 9:15 am

I’ve got the Tom Ford eyeshadow brush that’s possibly similar to this that I use to lay down the base colour. It’s not as good for blending because I prefer a more tapered brush for accuracy. Mine’s white-turned-cream too :D Welcome to the club!

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Paris B
Twitter:
May 22, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Mmm Tom Ford…. now where was I? :D You could be right. That Tom Ford brush does look like it’d do a similar job. I’m kind of glad we don’t have Tom Ford here yet or you know, I might just be broke? :P

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Hanny Daforcena
Twitter:
May 14, 2014 at 9:30 am

I have a MAC 239 too and I love it to bits! However, I don’t use it as often as I would like to anymore because it’s a hassle to clean and dry on a day to day basis because I get colors off my synthetic flat brushes just by wiping them with a wet tissue. Perhaps I should not be lazy and take the brush to the shower with me and leave it to dry overnight. HMMMM.
Hanny Daforcena recently blogged…Hanny Goes To: Nars X MWS!My Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
May 22, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Actually you aren’t supposed to wash your brushes everyday because it’ll kill them :P For natural hair brushes, especially when working with powder products, you can just brush it over a piece of clean tissue paper until you no longer see streaks and that’ll be sufficient, especially if you are the only one using it. It’s what I do all the time and I switch colours everyday and it doesn’t quite matter. Then I do a big wash maybe once a fortnight (coz I’m lazy that way) and it all washes out clean :)

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Maria May 14, 2014 at 11:21 am

I have a MAC 239 … This is a good brush … Must have items

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Paris B
Twitter:
May 22, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Absolutely! One of the only items I’d ever voluntarily like from MAC :P

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Robert c. May 14, 2014 at 11:28 am

Hello there~ I own the Hakuhodo J004H – the one made of horse hair- but I use it for a totally different purpose, which is as a concealer brush for under the eyes and spot-concealing. Umm, have you checked out the Zoeva brush line before? Their brush 234 is similar to these two and their brushes cost a fraction of the hakuhodo one and MAC.

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Paris B
Twitter:
May 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Good point Robert! I think this brush would work for that too :) I purchased a couple of Zoeva brushes quite recently but haven’t got round to washing and playing with them. I’ve read lots of lovely reviews on them though and they sure look promising!

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Peggy May 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm

I love my MAC 239, I use it alternately with Sigma E55. I find it easy to clean too with the MAC brush cleanser

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Paris B
Twitter:
May 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Yay another MAC239 fan :) I use it practically everyday for eyeshadow and it rarely ever fails me!

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shasha May 14, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Wow, it lasted you for so long now, no wonder people say that brushes are a lifetime investment! I have the Sigma SS239 which is rather similar, but I think me needs the MAC 239 now. I havent stepped into a MAC store for a while now, and find myself rather reluctant to enter into one, thanks to their amazing customer service, but I’ll brave myself one of these fine days :D
shasha recently blogged…[Review] Batiste Dry Shampoo in Original ( Clean & Classic)My Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
May 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Haha indeed! I only just realised how long I’d owned it, which scares me somewhat yet is testament to the quality of a good brush. It hasn’t even become scratchy despite its age. I pretty much avoid the store like the plague but it also helps that I’m turned off by all the limited edition launches that do not interest me at all. Oh but if you don’t want to step into the store, MAC now has online shopping locally, as I just found out recently!

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gio May 14, 2014 at 8:37 pm

I’m not a big fan of MAC either, but I agree that their brushes are amazing. I haven’t tried this one yet because I have a similar brush from Gosh that works just as well, but you’re tempting me to get one as a backup. I just wish the bristles weren’t white. My MAC briushes have all turned cream too.
gio recently blogged…New Collection: Giorgio Armani Bright Ribbon Summer 2014My Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
May 22, 2014 at 4:12 pm

I actually love the white brush hairs :D I’ve found that white goat hair bristles tend to be softer and of higher quality than brown or black dyed hair so I’m a little biased towards them. That said, they do turn a little cream over time but I guess that’s just age :)

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Arpita May 14, 2014 at 9:15 pm

It’s a fabulous brush, as is MAC’s 217. The latter I cannot live without though because I’ve found an incredibly cheap dupe for the 239 in the form of a paint brush (Loewe-Cornell 3/4 with the purple handle that retails around RM18). Granted, it is not as soft as the 239, but it’s by no means scratchy and works in an almost identical manner. If you adore this brush this much, it’s worth looking into!

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Paris B
Twitter:
May 22, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I have that Sigma dupe for the MAC217 but after reading everyone’s raves, I think it’s time I got the real deal ;) I’d read of people using paint brushes as makeup brushes a while ago but I was never really sold on the concept mainly because I sort of felt a little leery that they weren’t meant to be used on skin but I suppose the concept is the same after all. Thanks for the tip! I’ll look out for it – might make a good travel option :)

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Nicole May 15, 2014 at 1:39 am

I didn’t buy this #239 individual brush, but instead in limited edition holiday brush set probably 5 years ago. I was surprise of its good quality and still working well these days! So I bought another set 2 years later but the quality has gone terribly! Their brushes (esp the stippling brush) just won’t stop shredding, that’s when I decided I should just switch to something cheaper and in good quality eg real techniques brushes :)

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Paris B
Twitter:
May 22, 2014 at 4:16 pm

You are absolutely right about MAC travel brushes quality, Nicole! I own a set from years ago and the quality was quite decent. I’m still using a couple of their brushes but from what I saw of later and more recent travel brush sets, the quality has now deteriorated dramatically. Even back then, there was a difference in quality between travel and full sized brushes, but these days, the travel ones are sad to say, junk. You’re right. It’s better to just get Real Techniques (although I’ve never tried RT eye brushes).

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Ika Roseworn May 15, 2014 at 8:31 pm

I have this brush, and. I must say I hardly ever touch it, unless I plan to use pigments which doesn’t happen very often. I use to buy a lot of Mac because I had the Pro Card, so shopping at Mac was “worth it”! The card has since expired and I have discovered other affordable/better brands that I like, so Mac is not the “ish” anymore! Having said that, I prefer the Mac 217 anytime!!

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Paris B
Twitter:
May 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Haha did you get it for using pigments too? :D I have stopped using my pigments but they’re so pretty!

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Shari May 16, 2014 at 7:31 pm

For some reason, I can NEVER find a dupe of this MAC 239 (except the Hakuhodo which I haven’t explored yet! EEK). This is one of my holy grail brushes and I hate that word (holy gra—eeeeh). Truly a gem, I agree with you Paris!
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Paris B
Twitter:
May 22, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Yay! Another fan :D I didn’t realise how many of us love this brush! I use it practically everyday, it was a surprise to me that I hadn’t once reviewed it!

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Jyoan May 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm

So glad you love this too! You’re spot on about all the merits of this brush.

Two more to add:
– This is really good for lining both the upper and lower lash line because of how flat and thin it is. I love using this to pack black eyeshadow/powder over gel eyeliners to set it. And I also love using this to pack cream/champagne shadow on my lower lash line for a Korean-watery eyes effect.

– The corners of the 239 are also small enough to get highlighters onto the tear duct area.

With all of these merits, it is no wonder a simple daily makeup can be done with just 217 and 239 alone!! Like you, I have been living on just two brushes every morning for the last 3-4 years (ever since I bought both).
Jyoan recently blogged…NARS Kabuki Artisan Brush – #27 Yachiyo BrushMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
May 22, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Good points Jyoan! Looks like so many us of love this little brush right? It’s pretty much perfect for everything I need to do, I wonder why I even need so many brushes LOL!

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Ting May 19, 2014 at 8:48 am

hmmmph…! I need to get this now!! :D

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Paris B
Twitter:
May 22, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Yes you do :P

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Yvonne August 31, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Hi Paris, I LOVE your site, first time commenting here.I don\’t own a MAC 239 but my must-have MAC brush is the angled shading brush 275, it makes applying eye shadow specially at outer crease so easy and fun! This brush has made my 217 blending brush redundant but I still love to use both occasionally! Xx

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Paris B
Twitter:
September 1, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Hi Yvonne! Thanks for dropping by and commenting! :D I don’t have a #275 but since I don’t have as much of an aversion to MAC brushes as I do to their makeup I could steel myself to have a look :D Thanks for the heads up.

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