Monday, August 3, 2009

MAC 217 Blending Brush: I Can’t Live, If Livin’ Is Without You

Hi there, pretty people!

A quick flashback to the 90s when Mariah Carey still had curly hair, did not sing hip-hop, and did not have an in-house photo retouch person. Although I was not as much of a Mariah’s fan back then, I remember belting “Without You” using all the air from the bottom of my stomach:

“No, I can’t forget this evening or your face as you were leaving but I guess that’s just the way the story goes. You always smile but in your eyes, your sorrow shows. Yes, it shows…”

[more singin’ and beltin’ until the chorus]

“I can’t liveeeeeeee, if livin’ is without you
I can’t live, can’t live anymoreeeeeeeeeee…”

Ok, around this part of the song, either (a) I passed out because of the lack of oxygen or (b) somebody- usually my dad- would run to the room and chased me around with a stick so I would shut up. Since then, I knew I was no Mariah but still, “Without You” remains my karaoke guilty pleasure.

MAC 217: up-close and personal

It was not coincidental when I link MAC 217 to “Without You”. Seriously, it was my mistake not to get this brush any earlier. And I know why: it ain’t cheap, people! At $21.50 USD a brush, the 217 is not the most expensive brush that MAC ever produced. However, it is not the cheapest one in the lineup either. I have resisted the charm of MAC 217 for ages (well, at least for three years, but you get the idea.) I got Sonia Kashuk blending brush ($5.99 a pop, a steal!) and Loew-Cornell Ann’s Mini Mop ¼ inch ($2 something, definitely another steal!) Yet, I did not feel satisfy (which I need to cue another song: “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”).

(L-R)" Loew-Cornell Maxine's Mop 3/8', L-C AMM 1/4', MAC 217

(L-R): MAC 239, 217, and SK blending brush

The SK blending brush, while doing a kick-ass job during my blending sessions on the smokey eyes, is a tad too big. It is actually very similar to MAC 224 (but a lot cheaper!) While I love it, sometimes I find the SK blending brush to muddle up my colors, especially when they are not in the same family.

The Ann’s Mini Mop (or AMM) is a great brush to apply eyeshadow to the outer-v area. However, it is not full enough to blend. Even when I did my best to blend eye shadows with the AMM, it always leaves a streaky line. So, I reserve it for applying eye shadows only.

With the weaknesses of the two above brushes comes the strength of MAC 217. To be honest, the 217 is a hybrid between MAC 239 and MAC 224. It has the flatness, strength, and durability of the 239 as well as the flair, length, flexibility, and softness of the 224. On top of that, the 217 tops the other two by having better precision: I can apply two very different colors (eg, blue and brown) without being afraid of them mixing up. The 217 simply places the blue on top of the brown and that’s it, there’s nothing in between!

As I mentioned it as a hybrid brush, the 217 can be used to apply eye shadows without blending as well. Although it feels a bit awkward at first, I like to use it to apply highlighting colors to the area underneath the brow bone and the inner corner of my eyes.

MAC 217 blending brush is a seriously good brush. If you haven’t had it yet, I highly suggest you to get it. I waited for three years and it’s worth the wait. Once in a while, this brush does pop up in MAC special edition eye brush set. However, the 217SE is not as full or soft as the full size one. This brush I have is a dream to use: it is really soft and silky! Everytime I use it, I always am thankful to have this brush in my life.

The only caveat I find in this brush is the white goat hair: it’s a pain to clean! When I use mineral eye shadows, the colors usually wash off very easily. However, the pan eye shadows are a bit of trouble and I find my face wash (Neutrogena Deep Clean) to do a good job removing them. Another tip I’ve learned when it comes to cleaning white goat hair brushes is to wash with Dove bar soap. The person who gave me this tip said it cleans the bristles really well and keep them soft.

My brush roll, can you name all the brushes in there?

And finally, today's soundtrack: "Without You" by Mariah Carey

That's all, folks! I hope you'll have a good week ahead!


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  1. The 217 is my hg brush. I love that I can do my eyes with just this brush... if I have to. It great for blending concealer, paint pots etc. A truly versatile brush.

    Naomi ~

  2. Hi Naomi,

    Thank you for giving me tips on using the 217. I didn't think of using it to apply paint pots, which I love as well. This brush is amazing, I'm glad you love it as much as I do.

  3. I haven't bought the 217 yet but it's on my list of things I want! :) x

  4. Dao, how much totally?

    Ngoc Ha

  5. Hi Tacky Blue Eyeshadows (sorry I don't know your real name!),

    It's really awesome, you should get it as soon as you can :)

  6. Hi Ngoc Ha,

    Usually, the 217 brush costs $21.50, which is not cheap. I took advantage of the sumo sale, which offered 25% off my total purchase, so the brush was around $16. I guess if the economy continues the way it is, we may get another sale around Christmas time.

  7. I was really lemming this brush and now I want it even more! It's expensive, but if it does all that it's worth it!

  8. Hi Gio,

    I saved like crazy to have that MAC haul for my birthday. Overall, I am very happy with this brush. It is a dream to apply makeup and blend. If you don't need it right away, you can always wait for the sale.

  9. Hi Kia,

    It's a must-have and I'm glad you like it as well!


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