Hello, everyone!

I hope your weekend was smashing. How do you like the new layout? It makes me think of springtime and high fashion and those are very good things in my world. I added some links to other blogs I read on the right-hand side of the page, under my Twitter updates. Check the links out if you have the time!

This weekend I completely reorganized and cleaned all of my makeup supplies and as I looked at all my brushes, pretty and freshly shampooed, I decided that you lot might like a post on brushes. What I’m going to do is just talk about a handful of my favorites, starting with the MAC brush. Then I’m going to give you the dupes. Links and prices will be included in each example given. I’ll tell you which of the dupes I have (because I don’t have any MAC brushes). I’m only recommending brands that I own and use daily. I have heard that Sigma and Crown Brush are worth their grits, but I’ve yet to try them myself. So let’s jump right in!

1) The Small Shader Brush.

MAC’s 231 Small Shader Brush. Retails at $17.50

I am in love with this brush. It's perfect for smudging shadows along the lashlines or for smudging eyeliners. I've also used it to fill in brows and as a lip brush, in a pinch.

Posh Dupe: Retails at $10.00

Posh Smudge Definer Brush. We'll let it slide that "Smudge Definer" is an oxymoron.

Sonia Kashuk Dupe: Retails at $4.99

Sonia Kashuk Smudge Brush. I own this brush and I am in love with it. It does not shed and maintains its shape after shampooing. I can't believe it's 1/3 of the price of the MAC brush.

2) The Duo Fibre Brush

MAC 187 Duo Fibre Brush retails at a $42.00 (Ridiculous.)

MAC 187 Duo Fibre Brush. If you're into the makeup world, you'll know that Duo Fibre brushes are sweeping the nation. I love this brush. I can't decide if I like it better for applying liquid foundation, powder, or other powder products such as highlighters. It really gives a flawless finish.

Sephora Dupe: Retails at $35.00

Sephora Professionnel Platinum Stippling Brush #44. It's a mouthful but it's $7.00 cheaper than MAC.

Sonia Kashuk Dupe: In your neighborhood Target for $12.99

Sonia Kashuk Highlighting Brush. This is the brush I have and I might snag another one the next time I'm in Target because I love it so much.

*Note: Crown and Sigma had similarly shocking low prices, but again, I’m going by word of mouth on their quality as brands, and not my own experience. A note about Duo Fibre brushes: bristle shedding is quite common, from MAC down to the cheapies. I haven’t noticed any shedding in my Sonia Kashuk dupe, even after shampooing, so I don’t think price is a factor in that issue at all.

3) The Retractable Lip Brush

MAC’s 318 Retractable Lip Brush is yours for $22.50

MAC 318 Retractable Lip Brush. I insist all of my lip brushes be retractable now. It keeps you from having to either wash your brush after every use or risk your other brushes/ makeup bag/ hand from getting sticky lipstick residue on them.

Clinique Retractable Lip Brush: Mine for $13.50.

Clinique Lip Brush is my favorite little brush and what spurred on my obsession for quality brushes.

Sephora‘s retractable lip brush has a slightly different shape but retails for $12.00.

Sephora Professionnel Platinum Square Retractable Lip Brush #60. Looks nice to me!

Imagine my disbelief when I was doing research and I found the Sonia Kashuk Dupe for the stupidly low price of $6.99.

Sonia Kashuk Retractable Lip Brush. Even if it sucked, it was only $6.99. Can't get over that price, though my Clinique brush has lasted me for years and years.

4) The Angled Blush/ Contour Brush

MAC offers their version for a nifty $32.00

MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush. This is one of the best values you can get from a brush because without cleaning it, you can use different parts to apply bronzer, blush, and highlighter. It's amazing and arguably my favorite brush of all time.

Sephora doesn’t even knock the price of their dupe. $32.00

Sephora Professionnel Platinum Blush Brush #49. Dupe fail.

Posh Dupe: Retails at a cool $14.00


Posh White Angle Blush Brush. I have this Posh dupe and besides being in love with the red handle, this brush is awesome. So many jobs for one brush! I also love that I can use it and use it and when I shampoo it goes right back to white. So pretty.

Sonia Kashuk Dupe: Might rock your world for a mere $10.00

Sonia Kashuk Large Contoured/ Angled Blush Brush. It's the right shape to get the job done, even if the bristles are of lesser quality.

5) The Pencil Brush

MAC‘s version will cost you $24.50

MAC 219 Pencil Brush. This brush is great for applying color anywhere you only want a little; lashline, inner corners, crease.

Sephora‘s Dupe: Only $18.00.

Sephora Professionnel Platinum Smokey Eye Brush #24. I have this Sephora dupe because I was looking for as close to a MAC 219 as I could get, and I found this in Sephora one day and snatched it up.

Posh has a smokey eye brush, but it is a thicker pencil brush, not a 219 dupe. It’s nice, I have a Sephora version of that brush, and I love it for placing crease color. Posh’s thicker smokey eye brush is only $10.00.

Sonia Kashuk Dupe: Only $5.99

Sonia Kashuk Shaped Blending Brush. I'm not sure how it compares to the MAC 219 or Sephora Professionnel #24 as far as stiffness goes, but it seems to be the right shape!

6) The Tapered Blending Brush

MAC‘s will run you $29.00.

MAC 224 Tapered Blending Brush. Perfect for blending crease color. Also good for concealer application, strangely enough.

Sephora Dupe: $20.00

Sephora Professionnel Platinum Natural Crease Brush #10. This is the most expensive brush I own, but it is a direct 224 dupe and worth every penny. I use this every day and it has made all the difference in the world as far as the quality of my makeup application.

Posh offers a Crease Brush Duo for $14.00 that would probably do a nice job, though neither of the brushes are exact 224 dupes.

Sonia Kashuk will only set you back $5.99

Sonia Kashuk Crease Shadow Brush. This looks to me as if MAC 224 and MAC 219 had a baby. And that baby is the cousin to the MAC 217. So it's not a direct dupe, but I think it would be a nice brush to have.

7) A Large Eyeshadow Brush

MAC‘s brush will cost you $30.00

MAC 227 Large Fluff Brush. This is the perfect brush for adding the browbone highlight or for when you need to pack color all over the eyelid.

Posh Dupe: $10.00 to happiness.

Posh Wide Domed Eye Shadow Brush. I LOVE this brush! The bristles stay soft while still being stiff enough to keep pigment placement precise. (Alliteration!)

I couldn’t find a Sephora or Sonia Kashuk dupe, but if someone wants to try a new brand, the Crown dupe could be yours for the STUPIDLY LOW price of $1.95, while the Sigma E 50 could be yours for $9.00.

So there you have a list of some of my favorite brushes. If you were wondering, the total of those 7 brushes at MAC prices comes to $197.50. Using the cheapest dupes on my list (and you could probably find cheaper!), the dupe prices comes to a total of $62.91. And $20.00 is the Sephora brush because I only opted for exact dupes. I’m positive Sigma has a much cheaper dupe.

I’m not endorsing one brand over the other; I just wanted to illustrate that you can find quality dupes for cheap, cheap prices. And I’m not trying to knock MAC, either. There’s a reason their brushes are what everything else is compared to and why they’re industry standard. They rock. But as a serious bargain hunter, I wanted to tell you guys about some of my favorite brands. Do some exploring! I’m sure you can find even cheaper prices!

I hope you enjoyed and that this was informative. Please let me know if you’ve tried Sigma or Crown- I’ve been eying those brands for what feels like forever!

Brush with death,


P.S. FINALLY, FINALLY ordered my Urban Decay Naked Palette! I’m going to die of happiness and joy when it gets here. Also placed a massive Clinique order because I’m running low on staples. I’m just informing you of this because that means I MUST stay away from all makeup stores indefinitely. Although the MAC Wonder Woman collection is tempting me so hard it hurts. I want the Wonder Woman Lipglass and the Marquise D’ lipstick so badly! And the Amazon Princess blush… Siiiiiigh.

2 thoughts on “Makeup Monday: Bargain Brushes and MAC Dupes

  1. Amber K.

    I just went makeup shopping this past weekend. I had planned on using a makeup artist for my wedding (splurge) and I paid for and went to my trial, but I guess just as a makeup enthusiast myself, I really just didn’t like what she did compared to what I do and want, so I’m gonna do my makeup myself. I already have a ton of makeup, but I went and bought a bunch of HD/photo finish products to really get the job done since what I wear is more just daily stuff. I’m excited to play this week on creating my look. (I just hope I can find the time!) :)

    Anyway, I love makeup brushes and have a lot of the same ones you just talked about. My 1st brushes were crappy no-names I used in high school that I probably got a in cheap makeup set from who knows where (low-end drugstore? low-end Ulta?)… I can still remember their cheap hollow plastic handles and rough bristles, hehe. I found that most the time I just skipped using them and used my fingers or the sponge applicators that came in the eyeshadow quad or whatever. …

    … Then in undergrad I bought the Eco Tools brush sets. They’re not bad. I have the angled eyeshadow eyeliner brush, eyeshadow brush, concealer brush, foundation brush, eyebrow/lash brush, blush brush, & powder brush. I still use these brushes. Then over the past 3 years I’ve also acquired the Sephora platinum crease brush (#10) & several Sonia Kashuk ones. LOL. It’s like we share a makeup brush wavelength.

    Also, man I really want that Posh angled blush brush. Looks soft and the red, omg.


    1. kaitlinwehlmann

      I looooove my Posh brushes! They’re great quality and the red is gorgeous. :) And yep, I still have a couple of those cheap, hollow brushes. From Walmart, if I remember correctly. 15 year olds are too hard on nice brushes anyway.

      Thanks for commenting! Good luck with your wedding makeup- you’ll be gorgeous, I’m sure!


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