The MAC 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush is a mini version of the MAC 187 brush. As stated in the name, it is made of white goat hair and black synthetic fiber. It is intended for application of cream, powder, liquid, or mineral products. The brush is in the form of a flat top circle and retails for $34USD. Similar to other brushes, it is 17cm long.
The purpose of duo fibre brush is to allow a very light application of intensely pigmented products such as MAC/MUFE HD cream blushes, MAC MSF which is very glittery, or shimmery highlighters. Since the size of the 188 is much smaller than the 187, it is easier to use for contouring or highlighting the face. When using the brush, dip the white bristles into the product and lightly stipple or sweep onto your face for an airbrush look. The product should only cover the white and not the black portion of the brush. If it's on the black synthetic bristles, then you have picked up too much product.
I know a lot of you are interested in the 188 and are looking for a brush to use with cream blushes. Here I used the Make Up For Ever HD blush to illustrate the application. As I have mentioned in my review of the blush, you only need very little product to create a soft application on the cheek. In the picture, I used only 1/4 of a pump of the blush. Using the 188, I first stippled the blush onto the hand to even it out and then I used a sweeping motion to spread and sheer out the blush to a wider area. The result is a sheer out but even application on the hand. There is no clump left behind on the brush. You can use the same method for MSF or powder blushes on the cheeks.
Some people also use the same brush to apply liquid or cream foundation by using the stipple and swirl method. I personally do not like to swirl because it defeats the purpose of a duo fibre brush. This is best for a stippling motion to provide a flawless application similar to an airbrush system. Stippling is best to cover acne marks, freckles, and to cover unevenness on the skin. When you swirl, the brush is basically taking the foundation and moving it in circles all around. This creates an uneven canvas by leaving streaks behind and doesn't provide you with an airbrush look. The downside to stippling motion is that it takes patience to lightly stipple the foundation all over the face.
Now is the 188 my favorite for applying cream blushes or liquid foundation? The answer is no. It is an expensive brush but it doesn't work as well as the 187 in my opinion. The 188 is flimsier than the 187 and doesn't do as good of a job because it's not as dense. However, it is good for the nooks and crannies on your face such as areas under the eye, around the nose, and along your cheekbones for highlighting using powder products/MSF. If you need a brush for cream/liquid products, I recommend checking out the 130,131, 109, and 187. I don't have the 130 for review but I have the other 2 to do a comparison for you.
On the far left is the 131 brush which will be released again with MAC's To the Beach Collection. It is shaped like an oval paddle and is much bigger than the 188. The 188 is in the middle and the 187 is on the far right which you can tell is twice the size of 188.
Comparing the densities of the brushes side by side will give you an idea of how flimsy the 188 is compared to the 131 and 187. In the first picture, the 187 has a lot more bristles compared to the 188 making it easier to apply liquid/cream foundation using the stippling motion. For those using MSF, it takes very little effort to use the 187 to cover the entire face. It picks up just enough product for each application. With the 188, you'll have to go back multiple times because of the size and sparseness of the bristles. In the 2nd picture, 131 comparison with the 188 shows that although the 131 is an oval shape, it is still more dense than 188. In the last picture, 131 vs 187 shows the 131 half as dense as the 187 but just in an oval shape.
Basic summary of MAC's duo fibre brushes:
187 - The biggest and most dense out of all MAC's fibre duo brushes. Great for liquid/cream/powder/MSF products. However, it is large so more difficult to cover areas around the nose or contour/highlighting purposes
131 - Next size duo fibre brush and just as dense as 187 but in oval paddle shape. It is good for contour/highlighting and use with liquid/cream/powder/MSF products. The best liquid application for this product is not stippling. To get the best airbrush look, lightly stipple liquid foundation onto the brush, then using a fluttering motion, move the brush back and forth on the face quickly to achieve a flawless application. Do not drag the brush back and forth on the face. Only the very tip of the brush should be fluttering back and forth.
130 - The SMALLEST duo fibre brush in the collection (yes, it is even smaller than the 188) but denser than 188. It is good to use for cream/liquid/MSF if you like to use the swirling or stippling motion. It's great for highlighting/contour and areas around the nose or above the lips. I returned this brush because it was too small for my liking and took too long to apply liquid foundation.
188 - The 3rd in terms of size in the collection but the LEAST dense out of all the duo fibre. It's good for use with powder/MSF but not so great with liquid/cream products. It is flimsy but does a good job of sheering out the product. With liquid foundation, takes too much effort to create an airbrush look and often leaves it streaky.
Which of the 4 do you own? What is your favorite duo fibre brush?