MAC 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush Review

Friday, April 30, 2010

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?


resham said...

Thanks hun for this review...I saw 131 at my cco but I didn't see any use for it. I think 187 is beter...but then as I say...I am no expert...:)

Laura - Emerald Green 88 said...

Thanks for this review! I have the 187 which I use for my MSFN, I sometimes use it to apply Revlon Colorstay too so I'd like to get a backup.
I think I'm going to get the 130 and 131 with To The Beach, and maybe the 188 in the future for highlighting!

Jenny said...

wow the 188 looks amazing for cream blush! i do prefer denser and smaller brushes for my cheeks, thanks for the recommendation :)

agmini said...

Ooh, I am so glad I decided to get the 187 and not the 188! Thank you for the review!

Rainy Days and Lattes said...

Awesome review of the Mac brush! I've never owned any since they are a bit pricey for me but I can see how the quality of these brushes. It's good stuff :) thanks for the detailed review! :D

I am a new follower :)

C'est moi, Cecilia ♥ said...

aw thanks darling :)
great review btw!
he's not a yorkie but a maltese cross min pin. :)


MakeupMandiTX said...

Great review and pictures! :) I like the 188 for highlight and applying my MUFE HD and that's about it. I fee like I get more varied use out of my 187.

coffretgorge said...

thanks for this review! im def. checking this out, i have the laura mercier finishing brush which looks the same but i dont think it can be used with cream blushers. :)

ps. thank you for the well wishes! im feeling better now! :)

Nepenthe said...

Great review. :]

I've got the 130, 187 and 188. I'm still making up my mind about the 130, I only use the 187 for blush.. and occasionally I'll break out the 188 to highlight. I find these days I much prefer a denser brush.

The Beautifier said...

Great review! I must check out the 188 brush at my cco xoxo

projectvee said...

great review!

Emilyanne said...

The MUA at one of my local MAC counters convinced me to get this brush instead of the 187 I wanted for foundation. She said it would work just the same, but that the 188 was cheaper.

Should have never listened to her. You're right about it being flimsier so it just doesn't work quite right for foundation. I may have to try it for cream/liquid blushes now instead of it just collecting dust lol

brandi said...

i actually just bought the 188 after some beauty guru on youtube said she swore by it. (i just unsubscribed her because i dunno if she knows what she's talking about anymore). It's a decent brush, but it's just not all that. I think cheaper brushes can get done whatever it is you want this to do. Plus, it shed upon first use which I was not happy with at all. Probably because it's flimsy like you said.

Jesa said...

This is officially on my list now. I'm such a mac makeup addict by haven't tried there brushes...

Lovely blog :)
Cheers, Jesa

naturalnchicmakeup said...

Emilyanne - aww sorry to hear. Can you return it for the 187 instead?

Brandi - Sorry to hear your brush shed. If you're looking for a brush for liquid foundation, I would recommend checking out the 187 and 109. You can also ask the SA first before purchasing to play around with the brushes to see if you like the feel. Hope that helps.

Justine @ Productrater said...

Great review. I have the 187, but am debating between the 188 and the 131, since it's the same price, expensive either way. I heard that people use the 131 to apply concealer under their eyes too, and that seems like a great idea since it's so light and can get into that area. I think I may get the 131 instead cause I can pick up the 188 whenever. thanks!

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