MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush Review

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The 239 brush has been and will continue to be a staple in makeup artists' tool kit. It is a soft and dense brush use for packing on shadow (powder, cream, pigments), shading, and blending.  All MAC original brushes are hand made featuring wood handles and nickel-plated brass ferrules.  Since the brush is made of white goat hair, it take a bit more effort to clean in order to maintain the color.  The MAC 239 retails for $24.50USD and measures 17cm long. 

I'm sure the question most asked is why would anyone pay such a high price for an eye brush when you can find plenty of other shader brushes out there for much cheaper.  First, this is an extremely soft brush yet  is dense enough to pack on the colors without causing fallout.  Second, it delivers a precise application of eyeshadow to create a flawless look.  Last but not least, it is a high quality brush that will last from 5-10 years if taken care of properly.  My only gripe with the brush is the MAC/part number on the handle scratches off very easily.  When you first get your brush, please remember to lightly paint a layer of clear nail polish over the MAC and number to avoid it looking like below.

To illustrate the versatility of the 239 brush, I have included several methods of how it can be used. Pardon the unruly brows!

Patting is the simplest method of applying eyeshadow to avoid fall out especially if you're working with glittery colors.  Hold the brush vertically and lightly pat the colors onto the lid.  Do not sweep it back and forth to avoid to fall out.  Keep in mind the farther you hold the handle of the brush (i.e below the 239 number and closer to the end of the brush), the more precision you'll have during application.  This allows flexibility of the hand to maneuver the brush around the eye.  There is no need to choke the brush or hold it too close to the metal part, which causes more pressure to the lids when applying shadow.


Another method is to start from the crease and pull the color right down the middle of the lid.  This has a bit more fallout but precisely places the color right in the middle. Also notice the color is not distributed as evenly as patting, where the top of the crease is darker than the portion close to the eyelash. I use this when I'm in a rush and want to apply the mid color for a 3-color eye look (lighter inner corner, mid color in the middle, and dark color in outer crease).

The brush is also small enough to use for applying shadows in the inner lid.  Patting motion keeps the color distribution the same from the inner to mid lid.  Sweeping motion will be a gradient effect where the inner corner is darker and fades out as it gets to mid lid as shown below.


Blending at the crease uses the same sweeping motion where you start at the outer corner of the eye, sweep the colors upward into the crease and lightly roll into the middle of the lid, stopping right at the center of the pupil.  Here you can see the gradient of colors from darkest at outer lid to lighter as we move inwards.  The concentration is mostly near the outer crease.  The brush is now held in a different position, rotated 90 degrees from the previous illustration.

This can also be used for applying color on lower lash line.  Lightly tap and sweep the colors with the very top edge of the brush along the lower lash starting with the outer corner and working into the inner.  You can clean up any extra fall out with a Q-tip afterward.

Place the brush at the very outer corner of the top lid as shown and move it downwards to meet the outer edge of the lower lash line.  That is where you'll find the outer V.  Moving your brush up and down this path will create the outer V outline.

If you want to have a precise application of a certain color only on the crease, use the sweeping motion below. Notice the concentration of the brush is only in the crease and not sweeping toward the middle lower portion of the lid.

Using all the techniques above, you get a simple smokey eye look using only 1 eyeshadow color and 1 brush.  Of course there needs to be more blending to ensure the colors are even but as you can see, it's simple to put together a look that doesn't require so many brushes or steps.

 Overall, the 239 brush can be used to apply cream or regular powder shadows through patting, sweeping, and blending motions.  I have both the SE and the regular version which I equally like.  The SE version has a shorter handle but the application is comparable to the regular 239.  I highly recommend picking this up if you are looking for an eye shader brush that is both versatile and high in quality.

What do you think of the 239 brush? How do you use it for every day application?


Edwina said...

the 239 is the first mac brush that I got! I love it and it's my most used brush!

resham said...

this is a very nice n useful post. I surprisingly don't have any 239 brush!!
I have always used dupes for 239....would love to buy one frm CCO...

Agmini said...

I actually prefer angled brushes instead of flat ones, but I'm still an amateur at makeup application. I have a 239 brush and don't use it much...I may have to try these tips out! Thank you for a great post!

Serena said...

I can't wait to see what other brushes you review. I've been trying to look for the perfect eye shadow brush from MAC. I currently only own a MAC 213. Do you think you could do a comparison? Or let me know what you think? 213 vs. 239?

I was actually looking into MAC 239 and this review is making me want it more and more. I never realized that sweeping it back and forth was the reason for fall out. I'll definitely try it out the next time I use my shimmer shadows.

<3 Serena.

Kaitlyn said...

great review. This is the next brush I plan on purchasing, your review made me want it more! hah.

Twinn said...

I want a mac brush soo bad.
Tjhat brush looks so useful I def. want it now.

rainbow st@r! hello kitty p@nts said...

great post-I never thought to use it in all those ways!

The Girly Tomboy said...

This is such a great post! I love the 239 - you did a wonderful job showing its versatility.

My favorite eye brush is the 217!

What's your favorite face brush?

Connie said...

I like all the pictures you took for this post!

naturalnchicmakeup said...

Serena - The 239 brush is more tapered than the 213 brush. I personally do not own the 213 but looking at the brush head, it looks like this is fluffier than the 239. I think the 239 would be better for applying cream/pigments than the 213. Since the head is not as wide as 213, the application would be more precise especially at the crease. Hope that helps.

Girly Tomboy - Thanks! I like the 217 as well for other applications. My favorite face brush would have to be the 109 since it's so versatile like the 239.

Leenda said...

What a great review! There are so many different ways to use the 239 brush! This brush is going on my want list now. lol Thanks!

Chrissy said...

Thanks for the tip on MAC eyeshadows! I heard from various blogs/youtubers that Lusters are their least favorite bc of the fallout factor, so I immediately changed my first choice from Gleam to Dazzlelight. Glad i did, but there are so many pretty lustre colors that I want. Do you think the 239 brush prevents any of that fallout with Lustres?

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