MAC 109 Small Contour Brush Review

Hello lovely ladies,

I feel very passionate about the brushes I use. They are like toys – with their different shapes, different bristles, different density – all providing a variety of uses and experience. I have so many brush reviews lined up for you all 🙂 It’s just that makeup products invariably take precedence over everything else. Today’s brush is from the much[loved makeup brand – MAC. Let us find out more about it.

MAC 109 Small Contour Brush Review

Product Description:
The 109 Small Contour Brush is a natural fiber brush ideal for use on the face. It applies, blends or contours with powder products and features a softly rounded dome tip that delivers just enough color and smoothly blends product into the face. M·A·C professional brushes are hand-sculpted and assembled using the finest quality materials. They feature wood handles and nickel-plated brass ferrules.
INR 3000

The product comes packaged in a clear cellophane pouch. Considering the price point of the product, the packaging is a bit of a bummer, but if you take into account that MAC is actually a “makeup artist brand” and the packaging of the brush would be of little interest to the professional makeup artists, I guess it makes sense.

MAC 109 Small Contour Brush packaging

My Experience with MAC 109 Small Contour Brush:

A quick brief on MAC brushes – Most of the MAC brushes from their permanent line are of natural hair and are handmade in Japan – except for the ones in holiday collections, which are mostly machine-produced in China. The quality of the two are not comparable.

The #100 series brushes are face brushes, while the $200 series are for eyes.

Hair: The brush in question is a natural hair brush, most likely goat hair, dyed black for uniformity.

MAC 109 Small Contour Brush bristles

Shape: The brush has a small, dome-shaped head and a round ferrule. It is densely packed with varying length of hair. Despite the density of the bristles packed, the length of the bristles allow enough give to ensure that you are able to buff with it. The hair flare out a little from the ferrule but still bunch together. It has a flat top, which allows you to use it for buffing in powder products.

Identified Purpose: It is referred to as a small contour brush. So, the identified purpose of application is powder contour. Why powder contour? Since this is a natural hair brush – it should ideally be used only for powder products. Why? Because natural hair has a tendency to absorb liquid/cream product – which would be wasteful. Also, application could end up streaky. Most important part – with liquid and cream products, you would need to wash the brush more often and natural hair fibre may not withstand regular washing that well.

I bought this brush for contouring. I did try it a couple of times but wasn’t too enamoured at first. So, I stuck to my NARS Ita brush to achieve chiseled cheeks. Over a period of time, my makeup preference changed and I grew to understand the difference of makeup application from what is generally seen on social media. I started realizing how weird the harsh contour lines look in real life. I found myself reaching for softer shades, softer application and for brushes which could give me more diffused effect – enter MAC #109. It fits the bill perfectly. It allows you to create a soft hollow/shadow for contour and can be used for contouring your cheeks, jaw line and also the forehead. The small brush head ensures that your product stays in the area where you want to apply it – instead of splaying all over. Also, the density of the brush with sufficient give in the brush head allows you to apply and diffuse the product effectively – ensuring there are no harsh lines. Even though it is not my weapon of choice (I will come to that in a bit) – I find myself reaching for it whenever I do makeup because it is effective.

Why is it not my weapon of choice? While the brush works very effectively, I do not enjoy the process of application as much. This is because the brush isn’t the softest out there. I will not say that the brush is scratchy or flaying – no, it is quite well made. However, the dyed goat hair is not the softest hair in the market. And once you have experienced Japanese brushes, this  does not compare so well.

MAC 109 Small Contour Brush head

The brush is identified as a small contour brush. However, when it comes to brushes, the only thing which could be restrictive is your imagination. So, if one wants to use it like a multi-purpose brush and use it for applying powder foundation or blush or even highlight, you could do so – though it may not be an ideal choice considering the shape of the brush head. It would not make for an ideal highlight or blush brush because of its shape. And I would not consider using it all over my face for powder application considering it isn’t the softest.

Maintenance: Since I use this brush for only one purpose – powder contouring/slight bronzing – I do not wash this often. I swipe it on a micro-fibre cloth post using it and wash it with a mild soap only once in 1-2 months. Post washing, I ensure that I pop it into a Brush Guard or re-shape the hair with my hands itself to retain the shape.

Pros of MAC 109 Small Contour Brush:

  • Well made, balanced brush.
  • Natural goat hair.
  • Extremely effective for its identified job, i.e., contouring.
  • Did not shed on washing.
  • Quite a workhorse.
  • Gives precise and controlled application, thanks to its small brush head.
  • Since it is made of natural hair – picks up powder product very well.
  • Made in Japan.
  • Long handle.

Cons of MAC 109 Small Contour Brush:

  • Not scratchy, but not the softest. If you have extremely sensitive skin, this could cause irritation due to micro-exfoliation.

IMBB Rating:

It is definitely a well thought out and a well-made brush, very effective in contouring – I am constantly reaching for it. However, since using Wayne Goss brushes and Chikuhodo brushes – I am also, constantly on the lookout for a replacement of this brush – something with would be as effective, but softer on the skin. Also, at this price point, I wonder if I couldn’t find a softer, yet effective brush in the Japanese fude line?

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