MAC 217S and 224S Eyeshadow Brushes (Review)

If you follow MAC Cosmetics, then you may already know that several years back they made the switch to synthetic makeup brushes. Most people are not happy about that switch and the reviews of the synthetic brushes have been terrible. The only good reviews I’ve seen have come from Makeup artists and people that I assume had never tried MAC’s natural hair versions. I got the synthetic 239 brush for free in an order that I placed and I actually liked it, which led me to try these two brushes as well. I won’t be reviewing the 239S at the moment. It has been so long since I have used it, I don’t feel like I can give a good review of it right now. So I’ll have to circle back to that brush in the future.

MAC 217S Brush Review vs MAC 217 Natural Goat Hair Brush
MAC 217 Natural Hair (left) and MAC 217S Brush (right)
Smashbox Shadow Blending Brush vs MAC 224S Brush and Review
Smashbox Shadow Blending Brush (left) and MAC 224S Brush (right)

This blog uses affiliate links (marked with **).  When you purchase through links on my site, I may earn a small commission.  Learn more here.

Keep in mind when reading through my thoughts that my natural hair MAC 217 brushes (I have 2) are about 6 years old. So some of the variations could be due to age. Also, I no longer own the natural hair version of the 224 so I’m working from memory on that comparison. I will also be comparing the 224S to my Smashbox Shadow Blending Brush** because it is the closest shape I currently own.

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Sonia G Soft Cheek Brush (Beautylish Gift Card Event Starts Oct 21)

Sonia G Soft Cheek Brush Review and Alternatives
Sonia G Soft Cheek Brush

As I said in my review of the Sonia G Builder Pro and Classic Crease brushes, Sonia G does a stellar job of describing her brushes on her blog (www.sweetmakeuptemptations.com/) and in her product descriptions on Beautylish. She shows how her brushes compare to each other if you are deciding between the different shapes. So my best suggestion for anyone shopping for Sonia G brushes is to check out her blog and the product descriptions on Beautylish.

I decided to go ahead and do a post on the Soft Cheek brush because while I can’t dupe this brush, I do think you can get a similar result from some other options. This Saikoho goat hair brush retails for $48.00 and it is often out of stock. Spoiler alert, if you have the budget, it is worth the wait. But I do have some alternative options if you don’t want to spend that kind of money, you’re impatient, or you prefer synthetic fibers.

The Beautylish Gift card event is also coming up starting October 21, 2021 and will last for 4 days. You will receive a $20 gift card for every $100 that you spend. So if Sonia G happens to restock, it could be worth buying some of her brushes during the event.

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Sonia G Eye Shadow Brushes (Builder Pro and Classic Crease)

Sonia G Classic Crease (left) and Builder Pro (right) Review
Sonia G Classic Crease (left) and Builder Pro (right)

I know I’m late to the Sonia G brush game, but after a lot of research I finally decided to give them a try. I’ve been testing these since July, so I’ve got a good feel for them. I am a novice when it comes to Fude (handmade, Japanese makeup brushes), so I’m unable to give you thoughts on where the Sonia G brushes stack up against more direct competitors.

Sonia G is so thorough on her blog (www.sweetmakeuptemptations.com/) and in her product descriptions on Beautylish that I really don’t think I can express the functionality of these brushes any better than she already does. I have found her descriptions to be accurate to my experience and she does a ton of comparisons on her blog. She shows how her brushes compare to each other and how they compare to other brands on the market. In my opinion, you get full transparency. So my best suggestion for those interested in her brushes is to check out her blog and the product descriptions on Beautylish.

Sonia G Builder Pro (left) and Classic Crease (right) Review
Sonia G Builder Pro (left) and Classic Crease (right)

So why am I writing this blog post? I’ve had such an enjoyable time using the builder pro that I honestly just wanted to shout from the rooftops about it. To me, the builder pro is more unique than the classic crease brush, so I thought about only talking about that one. However, since I have both, I figured I could show them for the fun of it. Don’t get me wrong, the classic crease brush is a nice brush, but to me, not as unique in function as the builder pro.

Continue reading “Sonia G Eye Shadow Brushes (Builder Pro and Classic Crease)”

When Dupes Aren’t Dupes For You

I know how hard it can be when you are interested in a product that everyone is raving about but for whatever reason, you can not get the product.  That feeling is likely part of the reason why dupes are popular. I just feel like sometimes they narrow in on price and sometimes leave people out.  I’m not sure what I hope to accomplish with this post, but I do wonder if there is a better way to approach dupes.

I’m not going to mention any specific examples of videos are blog posts because I’m not aiming to shame anyone for creating dupe content or anyone for wanting dupes.  I definitely think that presenting alternatives can be helpful.  There are times when you can save some money and other times when you don’t want to or can’t purchase certain items.  I have even written some dupe-like content with my Buy High/Buy Low posts.  So again, I do see that there is value in this type of content.

elf ultimate blending brush vs smashbox blurring foundation brush
Buy High/Buy Low: Foundation Buffing Brushes | Smashbox Buildable Cheek Brush and Real Techniques Blush Brush
Smashbox Buildable Cheek Brush and Real Techniques Blush Brush
Buy High/Buy Low: Sheer Blush Brushes | Smashbox Buildable Cheek Brush and Real Techniques Blush Brush

Dupes can be especially disappointing when the options presented save money, but end up excluding skin tones.  I do realize that we can only speak to our own personal experiences and that all content creators are doing their best to provide helpful content for their audience. I can also appreciate that as content creators, we can see what content people are enjoying the most and some can even see the demographics of our audience. So some of these issues may purely relate to the demographics the creator is seeing represented.

Despite that, I still find it hard to understand the oversight that often happens with dupes when it comes to availability. I’m not just talking about dark skin tones either, sometimes there isn’t enough variety for most people. For example, in the past, there was a hyped foundation dupe but it only had 4 shades, but the product it was supposed to dupe had 40 shades. Then there is the inevitable comment of “I don’t know why more people aren’t talking about this.” The limited shade range means limited access for a lot of people. I feel like the same thing often happens with highlighter and bronzer dupes. Shade ranges have come a long way, so I do think there is always some sort of alternative. But maybe we could all do better to at least consider if a dupe is actually widely accessible before making the suggestion.

Another issue that I’m not really sure how to unpack is that dupes can often disparage drugstore products. There are plenty of great products at the drugstore and I think they don’t always need to stack up against something that is higher end. I know that I compare product formulas quite often and it seems necessary to give you a point of reference in order to create context. But I hope I’ve been able to compare items without making it seem that a drugstore/affordable item isn’t as good simply because it happens to cost less. I also hope I haven’t made it seem like a product it better simply because it costs more.

This blog uses affiliate links (marked with **).  When you purchase through links on my site, I may earn a small commission.  Learn more here.

What Can You Do?

So let’s say you find yourself in that situation. You’ve learned about a dupe and wanted to buy it, but as it turns out there isn’t a good shade for you, you can’t use an ingredient in the formula, or you don’t want to support that company. What can you do?

Continue reading “When Dupes Aren’t Dupes For You”