Saturday, May 16, 2009

Seven dollar surprise

I have been obsessed with the MAC 187 duo brush (aka skunk brush) since I learned about it. The skunk brush is great for ultra-pigmented blushes, powders, etc. However, the brush is also most wonderful for foundation application. The brush leaves a beautiful airbrush finish, which is great for a heavier coverage foundation. The MAC brush is $42, and I was not inclined to pay that much for a brush since I had heard that there were dupes that existed. I first started with the Flirt skunk brush, but it is too flimsy for what I wanted, which was foundation application. It does, however, work great for blushes and such. I also tried the NYX brush ( have a review for that), and some other random ones, but nothing really lived up the the 187 reputation.

Interestingly, the dupes were hard to come by several years ago. Nowadays it feels like every line has a duo fiber brush. Unfortunately, not many of them live up to the application and quality of the MAC 187 (side story: I eventually caved and bought the 187 as a gift to myself after getting a raise several years ago. One of the best purchases I made. Even though I bought MAC's, I still look out for dupes so that I can rotate the brushes. Now I find that I use the dupes more than the original.). The MAC 187 is soft and mildly dense, which is great for distribution and blendability of foundation. After many encounters with dupes, I have found two that are really satisfying. One is the elusive Sonia Kashuk "highlighting" brush, which sometimes can be found at Target; the other brush was recently found. The brush is from the Studio Tools line also found at Target. This brush does differ from the MAC 187 brush is appearance, but it delivers a similar finish when used with foundation.

The Studio Tools brush has a shorter, plastic handle that is heavy for a brush handle. The natural hair bristles are shorter and more densely packed, and the synthetic bristles are similar to the Kashuk and 187 brush. The circumference of the brush head is also smaller than the other skunk brushes, but it does distributes the foundation well; in other words, it doesn't deposit a more concentrated amount of foundation. The brush is easy to handle, and the weight of the handle makes it nice to maneuver interestingly enough.

I really wasn't sure this would be such a success, but I have been really surprised at how much I like it. I thought it would be just used for blushes and that it would shed like crazy, but it hasn't shed at all, and I have washed it twice. This little brush is $6.99.

If you have $7 waiting to be spent, this is worth a try.

187 sk 2
Studio Tools is a dirty for Revlon Colorstay application.

187, Sonia Kashuk, Studio Tools


Sonia Kashuk & Studio Tools skunk brush


Recessionista! said...

T., THANK YOU for this post. Honestly, I've been looking for an alternative to the 187 for a long time now and I have resigned myself to never finding the SK brush. This is perfect and I can't wait to go to Target and pick one up. Once again, you rock! :)

Mets GirLL said...

You must subscribe to ELF emails, they have sales like every other day!
Ok, I need to get my hands on some of these brushes, i feel left out

T said...

R, let me know how you like the brush. I also recently bought the 187 dupe from, and I will let you know how it is.

Mets Girll, I do receive the elf email, and you are right the sales are every day. Just to be clear, this Studio Tools line is Target's private line. Elf does have a duo fiber yet. However, the complexion and flat top powder brush from the ELF studio line are crazy soft and nice.

Laura R said...

srsly- thanks SO MUCH for posting about this. i'd been needing a skunk brush but was definitely not about to buy the MAC one, and SK is never in sight at my Targets. i found this one yesterday and i love it and its price tag!

i think the SK set of brushes for this summer (with coral handles) is stunning but i don't need that many brushes, so i argued myself out of buying it even though i love it.

T said...

hey Laura. I am glad this post could help. Let me know how you like the brush. I agree, the coral brush set is lovely, but is it practical? I hear ya.

Stephanie said...

I saw both of these at Target yesterday. I read your review, and I was hoping you would compare the Sonia to the Studio Tools brush. If you had to pick the better one (price not a factor) which one would win? Sonia or Studio Tools? I would like to know which is the better MAC dupe. Thanks!

T said...

Hi Stephanie,
The Sonia K is closer to the 187 in size and density of hairs. The application of foundation and powders is also similar, not exactly the same, but similar.

The studio tools brush is smaller than the 187 in circumference. It also has shorter hairs, and it is more densely packed. The ST definitely leaves a fuller coverage than the SK and MAC brush. I like the ST because, since it is smaller, I can reach the harder to reach areas.

If you want the brush that is closest to the 187, then I would go for the SK. Just keep in mind that it isn't the real mccoy, but a nice flattering imitation nonetheless.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for explaining things to me! The SK was the one I was leaning towards, I think I will get that one! I have a coastal scents one, and I always end up with brush hairs on my face.