The My Brush Betty Hall of Fame is reserved for elite makeup brushes, and the M-A-C 217 Blending Brush has earned its spot.
The 217, which retails for $24, is one of the most highly reviewed, and most frequently reviewed, makeup brushes of all time.
It’s also highly versatile, which makes it a good investment. If you haven’t tried this brush, we warn you, you’re likely to want more than one …
While it’s marketed as a blending brush, it’s also phenomenal at many other tasks, such as crease work, concealing, contouring the nose and touch ups … and whatever else you can think of, essentially.
Why is it so popular?
For one, it is made of a very fine, soft goat hair. It’s moderately packed, in terms of density, which gives it a medium level of control, which is precisely perfect when you’re going for a softer effect. Not every stroke has to be perfect …
Many women find it’s the perfect length for working in the crease of their eye. And because the hair is soft and just long enough, it can follow the natural contours of the eye in ways that a stiffer brush might not.
It’s also a charm when concealing under eye circles and other areas. Brushes marketed as concealer brushes can sometimes be so stiff (which can be caused by the type of hair or how tightly packed) that they drag concealer around the skin rather than blending it softly while keeping the makeup in position, say, over a zit or a dark shadow. Not a problem with the 217.
A Nordstrom reviewer summed up her love of the 217 this way: “Works for everything. i bought the 217, 239, 275, 222, and 224 but this is the only brush i use daily. I plan on picking up 2 more on my next trip to Nordstrom.”
Over at Macy’s, the reviews are equally glowing: “A great brush to have in your brush collection. I use this to pack on eyeshadows on my lids, outer V and highlight. It also makes a great blending brush. I have this brush for about 2 years now and it’s still in great shape. Very soft and great quality. I usually grab this brush on the go with me since I can pretty much do my whole look with this one brush. I just recently brought a second one for backup.”
The esteemed makeup artist Wayne Goss has an excellent video about various ways to use the 217:
And for people who want to take their brush insanity up a notch, here is a solid review of the 217 that goes on to recommend several even higher quality Japanese versions from Hakuhodo, which is a premier example of superior Japanese brush craftsmanship.
Other things to know about this brush: Like all M-A-C brushes, the ferrule is nickel-plated brass. Both nickel and brass are non-ferrous materials, which means they do not contain iron and cannot rust. The underlying handle is a relatively light but strong wood, either birch, linden or ramin.