Foundation Routine and MAC 187 Review

This is going to be a two-for post, as in two-for-one. I’ll be simultaneously covering my current foundation routine and reviewing the infamous MAC 187 brush. >w>; I’m too shy to video my foundation routine so it’s just pictures for you guys! Sorry! I’ll probably do a video AT SOME POINT…but not today. =w= I’m too…busy? sleepy? …hungry?

MAC 187

Generic Information:

The MAC 187 is one of those brushes that’s been stippled round the world. Often imitated, it’s the stick against which many other duo fiber/stippling brushes are measured. With all that hype, you’d think I would have jumped on the chance to try it right? Yeah not so much.

See…I’ve gotten over spending copious amounts of money on cosmetics. But MAC 187 was my first (and as of right now, last) expensive brush purchase. $42USD just seemed so very STEEP for something I wasn’t even sure how to use! It took a really bad day and a very helpful MAC MUA (the same one that matched my foundation correctly!) to make me bite the bullet and purchase it. After all, I bought it at Nordstroms and she was quick to wink and tell me that if I didn’t like it – I could always return it.


The MAC 187 is a duo-fiber brush. This is old news to most of you, but just in case, that means that it consists of two different types of fibers or hairs. The shorter, black hairs are goat and the longer ones are synthetic. Why two kinds of hair? Well, the shorter black ones give the brush density and are never actually supposed to touch your face. That honor goes to the white synthetic fibers, which are spread evenly but less densely throughout the brush. Many stippling brushes are not dense at all – kind of destroys the purpose of their use! The MAC 187 is really full and dense, no flimsy flopping here.

Brush Close Up

When I first got my 187, it looked super fluffy and I wasn’t sure I had the right brush! Haha. My fears were put to ease when I started using it but more on that later.

The ferrule of this brush is super strong, not loose or anything even after some lazy washes where I didn’t quite keep it from getting wet! The handle is similarly sturdy and a really comfortable width for my hand.


I’ve had this brush for just north of two months now. It shed about 7-13 black hairs in that time and hasn’t shed on me since. This brush did not bleed in all the time I washed it – as some lower quality, dyed hair brushes can. Also, after using it almost every day for 2 months the white fibers haven’t really stained. They’re not the same super bright white they used to be, but they are still very very very very…very white. So white that the difference is hard to capture in a picture! Haha.

The biggy with this brush for me is the softness. Is it soft? Yes. Especially compared to my old “good” brushes! Believe it or not, I used to think ELF’s $1 brushes were soft (I can’t stand to use them now, they are so so scratchy!)

BUUUUUUUUUUT…I do occasionally get some pokiness from this brush. I can’t chalk it up to MAC though, it’s really my own fault. The white fibers are perfectly delicate and soft…but the black? Not so much. And every once in a while I poke myself when I accidentally use too much pressure with this brush. It was so bad that I began to search for an alternative, after trying many I decided 187 and a light hand were my HG.


This would be the foundation routine portion of our post! Please keep your arms and legs inside at all times….

This…is my bare face. I have never shown a truly bare face on the internet before because I suffered from really bad teasing through High School on account of my skin. You can see a lot of my acne scars, though thankfully my breakouts now are mostly hormonal. The real problem of my skin is the hilarious mix of hypo and hyper pigmentation. My skin is very blotchy and completely uneven pigment-wise. I’ve always been meticulous about sun care and moisturizing so this really is just genetic luck of the draw.  THANKS MA’.

1. I prep my face by using a combination of moisturizer MAC’s Skin Brightening Serum followed by ELF’s Mineral Primer. Yeah, ELF’s. It’s a $6 wonder for those of us who don’t break out from silicon based products!

(I've used a little bit more foundation here than I normally would to illustrate what it looks like.)

2. I then pump out 1 to 1 1/2 of my MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NW35 onto the back of my hand. Taking my MAC 187 I dab it into the foundation until it has a good even coat. I always make sure never to let the foundation touch the black hairs and so should you!

3. Here’s where some people vary in their foundation routines. I really think it’s all a matter of personal preference. I dot the brush three times over my cheeks and (after adding a little more foundation to my brush) dot once or twice on my forehead, mouth, nose and eye area. I do this because I need the most foundation where I need the most coverage (my cheeks) and less foundation in smaller areas. Depending on how much pressure you use you will get a larger or smaller amount of foundation on your face (lighter for less.)

Here you can see how the foundation varies depending on the amount of pressure you use. On the left i've used the lightest pressure, medium pessure on the top-middle and heavy pressure on the bottom right.

4. Stipple! By stippling, I mean patting or bouncing the brush repeatedly all over my face until the dots have disappeared and all I can see is smooth smooth skin. This may take a little longer than your regular foundation routine at first, but eventually you learn your own pace, rhythm and pressures and it goes by in a matter of seconds. The first few times you might find you have to go back and re-stipple because you’ve missed spots and can still make out the individual dots.

* Some people choose to “swirl” or blend in their foundation using the stippling brush and a circular motion. I’ve tried it both ways and I find that swirling really makes my application look more like a traditional foundation brush would and thus negating the point of stippling for that airbrushed look.

Here’s what my foundation looks like once it’s been fully stippled. Again, I did not swirl here: I merely continued to pat/bounce the brush on my skin until all the dots were gone.

5. Like some people, I prefer a matte finish to my foundation. The 187 and SFF combination still leaves my skin quite dewy – so I take a fluffy foundation brush and go over (lightly!) my face with my MAC Blot Powder (or Mineralize Skinfinish if I don’t need the oil control.)

And that’s it! That’s my foundation routine! As you can see, the results from the MAC 187 are truly magical for me. full points there!


Value: 3/5

Construction: 9/10

Quality: 9/10

Results: 10/10

Overall: 85.7%  (B)

I do plan on repurchasing this brush, if only to find one that’s maybe a teensy bit softer. But i’ll also constantly be checking out higher-end competitors to see if it can be improved upon. After all, why stop just short of perfection.

If you have been holding off on this brush because you’re not sure about the hype…i’d say jump in. For all the comparison reviews I’ve read and seen, I always find that reported dupes are close, but no cigar. Sometimes you need the original! Better to have stippled and lost than never to have stippled at all!

<3 EA

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11 Responses to Foundation Routine and MAC 187 Review

  1. omg this post is so cool! the effect of the stippling together with the brush is stunning! I absolutely need this brush =)
    ねこちゃん recently posted..Shopping Spree on Polyvore

  2. Larie says:

    I have an Ecotools big fluffy duo fiber that I use for foundation, but I want a smaller one for blush…I don’t know what MAC number it is, but I think they have one? Lately, though, I’ve been using my fingers with Chanel’s foundation.
    Larie recently posted..The Thursday Post

    • Eden-Avalon says:

      MAC has the 187 for full face application, and also the 188 for smaller areas. There is also a 131 for powder and blush that is somewhat paddle shaped but still duo fibre. :D

  3. Shivani says:

    I have a miniature 187 and there is a lot of shedding. But still, I know what you mean – it is perfect to give a full on glowy foundation effect. Thanks for the review
    Shivani recently posted..SpaRitual Fall 2011/Wilde Collection: Spirit Child

    • Eden-Avalon says:

      Most of the reviews I’ve seen for SE MAC brushes have been poor. I think that you’d notice a difference with a permanent line one. Mine has completely stopped shedding since the 2nd wash.

  4. Mercedes says:

    Great review!!!! I have this brush and can’t use it because I have dry skin and it exfoliates my skin and it’s a HUGE mess. But it makes a perfect brush for pigmented blush, it picks up just the right amount!
    Mercedes recently posted..OCTOBER FAVORITES!!!!!

  5. WOW your foundation looked AMAZING after u applied it with that brush. I gotta get that brush :D
    Thanks for the amazin review
    smashinbeauty recently posted..Mehron Celebre Pro HD Foundation Cosmetics Review

  6. Stacey says:

    I only have the Sigma stippling brush (can’t rmb the number) and I really dislike using it. I want the density of this 187! From the images, it does an excellent job on your skin. Thanks for taking us through your rountine!

  7. Stacey says:

    I only have the Sigma stippling brush (can’t rmb the number) and I really dislike using it. I want the density of this 187! From the images, it does an excellent job on your skin. Thanks for taking us through your routine!
    Stacey recently posted..FOTD: The Glasses Look #2

  8. Ricquetta says:

    You have amazing skin! :O *shock with a smidgen of envy*

  9. Jos says:

    Your skin looks amazing without foundation and flawless with the foundation!
    Jos recently posted..Guerlain Chamade 164 Rouge Automatique Lipstick Review

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