6 Different Ways to Use the MAC 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush


The first tool I used to apply highlighter was my good ol’ ring finger. Sometimes it would apply too heavily, sometimes it would be hard to blend out, but most times it just took up too much time to create natural-looking highlights on my cheekbones. I have a flat face, I need to fake me some cheekbones! >.<”

The second tool I used was a regular fluffy eyeshadow brush from e.l.f. It picked up a more consistent amount of product, blended better, but still was lacking very much in the blending department. Sometimes I’d look like I was channelling my inner Queen Amidala, except that they’re 2 sparkly white dots instead of 2 rouge-red ones. The elf fluffy eyeshadow wasn’t made to do this so I’m not faulting it.

Then I got to know about the MAC 188 Small Duo Fibre Brush and the rest, they say, is blotchy powder application history.

“This brush looks funny!”

This is what people always say when they see the 188 in my brush holder for the first time. It sure looks like a skunk-color-inspired brush, doesn’t it? That’s why it is also fondly referred to as the Skunk Brush!

The best remark I’ve ever heard was “Did you cut the bristles off yourself?” HAHA! My friend thought it was all white on the inside and black on the outside and I’d lost my marbles and cut the black bristles shorter.

The 188 Skunk Brush is made of synthetic (black part) and goat (white part) fibres. It is the junior-sized version of the larger and pricier MAC 187. The MAC 187 Duo Fibre Brush is famously known for applying and blending face powder, liquid foundation, pigments, and cream products.

I haven’t tried the 187 but I’m not hungry for it because the Sigma F80 Flat Top Synthetic Kabuki Brush has been my answer to applying liquid foundation for that airbrushed effect. Many people complain about streaky liquid foundation application with the larger 187, but I’ve never had that problem with the Sigma F80.

Okie, I shall profess my love for the Sigma brush in another post altogether. This is a post about the MAC 188, focus, Bun Bun, FOCUS!

How to Use the MAC 188 Brush in 6 Different Ways

To Apply Face Powder:

The 188 brush works well for pressed powder (like MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation) and mineral foundation. It definitely gives a more natural and less mask-like look than the accompanying sponge which I never use since makeup sponges retain bacteria a lot more than brushes do. Because it picks up less powder than a denser brush does, like the Too Faced Retractable Kabuki Brush, it gives less coverage.

To Apply Liquid Foundation:

As the 188 brush is smaller than the 187, it is great for reaching the crevices of the face like the sides of your nose, ears, forehead, around the mouth and under the eyes. It basically applies liquid foundation like 187 except with more precision and less streaking when stippling. But being small also attributes to more time taken to apply a whole face. Otherwise, if you have time to spare, be prepared for a lovely airbrushed complexion.

(But I like using my Sigma F80 Flat Top Synthetic Kabuki to apply liquid foundation the most!)

To Apply Bronzer:

Bronzer is used to bring color back to a face washed out with foundation. You want to apply enough to look less zombie-like, but not so much until you look unnaturally tanned – and on the face only. @_@ The 188 comes in handy when applying bronzer because the end of the bristles are very light so you have a lot more control with the brush over how much bronzer to apply.

To Apply Blush:

The larger 187 brush can be used to apply blush too, like many have used it for, but in my opinion the 188 delivers just the right amount of product. I have a small face so I can imagine the 187 not fitting well for my cheek space. The smaller 188 size allows me to apply it exactly where I want it and not have blush applied on too large an area. You can risk applying too much blush with some well-pigmented blushes but with this brush I never apply or have too much on. Buh-bye clown-ish cheeks, HELLO-HELLO demure cheeks! It is definitely buildable for greater intensity too.

To Contour:

The MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush is a little too large to apply contouring powder on the non-existent shadows of my cheekbones, as you would see in my review on the MAC Gold-Go-Lightly Studio Careblend Pressed Powder. The size of the smaller 188 is better but I don’t like to have to clean it before applying highlighter.

This is how the brush usually looks like with contouring powder. Not a good idea to mix with highlighter. =S

To highlight:

Ah, my favorite use for the MAC 188 Duo Fibre Brush!

Ever since I got the MAC Beauty Powder in Too Chic, I rarely go without highlighting. As mentioned earlier in this post, my finger and the elf eyeshadow brush didn’t quite cut it. Then BAM!! The 188!

To highlight the top of my cheeks and middle of the nose, I swirl the 188 brush in the highlighting powder and it picks up just the tiniest amount of powder, giving that natural glow with very little wrist work.

I like to keep this brush ONLY for highlighting because you apply highlighter on the top of your cheeks to give more glow and dimension to the face, and you certainly DON’T WANT pure shimmer to have blobs of muddy brown powder mixed in.

I wasn’t sure if I really needed this but took the plunge anyway since I didn’t have one that would apply highlighter with precision yet not too much at a time. I took very long to finally decide to purchase it because it isn’t cheap at all, but I must say this brush hasn’t disappointed me in any way. Fantastic brush!

Get the MAC 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush

Bun Bun rates the MAC #188:

What brush do you use to apply face powder? Foundation? Blush? Bronzer? Contour? Highlight?


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About Bun Bun

Hello! My name is Juli and Bun Bun is my alter-ego. I blog to share my love for makeup, how to apply it, and what works or what doesn’t work, all from an Asian perspective.

My first makeup product was a shimmery light blue lipstick which I proudly wore all over my eyelids and lips. It cost $2.50, felt like $250, and made me feel like a million bucks.

  • Minza

    You’ve a lovely blog. Follow me! :)

  • Linda

    Hi Bun Bun :)
    stumbled upon this blog after seeing your guest post for Karen MBB :)
    where you wrote about Daiso cleanser. One quick question : can i clean MAC brush #188 using Daiso?
    i have one, used it for several times applying NARS blush (Orgasm), ended up the white part heavily pink! Tried to clean it with whatever (mild soap, mild shampoo, baby shampoo, olive oil, baby oil, MAC brush cleanser..), still it has slight pink color :(
    And where can i get the Daiso, is it widely sold in Singapore? FYI, I’m in Jakarta, so SG should be the easiest to get it if available (i dont recall seeing any Daiso cleanser here…), and I can not do purchase from Amazon either :(
    that’s…2 questions…sorry LOL…but thanks a lot in advance…looking forward to reading your reply :)