Within the last three months, MAC discontinued the classic construction of their perennially popular 217 brush in favor of a synthetic bristle version, the 217S. The change came not only for the cult favorite 217 but for the entire MAC brush line. The 224, for instance, is now the 224S.
For some, this is extremely exciting; synthetic bristles make the brush accessible to vegans and those with animal cruelty-related concerns.
For many others, however, the new brush is not achieving the same rave reviews as the original. With 2.5/5 reviews at most retailers who carry MAC, the performance of the new, synthetic version doesn’t quite live up to consumers’ expectations. After all, if you take two brushes that are cut identically but one is natural hair and one is Taklon, the way they pick up and distribute color is going to be vastly different. The way they feel on your skin will differ, too.
Frankly, I’m a little surprised. We’re talking about a brush that many makeup fans and artists own several of, and repurchase again and again. MAC touts the change as an incorporation of innovation and advancing fiber technologies; as a person who works in a technology field I am generally a fan of both of those things. I can’t help but be a little surprised by this, though. This definitely seemed to me to be a case of, “If it ain’t broke…”
It isn’t all bad. MAC does indicate that brush owners ought to enjoy a longer lifespan from the newly-constructed brushes. That is a good thing, and I ‘buy’ that that claim is true. My synthetic-bristle brushes stay in good shape longer and through harsher handling and cleaning than my few natural ones.
Just like you shouldn’t wash your hair with Dawn all the time, you have to baby natural bristle brushes.
The Bottom Line
I haven’t tried a 217S so I can’t speak to whether or not I think it is bad. I can’t tell from the reviews whether the brush really is bad or if it is just different and requiring of an adjustment period.
Either way, even though I already babied my 217, I am going to treat it even more delicately, now.