Friday, June 22, 2018

Best Cruelty-free Dupes for a M.A.C. 217 Brush

One of the reasons I started this blog so many years ago, is that I wanted a resource for people to easily find cruelty-free makeup brushes. The brush that I became obsessed with was the M.A.C. 217. The size, shape and density of the bristles make this the perfect blending brush. It is a must-have in most makeup artist's kit. Yet, at the time I had a hard time finding a cruelty-free dupe. I asked other makeup artists I know to show me their 217 dupes. Most produced an animal hair version including one from Kat Von D, Wayne Goss and Crown Brushes.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may know that M.A.C. now makes their 217 with synthetic bristles, and calls it the 217S.  While this version was gifted to me, M.A.C. sadly is not a cruelty-free brand, so I cannot support it or endorse them without compromising my morals. 
Luckily, I have found numerous cruelty-free dupes (duplicates) all at a better price point than M.A.C.'s version. 

Here they are: 
I was able to find short-handle and long-handle dupes from a variety of brands. 
First up is the shorter handled brushes.  These are ideal for personal use, and I specifically recommend these for those who like to sit close to a mirror while applying eyeshadow. 
From left to right (above): M.A.C. 217 (not cruelty-free) compared to Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush, Bdellium Tools 776, Crown Brush SS021 Deluxe Blending Fluff Brush (Crown Syntho Brush Series-$4.98)
Here is a closer look (in a different order) - below from left to right: Bdellium Tools 776, Crown SS021, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush  
If you are a professional makeup artist, you may prefer a longer handle. Don't worry, I've got you covered!:
From left to right: Wet n Wild P15, Real Techniques 305 & 203, and M.A.C. 217 for comparison
In the second box: Furless PRO2E, Coastal Scents BR-C-S06, Sigma E25, Royal and Langnickel Revolution BX-66 (nearly identical bristle size, shape and softness) compared to M.A.C. 217
A closer look: 
I also have a group of brushes I call my "not quite 217 brushes." They don't have the same tapered tip, or shape of the 217, but work in a similar way. Some are wider, bigger, smaller or just different enough to not quite pass as a dupe. However functionally,  these are seriously good blending brushes.
Here are my top picks in this category:
From left to right: Furless takes the top 2 spots, followed by IT Cosmetics, Zoeva 227 Soft Definer (vegan), Walgreens brand, Urban Decay,  and the M.A.C. 217 is at the end for comparison. 
A closer look:
In the same category, I must give honorable mention to the dual sided brush from Urban Decay that comes with some of their Naked Palettes:
While the tip is not tapered like the 217, it is very similar in nearly every other way.
It is important to note that I like this style of brush so much, that I own multiples across several of the brands. Also, some of the brands mentioned here offer both short & long handle brushes.
For example, Bdellium Tools 776, comes in short & long handle:
Real Techniques does also. Note, their Base Shadow Brush has a more tapered tip than the version from their Bold Metals collection.
Coastal Scents offers white & black bristled options in their S06: 
Sigma has a variety of sizes and colors of their E25:
Out of all of these options, I do have some favorites. My 3 favorites are: Furless Cosmetics PRO2E (softest), Bdellium Tools 776, and Crown Brush SS021:
I do have to give an honorable mention to the Royal & Langnickel Revolution BX-66. This brush nearly identical to the M.A.C. 217S, the primary difference being in bristle color. I think the only reason that I don't use it as much in my kit is because I don't have multiples of it, the way I do with brushes from the other brands. With so many great options in my kit, it is hard to justify buying more, but I HIGHLY recommend this brush. 
Furless Cosmetics has a good variety of professional quality 217 dupes, and "not quite 217s" that blend beautifully. 
I hope you found this post helpful. This is post #1 in what I hope to make my "Brush Library." My ultimate goal is to create a database of cruelty-free brushes, making it easy for people who wish to replace their animal hair versions when the time comes.  
What style/brand of brush would you like me to post dupes for next? 

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