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Friday, December 2, 2011

Review: MAC Gareth Pugh 182 Square Handled Buffer Brush (Couture Limited Edition)

From Left to Right: MAC 182 Brush (2006 Couture Limited Edition), MAC Gareth Pugh 182 Brush (Couture Limited Edition), MAC 109 Brush (pictured just for size comparison)

MAC limited edition products usually sell like hot cakes; however, most of the products from their couture line are currently still available for purchase. I'm assuming it's because many people are turned off by the price. The regular 182 brush from their permanent line is $49.50 and the Gareth Pugh one is $60; however, I don't mind paying an extra $10.50 just for the special handle because the quality of the couture version is excellent and it looks more attractive than the regular version.

  • feels teddy bear soft
  • bristles are densely packed
  • no shedding when used with powder products
  • no dye bleeding
  • no funky smell after a few washes
  • dries within 6 hours
  • ideal for buffing out over-applied products, such as blush
  • great for applying setting powder, bronzer, & mineral/powder foundation

  • can be difficult to wash without getting the handle wet
  • price is $60
  • packaging is a little "cheap" (It comes in a plastic tube & is packaged in a thin paper box)
  • handle gets dirty easily with fingerprints

The brush fits nicely in a standard powder compact.

The bristles of the Gareth Pugh Square Handled Buffer brush are densely packed and feels luxuriously soft. It smelled like a dead animal when I got it; however, after a few washes, the stench is gone. I did not experience any shedding because it's constructed very well and I only use it for powder products. The brush is made from natural bristles; therefore, it is not ideal for applying liquid/cream products. (It will shed if you do.) 

Although the bristles are dense, it's not "too dense" for applying setting powder. I still get a light coverage and it doesn't give me a cakey finish. This brush is also great for buffing in mineral or powder foundation if you don't want heavy coverage. However, if you want better coverage, I recommend purchasing the Sephora #43 (full review) because the bristles are more densely packed. (Note: The denser the brush, the more coverage you'll get.) I also love using the Gareth Pugh brush to buff out over-applied blush. 

Left: MAC 182 Brush ( 2006 Couture Limited Edition)
Right: MAC Gareth Pugh 182 Brush (Couture Limited Edition)

When compared to the MAC 182 2006 Couture Limited Edition brush (full review), the Gareth Pugh version is slightly denser and softer. Also, the head of the brush is less wider. They both perform basically the same during application; however, I prefer to use the Gareth Pugh version for buffing out over-applied products since the bristles are slightly denser. The main difference between these two brushes is the appearance & the weight of the handle. The Gareth Pugh is slightly more heavy & it gets dirty easily with fingerprints. Also, when I first got the 2006 version, it didn't shed. However, now it sheds one hair after each wash. The Gareth Pugh version hasn't shed yet, but I will post an update if it starts to. 

From Left to Right: MAC 182 Brush (2006 Couture Limited Edition), MAC Gareth Pugh 182 Brush (Couture Limited Edition), MAC 109 Brush (pictured just for size comparison)

As for maintenance, it can be difficult to wash without getting the handle wet. (When water gets into the ferrule, the glue loosens and that causes the bristles to shed. Therefore, you should never dry brushes standing upright.) Instead of deep cleaning the whole brush head, you could spot clean it. (Spray some brush cleanser onto a piece of paper towel and then rub your brush onto the towel until all the product gets out.) However, I don't really like this method because it doesn't clean as well as the traditional way. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that the packaging is a little "cheap". It comes in a plastic tube & is packaged in a thin paper box. One would expect more thought into the packaging, considering that it costs $60. However, it doesn't bother me much because I usually have no use for the packaging anyways.

Bottom Line: The quality of the brush itself is excellent and if you love the 2006 version, I'm sure you'll love the Gareth Pugh version just as well or even more because it's slightly denser and softer. What it comes down to is whether you're inclined to fork out $60 and whether you're in the market for a kabuki brush.

Note: The Gareth Pugh brush measures 3 inches in total length. The brush head is the same length as the 2006 version, but the handle of the Gareth Pugh version is a little longer. The bristles of the Gareth Pugh version measures 2.30 inches at the widest point. The bristles of the 2006 version measures 2.5 inches at the widest point. The Gareth Pugh version retails for $60 and can be purchased at Nordstrom. The 2006 version retailed for $55, but is no longer available for purchase.

What kabuki brushes have you tried and
are you willing to spend $60 on the Gareth Pugh version?

*This post contains affiliate links. None of the products mentioned are sponsored.
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