Home Brushes FAQ: Sonia G and MAC brushes

FAQ: Sonia G and MAC brushes

by Sonia G.

I started with very basic brushes then upgraded to Mac as soon as I tried them. Mac brushes were more precise, they did a much better blending job and they allowed me to work so much faster than before, I was thrilled! They were reliable and exactly what I needed.

After many years enjoying them on a daily basis, in just a matter of months something changed: my skin became too sensitive. Probably due to ageing and accentuated by an accident that caused very intense chronic migraines. With such sensitive skin, I started looking for new ways to apply make-up and in parallel started my research for softer brushes, this took me straight to Kumano, Japan.

The new brushes I discovered in Japan were extremely soft and luxurious! After a couple of years, I noticed that the brushes I was reaching for 80% of the time weren’t necessarily the softest of the bunch, but certainly the fastest for the job.
As a result, today I aim to create brushes that we automatically want to reach for, not only because they are soft, but because they are fast and effective. The key is to find the perfect balance between efficiency and softness.

The purpose of this post is to answer your questions (Instagram, email, direct msgs) asking which Sonia G brush would be the dupe for a specific discontinued Mac natural brush. The Mac brushes (natural bristles) that I am showing you today are all likely discontinued but these oldest Mac natural brushes remain such a great reference for many of us! Today Mac switched to synthetic bristles and I understood that even only a few of the synthetic ones are still made in Japan.

My brushes were designed from scratch and I am happy to explain the similarities or differences to the oldest Mac in terms of functionality. If you have any other questions or if you would like me to add other Mac brushes and compare them, please do leave me a comment at the bottom of this post. I own most Mac brushes but the questions I have seen so far concern only the ones mentioned below.

Mac 239

I have several of the discontinued natural Mac 239. Since the 239 is bundled with natural bristles (sokoho goat) and it’s quite small, the tiniest difference in the batch of bristles may have a noticeable impact on how the brush feels and looks, but this is completely normal.

FAQ: Is the Builder Three a dupe for the discontinued natural Mac 239?
Not exactly, while the ferrule of the Mac is approx 9.5mm x 4mm, the Builder Three is 10mm x 5mm.

The Builder Three is denser, thicker and a bit wider than the Mac 239. Since the Builder Three has more thickness to its body, the tip is less flexible and more stable, it helps to obtain a smooth, more opaque application faster. It works efficiently with sheer, hardly pressed and also powdery shadows and delivers a placement with no patchiness or grainy effect.

The swatches done with these two brushes are quite similar, the Builder Three will work with more opacity, whether you use the flat side or the tip. The Mac 239 will deliver a more diffused application.

Swatches done with Sydney Grace – Dark Chocolate eyeshadow

Conclusion: you can use the Builder Three for the same purpose as the Mac 239 but it will work with more definition and intensity.

Mac 228

FAQ: Is the Flat Definer similar to the discontinued natural Mac 228?

It’s not that similar, the ferrule of the discontinued Mac 228 is 6.6mm x 2.5mm while the Flat Definer is 7.7mm x 4mm. The Mac brush splays out at the tip while the Flat Definer tapers and offers more precision, the Mac delivers a more diffused application.

FAQ: Is the Flat Definer softer than the discontinued natural Mac 228?

The discontinued Mac 228 was bundled with pony bristles and the Flat Definer is bundled with saikoho goat bristles, the Flat Definer is softer.

The placement with the Flat Definer is more precise and defined specially when working with the tip. It has more layers on the sides, a thicker ferrule for stability at the tip and for more strength -and less fall out- when picking and applying the products.

Swatches done with Sydney Grace – Dark Chocolate eyeshadow

Conclusion: you can use the Flat Definer for the same purpose as the discontinued Mac 228 but it will work with more precision when using the tip and more opacity when using its sides.

Mac 226

FAQ: What is the closest crease brush in your collection that is similar to the discontinued natural Mac 226?

It is the Crease One. The ferrule of the Crease One is bigger though, approx 7.2mm versus 6.6mm for the discontinued Mac 226 but both have a tapered shape.

The swatches reflect quite nicely what you’ll see happening on the eyes: this Mac 226 will target the application but will deliver more diffused edges, the Crease One will target and accentuate the placement or blending at the very tip of the brush.

The Crease One is denser, the bristles under the tip remain more tight together, this is helpful when we work on a hooded lid for example, to target the placement just where needed.

Swatches done with Sydney Grace – Dark Chocolate eyeshadow

Conclusion: you could use the Crease One for the same purpose as the discontinued Mac 226 but the placement will be more precise, less diffused.

Mac 219

FAQ: Is Pencil Pro similar to the discontinued natural Mac 219?

The Pencil Pro has a wider ferrule compared to the Mac 219 and it’s more rounded at the top but in terms of results, it is indeed the closest.

The Mac 219 looks pointier but it’s more flexible, therefore the placement is more diffused. The Pencil Pro works with more consistency in the movement and intensity since it is denser and firmer.

Swatches done with Sydney Grace – Dark Chocolate eyeshadow

Conclusion: The Pencil One would be the one to grab if you need more finesse and precision with the smudging or placement but in terms of similar results to the discontinued Mac 219, the Pencil Pro is the closest.

Mac 221 and Mac 222

FAQ: What brushes in your collection are closer/dupes to Mac 221 and Mac 222?

My brushes tend to be denser in comparison to many other crease brushes but I think that Mini Booster and Classic Crease are the closest in terms of functionality.

The Mini Booster is denser and quite firm but it’s also rounded at the top so in terms of shape it comes close to the Mac 221. In terms of application, the Mac 221 is going to provide a more diffused application and cover a wider area, while the Mini Booster will target the placement or the blending with more determination.

The Classic Crease is more airy (compared to the Mini Booster) but still denser in comparison to the Mac 222, however, the result is quite similar in width and intensity.

Swatches done with Sydney Grace – Dark Chocolate eyeshadow

Conclusion: The Mini Booster and the Classic Crease have been designed specifically to provide a placement with elevated control -which I am very picky about- and little to no fallout. They could do a similar application to the Mac 221 and Mac 222 but the Mini Booster may pack too much of a punch, proceed with precaution 🙂

Mac 217

FAQ: Is the Worker Pro a dupe for the discontinued natural Mac 217?

The shape is a bit similar but the Worker Pro is more oval and much smaller. In terms of functionality, the Worker Three comes closer. Then it depends if you use the sides or the tip…

The Worker Pro is smaller, so it’s going to work with more precision compared to the discontinued natural Mac 217, well, it also depends on the Mac 217 you have as they all splay out a bit differently, some more than others.

Swatches done with Sydney Grace – Dark Chocolate eyeshadow

On the swatches done with the tip of the brush, the Worker Two is the most similar to the discontinued Mac 217, however, since the Worker Two is wider, the sides will cover a larger area vs that Mac 217.

Swatches done with Sydney Grace – Dark Chocolate eyeshadow

Conclusion: No dupes here, but if you wish that the Mac 217 was more precise, go for the Worker Pro. If you wish the Mac 217 was more dense and opaque with the results, go for the Worker Three. If you wish the Mac 217 was a bit bigger, go for the Worker Two. In terms of experience and results, the Worker One would be the closest you could get to the Mac 217 but it has dyed bristles which are not recommended with cream products.


My brushes aren’t dupes for Mac brushes but they could allow for a similar functionality, with some nuances with regards to precision or opacity.

Thank you so much for your continuous interest and support, I am always so excited to read your comments and emails and to get to know so many Fude lovers !!!

UPDATE 09/07/2020 – After a kind request, I am adding another comparison

MAC 224

The most similar to the Mac 224 would be the Crease Two. The Crease Two has a curved ferrule towards the base of the bristles, this results into a behavior that is more firm and directional and feels a bit like the Mac 224. In terms of flexibility and airiness, it is also the most similar to the discontinued natural Mac 224.

The Classic Crease is also very similar to the old Mac 224, even though the density is a bit different, if you were trying to find the same functionality as the old Mac 224, either the Crease Two or the Classic Crease will fit the purpose.

The Blender Pro is actually much denser so it wouldn’t feel quite the same and probably make too much of an opaque application on the first contact.

The new Mac 224s is actually completely different to the old Mac 224, not only because it’s synthetic but also the shape and density are totally different.

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Melody W 10 October, 2020 - 3:04 pm

Thanks for the comparison, I am going to add crease two to my collection. Love your brushes and blog 🙂

Sonia G. 19 October, 2020 - 5:37 pm

Thank you Melody!! <3

Jennifer Peters 13 December, 2020 - 6:04 pm

Thanks for this, just ordered my first brushes and am happy to know the booster is similar to my favourite MAC 221! I ordered it because Tarababyz loves it 🙂

Mandy 9 August, 2023 - 4:16 pm

Hi Sonia!
I was looking for a dupe for my MAC 226, I came across your post but unfortunately for me your crease one is discontinued, do you have a dupe in your current line or know of a dude dupe? Thank you!

Sonia G. 22 August, 2023 - 9:58 am

Hi Mandy,
The Crease Pro is a bit similar in functionality because it remains quite firm and allows quite a lot of control at the tip, even though it’s longer. I have several Mac 226, some are more tapered than others but the closest from my collection to most of my Mac 226 brushes at the moment is the Crease Pro. If you decide to get it, I hope you will love it!
Take care!!

Mandy 24 August, 2023 - 3:21 am

Thank you so much for your help!

Rial 25 November, 2023 - 9:26 pm

Hola sonia.Are any of your brushes to this day a dupe for Mac’s 222


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