I’ve been obsessed with this brush since I purchased it not long ago and actually ended up purchasing a second one. It’s a versatile brush that can be used for several tasks and with different types of products. I’ve been very happy with the results I get with the Oval 6 brush, especially when applying a liquid or cream foundation, so I had to share it with all of you! I hope you enjoy this review and thanks for reading!
This brush sells for $42 (MAC Pro & Staff discounts do not apply) and can be picked up at freestanding MAC stores as well as www.maccosmetics.com. It’s been out for a while now and cannot be purchased at counters, but I’m hoping they’ll change that soon! If that changes, I’ll be sure to let you all know. But back to the price… I know $42 seems sort of high for a brush, but something like a MAC 187 brush costs the same, and considering that the Artis Oval 6 sells for $57 and is honestly the exact same brush, you’re getting a good deal with the MAC version of the Oval 6!
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The MAC Oval 6 Brush is ideal for applying liquid, cream, or powder products. It’s dense, synthetic fibers are perfect for buffing out foundation, concealer, or cream blush, while it can also be used for gentle stippling if you need a little extra coverage in some areas. There are many other uses for this brush too… I’ll go into detail about using it with different formulas and types of products below, so keep reading if you’re interested in how to use this brush!
It’s a medium size, comparable to MAC’s 170 and 196 brushes, which are also very dense and can be used with creams and liquids. The main difference between them is that the 170 and 196 are both made in the typical brush fashion, rather than having a slanted, ergonomic type of handle like the Oval 6 does. Due to the shape of this brush, it’s made from plastic rather than wood (since it doesn’t have a metal ferule), but I like that because I find that it holds up really well and comes clean more easily. This type of handle is amazing for personal application but it makes it difficult to use on other people, so this is not a brush I would recommend for a kit or professional use.
This brush does not seem to use up nearly as much product as a Beauty Blender, especially with liquid foundation. It’s so dense that you don’t get a lot of product seeping into the depths of the bristles either, as I’ve found with some other foundation brushes, so that cuts back on how much product you have to use, as well as makes it much easier to clean!
As far as packaging goes, this comes in a very sturdy box, rather than just having a sleeve on it. I don’t like that fact that the box seems to be a waste of materials, but it does give this brush a more luxurious first impression.
Dupes: As I mentioned earlier, the two brushes I’ve found to be most similar to the Oval 6 that are made by MAC are the 170 Synthetic Rounded Slant Brush and the 196 Slanted Flat Top Foundation Brush. In my opinion, the 170 is more similar than the 196 because the brush fibers seem to be nearly the same and are incredibly soft and smooth, as well as tapered and domed. The 196 is more sharply slanted, which makes it fantastic for carving out contour or getting very close to the eye area, but it doesn’t naturally hug the curves of the face quite as well as the Oval 6 and 170 brushes do. I also find that the 196 requires more of a stippling motion for application, rather than a gentle, gliding motion like I do when using the 170 and Oval 6.
And of course I must mention the Artis Oval 6 Brush as a dupe! It’s basically the same brush… I’m not even kidding. Both brushes were designed by the same gentleman, who used to be part of the MAC family. After parting ways with MAC, he became a consultant and partner for a major brush manufacturer and has launched his own line of brushes under the brand Artis. Basically, if you get the Artis brush, you’re just paying for the way it looks… It costs $15 more than the MAC Oval 6 and the only difference is the color and/or material of the handle. The Artis version of this brush may look more luxurious and fancy, but I personally prefer the sleek look of MAC’s Oval 6, as well as MAC’s price! I have used both, although I don’t own the Artis version, and I can assure you that they do the exact same job!
If you’d like to know more about application techniques, please scroll down past the photos.
I am going to try to take photos this week to demonstrate how to hold this brush for each application technique since it’s still a new concept for some people. The “level” of wordpress that I have right now won’t allow me to post videos, but I plan on using this brush a lot in upcoming YouTube tutorials, so I’ll link that as soon as my videos go live!
Liquids: When applying a liquid foundation, I recommend dabbing the product onto your face with your finger, then blending it out with the Oval 6 brush. The type of motion you’ll want to use is more of a gentle, gliding motion to sweep your foundation all over the face, rather than a circular buffing motion that you may be used to doing with other brushes. You can also softly stipple with this brush if you’re trying to blend your concealer! The shape of this brush allows it to fit under and around the eye, nose, and mouth with ease. You’ll also notice that you don’t need to use nearly as much product with this brush, especially if you’ve been using something like a Beauty Blender!
Creams: With creams, you’ll use pretty much the same gliding motion as you do with liquids, although I find that a circular buffing motion tends to work alright with creams, while when I do that with liquids, it seems to thin out the coverage a bit. You can even use the side or edge of this brush if you’re applying a cream contour… The shape allows you to get a precise line, then gently buff it out. When applying a cream blush, you’ll want to use the more rounded part of the brush to buff it onto the apples of your cheeks. The Oval 6 Brush also works well with cream concealers since the shape allows you to get right into your under eye area!
Powders: I’ve found that the buffing and gliding motions work best for powder foundations. I don’t recommend using this brush to apply powder over a liquid foundation, though, as it can sort of wipe away or streak your foundation that you’ve already applied. That said, I absolutely love this brush if I’m in a hurry and want to put some Studio Fix Powder on real quick! It gives great coverage when used with that type of powder. I also LOVE using this brush to apply powder under my contour line on my cheeks to clean it up and add definition! Powder blushes can be a little tricky, depending on how pigmented they are… Because this brush picks up a lot of product, if you aren’t careful and use a light hand, you can end up looking like a clown! The few times I’ve been successful at applying blush with the Oval 6, I’ve gently patted it onto the apple of my cheek, then used light, circular motions to blend it out.
Primers/Skincare: While I personally prefer to use my fingers for skincare and primers, since the heat of my fingers melts those type of products into my skin, you can use this brush if you want to have a more pampered, spa-like experience. The only downside is that primers and lotions tend to be more liquidy, so the brush will soak those up more than it will foundations.
Cleaning: I always make sure to spot clean all of my brushes daily… To do so, I have my MAC Brush Cleanser in a spray bottle, which I’ll spritz onto a paper towel, then gently swipe the brush across a couple of times until most of the product is off of the brush. For deep cleaning, you can mix MAC Brush Cleanser with water or use a gentle shampoo diluted with water (I like Dr Bronner’s Liquid Castille Soap, but it’s very concentrated, so you only need a few drops). Like other brushes, make sure you don’t submerge the entire brushhead in water, as this can loosen the bristles. You only have to dip about the top third into the water/shampoo mixture, then gently swoosh it around in the palm of your hand. To rinse, run your thumb across the bristles while holding the brushhead under running water (again, just part of the bristles). You can pat it dry with a paper towel, then make sure it’s reshaped before putting it back into your brush cup or holder to air dry the rest of the way!
*** This post expresses my own honest opinion. I purchased this out of pocket and did not receive any type of PR or compensation for this review ***