LOVE this brush! Soft, easy to clean, natural bristles, and picks up color the way a good brush should.
This is a great natural bristle brush. I honestly forget what the bristles are made of but I know all of Merle Normans brushes are natural bristles except for the eyeliner, foundation, and concealer brush. If you ask a Beauty advisor they can tell you verbatim what each is made from. Their product information cards that are in the training manual will tell them. I really like this brush. It has a much smaller head than the regular eyeshadow brush but it's just as long lasting, densely packed, and fluffy. It's great for applying lid color or for blending in smaller areas. This one is a staple in all my kits and it's held up beautifully.
I was dragged into a Merle Norman store recently (kicking and screaming) and was really surprised to come out with a little pink bag in my hand. Inside: This unassuming little brush, which I have fallen in love with.
This isn't the big fluffy shadow brush. It's a small, flat brush with a dark blue plastic handle. At a guess, I'd say it's synthetic, maybe Taklon, but one thing is certain: It's the perfect firmness for shading, especially with the loose powder shadows I'm recently addicted to. It's made application of loose shadow much easier. It was cheap, too - about $11 as I recall.
Edit: I hate to contradict the previous reviewer, but there is no doubt in my mind that this brush is synthetic.