This is my absolute favourite blending brush. Reading the reviews on MUA many seem to favour 217, but I find it much easier to get a subtle blend with 224, mainly due to the shape and because the bristles are longer. This brush is also great if you want to lay a sheer wash of colour all over the lid.
MAC 224 is a fluffy blush for blending eye shadows, but I tend to use it to contour my nose and highlight my brow bones and cheekbones. It takes up a light amount of powder evenly and give a very sheer coverage to my skin. I think using this for blending eye shadows on my crease make my eyes look a bit muddy, so I prefer MAC 217 for this job.
I agree that this blush is a bit coarse, but still acceptable and feels very soft. Besides, it does sheds a bit here and there, but nothing too annoying. It works well for me on shading my nose, but other than that it's replaceable.
I mostly use this brush to apply a light dusting of powder over areas where I've used concealer. It does this well enough, but there's not much about its performance that stands out. I find the bristles quite coarse and hard and although the handle of the brush looks high end, I think the quality of the bristles lets this down.
Possibly my favourite brush for blending eyeshadow and correcting any errors. It's the perfect soft/ firmness balance and creates a lovely blended out effect. I prefer subtle eyeshadow and makeup looks and this brush is faultless for that.
I have had this for over 20 years and it's still like new. I've mostly used it for blending, but after reading all the reviews here, I tried using it for application of darker colors in the "v", and it's awesome. I also love this brush for dusting a little of my Blanc Type over the edges of my crease shadows, it really gives a polished look without being too heavy and light in color, which happens if I do the same with the 217. I didn't care for the 217, even though it's the more popular brush, I think the 224 is much better, softer, not as wide, and works better for both application and blending. Because of the reviews here, I tried my 224 for concealer, but while I liked the concept of airbrushing, I don't find the natural bristles to be the best for an emollient concealer. So I ordered the 286 for that purpose and love it.
this brush is so fluffy, which is good for just 2 things to blend your concealer and apply setting powder under your eyes or to blend your eyeshadow everywhere on your lids (you have to be careful while holding this brush to blend your eyeshadow) for the price of this fluffy brush i will pass. swapped this away
I use this brush for both my crease area or blending. Sometimes I use the #217 for my crease and use this brush for really blending the colors. I have abnormally large eyes and don't really have an actual crease...more like a deeper area. This brush is large enough to do the job and blends my colors well.
I use this brush to blend my concealer under my eyes. I apply my Bobbi brown corrector and then mac's select cover up concealer with my fingers. Then i blend the edges with this brush and then apply a thin dusting of make up for ever's hd powder to set. This brush was a bit scratchy so instead of blending my corrector/concealer, I've Been using this brush lately to gently pat the hd powder under my eyes. Def would not repurchase because it's just too scratchy and not worth the price.
Update 5/1/13: I prefer Sonia kashuk's black Handle tapered blending brush. Sooo much softer and looks exactly like the 224. Plus it's less than $10, which is another bonus!
For about eight dollars cheaper, you can get a superior brush with the #217.
If you have a large lid space and a deep crease, this brush will probably be amazing for softly blending colors. However, if you have a small lid space like I do (think double eyelids but without a deep socket/crease space), this brush will over-blend your shadows and make the colors go everywhere instead.
Also, for $30, I would expect this brush to be super soft, but I find that it's a little scratchy on my lids. I definitely prefer the #217 because it is softer and offers much more control.
I absolutely love this brush! It's probably the best smudge brush out there and I don't think i'd be able to live without it.. haha :) The price, I think, is a "okay" price, because the brush is so high in quality and if you clean it and take care of it, it'll last forever!
Well, I use it daily and I love it! So to everyone who's thinking about buying it, go and do it, NOW! :D