Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Essential Eye Makeup Brushes 1: Quality and Brands

Let's talk about eyeshadow brushes shall we? I used to think the result was 90% in the product (eyeshadow) but have since learned that tools can actually take about 50% of the credit! So let's get our tools basics down:

Yup, it looks like I'm picking my nose; nope, my camera refused to not focus on my face

I love good quality products and will nearly always advocate quality over quantity, but sometimes you have to weigh quality vs cost - this is normally my largest internal debate "is it worth it?". Here's a brief overview of different 'levels' of brushes going by price using the market dominating brands as an example:

A cheap brush (ELF/store brand) is about £3-4, an inexpensive ('low end' doesn't seem fitting somehow) brush (EcoTools/Real Techniques) is double that at £6-8, a mid end (MAC/Sigma) brush is again about double its previous counter part at £16-18 and a high end brush (Hakuhodo) is double that again at £32++. The regularity of this pattern pleases me!

Elf < Ecotools < Real Techniques < Sigma < Mac < Hakuhodo

Anyway, disclaimer: I know nothing about super high end brushes - I have literally never touched a Hakuuhodo brush, so I'm just going to skip those. I do however have some experience in Bobbi Brown brushes which are in the awkward price range of between mid and high end, so I'm going to use those as my bench mark 'high' end brushes: they're awful. Bobbi Brown make awful overpriced brushes, I dislike them so much I can't even be bothered to go into more depth than: I have a full eye set (as a gift) that I've touched exactly once and a foundation brush that is put to shame in every way by its EcoTools counterpart. For shame Bobbi, for shame.

Crap quality AND overpriced

So where do I draw the line between quality and cost? It's a toss between 'low' and mid end - it's not hard to justify the small price jump between a cheap brush and an inexpensive one (just a single Starbucks coffee) and because cheap brushes are well, cheap and tacky quality I tend to skip those entirely. And then the jump between mid and high end brushes is frankly absurd to me - maybe I could justify it for one brush one time, but to build a collection at that price point is so far out of a budget I would consider reasonable at any point in my life.

So let's focus on EcoTools/Real Techniques vs Mac/Sigma:

ET and RT both make nice synthetic bristled brushes that are soft, aesthetically pleasing and never shed. Overall, whatever (eyeshadow) brushes you get from either brand will be nice, soft, good quality brushes but without fantastic technical and specified abilities.

Unwashed RT eye shading brush from the front and side

M.A.C. is a brand created and targeted to makeup artists (Makeup Artists Cosmetics duh) thus their brushes are obviously better quality and are handmade in Japan - reports of brushes lasting 10+ years are common - and much more specified, thus this is where you want to go when you're itching to advance from that basic smokey eye. Mac brushes are a mix between natural (animal hair) and synthetic bristles, with the type of hair (horse, goat, badger etc) varying by type of brush.

Also unwashed Mac 239, 217 and 219 brushes

Sigma doesn't boast professional quality like Mac or as high a price tag. They also used to be rather shameless about creating Mac copies (even using the same number naming system), however their brushes are very highly reviewed particularly their 12 piece synthetic sets (which I have my eye on for Christmas), I can't personally recommend them but if you're looking for a one stop face and eye brush set that's better than drugstore but maybe not professional level check them out.
Mrs. Bunny Essential Kit - photo from

So what eyeshadow brushes do I use and love? These ones:

Their grubbiness is evidence of their recent use

I'll dissect what their different uses are and the various pros and ons of each in my next brush post.

Saskia X

1 comment:

  1. I believe that almost 90 percent of girls are into makeup. They love to try different types of makeup to style them in a different way. Because girls usually get bored of the same style. My sister is really fond of cosmetics. She tries different techniques of makeup to change her look. Last month on her birthday, I gifted her a pack of makeup brushes. Due to my busy routine, I decided to order them online Within 3 days of order I received makeup brushes packed in a wooden case. I was really impressed from their packing. My sister really like them and she is using those brushes to make her more beautiful.