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I’m pretty new to brushes, since I’m usually an advocate of the always-hygienic, super convenient smoosh-it-with-clean-fingers technique, but some products just really, really need a brush. I’ve been buying lots of brushes lately and thought I’d show you what I’ve been using in my daily routine, especially since I washed them recently and had a chance to photograph them while they were presentable…
Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman
There’s been heaps of rave reviews about these, and it’s easy to see why: designed by an expert for normal people to use, dense, soft synthetic bristles, and budget-friendly (if you’re not in Australia, that is). Like most other Aussie girls, I ordered mine through an iHerb group buy and they worked out to be around $20 for the collections, and $10 for the bigger individual brushes (express shipping included).
I bought the Base Core Collection, the Eye Starter Set and an Expert Face Brush.
Buffing Brush and Expert Face Brush – I get the most use out of these brushes, and I haven’t quite decided which one I prefer. They apply BB cream and liquid foundation like a dream, although I end up using double the product I needed for finger application. The bristles don’t soak up much product, and both brushes give a very natural, streak-free look with negligible effort or skill on my part. The main differences between the two are the shape – the Buffing Brush is round with bristles that are almost uniformally sized, while the Expert Face Brush is slightly oval and has hairs of varying lengths:
This means that the way you use them is different too – you hold the Buffing Brush perpendicularly to your face with the top flat against the skin, and you work it in little circles, whereas the Expert Face Brush is more designed for short strokes with the brush held diagonally to your skin.
The packaging on the Core Collection says that the Buffing Brush is good for powder and mineral foundations – I haven’t tried this yet (though I’m very curious), but I was very underwhelmed with it for setting powder over liquid foundation.
Contour Brush – I felt like this is a bit too fat for contouring, but it’s been very good for helping me not overdo it – I force myself to do two featherweight swipes down each cheek, only! This brush is also perfectly round, and I kind of wish it was oval so I’d have different widths to play with.
Deluxe Crease Brush – Like most people, I bought the Eye Starter Set mainly for this flattish brush, and I use it for undereye concealer. It’s great for blending it out into the rest of the foundation, unlike the usual flat, stiff concealer brushes which usually leave me looking like a Matisse.
I picked up a really budget set from Ozsale, which has been very handy for eyeshadow (I hate washing brushes, so the more eyeshadow brushes I own, the better!). The two brushes I use the most are the angled blush brush and the powder brush. They’re both great for picking up powder, especially less pigmented stuff that I need to load onto my face with a trowel (I’m looking at you, Benefit Coralista).
I’ve always used an angled brush for blush – I think it’s because I started off applying makeup just for drama performances, where you want your blush to stay below the cheekbone. I should probably branch out, since I’m mainly an apples girl these days!
The powder brush is a great size and shape for applying setting powder. No complaints here.
Lust Have It! Kabuki Brush – This is probably the brush I’m most grateful for in my collection. It came in a Lust Have It! subscription box, and I’ve only ever used it for one thing – as a “Blur More”/”Soften”/”Undo” button when I’ve been overenthusiastic with the blush and contouring.
Ecotools Fresh and Flawless Complexion Set
I grabbed this set from iHerb along with the Real Techniques brushes, for a bargain $13. I had to have it, because I’ve been dying to try Ecotools, and because of the ferrules – ARE THEY NOT THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FERRULES YOU’VE EVER SEEN???
Anyway, I haven’t managed to use this set yet – they’re just too pretty to muck up!
The reviews I’ve read of this set frequently say that the brushes are unusably small – I have to disagree, here’s how big the brushes are compared to a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush:
The brown-ferruled complexion blending brush is almost as wide as the Expert Face Brush. The powder brush is a bit smaller than the average powder brush, but from the blurb I believe it’s intended to be a blush brush. The handles are a bit short and lightweight though, so if you prefer bigger handles you’ll be disappointed. The lovely dense softness of the synthetic taklon bristles has got me lusting after more Ecotools brushes!
I used to puzzle over why girls got so excited about brushes, but I think I get it now – it’s all in the fluffiness. And the results of course, but mainly – the fluffiness. It’s just such an addictive feeling! I’m looking forward to the next beauty expo where I can stroke all the brushes…