Thursday, August 19, 2010

An Open Thread: Makeup Brushes

Let's talk about makeup brushes. After casually mentioning here that I was updating and organizing my makeup brush collection with emphasis on my travel brushes I've been getting several emails every day asking for opinions and recommendations for brushes. Many want to know what's the best brand for brushes.

It's hard to answer, really. I have favorites from several brands and can't say I'm very loyal to any. I love my Chanels (especially the blush brush and blending brush), Nars and Edward Bess' Face Brush (which, by the way, retained it shape a lot better than the MUFE brush), but I also use several Eco Tools brushes- the blush and powder brushes are as superb as they are cheap. And then there are the ones from Sephora Professional line, Smashbox concealer brushes and Bobbi Brown shading, blending and eye liner brushes. Not very helpful if one is OCD about having everything the same length and color, but I'm more concerned with effectiveness.

So now it's your turn: Do you have any recommendations? What are your favorite brushes? Are you loyal to one or two brands? Any recent discoveries? Or: Ask questions about brushes, answer questions already asked... Let's talk about it!

Photo: oss237.com

23 comments:

  1. I have favorites across brands too: I use a Sonya Kashuk (Target) blush brush daily; Trish McEvoy flat eye shadow brush for broad color application; Bobbi Brown eyeliner brush; a YSL medium brush or a Bella Pierre broad, short-bristled brush for the crease; an angled MAC for eyebrows; a really big (and soft) Tony and Tina powder brush. If I wear foundation or concealer I use some no-name foundation brush I got at Sally's that works really well. I carry in my handbag a travel-sized Chanel power brush that I use everyday in the office. You know, before I wrote it all out, I didn't realize I used that many brushes!

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  2. I mostly use MAC brushes, because until recently it was hard to even find anything else where I live. I have the blush brush from eco tools and I like it, but it's a little too soft and fluffy for me to love as a blush applicator; I use it for powder. My favourite brush is my Nars smudge brush though. It makes smoldering evening looks so simple.

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  3. I owned mostly Sephora and MAC brushes (which I really like) before discovering Hakuhodo. Their brushes are incredible. I own a few and I'm planning to buy a few more, but they're impeccably shaped and so well-made. And so soft.

    -Adele

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  4. I don't have one favorite brand when it comes to makeup brushes, but I just discovered Japonesque brushes & have only good things to say about the brand. I use the Kabuki brush, which Japonesque claims can be used as a bronzer brush. It's way too big to apply bronzer, but it's perfectly suited for applying face powder and for blending your makeup. Japonesque's eye shadow brushes are also worth a look, especially the angled eye shadow brush which has a wide flat head for applying shadow to the lid as well as the angled shape for getting into the crease. I find it very versatile. I also recommend the Giorgio Armani blender brush for applying foundation. It gives a really nice, smooth finish that I don't get w/ synthetic Taklon foundation brushes. Now you really got me thinking about all my brushes Gaia!

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  5. I have an assorted collection that I've gathered over the years. The oldest is a Laura Mercier flat eyeliner brush, circa 1999. Can't do cake liner without it. The rest are mostly Sephora, with a Smashbox or MAC thrown in. I also love the EcoTools -- the little buki is great for applying Edward Bess bronzer. And in reverse, the Edward Bess eye shadow brush makes $2 shadow look like $30 stuff. I got the MAC travel eye set for Christmas, and I'm a bit disappointed, considering the quality of the full size. They're really scratchy and sparsely bristled.

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  6. As you I don't have a favourite brush brand, or more like I have several favourite brands. Off the top of my head I can say I adores NARS shading brush (large enough to do all over washes but slightly stiff if you want to use more colour too) and smudge brush (best smoky tool ever). Funny enough I really like Laura Mercier smoky liner brush not for smoky looks but for wet lining and cat's eye, the shape is perfect for winging it. Shu Uemura's face brush (n0 17 maybe?) is great for blush, depending on the angle you use it you can use it for apples of the cheeks, blending up to temples or even contouring - I use it for so many different things I need to wash it every week! That's all I can think now, loving this topic!

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  7. I bought a kit with mini double ended brushes from Laura Mercier. They are so tiny and dainty, simultaneously densely packed, very high quality. Some of the brushes are fairly unique too, like the 3 pointed eye shadow brushes. I'm in love with them, had to buy two sets!

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  8. My favorite brushes are the MAC 187 (stippling/skunk brush) and MAC 138 (contour/cheek brush). don't own the 138, only try it in the store, but boy is it dreamy! MAC brushes in general are good quality for the price. I also have a Laura Mercier brush I like - Laura Mercier always has good quality things. you are right, Eco Tools are wonderful! the only brushes I do not care for are E.L.F.

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  9. I think most of us find that we have brushes from several different lines because it is always, first and foremost, a question of having the right tool for the product. As products have evolved, so too have my brush needs. For eyes, my current favorites include Edward Bess eye brush, Chanel #3 eye contour brush, Trish McEvoy #41 smudge brush, and MAC #209 eyeliner brush. I have a lot of others, but these seem to be getting the biggest workout right now.

    For face, favorites include MAC #187 foundation brush and #188 for cream blush and cream highlighter, Chanel #7 for powder blush, Smashbox fan brush for powder highlighters, Sephora Professional #50 for powder, and Edward Bess all over face brush for bronzer and sculpting. Once again, I have some others, but these are my go to brushes.

    I think one of the biggest mistakes some women make is in not tossing out brushes that have seen better days. They blame the product or technique they're using for the poor result rather than taking a good look at the brush. Just imagine what a woman's hair would look like after 5, 10, 15, 20, or more years if it was not constantly growing and renewing itself. Ugh! Well, after awhile, even the finest of brushes will wear out. Add to that the lack of good care given many brushes and it's no wonder they make a mess of make-up application.

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  10. Ava, I'm always surprised to see how many brushes I have. I keep them in several drawers so I never see them all together.

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  11. Daniele, I also love my Nars smudge brush. It's such an essential.

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  12. Adele, I was just looking into buying some Hakuhodo brushes. Just looking at the website makes me want just about everything they have.

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  13. Simone, I agree about some brushes to be a bit too big for bronzers. Not leaving streaks is one thing, but I like to have a little more control over where exactly the color goes.

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  14. I have a favorite and it is Philosophy Airbrush brush (the flat top one). It's very unique, I don't know any brush like this. Any foundation looks amazing with it. I mean it makes everything I apply on my face look like my own skin.

    In fact, I don't understand why I don't hear a lot of people talking about this brush, as it is so amazing.

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  15. Erin, I just realized that I don't have any Laura Mercier brushes. How weird is that?

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  16. Ana Marta, I love Shu Brushes. I don't have the face brush, but everything I've tried is fabulous.

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  17. Dagny, I should probably check out these brushes. I usually ignore tiny brushes, but size doesn't always matter!

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  18. Ashley, I have a general aversion to MAC, but I understand that the skunk brush is really amazing. I have something similar from Guerlain and I love it.

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  19. Eileen, I fully agree about women and their old dingy brushes. My other pet peeve is not washing brushes regularly. Between germs and old makeup buildup, why would you expect the brush and the makeup to perform?

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  20. Renata, thanks for this recommendation. I'm definitely going to check it out.

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  21. RMK Blush Brush: exquisitely soft, beautifully tapered, pre-blended edges, almost too soft for anything but pigmented blushes

    Etude House Concealer & Eye Liner Brush: hard to source outside of Asia, but the best brush for tightlining, ever, the tiny, slim brush is maneuverable right at the root of the lashes and around tricky corners

    Laura Mercier Smoky Eye Liner (to deposit pigment) and Shu Uemura 5R (to blend): this one is very specific to my eye shape, because the technique that best flatters my eyes is a thick smoked-out pigment along the top lashline---this combo gives the perfect finish

    Shu Uemura No. 10 Natural: nothing very special about the shape, but ever so useful for a variety of washes, soft or concentrated

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  22. Also, I use this for blending, but Laura Mercier's Eye Crease brush is sublime.

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  23. Dain, I never thought of it but it makes sense that differnt eye shapes require different brushes. I wonder if there's a specific brush for deep set eyes.

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