The huge Botan brush is part of the foursome NARS Artisan brushes (as is the Yachiyo. I'll review the two Ita brushes soon). When I say it's huge I really mean it: it fills your hand and covers large chunks of face real-estate. The Botan brush is bigger and denser than any of my other Kabuki brushes and has quite a bit of personality. It requires understanding more than actual skill to use correctly. I've been living with mine for the last six months, so I feel it's time to share the love and knowledge.
First, what it's for:
NARS website tells us the Botan has "a large, dense dome shape perfect for loose powder application, buffing and blending. ". This is a finishing brush- the last stage of a full makeup application, when you're trying to achieve a smooth, absolutely seamless finish. The brush buffs away contour lines, removes excess powder and evens out the color on your jaw and everywhere else. You can use the Botan to apply mineral makeup, but honestly, I feel this tasks requires more precision when depositing the color than the brush allows. However, the way it's cut and fits on the face does allow access to crevices, especially around the nose, so I understand why some like to use it with stuff other than just finishing powder.
What's most important to know:
Don't even think of using this brush without first washing it thoroughly. An experienced NARS specialist stressed that it was absolutely crucial to do that, and I guess she was right. The brush definitely felt softer to the touch once I washed it. It also lost some hair and a bit of dye in the process but not since. This is annoying, if you ask me. When a company creates a top tier product (and prices it accordingly) you'd expect it'd be ready to use. It's even more irritating considering the brush is so dense it takes 2-3 days to fully dry (not to mention the maneuvering and Macgyvering I have to do making sure the brush stays upside down while drying), so you buy this luxury brush, need to do some work to make it fully usable and then wait.
Once your brush is dry and you're ready to use it, do your makeup as usual, get your favorite finishing powder (note that the Botan brush doesn't fit inside a Guerlain Meteorites tin), start buffing and note the difference- it's all in the details.
Bottom Line: Excellent, but probably not a beginner's tool.
NARS Botan brush ($75) is available at Barneys, Neiman, Sephora and nars.com.
All photos are mine.