It started last year when I first noticed a new (to me, at least) makeup brand at Barneys that seemed intriguing enough, but didn't actually offer one single item I really wanted or needed. I've tried, played and tested some of their colors (I still do, every time I'm at the counter), it's just not my thing. Except for one brush that always looms in the holder. A big Big BIG fan brush. The problem is that every time I was at the store there wasn't a SA or brand rep in attendance and the well-meaning SAs from other brands who tried to help could never tell me a single fact that was not already on the website. But I became haunted by the idea of huge fan brush, so it was research time.
That's how I found Louise Young, the eponymous brand by a British makeup artist that offers a carefully designed and edited line of makeup brushes. Thus began a love and lust affair, because these brushes are simply made of awesome.
LY20, the Super Fan Brush, is this really big and somewhat menacing tool that is actually as soft and easy to use as can be. Yes, it's a league of its own among fan brushes as is evident from the comparison the standard ones such as Smashbox, Laura Mercier or Sephora Professional Platinum (the only brush in this group that sucks, by the way, and I'm usually fond of Sephora brand brushes). According to Louise Young website LY20 is:
"Large powder brush - great for applying or sweeping off loose powder"But it does quite a bit more than just finishing your makeup application. The brush is wonderfully crafted and weighted, so holding and maneuvering it every which way is easy and comfortable. It took me very little time to get used to the way the brush feels and moves, and I've learned to take full advantage of the narrow side of the fan and way it glides effortlessly- because of the size (length, if you're using the narrow side) there's no abrupt ending line and any product used this way looks well-blended and diffused. That's why I think this Louise Young brush has become my favorite bronzer brush, of all things. Yes, I love using it with powder, but the results I get when LY20 meets a bronzer are unparalleled.
My pet peeve when it comes to bronzer is obvious applications (usually the result of not enough blending, too dark a color or both. While I've never tried this brush with the wrong bronzer shade, I get the softest and most natural look, no matter what.
How I use it: After swiping the brush over the product, I use the LY20's narrow side (=the bottom of the brush) to draw the famous Ɛ 3 along the face, slightly turning the brush as needed. If the bronzer is very dark you can use it right there to blend and diffuse the color. That's it. You're done, no matter how much you still want to play with this soft, beautiful brush.
Louise Young LY20 is made of natural hair (no other details were given, but it's very soft). The handles are made from Forest Stewardship Commission protected kiln dried birch or beech. According to the washing instructions, the less contact the handles themselves have with water, the better. So far I've managed not to immerse any of my Louise Young brushes in water, but I understand some users have experienced paint peeling, which is a shame, but doesn't affect brush performance. The Super Fan brush has lost a few hairs the first washing but none since, an impressive achievement for a fan brush (they tend to shed for months. My little Smashbox one was the worst in this sense).
Bottom Line: Love. Love. Love.
Louise Young LY20 Super Fan Brush (£26.00) is available online from louiseyoungcosmetics.com. They ship worldwide.
All photos are mine.