Friday, June 03, 2011

Hourglass Retractable Foundation Brush

Few things make more sense than retractable foundation brushes, yet not all companies offer them . Just like every makeup brush you use with cream and liquid product, when you tuck it in a makeup bag you don't want stuff sticking to the bristles. And when it comes to foundation, I'm even more of a germaphobe, hence a covered retractable brush is a travel essential.

 Hourglass Retractable Foundation Brush is synthetic and PETA-approved. It has an almost flat full head, yet it's considerably smaller than the regular size foundation brushes of similar shape and far less dense, for better and for worse. It's much softer, though, and would delight anyone who finds brushes such as Sephora Platinum #55 and #56 too stiff and unpleasant to use on their ultra-sensitive skin. This also means that the Hourglass brush is floppy, which can be good or bad, depending on your foundation and preferences. I find that it's great for runny and liquid products, which makes sense as one of Hourglass top products is their tinted moisturizers. I've been using this brush successfully with LMdB Peau Vierge and Burberry Sheer Foundation, but find that Chanel Vitalumiere needs a firmer hand, such as the Louise Young Super Foundation LY34 (review coming soon). It doesn't do a very good job at buffing foundations, but it's still less streaky than traditional paddle-shaped brushes.

You need to remember to wash this brush after every use, otherwise it gets too gunky. I've found that gentle hand soap does the work, and since the brush isn't very dense it dries more quickly than the full-sized ones so it's ready for use the same night or next morning.

Bottom Line: a reliable travel companion.

Hourglass Retractable Foundation Brush ($42) available at Barneys and Sephora, in store and online. This brush was sent for my consideration by the company.

All photos are mine.


  1. I'm really loving this brush series! I have been wanting to invest in some good quality, high end brushes and these reviews are immensely helpful! I can't wait to hear what you think about the LY foundation brush as this is a favorite of the pixiwoo sisters who I love!

  2. I thought the Burberry foundation was supposed to be more sheer and liquidy as you mentioned but mine seems quite thick and I've having trouble finding a method I like. I've only tried twice, once with fingers and once with beautyblender. I thought it seemed to thick for my Sephora 55? UGH wonder if I have a dud bottle?

  3. Can you explain buffing foundation? I never heard this term til your blog. I'm imagining that you take a brush back over foundation once it sets a little, and just polish a bit? What brush do you like best for this? (PS, I feel your AC broke on a 98 degree day this week. Bad!)

  4. N., thank you :) . Brushes are so important- especially since as a blogger I get to work with so many textures and formulas I must have the right tools on hand, otherwise my testing and reviews can't be as accurate as they should be.

  5. C., it certainly sounds like you have a dud. My bottle and the testers at Nordstrom are very sheer and runny.

  6. Anon, you just gave me an idea for a future post about foundation techniques and terminology.
    In any case, buffing is the act of using a dense brush with a flat or almost flat top and applying by pushing the foundation into the skin in firm circular motions (as opposed to stippling, which is quick dotting of the foundation).

    The a/c guy is just now wrapping up. It was just a fuse thing, so I'm happy not to have to replace the whole thing and/or having to wait for parts. I don't do well in uncontrolled temperatures...

  7. I also would love to hear your comments/comparison of the Hourglass #2 brush vs the Louise Young LY34. I'm currently debating between the two. I haven't seen either one in person.


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