February 8, 2012

Tools for everyday: Face Brushes

Over the years I have progressively managed to put together a very nice collection of face brushes. When I first got into makeup, I only had one single brush from the Body Shop - which was the powder brush that I gave away a long time ago. I discovered that it was the tools and techniques that made a difference to how your makeup looks. And even then, I had no idea where and how to start. I had to take down all the numbers of the MAC brushes that were mentioned on Youtube and individually consult makeup artists. I believe we have all come a long way in the online beauty community. When someone mentions 'MAC 187 brush', all girls know what it is. But say this to your boyfriend, it's all a mystery code.

I've always considered makeup brushes an expensive hobby - acquiring the first 5 absolute essentials, and the rest are all pretty hit or miss. My oldest brush in my collection is dated back in 2005 and is still holding up very well. Even though I'm tempted to pick up Chanel or Suqqu brushes, my jars don't have the extra room anyway. So for now, I am more than content with what I have. 

Let me breakdown the brushes for you.

*Foundation Brushes*


  • Sigma Flat Top Kabuki Brush F80 - The density of the bristles in this brush makes this the best ever liquid/cream foundation brush ever made. No streaks, no cakiness, and evenness all around for any liquid-based product. Highly recommend. 
  • Shu Uemura 18 brush is made with Goats hair, giving it a very soft quality. The shortness of the bristles and small handle allows you to work on thicker foundations with better control. Another beautiful product by Shu Uemura. Can't be missed if you like cake / cream foundations. 
  • MAC 187 used to be my most used brush. It promised to give an airbrush look, especially when applying liquid foundations in a stipple motion. I recall that it was EnkoreMakeup that set the trend of the stippling brushes. Nice it once was, I hardly use this brush anymore. 
  • MAC 130 was designed for foundation on areas that are hard to reach with it's smaller brush head - i.e. sides of the nose etc. I have only used this brush twice since I bought it, and it's a waste of $. Skip this. 

*Loose Powder Brushes*

  • MAC 150 is my regular loose powder brush which I always go to everytime. Initially, the bristles tend to be quite 'stiff', but over the course of time, it is a beauty. If you're on a budget and you can't seem to splurge $130+ for the more fluffier MAC 134, go for this. Beware though, over many years MAC ferrels tend to become duller and less shiny. If this is a bother for you, go for Shu Uemura brushes instead - their ferrels are always shiny like new! 
  • Shu Uemura 18R with it's distinctive red bristles is reserved for my Guerlain meteorites and shimmery loose powder. It is the alternative to Guerlain meteorite brushes, and is incredibly well made. I highly recommend this brush, even as a statement piece. 
  • MAC 134 is my alternate brush to the MAC 150. It functions the same way, but covers a larger area and feels very soft and silky. In my opinion, it was worth the $130+ I paid for three years ago. God forbid how much it costs now!

*Powder Blushes Brushes*

  • Bobbi Brown Blush Brush is probably my oldest brush, and comes from the BB older brush collection. BB has since revamped her brushes (thankfully) because some of her older brushes were like rubbing straw on your face! It has served me for a good 6 to 7 years, and still delivers! What I do love about this brush is the fan shaped head that seems to transfer blushes evenly across my cheeks. I also adore the longer handle - not sure why, but I like it.  
  • MAC 129 sadly does not perform as well as my Bobbi Brown and Shu Uemura blush brushes. I use this when my other blush brushes need cleaning. 
  • Shu Uemura 20H and 20 brushes are legends. They are both made of pony hair, and is unbelievably soft, silky, and dreamlike. They pick up powders gently and glide the pigment on your skin like it is just meant to be. I recommend buying one of the two when Shu Uemura have their next F&F sale as they tend to be quite pricey. All Shu Uemura brushes are handmade with Japanese care and quality. Like all Shu Uemura brushes, you will never experience dropping bristles and the ferrels are always shiny like new. 

*Highlight, Contour, Bronzing Brushes*

  • MAC 168 is designed for contouring or adding a touch of highlight to the cheekbones. It sounds like a versatile product, but in reality, I have only used this brush less than 10 times. I hardly contour anyway, and think that the whole half highlight and half bronzer application a bit gimmicky.
  • Bobbi Brown Bronzer Brush is a must-have. Life sucks when you don't this. It serves as a kabuki stuck on a fat chubby stick, with bristles that soft and dense, which makes applying any bronzer a dream. It applies evenly and can be buffed in to give your powders a more natural look. I love love this brush!
  • MAC 103 is a nice brush for adding just a bit of highlight to the upper cheekbones. It can also be used for liquid foundations, but I tend to keep it for powder products because of its natural hairs. The only thing I have noticed about this brush is that it keeps on losing its bristles. Annoying indeed.

*Specialty Brushes*

  • MAC 131 and MAC 188 are honestly the most redundant brushes that I own. It's supposed to be used on cream blushes, but that's complete bollocks. The sparse bristles works better on crazily pigmented blushes - like NARS exhibit A or NARS Desire blushes. Even then, I don't think it does a decent job on that either. So with that, these are my 2 biggest regretful buys.
  • Sigma Round Top Kabuki F82 and Sigma Angled Top Kabuki F84 are also redundant brushes. Unlike the F80 brush, these two do nothing. It's meant to be used for cream-based cheek products, but I use my fingers anyway. Again, I would trade the 2 of these for the Sigma F80 brush instead.
That rounds up my face brush collection. What is your standout / can't-live-without brush in your stash? 

It's mid-week! Another 2 more days to Friday!

6 comments:

S said...

Hello Tracy! You sure do have an impressive collection of brushes! I've always been eyeing the MAC 187 but keep putting myself off getting it due to the price! O.o My favourite brushes would be my Sonia Kashuk powder brush and my Ecotools Blush brush! =D

Jessy said...

I think you did a great job at reviewing these brushes, and give us readers how they are like...im not that big on brushes, since the good ones are quite expensive, but i splurge once in a long while on a good one...but i agree that if get a good brush it makes it alot easier to do ur make up...because with some brushes it just dont pick up enough colour, or it makes the powder more powdery and less easy the work with.
So good job on giving us the run down of these brushes~~~great post super informative.


jessy
threenothing.blogspot.com

Tracy said...

@S: Thanks! It is also another weakness of mine. I will probably go for a Sigma range if you're looking for something comparable with a more attractive price point.

@Jessy: Thank you for your kind words! I'm glad you find it useful. :-)

Miaka said...

Impressive brush collection there!! Gives us a good idea which is the next brush we should get :)

ChrisEl said...

So glad to have found your blog! I was debating between the Sigma synthetic brushes and your review sold me on the F80. Great blog!

Chris
www.myfashiontrendencies.blogspot.com

jade said...

hi tracy,

i love this post! now i'm stoked to getting more brushes from shu uemura but i'm just wondering what do you use to wash your brushes? the SA at my shu uemura outlet recommended that i use their brush cleaner solution but i feel that the brushes have become stiffer (or is it just me?)after 2 washes. would be great to get your advice :)

thanks,
pauline

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