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Review: brushes, brushes and more brushes, oh my! :) - Random thoughts [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Review: brushes, brushes and more brushes, oh my! :) [Oct. 24th, 2016|11:49 am]
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[Current Location |Belgium ]


I have an ever growing collection of make-up brushes. And seeing they're of different brands, I figured a review might be practical for people. Not pictured is the essence lash brush, which has a spoolie on one end and a tiny comb on the other, which was bought with the sole purpose of grooming Loa's face. Yes, you read that right. And if you have a cat, who, like Loa, LOVES to be groomed, even in the face, I would totally recommend this. Another tip: if you have a cat with fine, short fur, don't buy an expensive double sided cat grooming comb. Just go to the pharmacy and buy a plastic lice comb. That's what I did, works just as well and cost me € 2,50 instead of € 20+. 'Nuff said!
But enough of the cat grooming tips, onto the make-up application tools!


From left to right: essence blush brush, concealer brush (x2) and powder brush. HEMA spoolie. ICI PARIS XL brow brush with attached spoolie, fine eye shadow brush, eye shadow applicator and pointed fluffy eye shadow brush (x 2). Real Techniques eyelining set. Snazaroo brush that came with a palette and my beloved Spectrum brushes: blush crush (A05), short 'n' sweet (A13), get your pout out (A15) and to the point (A19).

The essence brushes
essence is a cheap brand of cosmetics and make up accessories. It is how it is. That said, whilst their powder and blush brush lack the density they need to be good applicator brushes, their concealer brushes are, surprisingly, REALLY good. Which is why I own two. They're also good to apply eye shadow primer and because they are so flat and so dense, they are also really good to apply eye shadow under your eye. Of course, there are better brushes for that, but if you're in a bind, or can't shell out cash for a proper applicator for that, this will do the job just fine.
(I've actually given the powder brush to Shinto the iguana because she loves rubbing her face in the bristles, at least there's use to it that way ^^).

HEMA's spoolie
HEMA brushes are notoriously rubbish (I wouldn't go for their make-up either, I only once had a really bad reaction to eye shadow, which has left me with eyes super sensitive to cosmetics, and it was from a HEMA shadow. Trust me, rash on your tear glads = NO FUN). But a spoolie is hard to screw up. Basically, I got this HEMA spoolie because we have a HEMA in town, and they were the only ones that sold affordable spoolies that weren't attached to a brush (I hate that).
This is the second one I bought, because Loa shamelessly claimed the first one to have his face brushed with. Spoiled cat is spoiled.
Basically: it's a spoolie, it's fine, it does the trick. I have no complaints.
Another thing that is good from there are the sponges. At least, if you're using them with aqua, cream or grease paints. I wouldn't use them for any decent cosmetics otherwise. But hey, cheap sfx sponges!

ICI PARIS XL brushes
I really do like their brushes. Quite a bit. They are really affordable (mine are all around € 6 per brush) and you'd be surprised of the quality for that price. I think they can easily compete with that other drugstore brand: Real Techniques. To be honest, I prefer these to my RT brushes.
I love the pointed eye shadow brushes, because you can either style them as a fluffy brush, or as their original pointed form, in which case your fluffy brush is pointed. They're just so practical, and they take on and dispense product REALLY well. The shape just makes them really versatile and no matter how many times you blend with them, they retain their shape really well on top of things. So A+ brushes!
What I really like about the applicator brush, is that the applicator part is removable. It also comes with 2 spares, so if you ruin yours, you still have a couple more to kill before you need to buy a whole new brush (they should just sell them in replacement sets so you never have to replace the brush part). I use it for my gold eye shadow from Sephora, which is a little touch to apply, but with this, it goes on without any problem at all. I find that a lot of applicators feel overly scratchy or rubbery, but this one doesn't have that problem at all. It's also super easy to clean, and lasts for ages. So if you like using applicators and you have access to an ICI PARIS XL, I would really recommend it (as well as the pointed fluff).
I don't actually have any complaints about the eyeliner brush, it's just that I mostly use it for SFX shading and line work, and it does the job just fine.
The spoolie/angled brush combo is the only one I don't like. First of all I don't like my spoolies attached to a brush. I find it unbalances the brush, and it's needlessly cumbersome. Needless to say, I never use that spoolie because I don't like that it's always at the bottom of my mug of brushes. I'm sure the spoolie is fine, mind. The brush itself is what grates on my nerves. It's just too thick and well, too dense to really work for me. I don't really do my brows very often, so I've not felt bothered enough to replace it, but at one point I surely will. Probably with Spectrum's brow love (A17).

Real Techniques eyelining set
I actually wrote a review about these before, so I'll just link to that.
It needs to be said that the brushes have grown a little on me since then.
The precision liner I generally use, together with the thicker IPXL version for SFX line work and shading. The small smudger I use mostly with NYX and Sephora (not the gold though, that only plays well with my applicator brush) shadows. I find that it just does not play well with M.A.C shadows but that's fine, I have a Spectrum brush for those. I often use the angled brush to apply shadow on my waterline and right underneath my eye and the small smudger is only to blend shading and lines. But hey, at least I found good use for the lot of them, for which I'm glad :).
I still maintain that they are best bought for cheaper than store price on ebay though.
I think the limited edition is also a lie, because I've seen them be restocked on the site. But you know, at least that means that people that want them will have an easier job getting them I suppose.

Snazaroo brush. Also: how to apply water activated or cream paints.
Earlier this year, in May, I bought this Snazaroo palette with aqua paints. Every palette comes with a sponge (just a regular sponge) and a small flat brush. Now a small flat brush is a good thing, because they are good for line work and colouring smaller surfaces. This is a really decent brush for working with cream or water activated paints. The end.

NOW... and this is what a lot of people don't know.
Do NOT use your make-up brushes, especially NOT your good, expensive brushes, in cream, aqua, or heaven forbid: grease, paints. Not unless you want them to die a fast and horrible death. You need acrylics brushes for those.
You can get these two ways: you buy brushes from stores specialised in these kinds of paints. OR, and this is the easiest and cheapest way: you go to a PROPER art supply store. Don't buy a pack of cheap brushes at the supermarket, those are seldom worth the money. You may luck out, but chances are slim. Art supply stores, however, sell a metric ton of acrylics brushes. At the place I go to (De Wieuw in Antwerp), they start as low as € 1,40(ish) per brush. Sure, they are long handled brushes, but come on, just shorten them yourself if the length bothers you. So that's what I do. I use the cheapest Da Vinci acrylics brush they have. Works fine, saves money.
The other way around applies as well by the way: I have killed several of my nice Games Workshop brushes by sticking them in M.A.C eye shadows. Make-up brushes for make-up, acrylics brushes or specialist brushes for the rest.

And last but most certainly NOT least: Spectrum brushes
I LOVE my Spectrum brushes. I ADORE my Spectrum brushes. If I could, I would never ever buy another brand. But you know, it's not feasible because they don't make some of the brushes I like to use (like the IPXL applicator and pointed fluffy brush).
But if I could, I totally would only ever buy Spectrum brushes.
Blush crush (A05) has exactly the right shape and density to apply blush easily and without fuss. What more can a person want from their blusher? Right: nothing.
To the point (A19) is another brush I mostly use for SFX stuff (I use a lot of eye shadow in SFX looks) because it's a shape I have little use for otherwise. Don't get me wrong, it's a great brush, but it's just not something I use often.
Get your pout out (A15), well it's a lip brush. It's a perfectly decent lip brush, but to be honest, I'm sure tons of cheaper brands also do perfectly decent lip brushes. I seldom use it, but it has been known to come in super handy on several occasions, especially when using liquid lipsticks. Or using my purple liquid lipstick to paint on my niece's face (I really need to buy a Snazaroo palette that includes purple!).
Short 'n' sweet (A13) is undoubtedly my all-time favourite brush. I LOVE that brush. It packs on eye shadow, it blends, it smudges, it does everything I want it to do on my lids. I often use it to do the smudged copper stains in my steampunk eye make-up, or to apply bronze on my lids. I totally want a double of this.
Needless to say, Spectrum is my favourite brand of brushes. With the £ being low, I think I'll grab a set next month :), because with a brand like this: more brushes is definitely better :D.