Monday, June 23, 2014

Makeup Brushes

Update Monday, June 23, 2014.

Just a quick update to post pictures of the Aura Science Foundation Brush I finally got around to photographing. This brush is at least 10 years old, having been with me since college! Because back then, silly me didn't have a clue and went a bought a foundation brush even though I never use foundation LOL But now I do use some bb cream for concealing purposes (will review soon) around the nose, mouth, and under eye area, and this brush is great! I do believe it is synthetic, it feels synthetic and is very soft.

Original post Sunday, May 15, 2011.

Okay this post is going to be such a joke for a lot of people, but yes, I'm totally green to makeup brushes. I completely understand why some people spend a boat load of money on makeup brushes, but for years I've been a minimal brush person. Meaning I use makeup brushes minimally for things I can't apply with my (freshly washed and very clean) fingertips, like powder, blushes, and eye liner. Even then, I didn't really have a decent brush for powder and blush until recently, and as for lining my eyes, pretty much anything will work. Other than that, it was (and a lot of time, still is) all my hands, you know, for the greatest control :P

Japonesque Touch Up Tube Set in Silver
From left to right: Powder brush, Foundation brush, Lip brush, Eye Shadow brush, and Eye Detail brush.
***Picture from Japonesque.

Just kidding. It was more like I didn't (and perhaps still don't) have a clue about makeup brushes or how to use them ^.^ Up until now I've owned very few brushes. My very first brush set was the Japonesque Touch Up Tube Set, which includes a Powder brush, Foundation brush, Lip brush, Eye Shadow brush, and Eye Detail brush. And my first brush set was a touch up set because, well, I didn't know what the hell I was doing (or buying). I didn't really start wearing makeup until I was 25-26 or so. I'm a late bloomer :P I bought this Japonesque set from Ulta way back in my early college years, so keep the in mind the quality of the brushes may be very different now, for better or for worse, though hopefully better and not worse.

As you can see of what is left of this Japonesque Touch Up Set, the Powder brush is missing. That's because I left it at home :P I figured I have tons of other semi-usable powder/blush brushes that come with whatever powders/blushes I buy, I'd use whatever anyway, why waste the precious space and bring another? The Foundation brush (far left) is way too small to be used to apply foundation, but it's perfect for application of "soft" eye shadows, like creams or gels. This is supposed to be a "touch up" set, so it's really a concealer brush, since I don't use foundation or concealer, I use this brush for my eyes and that works well for me. The Lip brush (second from left) I don't use for my lips either. I use it as a liner brush for creams and gel liners.

The Eye Shadow brush I only use occasionally to highlight the brow bones. I found that although it does a decent job of picking up powder eye shadow, it doesn't deposit the shadow as well. No matter how much it picks up, the best I can get it to deposit is a dusting. So unfortunately, it's not the best Eye Shadow brush out there. For highlighting, a dusting is perfect, but when I'm actually trying to get some color on my eye lids, it can get very frustrating. The Eye Detail brush is great though. It's a fail proof liner brush for me.

Close up of the Japonesque brushes.

A couple of years into those Japonesque brushes, I decided to buy a Foundation brush from the now-discontinued brand Aura Science, just for the hell of it. Then I tried to wear some foundation just to use the brush. Of course the brush didn't change my mind about foundation LOL! It's a nice brush, it's soft and deposited the foundation evenly. The problem was that it also made me look like I was wearing stage makeup, though that could have been the foundation or an exaggeration of my memory, or both. Yeah, I left this one at home too.

Aura Science Foundation brush, top.
***Picture from

Then after moving home from Japan in 2006, I started getting more and more into makeup and bought 3 other brushes from Bobbi Brown, the Face brush, the Face Blender brush, and the Eye Shadow brush.

Bobbi Brown Face brush is super cute and comes with its own faux leather carrying case.

I left this Face brush at home, which I now regret dearly because I've been wanting to use it for the translucent finishing powder that's been the only thing I'm bothered enough to wear. Anyway, I stashed this Face brush away for the longest time because it scared me. It wasn't the brush's fault. It can be used for powder and blush, but I was too lazy to switch to the Blender brush to apply highlighting powder. I did tell you I'm lazy, right? Served me right, because eeps jeepers, I ended up looking like a disco ball! The density of the brush also means it deposits a whole lot of stuff and while I would blend well for powder and blush, highlighting powder is meant to just be dusted on only lightly.
***Picture from

Forgive my ignorance, but this "face" brush doesn't look any different than a kabuki brush, no? And to think I applied highlighters with a kabuki brush, it was no wonder I out-shined the sun. Oops. Of course, my punishment for finally realizing my mistake years later is to keep wishing I have it with me right now. Sigh...

Close up of Face brush
***Picture from Bobbi Brown.

The Face Blender brush has been my work horse for almost 5 years now. I use it for everything, powder, blush, and highlighter (after the Face brush scared me shitless). I bought a short handle one, because I want to be able to carry it with me. I do realize the short handle or travel sized brushes aren't as good as their standard, longer handle big sisters. But hey, this baby's been with me for so long, and shampoo after shampoo it's still works great! And sorry, didn't have the chance to shampoo the brush and have it dried prior to taking the photo, so there's still some pink blush on it.

Bobbi Brown Face Blender brush, short handle

The standard long handle Face Blender brush

Admittedly, I haven't used the Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow brush all that much at all. It's a cute short handle also, and while its top is tapered on the front, on the side it's flat (see comparison picture below). I actually prefer my eye shadow brush to be tapered on the side too.
***Picture from Bobbi Brown.

I have the same problem with this Avon Dual-ended Liner Shadow brush. The liner side is great, but the shadow side has a flat top, i.e. not tapered on the side. Nevertheless, it's a very nice brush for the price.
***Picture from Beauty Almanac.

The Eye Shadow brushes from the from (left picture) and the side (right picture).
From left to right: Sephora (from the Face & Eye Travel Tool Kit below), Avon, Japonesque, and Bobbi Brown.

See how flat the Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow brush (far right) is on the side? The Avon one (second from left) is flat too. The Japonesque one is tapered, but doesn't deposit eye shadows very well. So the Sephora one is the only Eye Shadow brush I'm using right now for eye shadows, though I wish it was a tad smaller. Yeah, I'm pretty picky for being green.

Anyway, last year I bought this Sephora Face & Eye Travel Tool Kit and love it! These are really good brushes, probably not the best on the market, but for me they work and they're great! The set includes a Powder brush, an Eye Shadow brush, a Smudge brush, a Crease brush, and an Angled Liner brush.

The brushes come in a handy carrying case with magnet closure. They're small enough to be tucked into my makeup bag. And actually, I think that's my problem - I only buy brushes that are travel sized so that I can carry them around. And travel sized brushes just aren't made with the same quality standards as "professional" sized brushes.

I promised myself that once I "settle down" and not move around so much, I'd invest in a good brush collection. But that's going to be at least several years away so for now, I'm settling with these. The Powder brush (right picture, far left) does its job well with both powder, blush, and highlighter. It could be poofier, fluffier, and even softer, but all that would probably come with a bigger and longer handle so I'm fine with the way it is. The Eye Shadow brush (second from left) is the only brush I've been using for eye shadows because it is tapered on the side. I wish it was a tad smaller for more control, but hey, it works okay for now.

My favorite brushes from this set have got to be the Smudge brush (middle) and the Crease brush (second from right). I actually use the Smudge brush to line my eyes. In fact, it's a kick ass eye liner brush, because I prefer the softer and smudgy style of eye lining over the more defined and dramatic style. It's just stiff enough for control but not too harsh. The Crease brush (second from right) I don't use for crease colors either. I use it to put on the finishing touch, so to speak, dusting on the last translucent and often sparkly wash to blend it all in. It's a very fluffy brush that's not densely packed and not very stiff, therefore all it can give me is a loose dusting, precisely what I need!

Gosh, I love this Crease brush so much! Before coming across this brush, I've always wondered what to do with translucent and sparkly eye shadows, other than swipe them on as a sheer wash over my lids on lazy days. Sure, I love sheer and sparkly washes and I am lazy, but I never knew these same translucent and sparkly shadows could really pull my whole look together if I use them "strategically." I mean, it's not a matter of sparkly versus non-sparkly, it's more like holy crap it just made my eyes pop, WOH! It's the icing on the cake, the cherry on top, the star on the Christmas tree, etc. That's what this brush allows me to do with translucent and sparkly eye shadows! As for the Angled Liner brush, I haven't touched it at all and probably will not need it...

The brushes on their side

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