I have to start by saying that I am not, nor have I ever been, a brush junkie.
When I first became interested in makeup, I bought a couple of “high-end” brushes, mainly from Pout (because they were so cute!). Interestingly, those brushes are still safely packed away in my personal makeup collection and I still use them; they were the foundation & concealer brush and I think I paid about £15 each for them at least ten years ago.
When I first qualified, my boyfriend at the time bought me a congratulatory gift of a Pupa Milano brush set. The main sell to the brush set was a genuine Italian leather brush belt, which is absolutely beautiful and what I still choose to house my brushes in but I have never utilised it as a belt; my boobs are so big that I can’t see anything around my waist, it’s impossible to find the brush I need! The brush set included 17 brushes and cost somewhere in the region of 200 Euro; which I considered to be an excessive amount for 17 brushes, some of which I never found a use for (fan brush anyone?). Pupa discontinued the item not long after but still sell some of the item individually. I still love the foundation brush and have repurchased several of them:
I bought two from a Pupa concession stand in Milan and I believe the cost approximately £22 each. I then stumbled across one in a cheap beauty store in Oslo and it cost me only £8! The main problem with this is I just can’t find a UK stockist and I don’t love it *that* much that I want to import it from mainland Europe. If I’m honest, I only repurchased it in the first place because I used to be a bit OCD about everything in my kit matching!
I’m also a big fan of the Bare Minerals Flawless Face brush (approx £24 from UK BM stalls) although I don’t use this for what is intended for! I don’t find this as good as a mineral foundation brush as it’s not dense enough for my liking, but I do like it as a blush brush. It picks up quite a lot of product, which means it’s great for poorly pigmented blushers.
And then there is the MAC 187 Stippling brush. I particularly like this for thick or heavy coverage foundations such as the Illamasqua Ricd Liquid. It prevents a cakey finish and encourages the foundation to look as natural as possible. This brush retails for £32.50 at MAC which, I’m sure you agree, is a lot of money for a brush. After buying two of them for my professional kit, I decided to be a bit cheeky and bought a couple of cheaper varieties from Ebay. The two I bought came in at £3 each including free p&p from China, at that price it didn’t really matter if they were failures. Hand on heart, I love these cheap brushes as much as I love the original MAC version and, other than a difference in the length of the handle, I can’t say I’ve noticed a massive difference in quality. Will I spend £32.50 again on the branded variety? Probably not.
And this brings me onto the true subject of this blog. There is a saying that a “good workman never blames his tools” and I’m inclined to agree. I don’t think branded brushes have any major affect on how I work, either on myself or clients.
Don’t get me wrong, there can be huge differences in the quality of makeup brushes and some of them are no better than trying to apply brushes with your own hair. But I don’t think you need to spend a small fortune on brushes to achieve the best effects. At the moment, I’m loving my Coastal Scents haul and can see no reason why I shouldn’t carry on using them!