Smith Cosmetics Brushes
Smith Cosmetics 112 Bronzer Brush ($32.00) is smaller cheek/face brush that flares out from the ferrule to a lightly tapered, rounded shape. It looks more like traditional highlighting brushes than the typical bronzer brush. It is made out of black goat hair and designed to give “soft, diffused color.” The brush has a total length of 7.90 inches / 20.00 centimeters, and the brush head was 20.00mm in width, 33.00mm length, and 20.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). I’ve always found this type of shape versatile for applying color to the face with a bit more precision and better for blending as it can buff and diffuse color easily. It applied powder products (bronzer, blush, highlight) well with moderate pick-up and blended them without a fuss. The bristles were somewhat soft, but they are not as silky or as smooth compared to the goat hair used in my Chikuhodo, Hakuhodo, Rae Morris, Tom Ford, or Wayne Goss but is softer than MAC face brushes. The brush did not irritate or bother my skin, however, and the bristles more readily grabbed color from firmer pressed powder products (conversely, anything really soft and powdery already may kick up even more excess product if you don’t use a light touch with this brush).
Smith Cosmetics 115 Foundation Brush ($28.00) is a dense, more rectangular-shaped brush that flares out moderately from the base and rounds at the edges, while the depth of the brush is more lightly rounded and flatter (good for patting/tapping/buffing motions). It contains a mix of goat hair and synthetic fibers, and what makes it more unique is that the bristles are the same length, so it is not like a lot of the natural/synthetic blend stippling brushes you’ll find on the market. The brush has a total length of 7.75 inches / 19.50 centimeters, and the brush head was 32.00mm in width, 26.00mm length, and 19.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). It is recommended for use with all types of products from liquid to powder. For liquid foundation, it did soak up a little more product than a fully synthetic brush (that’s as expected), but it spread foundation out well and didn’t leave behind a streaky finish. It can lightly buff liquid and cream products into the skin without sheering or moving the product around too much. The brush was less forgiving if it wasn’t cleaned after two uses (or one use, if it was full coverage), as then the foundation left on it would cause the bristles to stick together and leave a streaky finish (some brushes are more forgiving than others in this aspect). For applying powder products, due to the high density, it will pack a punch, so it is good with less pigmented products The overall feel of the bristles is much softer and smoother–it feels more like they move together as one–than the #112. Again, not as soft as a lot of my Japanese-type brushes but not irritating or rough on the skin.
Smith Cosmetics 118 Blush/Powder Brush ($32.00) small-sized, moderately dense powder brush that flares out from the base and creates a rounded, slightly dome-shaped edge. It contains a 50/50 mix of goat hair and synthetic fibers (of matching lengths) that can be used with liquids, creams, and powders for “blending and building blush and powder.” The brush has a total length of 8.00 inches / 20.50 centimeters, and the brush head was 34.00mm in width, 35.00mm length, and 24.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). If you have found most powder brushes to be too large for your face or preference, this might be a good option as it is one of the smaller powder brushes I’ve seen–it is more in line with average to slightly larger blush brushes. With a light tap into a blush, this gives a soft, diffused look that is easily blended out in soft, sweeping motions, pulling the brush against the face. I could feel some of the individual bristles a little bit if I used more patting or tapping motions, so I did find I preferred more sweeping, feathery motions for applying and blending out. It worked well with finishing powders when I wanted better coverage, as the smaller brush ensured I applied a bit more and was able to concentrate application on smaller areas. For my face shape, size, and personal preference, it was larger than ideal for blush and smaller than ideal for powder, but I think it could be a sweet spot in size for others. It had a similar softness to the #115, where most of the bristles moved together as one when swept and pulled across the face; I felt some individual bristles when tapping or patting with the top edge of the brush.
Smith Cosmetics 122 Highlighter Brush ($24.00) is a short, dense, dome-shaped brush designed for applying and blending out highlighters. It is made out of pony hair and recommended for use with liquids, creams, and powders. The brush has a total length of 7.00 inches / 18.00 centimeters, and the brush head was 22.00mm in width, 13.00mm length, and 9.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). If you like to highlight with precision, and you tend to like your highlighter moderate to intense in coverage/shimmer-level, this brush definitely works well for creating that type of look. It is incredibly dense, firm with some flex (enough that it can maneuver along the curves of the face and but doesn’t splay or lose its shape). The brush felt soft and smooth when patting highlighter onto the cheek bones as well as when smoothing and blending out the color by pulling the brush across the skin. I particularly liked this style and shape of brush for applying cream and liquid highlighters, as I was able to get greater precision and managed to retain better coverage than I normally get when I use stippling brushes. It can be too dense and create a very intense highlight when used with very pigmented highlighters (think Anastasia or Becca), which will not be everyone’s preference. The brush does a good job of blending out intense highlighters, but I find a less dense, feathery highlighting brush does the job faster as it doesn’t over-apply to begin with. So, if you prefer more subtle highlighting, I’d look elsewhere, but if you want a concentrated, moderate to intense highlight, this is superior to typical highlighter brushes.
Smith Cosmetics 124 Contour Brush ($24.00) is a short, angled brush with rounded edges designed for applying and blending out contours. It is made out of pony hair and recommended for use with liquids, creams, and powders. The brush has a total length of 7.25 inches / 18.30 centimeters, and the brush head was in 20.00mm width, 15.0mm length, and 11.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). It is very similar in overall size and quality to the #122 with the major difference between the angle and roundedness along that angle that gives it more of the look you’d expect from a contour brush. That being said, it is much, much smaller than even some of my smaller contour brushes with a stronger angle and is much denser. The smaller size and greater density make it ideal for laying down precise contour or navigating on smaller features and faces. It took some getting used to, because initially, I overapplied just about every product I tried using with it! Once I played more and adjusted my application, I was able to achieve softer, smoother contours that weren’t overly blown out beyond where I really wanted the contour color to be. It was easier to use with liquids/creams compared to more pigmented powder products as it was a denser brush. I also liked this brush for applying liquid foundations around the nose and underneath the eyes, as the contoured, smaller shape fit well into the nooks and crannies of my face. The brush felt soft, smooth, and didn’t irritate my face; the pony hair is not as soft as the best goat or squirrel hair, though (I find the pony hair used by Smith to be as soft as the goat hair used, sometimes seemingly softer).
Smith Cosmetics is a newer brand that primarily makes makeup brushes but is also well-known for their Smithfolio, which is a storage system that includes pages that can hold makeup brushes, glosses, liners, zippered bags, etc. that are held in a zippered binder. I was more curious about their brushes after watching a video the brand did earlier this year, as I liked their approach to creating and releasing brushes–they specifically looked for gaps in the market or ways to improve and tweak certain types of brushes. There seemed to be a really careful thought process to the whole range of brushes. All of their brushes feature a copper ferrule and antibacterial-coated, stained wood handle (one piece of wood, not wood chips).
They’re a Canadian brand, so shipping to the U.S. is around $10, but my recent order of three additional brushes and Smithfolio came very quickly (overnight) via DHL, which was impressive. They just announced free shipping from August 1st through August 20th, worldwide, so I’m doing my best to review the brushes I have from them before that promo is up.