Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Make Up For Ever #208 Small Precision Shader Brush
Make Up For Ever #208 Small Precision Shader Brush

Make Up For Ever #208 Small Precision Shader Brush ($22.00) is described as a “small paddle brush ideal for shading.” It’s a small, dome-shaped flat brush. I noticed the edge was visibly uneven at a glance, not just in some crazy magnified macro photo. It’s thin, flat, and very springy. There’s a lot of give and flex to the bristles. It was so-so for applying powder eyeshadow, but I felt like it wasn’t picking up enough product, though it worked well for applying cream eyeshadow to the inner third of the lid as it fit well into that area. The brush head is 5mm in length, 7mm in width, and 2mm in thickness. It has a pinched, metal ferrule and a total brush length of just over 6.25 inches or 16 centimeters.

MAC 228 ($20) is a bit fluffier, and to that end, I think a better all-around brush in comparison as it can apply powder and cream equally well and still get into the nooks and crannies. Hakuhodo G5513 ($16) has a straighter edge across the top (not as dome-shaped) but is similar in shape and use. Tom Ford Eyeliner & Definer ($50) is firmer.

Make Up For Ever #220 Small Shader Brush ($22.00) is described as a “small paddle brush.” It’s a small, flat, thin, dome-shaped brush–and yes, it is like a bigger version of the #208 mentioned above. It’s both wider and taller, though the #220 is actually even thinner. The bristles felt much finer and compacted together, which gave it a firmer, flatter shape overall. It had some flexibility but not too much. The firmness made it good for laying down creams, but for powders, it seemed a bit too stiff/flat and didn’t deposit color (from a powder eyeshadow) well. The brush head 7mm in length, 9mm in width, and 1.5mm in thickness. It had a pinched, metal ferrule and a total brush length of just over 6.25 inches or 16 centimeters.

I couldn’t think of anything similar that I’ve tried, as the size is larger than the ones I have that are at least similarly shaped (but they’re all smaller and mentioned in comparison to the #208). What I did notice with this brush was it always felt oily–no matter how many times I washed it or with what (from dishwashing soap to alcohol-based cleansers). It just has a slick, oily feel and as a result, it can be manipulated into whatever shape you want and then slowly releases back to its original shape. This oddity, which is not the first I’ve experienced with the brand’s new brushes (not all are like this but more than one) is quite curious.

The Glossover

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#208 Small Precision Shader Brush

It was so-so for applying powder eyeshadow, but I felt like it wasn't picking up enough product, though it worked well for applying cream eyeshadow to the inner third of the lid as it fit well into that area.
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#220 Small Shader Brush

It's a small, flat, thin, dome-shaped brush--and yes, it is like a bigger version of the #208 mentioned above. It's both wider and taller, though the #220 is actually even thinner. The bristles felt much finer and compacted together, which gave it a firmer, flatter shape overall. It had some flexibility but not too much.
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Friday, September 20th, 2013

Hakuhodo G5513 Eyeshadow Brush
Hakuhodo G5513 Eyeshadow Brush

Hakuhodo G5513 Eyeshadow Brush ($16.00) is a small, flatter eyeshadow brush with domed edge. It is made using horse hair. The brush head is 6mm in length, 7mm in width, and 2mm in thickness. It has a pinched, silver metal ferrule with a total brush length of 5.75 inches or 14.5 centimeters. This type of brush shape and size is good for smaller, more precise work on the lid or underneath the eye. If you have less lid space, it can be useful for applying eyeshadow to the inner area of the lid, inner corner, and so on. It’s also nice for patting on eyeshadow underneath the lash line. In a pinch, it could be used to apply eyeliner, but it’s a bit longer and not as firm/stiff, so it wouldn’t be my go-to for that purpose.

As I mentioned in my review of Tom Ford Eyeliner & Definer ($50), this brush is somewhat similar, but the G5513 is longer, and as a result, not as stiff or as firm. MAC 228 ($20) is very similar, both in shape and size; it felt slightly springier. Make Up For Ever #208 Small Precision Shader Brush ($22) is shorter and more bendable.

Hakuhodo J162 Angled Eyebrow Brush ($18.00) is a small, very slightly angled brush designed to be used for brows using horse hair. The brush head is 6mm in length, 5mm in width, and 2mm in thickness. It has a pinched, silver metal ferrule with a total brush length of just over 5.5 inches or almost 14.5 centimeters. The brush is also available in the B-series ($20, weasel hair) and S-series ($36, weasel hair).

This was actually one of my least favorite brushes that I picked up, because I didn’t feel it had the firmness/stiffness required of a good brow brush; it is a bit floppy and too springy. The edge also tended to splay and widen, so I couldn’t get thin, precise strokes at all (like for the tail of my brow). It also meant that the color was dispersed easily and needed to be built up more often. For applying cream/gel eyeliner, I found similar issues–you just can’t get the crisp, defined line you’d expect out of an angled brush like this. I found it best for blurring and softening brow powder I applied with another brush. The brush itself feels soft and didn’t shed, though, so I wouldn’t say it’s a poor quality brush, only that it didn’t seem to function well as an angled brow brush (or eyeliner brush) in my experience.

MAC 266 ($20) has a much, much more severe angle and is a thinner, stiffer brush (this is my go-to for brows) but the overall size is similar. OCC Angle (009) Brush ($18) is a bit larger, slightly wider and more angled, not as firm as the MAC 266 but not as springy as the J162. Urban Decay Liner Brush ($24) is wider and thicker.

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G5513 Eyeshadow Brush

This type of brush shape and size is good for smaller, more precise work on the lid or underneath the eye. If you have less lid space, it can be useful for applying eyeshadow to the inner area of the lid, inner corner, and so on. It's also nice for patting on eyeshadow underneath the lash line.
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J162 Angled Eyebrow Brush

For applying cream/gel eyeliner, I found similar issues--you just can't get the crisp, defined line you'd expect out of an angled brush like this. I found it best for blurring and softening brow powder I applied with another brush. The brush itself feels soft and didn't shed, though, so I wouldn't say it's a poor quality brush, only that it didn't seem to function well as an angled brow brush (or eyeliner brush) in my experience.
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Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Tom Ford Eyeshadow (11) Brush
Tom Ford Eyeshadow (11) Brush

This post wraps up all of the Tom Ford Brushes I’ve tested for the past several months. Generally, they’re well-made, high quality tools that likely won’t disappoint you–except if you already have high-end, well-loved tools. The handles are exceptionally well balanced and nice to hold, while the brushes are soft, durable, and easy to wash. I worried that the white bristles would really stain over time, but they’ve held up quite nicely since I’ve been using them. I can’t weigh on the Eyeshadow Contour, Shadow/Concealer, Foundation, Smokey Eye, Shade & Illuminate, or Lip Brush, as I don’t have those. My favorites have been Tom Ford’s Cheek, Cream Foundation, and Eyeshadow Blend Brushes.

Tom Ford Eyeshadow (11) Brush ($55.00) is large, lightly fluffed-up, eyeshadow brush with a flatter, wider shape that is dome-shaped at the top. The brush head is 15mm in length, 14mm in width, and 6mm in thickness. It has a pinched, gold metal ferrule, and a total brush length of 6.75 inches or 17 centimeters. The handle is etched with the brand’s logo and the brush’s number in gold foil at the end of the handle, and the very tip of the handle is flat.

The brush head is soft, not too densely packed, and just fluffy enough to allow for blending and diffusing of color in addition to being able to pack it on. I expect that this is a brush that is less universally applicable, because it is a larger brush, so if you have more eyelid space or you tend to wear one or two eyeshadows at a time, you may find it handy. If you have smaller eyes or you tend to work more precisely, it is not a must-have. It is similar to the MAC 252 ($32), which less fluffy, not as soft, and not as dome-shaped, but the overall size and shape are definitely similar–it is made out of synthetic fibers. shu uemura #10 ($68) is smaller, narrower, flatter. OCC Large Shader Brush ($22) is quite similar and made out of synthetic bristles. For this type of size and shape, I like to apply cream eyeshadows, pat powder over under eye concealer, or pat a powder eyeshadow all over the lid.

Tom Ford Eyeshadow Blend (13) Brush ($55.00) is a long, narrowed brush with a rounded, domed edge that fits well into the crease. It’s not so long that it becomes floppy, and it’s wide enough to blend as well as deposit color. It also has good resistance, so it doesn’t splay easily. The brush head is 17mm in height, 9mm in width, and 9mm in thickness. It has a rounded, open gold metal ferrule, and a total brush length of just over 6.75 inches or 17 centimeters. The handle is round, not too thick or too thin, and flattens at the bottom.

This was definitely one of my very favorite brushes from Tom Ford, because it’s well-made, works well for its purpose, and is a shape and size that I would often reach for. It’s soft and never scratchy, and it lays down color well into the crease as well as blends and diffuses it above and below the crease as you want. Hakuhodo J142 ($18) is very similar, just slightly narrower–but at a third of the price, I would get three of these instead; unless, of course, you’re sold on the Tom Ford aesthetic! MAC 222 ($28, discontinued) has a more flared shape, so it doesn’t come to a point. MAC 226 ($24.50, limited edition) is smaller and shorter; there is also some variance in how these were made, so some are rather pointed and others are more dome-shaped. OCC Tapered Blending Brush ($22) is smaller but similar in shape. Sephora PRO Crease (10) ($20) is fluffier and wider. NARS Large Dome Brush (13) ($33) is more rounded at the edge with more flare. Make Up For Ever #242 Large Blender is less tapered, longer. Urban Decay Crease Brush is less tapered.

Tom Ford Eyeliner & Definer (15) Brush ($50.00) is a tiny, squat brush with a rounded edge. The brush head is 4mm in length, 6mm in width, and 2mm in thickness. It has a pinched, gold metal ferrule, and a total brush length of 6.25 inches or just under 16 centimeters. The handle is well-balanced, rounded, and the handle end is flat.

It can be used for apply eyeshadow very, very precisely, but it worked best (for me) for smudging eyeliner, applying cream/gel eyeliner, applying eyeshadow along the lash line, and cleaning up any mascara smudges. The bristles are soft, but it’s a thin, firm, brush, so if you use too much pressure, you’ll feel the edge somewhat. Hakuhodo G5513 ($16) is longer and has a straighter edge. MAC 228 is also longer and fluffier. Make Up For Ever #208 Small Precision Shader Brush ($22) is slightly longer, but it is very similar–except it is not as firm or stiff, so it’s not as precise or as easy to control for applying cream or gel eyeliner.

The Glossover

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Eyeshadow (11) Brush

I expect that this is a brush that is less universally applicable, because it is a larger brush, so if you have more eyelid space or you tend to wear one or two eyeshadows at a time, you may find it handy. If you have smaller eyes or you tend to work more precisely, it is not a must-have.

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Eyeshadow Blend (13) Brush

This was definitely one of my very favorite brushes from Tom Ford, because it's well-made, works well for its purpose, and is a shape and size that I would often reach for. It's soft and never scratchy, and it lays down color well into the crease as well as blends and diffuses it above and below the crease as you want.

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Eyeliner & Definer (15) Brush

It can be used for apply eyeshadow very, very precisely, but it worked best (for me) for smudging eyeliner, applying cream/gel eyeliner, applying eyeshadow along the lash line, and cleaning up any mascara smudges. The bristles are soft, but it's a thin, firm, brush, so if you use too much pressure, you'll feel the edge somewhat.

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Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Hakuhodo 210 Blush Brush Round
Hakuhodo 210 Blush Brush Round

Hakuhodo 210 Blush Brush Round ($36.00) is a medium-sized brush with a slightly flared brush head that rounds only slightly across the top. The brush head is 28mm in length, 25mm in width, and 25mm in thickness. It has a round ferrule with no pinching at the top, and a total brush length of 6.5 inches or just over 16.5 centimeters. The weight is well-balanced between the handle and the brush head, with slightly more weight towards the top than the bottom but the handle isn’t too light.

This type of brush head shape works in a variety of ways.  It can apply blush, bronzer, highlight, and contour products, and blend any of those products as well.  It can even apply foundation, which is actually the way I’d probably most likely use this brush personally.  It works well with both powder and cream textures, and it is easy to wash out product (but is does bleed dye for several washes, see below) and doesn’t take forever to dry.  It grabs and deposits color very well and has more coverage than not, so you’ll need less product or to use a lighter hand than potentially what you do with other brushes (it just depends what you were using before).

It is also available in the J-series ($44, white goat hair). If you are really concerned about softness, then opt for the J210 instead. I compared the brush against all the other J-series brushes I had, but paid particular attention to the J511 and J5521, as both are similar in size and length, and both are softer. I would not use the words “not soft” let alone scratchy to describe the 210, but if you sweep both across the skin, there is a noticeable difference. If you plan to use this brush with the top pressed against the skin (almost like a buffer brush), you will feel the difference in softness more than if you used the brush horizontally. For example, if I make stippling motions with it with moderate pressure, I can feel some of the fibers, but if I sweep blush on, then I don’t. With the 214, I didn’t feel this except when literally jamming it against my skin with a lot of pressure (can’t say I’ve ever used even half as much in reality), but a genuinely honest-to-softness kind of brush never feels rough, no matter the pressure or direction.

This brush is very comparable to the MAC 109 ($32), and mine is several years old now, so it also appeared more flared out (which may just be the result of years of washing and use), but it does have a flatter top than the 210. The 210 is slightly softer, but it wasn’t significantly softer. Make Up For Ever #152 ($37) is also similar, softer actually, as well as slightly more rounded, and the biggest difference is that has more give and is less firm at the top–which I think works particularly in its favor if you’re applying in small circular motions, but the bristles tend to stick together with liquid so it can leave streaks behind. OCC #011 ($24) is similar in size, but it flares out more and has a more tapered/rounded top, so it is less flat. Real Techniques Buffing Brush ($17.99, part of a set) is larger and wider than any of the others mentioned here, but if you are applying product all-over or on larger areas, not just blush and the like, then it functions similarly.

214 Highlight Brush Round ($27.00) is a small, lightly rounded rectangle-ish brush. It looks a bit like a rectangle but with rounded edges and a softly rounded top edge. The brush head is 17mm in length, 15mm in width, and 15mm in thickness. It has a round, open ferrule (no pinching), and the total brush length is 5.75 inches or 15 centimeters. The handle is well balanced and not too heavy on either end. It’s also available in the J-series ($35, white goat hair), as well as a white goat hair and synthetic blend ($27).

The small brush head enables maximum precision when applying any product. It was designed for apply highlighters (or, apparently, your eyeshadow base), and that was the primary way I tried use it. I didn’t love it. I actually felt like it was too firm and dense to really apply a highlighter for an ethereal, natural-looking glow. It tended to pack on too much product with results always veering towards emphasizing pores, even if that product didn’t normally do so. It’s moderately soft, but it’s not the kind of brush that will make you swoon. I think one of the elements that tends to impress people about Hakuhodo is how much softer the brushes can feel compared to many other high-end brands. Softness isn’t, of course, always a good thing (to a degree) and may not be appropriate in all brush types–here a softer brush with even thinner bristles would deposit less product, and for a highlighter, I think that’s a good thing. Unlike the 210, though, it had the same softness when I swirled, buffed, stippled, or swept–only when I was practically jamming the brush against my face did I feel any of the individual bristles (and I don’t think anyone’s using that much pressure during their application!). Because of the small, rounded brush head, it could be used to place a more defined contour (but I would blend out the contour with another tool), possibly around the nose but it felt too large for my nose for that purpose.

I didn’t have any brush that was comparable to this in my stash. I tried looking across a few of the more popular brush ranges, but it did not prove too fruitful. I think Sephora’s PRO Airbrush Concealer Brush ($24) might be similar in size but seems like it flares out more (looks more like a mini 210). Illamasqua Highlighter Brush ($37.50) seems much longer/taller, but without having it to compare, it’s hard to say by how much.

Some Thoughts on 200-Series vs. J-Series

Both of these brushes are from the 200-series. A lot of the brushes I bought from Hakuhodo were either from the J or G-series with primarily white goat hair, but I know that the dyed goat hair brushes are all slightly less expensive (about 30% less), so I thought I would choose a few in that series to get a better idea of the brand’s ranges. I also know that some are concerned about keeping white brushes white and may opt for dyed hair instead. Both brushes are also available in the J-series with white goat hair (and again, those are more expensive).

When I washed these, the water was noticeably tinged gray for the first dozen washes or so. Eventually, the dye seemed to hold and stopped bleeding, which seems to be considered normal, as one of the distinguishing features of the J-series is, “The natural hair used in this range has not been dyed so keeps its original color” (from Hakuhodo’s website), which seems to imply that dyed goat hair will, in fact, lose color over time. I had noticeable shedding with the 210 over the first week and a half of use, but it has since gone down to about one hair every few uses. On the upside, though, they deposit more color more readily, particularly for products that are not intensely pigmented but are buildable. Oddly enough, the lettering on the handle of the 200-series brushes, though, holds up and doesn’t scratch away like the J-series brushes’ letterings do. There are no numbers on them, though.

I was not really impressed by either brush. The difference in softness between the MAC 109 and the 210 was negligible, and I didn’t have issues with the dye bleeding with MAC’s brush. I also didn’t have any shedding issues with the one I initially purchased, but the second one I purchased sometime later did have some shedding in the first dozen or so uses but no longer sheds (except for a stray hair periodically). I might purchase the J210 and J214 (possibly the J214R–I like the idea of a blend of natural and synthetic for this brush) in the future, but I don’t usually reach for the brush head shape/style of the 210 all that often any more so I’m not sure yet. I worry the J210 will be too soft for the type of multi-use that I normally see out of the shape, while I think the softness of the J214/J214R would be right up my alley in terms of application style and preferences for highlighters.

The Glossover

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210 Blush Brush Round

If you plan to use this brush with the top pressed against the skin (almost like a buffer brush), you will feel the difference in softness more than if you used the brush horizontally. For example, if I make stippling motions with it with moderate pressure, I can feel some of the fibers, but if I sweep blush on, then I don't.

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214 Highlight Brush Round

The small brush head enables maximum precision when applying any product. It was designed for apply highlighters (or, apparently, your eyeshadow base), and that was the primary way I tried use it. I didn't love it. I actually felt like it was too firm and dense to really apply a highlighter for an ethereal, natural-looking glow. It tended to pack on too much product with results always veering towards emphasizing pores, even if that product didn't normally do so. It's moderately soft, but it's not the kind of brush that will make you swoon.

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Monday, September 9th, 2013

Hakuhodo J5543 Blush Brush Round & Flat
Hakuhodo J5543 Blush Brush Round & Flat

Hakuhodo J5543 Blush Brush Round & Flat ($60.00) is a medium-sized blush brush with tapered bristles and a rounded edge that is just slightly curved but mostly flat across. It is fairly thick, dense, and delightfully soft and silky on the skin. The brush head is 31mm in length, 33mm in width, and 18mm in thickness (note: Hakuhodo lists it as 11.5mm thick, but after several uses and washes, mine is definitely thicker). It has a pinched ferrule with a total brush length of 6.5 inches or 16.5 centimeters.  The weight is well-balanced with slightly more weight on the brush head end, but the handle is still balanced and nice to hold.

I loved it most with powder blush, powder bronzer, and for extra blending or diffusing of cheek color after products were initially applied. It really glides across the skin with a feather-light touch, and it can apply color with light to medium coverage easily. If you want richer color, I would just load the brush with more product, but it doesn’t take much. The thin, tapered bristles work well for blending and softening the edges of blush and bronzer without much work. I like to lightly pat the brush across the area I want to apply blush, and then I sweep it slowly upward and then lightly use short, quick passes along the edges to soften.

It is quite similar to Tom Ford Cheek Brush ($78) with the biggest difference being that Tom Ford’s is noticeably denser, so it picks up more pigment/product off the bat, while the J5543 will allow for a slightly softer/lighter application. Blush is absolutely buildable with the J5543, so the same results can be achieved, and it ultimately depends on how heavy-handed you are, how pigmented the blush you’re using is, and how much product you get on the brush. The J5543 is equally soft and sometimes almost feels softer because it is less dense. Both are fantastic brushes. MAC 116 ($35) is less dense, not as soft, and is narrower at the base and more flared towards the top.

J116 Highlighter Brush Round & Flat ($34.00) is a small, tapered brush that comes to a small flattened point with rounded, tapered edges and is made out of white goat hair. It’s fairly flat but still dense and lush, where the bristles move more as one and sweep softly across the face. This style is also available in the S-series and B-series, both made out of blue squirrel hair, at $78 and $57 respectively. The brush head is 28mm in length, 23mm in width, and 10mm in thickness with a pinched ferrule and total brush length of 6.5 inches or 16.25 centimeters.  The weight is well-distributed across the brush without making the handle feel too heavy or too light.

It’s a versatile brush shape that lends itself for applying blush, highlighter, or contour. It even works to apply setting powder underneath the eye to lock concealer in place. The tapered, rounded edge and smaller size makes it ideal for smaller areas, which is why it’s most recommended for highlighting. Because of its denseness and shape, it can also fit in the hollows of the cheek. For someone with smaller features, it could work as a smaller blush brush. I did like it best for highlighting, as it does a good job of picking up and laying down highlighting powders without over-applying. The brush easily diffuses and blends out even frostier highlighters to give them a more diffused glow. It also does a nice job applying lightweight cream blushes (like Chanel’s new ones) and diffusing them with even, streak-free color.

Sephora PRO Precision Blush (73) Brush ($32) is larger and thicker with more flex/spring, and it comes to a stronger point at the top, but they are somewhat similar; it is not as soft. MAC 159 ($35) has a flatter, more straight-across edge and is a duo-fiber brush, though it has a similar density. Real Techniques Duo-Fiber Contour Brush ($19.99, part of a 3-piece set) is rounded but not as tapered with more spring, but they are similar in overall size and (to a lesser degree) shape; this brush is particularly scratchy, though, so I would not recommend it in its place.

As a note, the lettering on the J-series brushes rubs/scratches off very easily, and the brush handles do not include numbers, which are the two things I disliked most about these Hakuhodo brushes.

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J5543 Blush Brush Round & Flat

I loved it most with powder blush, powder bronzer, and for extra blending or diffusing of cheek color after products were initially applied. It really glides across the skin with a feather-light touch, and it can apply color with light to medium coverage easily. If you want richer color, I would just load the brush with more product, but it doesn't take much.

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J116 Highlighter Brush Round & Flat

It's a versatile brush shape that lends itself for applying blush, highlighter, or contour. It even works to apply setting powder underneath the eye to lock concealer in place. The tapered, rounded edge and smaller size makes it ideal for smaller areas, which is why it's most recommended for highlighting.

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Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Make Up For Ever #106 Medium Foundation Brush
Make Up For Ever #106 Medium Foundation Brush

Make Up For Ever #106 Medium Foundation Brush ($36.00) isa medium-sized, flat foundation brush with a slightly rounded edge. The brush head is 29mm in length, 26mm in width, and 5mm in thickness. The ferrule is pinched towards the top (near the brush head), and the handle is fairly thick (1.5 centimeters in diameter) towards the center and then narrows as it tapers to a slanted point. The total brush length is 6.75 inches or just over 17 centimeters. The weight is distributed more towards the brush head, so the handle does feel quite light.

It’s a thinner, firmer brush that is flexible as it is pressed and swept across the face, but it is not at all fluffy. The synthetic fibers pick up liquid and cream really well, but I do see noticeable brush strokes on the skin when I use this, so some buffing/blending is required with another brush after the initial lay down of product is done with this. I also noticed that there were four or five fibers that I had to trim back, because they were a half an inch or so extended beyond the brush’s actual shape. The brush is soft, and it didn’t turn greasy after several washes, and I had no real issues with it. There are a lot of flat foundation brushes on the market, and though I don’t have any in this exact shape, they all tend to apply similarly–somewhat streaky but can lay down more coverage (like MAC 190).

#156 Flat Round Blush Brush ($55.00) is a flat, fluffy blush brush with a domed, rounded edge. It’s not too dense, but it has enough fibers to not feel sparse. The brush head is 35mm in length, 35mm in width (at its widest point), and 15mm in thickness (at its thickest point). It has an pinched ferrule and a moderately wide handle (just under 1.5 centimeters in diameter) towards the center that narrows and tapers to a slanted point.  This brush had nice weight distribution.

It’s soft enough not to feel rough or scratchy against my skin, but I noticed it was less soft compared to other Make Up For Ever brushes. It doesn’t grab onto powders particularly well, so it ends up with a very soft, light application of powder blushes and bronzers. If you prefer a lighter application, you may enjoy this brush or want to look for a synthetic blush brush as synthetic brushes tend to pick up less powder than natural fiber brushes. I noticed that this brush lost a lot of its shape after a few washes and seemed more flared with some bristles splayed oddly.  Shu Uemura’s #20 Brush is similar–a touch longer in length with less flare and is slightly denser. Hakuhodo G5545 has a more rounded edge and is just a few millimeters longer. MAC 116 is much thicker, so it’s not much of a flat brush, while Sephora PRO Precision Blush (73) is also thicker and has a more tapered edge.

#176 Medium Concealer Brush ($30.00) is a small-medium, firm, flat brush designed to be used for concealer on larger areas. The brush head is 23mm in length, 17mm in width, and 4mm in thickness. It has a pinched ferrule, and a total handle length of 7 inches or just under 18 centimeters.  The weight distribution was nice–not too heavy at the brush head.

Make Up For Ever recommends using it with liquid and creams (like concealer), which is what I would use it for. If you like firm, flat brushes for applying foundation but find many of them too large, you may prefer the smaller shape of this one. I think it performs similar–it’s nice for laying down product initially, but for spreading and blending, it leaves streaks behind that need to be fixed with another brush. MAC 192 is thicker and longer. OCC’s Concealer (003) Brush is longer and more tapered.

The Glossover

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#106 Medium Foundation Brush

It's a thinner, firmer brush that is flexible as it is pressed and swept across the face, but it is not at all fluffy. The synthetic fibers pick up liquid and cream really well, but I do see noticeable brush strokes on the skin when I use this, so some buffing/blending is required with another brush after the initial lay down of product is done with this.

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#156 Large Flat Blush Brush

It's soft enough not to feel rough or scratchy against my skin, but I noticed it was less soft compared to other Make Up For Ever brushes. It doesn't grab onto powders particularly well, so it ends up with a very soft, light application of powder blushes and bronzers.

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#176 Medium Concealer Brush

If you like firm, flat brushes for applying foundation but find many of them too large, you may prefer the smaller shape of this one. I think it performs similar--it's nice for laying down product initially, but for spreading and blending, it leaves streaks behind that need to be fixed with another brush.

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