Smith Cosmetics 253 & 256 Laydown Eyeshadow Brushes Reviews & Photos

Smith Cosmetics 256 Laydown Brush Large
Smith Cosmetics Laydown Brushes: Small | Large

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. I’ve been testing a lot of the brushes in the range, which I hope to review at some point, but there are two that have fully captured my attention (so much so that I purchased multiples, along with the Smithfolio, after trying them). 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 actually just announced free shipping from August 1st through August 20th, worldwide.

Smith Cosmetics 253 Laydown Brush Small ($21.00) is designed to be used for powder products and uses pony hair. The brush has the following dimensions: 6.25 inches / 16 centimeters in total length; brush head is 7.75mm in width, 4.00mm in thickness, and 11.5mm in length. It’s a smaller eye brush with a triangular shape with tapering bristles as you move away and down from the point of the brush. While not quite as silky-smooth in feel compared to high and luxury-end goat-haired eye brushes, it felt very soft and never poked or scratched the skin on and around my eyes (it was softer than my go-to MAC 239). The tapering of the bristles makes it particularly excellent for blending and diffusing colors into each other, particularly when applied on the lid.

It was moderately dense without being firm or inflexible, which made it great for packing and laying down color (real surprise, given its name, I’m sure!). I found that the 253 picked up product really well–sometimes too well, if it was a more powdery and pigmented product–and was a great way to use firmer-pressed powders without having to dig and jab at them. Again, it seemed like the tapered bristles made it so more of the brush was getting brushed across the pan’s surface and therefore more product is getting picked up. The brush is thick enough that the edge can be used to apply color into the crease, and the tapered, smaller size of this particular brush also makes blending out crease colors possible. The triangular shape is one of the reasons I fell in love; it fits so well into the inner and outer corners for more precise lid color placement, while the tapered edge makes it easy to diffuse one color into the next and just above the corners for a more seamless eyeshadow look.

Smith Cosmetics 256 Laydown Brush Large ($23.00) is designed to be used with powder products and uses pony hair; it is a larger version of the 253. The brush has the following dimensions: 6.8 inches / 17.2 centimeters in total length; brush head is 10.00mm in width, 4.75mm in thickness, and 14.00mm in length. Against my skin, the brush felt very soft and smooth without any bristles that poked or scratched at the skin. I enjoyed using this brush a lot for diffusing colors after I placed eyeshadow onto the lid, and it worked well for applying color to the brow bone as well as blending transition shades from crease toward the brow bone. It can be used in the same manner as the 253–placing color on the lid, applying color to the crease, and blending out color on the lid or in the crease–but its larger size made it better for placing one or two colors on my eye due to the size/shape of my lid. I’d actually love to see a Medium version of this style of brush.

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See more photos!

Smith Cosmetics 253 laydown brush small
Smith Cosmetics 253 laydown brush small

Smith Cosmetics 253 laydown brush small
Smith Cosmetics 253 laydown brush small

Smith Cosmetics 253 laydown brush small
Smith Cosmetics 253 laydown brush small

Smith Cosmetics 253 laydown brush small
Smith Cosmetics 253 laydown brush small

Smith Cosmetics 253 laydown brush small
Smith Cosmetics 253 laydown brush small

Smith Cosmetics 253 laydown brush small
Smith Cosmetics 253 laydown brush small

Smith Cosmetics 256 Laydown Brush Large
Smith Cosmetics 256 Laydown Brush Large

Smith Cosmetics 256 Laydown Brush Large
Smith Cosmetics 256 Laydown Brush Large

Smith Cosmetics 256 Laydown Brush Large
Smith Cosmetics 256 Laydown Brush Large

Smith Cosmetics 256 Laydown Brush Large
Smith Cosmetics 256 Laydown Brush Large

Smith Cosmetics 256 Laydown Brush Large
Smith Cosmetics Laydown Brushes: Small | Large

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About the Reviewer

Reviewer

Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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51 Comments

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These sound divine! Especially how the brush head is shaped, plus it’s not goat hair, thank goodness. If I ever see a synthetic material brush with this exact type of design, I would buy it in a heartbeat! Might still get this one in the meantime hoping that there’ll be no allergic reaction to pony hair. Don’t think there would be considering that I used to ride horses and clean their stalls without issue.

I’m a huge fan! I reach these more often than my 239s and usually go between the 253 and Chikuhodo’s GSN-09s.

Hi Nancy,

You might take a look at the Laura Mercier CrΓ¨me Eye Detail Brush – it looks a little more pointed than these, but it might do the trick.

I think the small brush was made for me! I don’t have a lot of lid space, so that small triangle looks great, and I usually need to pack shadows on to get them to stay. I placed 1 brush into my cart ($21) and pretended to check out, and it says shipping is free (yippee). I’m going to check my stash tonight, and see if I have anything similar. If not, I might pull that trigger. Christine, is it firm enough to use on baked shadows? I have a baked shadow kit where the shadows are pretty hard, and I have to use damp foam applicators to apply, as my regular brushes can’t pick up any color. If I dampen this Smith brush, do you think it can work on baked shadows?

Oh, yes, it will work great with firmer pressed eyeshadows – I actually would argue that it can overapply with a very soft eyeshadow (say LORAC). The way the bristles taper in length on the sides seems to make pick up of color excellent, even on so-so eyeshadows, so it is great for packing on color. The brush itself holds its shape and isn’t floppy or overly flexible where you can’t press/pack on.

Oh awesome!! I just pulled the trigger and made my order for 1 small brush for $21, and shipping was free. I’m hoping this brush will give that baked shadow kit more love, as the colors are beyond gorgeous, but if not, I’m sure I can use the brush on other shadows. And if it works well, I will be back for more. When I made my purchase, it also gave me the option to sign up for newsletters, so I’m hoping they have some sales or promos once in a while.

I don’t have tons of lid space, so I like how this brush is really small and tapered into a triangle, perfect for my inner lid area. I’ve been testing all week on a number of powder shadows, and it works well for that purpose, but you can also use it all over the lid, crease, outer corner. It is thinner and flatter brush, so it does pick up harder shadows better than my fluffier brushes. But for those baked shadows that are extra hard, I still prefer damp foam applicators. Shipping was super fast – only took 3 days to get from Canada to CA, and it was free due to their promo. But beware that they do ship DHL, which requires a signature, but you can go to DHL’s website and instruct them to leave at your door without signature. I will probably pick up a couple brushes more before the promo ends.

No problem Christine! Thanks for finding this nifty brush for us! When dampened, it works fine for most of my baked shadows, but I have a few that are really hard and dry, think they got “over baked”, and those need to be scraped with damp foam applicators.

I have many of their brushes, these included. I love most of them, I am disappointed in their foundation brush as it sheds like a MF! But to use it, I cannot lie is one of my favorite foundation brushes. I have 2 of each brush. They are well loved & well cared for.

For starters, you reviewed the smaller version Brush #253 ( I use this everyday to blend my underage, I really love this brush) my other faves are the #235 flat quill brush (I actually have 4 of these because they are so nice to use to blend out your eyeshadow) #122 is a highlighter brush but I use it for multiple other projects like all over eye shadow, sharp contour, blend out fine contours, & lastly yes, I love the #115 foundation brush but like I said it sheds too much for my liking. Each time there are at least 5-7 hairs that she’d on my face, but, it appears that they want me to contact them to resolve this issue, but I bought these when they first came out & so I would have to say they have excellent customer service. So this is my input! Hope you all invest in these, cause I really do reach for them frequently.

Thanks Jasmine, I’ve just ordered the 256 (since I have Macs 213 and 239 and I’ve been looking for something bigger for a while now) and the 235 (my first crease brush!). I am so excited. πŸ˜€

Hi Jasmine,

Thank you so much for being part of the #smithsquad!
We are so sorry to hear about your #115 brush shedding that should NOT happen. Please send us a quick email [email protected] and we will get it sorted out for you asap.

Hey Jasmine, these look so awesome that I might want to order more then one eyeshadow brush. Since you seem to be an expert here… Do you happen to have the 122 highlighter brush? I am looking for a new high lighter brush, but the one Smiths offers seems to be very dense, more like a smudge brush. Do you have any experience with that one? Thanks a lot!

I do, and you’re right it is like a big smudge brush & the 122 is pretty dense so big color/pigment payoff but in concentrated areas….if you want a lighter more blended one, I wouldn’t go with this. Just my thoughts.

Thanks! I’m gonna look for something else. I’ve got a nice one from a local brand but I am using it lately to set my under eye area, so it’s not a good combination with high lighter (only if you clean your brush after every use… which… I do not really do, hihi). I might just get a second one of those!

I’m so glad to see this post, I’ve been waiting to place an order to the uk but it would have cost $45 dollars in shipping!! I’m really curious about the flat line type brush they have and the universal powder, bronzer, blusher type brush they have. Also their foundation brush looks like a Tom Ford foundation brush dupe do t you think?? Now I can add a couple more brushes to my list! Yey!! (Although I’ll still get hit with customs charges no doubt!! Grrr!!) wish all brands would use borderfree or something!!

Oh, wow! $45 shipping? Free is a bargain alone then!

The foundation brush is somewhat similar at a glance, though smaller and is a blend of synthetic and goat (I believe Tom Ford’s is just goat). Tom Ford’s brush is a bit denser and silkier in general to me, but it is harder to clean (and arguably, synthetics are going to be easier to clean and will withstand greater abuse/more regular cleanings). Hakuhodo has one that’s very similar to TF’s – if I wanted a dupe of TF, I’d go Hakuhodo as it is closer in size, density, and material type πŸ™‚

I know!! I just placed my order today! If they get stock of the Smithfolio in before the end of the free shipping period I may order one of those as well, seems to me like the Laura Mercier travel case thing? Maybe not as sturdy but I can’t tell from the pictures.. I’m so excited!! They are such a lovely brand!! I’m really excited to receive everything!! Really glad you got these and are reviewing! Lots of love! XxX

Yes!!!! Been waiting for this review!!!! So excited to hear you love these so far, I will definitely be ordering some when your reviews of the line are finished!

Mariella, just wanted to ask you if you have ordered from their website and if the price is shown only in USD at the checkout. I’m Canadian but I don’t see the price displayed in CAD. Thank you ! πŸ™‚

Hi. How would you say these compare size wise to the 239? Just trying to decide which would work better for me…or if I want both. Thanks!

Here are the dimensions of the 239: The brush head is 11mm in width, 10mm in length, and 5mm in thickness. Based on the measurements, the 239 is bigger than the 253 and smaller than the 256.

Thank you very much for this review, Christine. I’m always after good eye brushes! Just bought the small one – can’t wait to use it! Thanks again!

Christine, my little 253 brush has arrived and i LOVE it! It’s perfect for applying eyeshadow and i even find it blends shades together really well, which is surprising for such a dinky little brush.

I love that it’s small enough for more precise application and large enough to blend. I also like that it’s firm, yet so soft on my eyelids. What a great recommendation from you – thank you.

Now I’m off to place my order for a second 253 and I’m also going to get one of the bigger size.

Thanks!
Yenners

A true sign of someone who loves a brush — when they have multiples! Their brush handles are gorgeous – definitely different than a lot of other brushes out there.

One can never have enough good eyeshadow brushes… Free shipping world wide: I’ll place my order today to get one of those… Or both, hahahaha! Thanks Christine!

I only see maybe a couple of hairs that are a little more fanned out? That’s pretty normal for brushes across brands/price points/types. The bristles are tapered, so they are not all the same length. I didn’t have any issues with softness/smoothness myself, having used them.

Since i’m in the process of moving, I’ve been doing a bit of decluttering along the way to make the move easier. I have a TON of brushes that I’m getting rid of… but now I’m interested in checking these out! I saw Leesha haul the brush folio, and it looks amazing, though a bit pricey.

I actually bought the Smithfolio after watching her video! I saw it, and then I chastised her for ignoring the brushes altogether… It was funny, as she was more interested in the Smithfolio, and I was more interested in some of the more unique shapes they had (but they didn’t seem unique in the “that’s cool but how am I going to use you?” way, more like “that’s an interesting take, that might just work” way).

I haven’t traveled or filled my Smithfolio yet, but as a sort of “first impressions” – here are my general thoughts: 1) sturdy, retains its shape well even when not filled; 2) the variety of the insert system really makes it stand out compared to say, a binder for colored pencils (which would fit eyeliners and some brushes but may not work for larger handles/products); 3) best for someone who travels with a fair number of products or wants most of their stash in one place. It can hold a lot of product, so I imagine for a weekend getaway, it’s overkill, though you could probably reduce the inserts and fill up remaining space with bottles of face wash (or use the large mesh insert). It would also be great for someone who wanted to store a lot of brushes in a neat, organized way that mitigated possible dust.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! πŸ™‚ If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!