Smith Cosmetics Eye & Lip Brushes Reviews & Photos

Smith Cosmetics Brushes
Smith Cosmetics Brushes

Smith Cosmetics 202 Microliner Brush ($16.00) is an ultra-fine pointed liner brush. It’s made out of synthetic sable bristles, and it’s firm brush that flexes enough to line along the curve of the upper lash line but it moves together as one so there is no streaking or visible brush strokes. The brush has a total length of 6.00 inches / 15.50 centimeters, and the brush head was in 1.00mm width, 5.50mm length, and 1.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). If you work with a lot of gel and cream eyeliners, I could see this being very useful for precision work and very fine lines. If you tend to do thicker eyeliner, you’ll likely want to opt for a thicker brush overall (you can layer and build out your liner with this one, it’ll just be faster for a more appropriately-sized brush). What I found impressive was that it didn’t feel sharp or pokey, even with the tip of the brush against the lash line, so you can really get between lashes, if desired.

Smith Cosmetics 203 Micro Angled Liner Brush ($23.00) is a very short, thin angled eyeliner brush. It is made out of synthetic sable hair and can be used with gels, creams, and powders. The brush has a total length of 6.00 inches / 15.50 centimeters, and the brush head was in 6.00mm width, 4.50mm length, and 1.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). Like the #202, this is best suited for precision work, details, and very thin and fine lines. It’s a firm brush that moves together, so while it gives enough to line along the curve of the lid, it doesn’t splay or leave noticeable brush strokes or draggy edges. You can achieve some really fine, natural brow hairs when used with a gel brow product, too. The brush was smooth, never sharp or pointed, against the skin.

Smith Cosmetics 205 Angled Liner Brush ($20.00) is a firm, medium-sized angled eyeliner brush. It is similar in the overall feel, application, and consistency as the #202 and #203; it is just larger than the #203–it is longer and thicker but the angle is the same for both. It is made out of synthetic sable hair and can be used with gels, creams, and powders. The brush has a total length of 6.10 inches / 15.70 centimeters, and the brush head was in 7.50mm width, 6.00mm length, and 2.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). The bristles moved together, which resulted in even, smooth coverage that didn’t appear streaky or show brush strokes. It didn’t feel sharp or poke against the lower or upper lash line, and it was comfortable to use.

Smith Cosmetics 212 Tightliner Brush ($18.00) is a firm, rectangular brush with a flat edge that is designed for applying product to the inner rim of the eye. It is made out of synthetic sable hair and can be used with gels, creams, and powders. The brush has a total length of 6.00 inches / 15.50 centimeters, and the brush head was in 6.50mm width, 5.00mm length, and 2.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). It is slightly smaller compared to the #205 but has a similar thickness as well as overall feel and usability. The bristles felt soft and smooth, and they moved together, so I didn’t feel any individual bristles while using it, which made it more comfortable to use against areas like the upper and lower lash line. For the upper lash line, I liked pushing motions rather than sweeping or pulling motions. This brush was stiffer and less flexible compared to the other three liner brushes.

Smith Cosmetics 214 Spoolie Brush ($16.00) is a large, bent spoolie brush. It’s longer (almost double the length) of most spoolie brushes, and the ferrule is bent at an angle. The brush has a total length of 7.25 inches / 18.50 centimeters, and the brush head was in 6.00mm width, 38.00mm length, and 6.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). I could see this working better for artists when using it on a client, but I was surprised by how much I liked using it on myself as well. The spoolie itself was much softer, without being ineffective, than some others I own, so it worked well to diffuse and soften my brows (particularly the inner portions, closest to the nose) for a more natural look (though I like my brows stronger than what I imagine is deemed natural!). It’s also nice for shaping and convincing brow hairs to stay in place. It’s actually my new favorite spoolie brush for its length and angle!

Smith Cosmetics 220 Eyeshadow Finishing Brush ($24.00) is a medium, rectangular eyeshadow brush with a flat edge and very faint flaring from the ferrule. It is made out of synthetic mongoose hair, and it is designed to be used with powder products for blending and buffing eyeshadow out. The brush has a total length of 6.90 inches / 17.50 centimeters, and the brush head was in 16.00mm width, 12.00mm length, and 4.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). This was one of the brushes I was most curious about as I have not personally used a brush like it for makeup. It’s incredibly soft and smooth with a denser base that gets less dense and has most of its flexibility towards the edge (right where the brush hairs become a darker brown). I liked it for blowing out eyeshadow on the lower lash line, as it fits well but gives a really diffused edge with little work. It also worked in place of a traditional blending brush, particularly for areas like the crease, transition, and above the crease to pull and diffuse color towards the brow bone.

Smith Cosmetics 230 Quill Crease Brush Small Brush ($24.00) is a small, rounded crease brush that doesn’t flare out much from the ferrule. It is made out of goat hair and is designed to be used with powder products. The brush has a total length of 6.90 inches / 17.50 centimeters, and the brush head was in 16.00mm width, 12.00mm length, and 7.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). The goat hair used in the crease brushes seemed softer to me than what was used in the face brushes. It worked well for applying more intense color into the very depths of the crease for me, which gave a more precise, defined lay down of color. For someone with smaller eyes, it could function the way more common creases brushes do without applying color far past the crease area. Of all the brushes from Smith, this one (along with the #232) didn’t retain its shape as well after washing, so they became more rounded and less pointed after the first wash.

Smith Cosmetics 232 Quill Crease Brush Large Brush ($24.00) is a medium-sized, rounded crease brush that flares out more noticeably from the base and comes to a more rounded edge. It is a bit fluffier along the edges while being slightly denser compared to the #230. The brush has a total length of 6.90 inches / 17.50 centimeters, and the brush head was in 10.00mm width, 19.00mm length, and 10.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). It has a much wider edge, so it can apply colors with a more diffused finish (I recommend starting with less product if you want a really diffused look), and I liked it for blending out crease colors or taking a transition color through the crease area. I’m also a fan of using rounded crease brushes like this for applying color to the brow bone and along the inner corner/bridge of the nose area. It was similar in softness to the #230, but due to the fluffier edge, it wasn’t as smooth when I used it in circular motions.

Smith Cosmetics 235 Flat Quill Crease Brush ($24.00) is a medium-to-large-sized eye brush that flares out from the base to a more triangular shaped edge with tapering bristles that come to a soft point. It is made out of goat hair and is designed for powder products. The brush has a total length of 6.90 inches / 17.50 centimeters, and the brush head was in 11.00mm width, 18.00mm length, and 8.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). It’s like a flattened, more pointed version of the #232, so you can distribute more precise color through the crease but the tapered, less dense edges improve blendability and diffusion of color than compared to the #230. The shape of it also works well for most instances of blending of eyeshadow as well as applying color above the crease and on the brow bone. It was soft with a minimal feel of individual bristles, and it didn’t poke or feel rough in any direction for me.

Smith Cosmetics 247 Flat Round Crease Brush Brush ($24.00) is a slimmer, medium-sized eye brush with a lightly rounded edge. It is made out of goat hair and is to be used with powder products. The brush has a total length of 6.90 inches / 17.50 centimeters, and the brush head was in 10.00mm width, 16.00mm length, and 6.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). It’s longer than most blending brushes, and it is denser with less flexibility and give, even at the edge. The bristles felt soft and didn’t poke at me in any direction. The shape is interesting as it is rather thin and sharper than most crease brushes, so it can be used to apply color directly into the crease and then lightly blended. I liked it more for depositing color into the crease or on the brow bone than for blending, as it didn’t diffuse as much as I preferred.

Smith Cosmetics 302 Lip Brush ($20.00) is a slim, angled lip brush that’s firm with slight flex at the rounded edge. It is made out of synthetic sable hair and can be used with cream and liquid products. The brush has a total length of 6.25 inches / 16.00 centimeters, and the brush head was in 7.50mm width, 8.00mm length, and 3.00mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). I can’t recall having a lip brush like this before, as it’s thicker and has a gradual angle and roundedness to the edge. It is very effective for feathering color on, and it works well for creating ombre lips as you can really diffuse and blend colors together. The brush head is firm with minimal flex but isn’t overly stiff to get the job done. I liked it best in sweeping, pulling motions to diffuse lip liner or applying lipstick onto the lips.

Smith Cosmetics 304 Detailed Lip Brush ($18.00) is a small, dome-shaped, flat lip brush. It is made out of synthetic sable hair and can be used with liquid, cream, and powder products. The brush has a total length of 6.00 inches / 15.60 centimeters, and the brush head was in 6.00mm width, 6.00mm length, and 1.50mm thickness (at its widest/longest points). It’s a smaller take on the average lip brush, and it is very flat and firm, with just the edge of the bristles having any flex. As a result, the edge of the brush can be used to line the lips and define the cupid’s bow. The edge is firm without being sharp or pokey, even on the eyes. The brush moves as one, so the edges look clean and crisp.

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 wanted to do my best to review the brushes I had from them before that promo is up!

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See more photos!

Smith Cosmetics Brushes
Smith Cosmetics Brushes

Smith Cosmetics Brushes
Smith Cosmetics Brushes

Smith Cosmetics Brushes
Smith Cosmetics Brushes

Smith Cosmetics #202 Microliner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #202 Microliner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #202 Microliner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #202 Microliner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #203 Micro Angled Liner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #203 Micro Angled Liner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #203 Micro Angled Liner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #203 Micro Angled Liner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #203 Micro Angled Liner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #203 Micro Angled Liner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #203 Micro Angled Liner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #203 Micro Angled Liner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #203 Micro Angled Liner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #203 Micro Angled Liner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #203 Micro Angled Liner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #203 Micro Angled Liner Brush vs. #205 Angled Liner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #205 Angled Liner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #205 Angled Liner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #205 Angled Liner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #205 Angled Liner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #205 Angled Liner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #205 Angled Liner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #205 Angled Liner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #205 Angled Liner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #205 Angled Liner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #205 Angled Liner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #212 Tightliner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #212 Tightliner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #212 Tightliner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #212 Tightliner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #212 Tightliner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #212 Tightliner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #212 Tightliner Brush
Smith Cosmetics #212 Tightliner Brush

Smith Cosmetics #214 Spoolie Brush
Smith Cosmetics #214 Spoolie Brush

Smith Cosmetics #214 Spoolie Brush
Smith Cosmetics #214 Spoolie Brush

Smith Cosmetics #214 Spoolie Brush
Smith Cosmetics #214 Spoolie Brush

Smith Cosmetics #220 Eyeshadow Finishing Brush
Smith Cosmetics #220 Eyeshadow Finishing Brush

Smith Cosmetics #220 Eyeshadow Finishing Brush
Smith Cosmetics #220 Eyeshadow Finishing Brush

Smith Cosmetics #220 Eyeshadow Finishing Brush
Smith Cosmetics #220 Eyeshadow Finishing Brush

Smith Cosmetics #220 Eyeshadow Finishing Brush
Smith Cosmetics #220 Eyeshadow Finishing Brush

Smith Cosmetics #230 Quill Crease Brush Small
Smith Cosmetics #230 Quill Crease Brush Small

Smith Cosmetics #230 Quill Crease Brush Small
Smith Cosmetics #230 Quill Crease Brush Small

Smith Cosmetics #230 Quill Crease Brush Small
Smith Cosmetics #230 Quill Crease Brush Small

Smith Cosmetics #232 Quill Crease Brush Large
Smith Cosmetics #232 Quill Crease Brush Large

Smith Cosmetics #232 Quill Crease Brush Large
Smith Cosmetics #232 Quill Crease Brush Large

Smith Cosmetics #232 Quill Crease Brush Large
Smith Cosmetics #232 Quill Crease Brush Large

Smith Cosmetics #235 Flat Quill Crease Brush
Smith Cosmetics #235 Flat Quill Crease Brush

Smith Cosmetics #235 Flat Quill Crease Brush
Smith Cosmetics #235 Flat Quill Crease Brush

Smith Cosmetics #235 Flat Quill Crease Brush
Smith Cosmetics #235 Flat Quill Crease Brush

Smith Cosmetics #235 Flat Quill Crease Brush
Smith Cosmetics #235 Flat Quill Crease Brush

Smith Cosmetics #235 Flat Quill Crease Brush
Smith Cosmetics #235 Flat Quill Crease Brush

Smith Cosmetics #235 Flat Quill Crease Brush
Smith Cosmetics #235 Flat Quill Crease Brush

Smith Cosmetics #247 Flat Round Crease Brush
Smith Cosmetics #247 Flat Round Crease Brush

Smith Cosmetics #247 Flat Round Crease Brush
Smith Cosmetics #247 Flat Round Crease Brush

Smith Cosmetics #247 Flat Round Crease Brush
Smith Cosmetics #247 Flat Round Crease Brush

Smith Cosmetics #247 Flat Round Crease Brush
Smith Cosmetics #247 Flat Round Crease Brush

Smith Cosmetics #247 Flat Round Crease Brush
Smith Cosmetics #247 Flat Round Crease Brush

Smith Cosmetics #302 Lip Brush
Smith Cosmetics #302 Lip Brush

Smith Cosmetics #302 Lip Brush
Smith Cosmetics #302 Lip Brush

Smith Cosmetics #302 Lip Brush
Smith Cosmetics #302 Lip Brush

Smith Cosmetics #302 Lip Brush
Smith Cosmetics #302 Lip Brush

Smith Cosmetics #304 Detailed Lip Brush
Smith Cosmetics #304 Detailed Lip Brush

Smith Cosmetics #304 Detailed Lip Brush
Smith Cosmetics #304 Detailed Lip Brush

Smith Cosmetics #304 Detailed Lip Brush
Smith Cosmetics #304 Detailed Lip Brush

Smith Cosmetics #304 Detailed Lip Brush
Smith Cosmetics #304 Detailed Lip Brush

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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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Well … all of the “20X” brushes listed, plus the spoolie and one of the lip brushes. Possibly the 212. I really need a crease brush, but I like smaller crease brushes, and I’m put off by the smallest crease brush in this line-up not regaining its shape after washing. I have two crease brushes and have that problem with both of them, which is why I’m, looking for another. In both cases they were nice and tight when I started using them, but have gotten wider — more diffuse — over time. I don’t do cut creases, but I do like to lay down a fairly narrow dark line of powder and blend/diffuse out from there, rather than constantly having to cut back in with a skintone shade like I do now.

You had another post about Smith brushes which I kind of skipped over; I’ll have to go look at that again. I should be embarassed to say that most of the brushes I use on my face are art supply brushes (mostly for watercolor, but some for acrylics or oils) that I borrowed form my art stash and never released back to their original purpose. There are a few that I’ll keep for makeup purposes because they work great, but the rest need to go back to the art supply closet. Good makeup brushes and good art brushes are about the same price, so I might as well be an adult about it. 🙂

Nothing wrong with using “art” brushes, IMO! Whatever works, haha 😉 I remember when I first started wearing makeup, I used Lowe-Cornell brushes that were just like MAC 239s. My 239s have held up far, far better than the Lowe-Cornell did in the end, but I think that brush was $5 or around there vs. MAC’s at $20+.

I know Hakuhodo has some really tiny crease brushes, and I haven’t had any issues with them losing shape over time – same with my Wayne Goss brushes as well. My other thought is perhaps a larger pencil brush, which would give you the narrowness to lay down a more defined line of color but those are very unlikely to lose their shape!

Thank you both for your replies. My frustration with my current crease brushes actually forced my to change the way I apply eyeshadow (which could be a good thing, I guess — forced creativity — but I’m ready to go back to having more application options). I’ll definitely check out the Hakuhodo, might even buy it w/o seeing it in person. Thanks!

Christine, I’m Canadian and it seems that when ordering from their website the price at checkout is shown only in USD.
I’m curious to know if there other Canadians who ordered from their website and if their order was processed in USD.

I’m Canadian; prices are only in USD. Despite several emails to their support and shipping people not a single response. It’s also taken them 8 days to indicate they shipped but it’s still showing as in transit to Canada Post. I hope the brushes are amazing because their customer service is non-existent!

Thank you so much Evelyn for taking the time to reply !
Haven’t got any response either. It really seems they have a bad customer service. There is no phone to reach them either. And it’s astonishing for a Canadian co. of this type to not have CAD prices.
It is a bad business practice vis-à-vis the Canadian customers.

SUVA Beauty is the same, in terms of charging Canadians USD vs. local currency. It sucks because it really keeps me from supporting local/Canadian businesses as a whole.

Hi Nicole,

Just wanted to give you a heads up that we received your email this morning and have already replied back.

As for the pricing in USD it is a very simple matter, we purchase all our products, shipping supplies, and packaging in USD and with the Canadian dollar being so unstable there is no way we can have the prices in CAD without having to update them almost daily.

Hope this helps,
The Smith Cosmetics Team

To Smith Cosmetics,
I appreciate your taking the time to respond to my today’s email. As mentioned in my reply, I understand your company’s point of view.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to incorporate/use Canadian supplies and products in the near future as there are so many of us here in Canada wanting to buy Canadian and to support environmentally conscious and locally aware businesses, suppliers and production.

If you would have told me that I would have fell in love with a spoolie brush, I would have thought you were crazy, but it’s amazing! I ended up taking out all my other spoolie brushes and putting them away, haha.

I’ve been so curious about this brand thanks to Kayla Hagey on YouTube! Thanks so much for your thorough reviews, and the free shipping tip – I just picked up the Micro Angled Liner brush and the Small Laydown brush, my first from the brand. Very excited to receive them!

I am looking at the shape of the 220 and struggling to understand how to use it to buff out crease color and transition color. Would I apply color with the brush or blend colors I applied with another brush?

For blending out a crease or transition color, I use it without product and pull it upwards towards the brow bone (or down, if it’s really dark still). You can also pick up the lighter color to blend downwards or upwards from the crease, too.

I am just amazed by these excellent reviews. I’ve met some bad brushes in my day but so many good ones…wow! @ least 232 for me.

I am really interested in the eyeliner brushes, most of all! And possibly the eyeshadow finishing brush, too.
Would have loved to try out some of the other eyeshadow brushes, but not with goat hair. I still don’t understand my having a reaction to the MAC 217’s.

Interesting that synthetic brushes can be made to mimic specific natural hair. The agouti pattern (multiple colors on one hair shaft) really does make the finishing brush look like a mongoose! Might just have to get a Riki Tiki Tavi brush…very interesting and different. And glad they aren’t slaying any sables, even ranched ones.

I had no idea either! I haven’t heard of mongoose (synthetic or otherwise) being used in makeup brushes, so that’s cool.

Great review! I’m glad to see these brushes performing well, and at a good price too! I’m interested in the Spoolie- I think it would be great for brushing/holding my brow hairs up when I trim them. And I might pick up some of the eyeliner brushes too- can never have too many of those!

Who knew a spoolie brush would be so enticing, LOL!

I liked how smooth the liner brushes are – sometimes they can feel pokey, but these still retained the sharpness in shape that one wants for smooth, even eyeliner but are much nicer on the skin.

OMG!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS REVIEW! i’ve been on the hunt for micro liner brushes and your product shots are so informative! Talk about perfect timing!

There is a picture of the 203 and 205 right in the post showing the difference – one is very small, one is larger.

I’ve been interested in these for a while and I feel like I “should” order now because international shipping is ridiculous but at the same time damn the price is a bit hard to swallow for someone whose brush collection is mostly made of Real Techniques, ELF and like three Sigma brushes (these last ones being the most expensive). Do you think you could narrow it down to a few (4-5) that are worth the price or make the job easier than others with similar shape/purpose?? If it helps this is what I use most often:
Foundation: RT buffing brush / Beauty Blender
Concealer: ELF Flawless concealer brush
Powder: ELF Complexion brush
Blush: RT Multi Task brush; Bronzer: random duo fiber brush;
Contour: RT blush brush / Sigma F25; Highlight: RT setting brush (powder) / RT contour brush (cream)
Eyes: Sigma E20 (small shading brush) or a knock off 239 (I don’t like it, it has too much give for its purpose), Sigma E25/bdellium 776 (both similar to a MAC 217), knock off 224 (the shape works well for my eye but it’s scratchy), Morphe MB23 (very soft but either the fibers being too long or the density make it too floppy so I can only use it for transition shades/it can’t shift shadow across the skin the way a denser brush would).

Sorry for the wall of text! Anyway, I understand brushes are kind of personal preference and it’s hard to give advice but any help would be greatly appreciated! xx

Hey Helen,

The question is… what brushes do you have that you don’t like? What brushes do you have that you feel like aren’t quite useful for you? Are they too large, too small, too dense, too feathery, quality issues?

For foundation, I still find I prefer and use my Real Techniques Expert Face over pretty much all other brushes, and I tend to stick to full synthetics so I can wash at will and never feel guilty about it, lol!

It kind of sounds like the only brushes you aren’t in love with are some of your eye brushes! I think if you want a good eyeshadow brush that packs on shadow but doesn’t feel floppy or too flexible, but is still on the smaller side, I really like the #253 Laydown Brush Small. I reach for that all the time in place of MAC’s 239 (which has been my favorite for years – I have at least five of them). Alternatively, I also like Chikuhodo’s GSN-09 as a 239 alternative, and I remember it being more reasonably priced (relative to high-end brush prices, obviously not cheap!). Smith’s #220 serves a similar function to MAC’s 217 for me, but it is obviously a different shape, which you may or may not like. My favorite Smith eye brushes were the #202, 214, 220, 253, and 256. If you use a lot of cream/liquid blush/highlighters/bronzers/contours, the Smith #122 and 124 are worth checking out; if you are primarily powders, I find I prefer other brushes instead (as they don’t apply as heavily, which is just my preference).

First, THANK YOU for taking the time to write such a detailed response 🙂

I think as far as liquid foundation and concealer I’m with you, synthetic brushes do a very good job at buffing, they hold up well over time and they are easy to come by at a lower price point. Even though I was a bit curious about the 115 for foundation objectively I don’t think I’m going to get a better result than I do with the ones I use now.

Moving on to face powders like blush I think the RT brushes sometimes make it more difficult to pick up product and at the same time once the powder is deposited the softness of the synthetic fibers make it harder to move the product along the cheeks, kind of? Maybe it’s my technique and not the brushes. Do you find natural bristles apply powder products better than synthetics? Which brushes do you usually reach for cheek powder products?

Same goes for eyeshadow, I like synthetics for cream base or to smudge a pencil but every synthetic fluffly blending (also, cheap lol) brush ends up being too floppy which makes it ok for a larger area (like a transition shade) or if the shadow is extremely pigmented and I want a soft wash but not so much for crease work. I think something like the 217 in size/density without the pinch in the ferrule and also veery slightly tapered would be ideal (I see a lot of very pointy crease brushes and since my eyes don’t have a defined crease such precise application ends up looking weird). As for a basic packing brush I was thinking about buying the 239 or a japanese alternative, but you’ve piqued my interest with the 253; do you find the arrow shape this one has makes it better/different than the usual rounder shapes?

Hey Helen!

No problem! In general, I find natural hair better for powder products, particularly for picking up and blending out color. I like synthetics for creams and powders, as well as for denser or firmer powders (like MUFE Artist Shadows work well with both natural and synthetics as they are quite dense, except for the mattes, which aren’t as dense).

Some brushes that are similar to the 217 are Hakuhodo J5523 (you can search for “5523” and choose the type of hair you prefer, though), as well as Wayne Goss’ 06 brush, which I find a little more rounded and not quite as fluffy but very similar in style and overall use. Hakuhodo’s J5533 is one of the flatter and more rounded crease brushes (definitely doesn’t go to a strong point), but it might be a little larger for your eye.

I actually find the arrow shape to be superior for the inner and outer corners, and it is also good for getting color in the crease and blending sideways/up-and-down. I find I prefer it over the 239 and GSN-09 at the moment, except for really loosely packed powders (like LORAC Eyeshadows), as it is TOO good at picking up product in that case.

The Hakuhodo J5533 and the J142 look very nice, as does the J5523 for when I need to replace my 217 type brushes… it seems my Hakuhodo wishlist keeps growing while my Smith cosmetics decreases, lol. Now I just have to wait for some offer because shipping with Hakuhodo is also killer 🙁

I know what you mean about Lorac eyeshadows, sometimes I apply those with my finger to avoid the mess!

Again, thank you so much for answering all my questions. As much as I like brushes, it can be overwhelming trying to buy the right ones online 🙂

Hey Christine!
Love your hard work, first time commenting here:). Do you think that I should buy some smith brushes(or other good synthetic) or save for some japanese/wayne goss brushes? I want to replace my current brushes and invest in good ones. I would appreciate your opinion!!

The best collection is one that is a combination – because synthetics are great for creams/liquids and naturals are great for powder. I would say it’s important to look into what shapes and styles you prefer! I reach for the Smith 253 all the time, because it’s a great shape/style for my application methods. These are just as good as good brushes by Wayne Goss or brushes made in Japan – but it’s whether the purpose of them suits you 🙂

Dear Christine, do you think you can do a review on their foundation and blush brushes . Curious to try the out . Love yor reviews and honesty. Thanks Linda

Thank for the review!
I might pick up some of them.
I would like to know how’re different between #235 and Hakuhodo J series (Eye brushes) in term of bristles or softness?

Thank you for introducing to this Cdn company.. I was completely unaware of its existence.
I have a considerable brush collection for a non-pro, but I am still seeing brushes here which I would love to add. Am I the only person crazy for that looong angled spoolie? It looks perfect (truly a high end spoolie LOL..remember that claim?). I also like the looks of the small crease brush. I think my small crease MAC is similar, but the MAC bristles are longer and the tip is narrower, not as rounded. II feel this one would be perfect in between (MAC 217 MAC 222) for a light diffuse of crease colour on my small hooded eyes. Thanks again for the intro with your recent reviews.

Nooo, you are not! Because I didn’t think I’d LOVE a spoolie but I do! I took out all the other spoolie brushes I had in my go-to brushes and just kept this one, because now I don’t reach for anything but!

Hi Christine! Thank you for amazing reviews as always. After going back and forth for days I think I’ve narrowed down my order to the 253 laydown brush and 304 lip brush. Of the 2 angled liner brushes, which would you prefer for creating a winged eye? I have small eyes with a small crease so most brushes are too big for me, but the microliner looks too small for creating wings. I am also sitting on a hakuhodo and wayne goss order – is there an alternative from these 2 brands you feel I should check out instead? Thanks!

Hey Hana!

Don’t know too much about Hakuhodo’s liner brushes, though I’m sure they are good (only a couple of duds that I’ve come across from Hakuhodo).

I think the 205 will work for you to create wings. Do you have a brush you use now? Why don’t you like it? You could try measuring what you have, too, and seeing how the size of the 203 vs 205 compare to it!

Thanks Christine! I mostly use felt or brush tip eyeliners (e.g. kat von d) and want to start using gel liners. I just got the elf angled brush to play around with and for adding shadow to mattify or clean up my wings. I will look into the 205. Thanks for the introduction to this company!

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