Holiday Brush 2019
Wayne Goss Holiday 2019 Brush ($62.00) is a new, limited edition large fan-style brush that is made out of goat hair. It is supposed to work for “fast, flawless blending” and can be used with “bronzer, blush, and highlighter” as well as “cream, liquid, and powder-based products” (generally). Based on the brand’s video, the idea is that the edge can be used for precise application and then gently pressing to splay the edge gives it the ability to diffuse/blend out products.
The shape of the brush is wide with a decent length from ferrule to the edge of the bristles. The left and right edges had a stronger curvature to them, whereas the brush tapered and flattened out for about a third of the middle section. I didn’t have any issues with the brush shedding, and it retained its shape after washing. The brush was soft enough but the hairs felt slightly coarser than some of the other goat-hair fan and larger powder brushes I have. One edge (in the first photo, the right edge) seemed to be sharper and less rounded compared to the other edge. It was 75mm in width (at its widest section) and 60mm in length (at its longest), and it seemed about 20mm in thickness (at its thickest).
It’s denser than the average fan brush but had quite a bit of flexibility and spring, so I wouldn’t describe it as a truly dense brush. I think the flexibility made it more suitable for diffusing and blending out product than applying it, and it was easiest to use for spreading and blending out the edges of some products or to blend products together (but having used something else to apply the product before, just using this as a clean, blending brush). For example, after applying highlighter and blush with other tools, going back in with this brush (with no product) to diffuse those together worked beautifully.
When working with sheer to semi-sheer formulas that were closer to my natural skin tone, I could get the brush to work well for application and blending of the same products out. Working with anything that was even moderately pigmented (even with a light hand), based on my face shape and size, it was too thick and too prone to gently splaying/bending to give precision, so it resulted in a really imprecise application and an over-blending of product (e.g. blush that looked less like blush and more like I was red all over on one side of my face or bronzer that made me look like my foundation was far too dark).
When I looked closely at the brush, I think I struggled to find it as useful for my face shape/features for applying most products (aside from sheerer products, all-over finishing powders, and translucent powders) was because of the way the bristles taper in the front and back toward the edge, so it was difficult to pick up product evenly right on the sharpest edge, which didn’t have any “flatness” so it always splayed and bent slightly with any pressure (whether picking up product or applying it to my face). In a way, the very tips of the bristles easily splay a little upon contact, and I think this resulted in a wider footprint of product applied, rather than staying right on that edge.
With more buildable contour and bronzing products, the brush worked well for applying and distributing product while diffusing the edge, but it was a careful balance of applying and ensuring that things didn’t get over-blended and could look muddied. With blush and highlighter, the large size coupled with the way the bristles pick up and splay so readily, the end result always expanded far beyond where I’d want blush or highlight (like the highlighter would overwhelm the blush almost immediately).
While trying it with a slew of products, I didn’t find that it was efficient with more pigmented products or harder-to-blend products, though, as the sweeping motions weren’t enough to diffuse the edges (where circular, buffing motions worked better). I tried using the left/right edges, center, a mix, held more sharply against my face, and more splayed in an effort to try the brush and see the results for the different types of products and techniques I could think to try.
Whether this brush is a “good” brush is more about whether it’s a functional brush for you; and that means your facial features, face shape and size, the types of products you want to use it with, and what your application and technique would be with it. It can pick up product, apply it, and blend it out without a lot of effort, so I think that it, largely, does what was intended to do. I think the stability at the tips of the brush could be a little higher so that it was truer to the idea of using the edge for application and then using the side of the brush to blend, though.
This is where reviewing brushes/tools gets difficult because I think it lived up to its marketing claims in many ways, but I struggled with it due to the larger size so I think the tone/my experience may not reflect the rating. Even using a lighter hand or less-pigmented products, I just found this was more work to use for applying products over other tools (like a blush brush), and it only fit functionally into my routine (and with my facial features/shape/size) as a separate blending brush or for dusting finishing powder all over my face.