Sunday, August 5, 2012

Synthetic Makeup Brushes Part 3- About the Brands

Below is some more information on the brands I mentioned, mostly taken from the company websites.  The list is alphabetical, and I've only listed brands that I have personally used.  I hope you find this list helpful, and I'll continue to update it as I try more synthetic brushes from different brands.  I do not feel comfortable promoting or listing a brand that I have not tried, which is the only reason they are excluded from the list. There are many poor quality synthetics that I do not recommend.  If you see a brand and you are unsure if it is good quality or not, drop me a comment in the box below, as I have probably tried it and can probably help you before you waste money.  All of the brushes I featured have been used repeatedly, and washed many times, so I can feel comfortable about what I am recommending. 

*Please note most of the prices are per brush as of Aug 2012 including any discounts.  These prices reflect only if you were to go online and buy a single brush today (at the time of this post), how much it would cost. Many of these brushes are available in sets, or at a discount if you buy more than one. Generally speaking, sets always tend to be cheaper on a per brush basis than if you were to buy them individually. Generally the larger the brush, the more expensive it is, so in most cases, the high end is a large powder brush, while the low end is a lip or eyeshadow brush.

Bdellium Tools (the B is silent) Green Bambu Series brushes are a professional grade, eco-friendly brush line made of synthetic bristles with bamboo handles.  There are no animal products used in the making of these brushes.  They are hypo allergenic and 100% cruelty free. Bdellium Tools are designed by a group of brush experts in California.  All of their brushes are handmade and they design all of their own products, sometimes developing brand names and/or custom designs for larger clients. $7.04-17.55/brush

(The) Body Shop is a company focused on natural ingredients and products that are good for the planet.  They are against animal testing and for fair trade.  However, it is important to note that this company is owned by Loreal who is not a cruelty free company.  I realize this makes a difference to a lot of people, so I wanted to mention it. The Body Shop was started by a human rights activist, opening the doors of its first store in 1976.  Their brushes have ended up on Oprah's favorites list and with good reason. Recently Lily Cole created a cruelty-free makeup line that is 100% vegetarian in its ingredients (no bug shells, fish scales, etc). $6.82-16.90/brush

Branded J Brushes *UPDATE* is a brand I recently got into. I had heard of this brand before, but didn't list them until I tried the brushes for myself. I've used three of the eye brushes, and they are awesome. They have a long acrylic handle, nickle ferrule and luxurious taklon bristles. Branded J Collections is a cruelty-free company which proudly makes products that make a difference. The bristles of this brush deliver antibacterial benefits, and the story behind them is amazing. Like myself, the founder of this company recognized that although attention has been drawn to the cruelty of cosmetic testing, many people were still using animal hair brushes. She created this high-end brush line for makeup artists to have the most professional tools possible without sacrificing animal lives or quality. $15-56/brush

Christopher Drummond is a makeup artist who has a full line of vegan cosmetics (check out his concealer its awesome for under the eyes!).  This is a high end, professional brand, and every product I have used from the line has impressed me.  He is focused on vegan beauty, and cruelty free makeup and tools. His are some of the best in the industry, and I am truly proud to use his products.  His makeup and brushes are all natural, organic-based, free of irritants, non-toxic. $18.50-28.00/brush

Cozzette is a great choice if you are a makeup artist. While these brushes are a bit more pricey, they are masterfully constructed, and the bristles are extremely soft. They have a wonderful selection of styles, some which I haven't found in other brands. I have The Divinity Collection as well as some singles.  I would also like to note that his company has excellent customer service. One of my packages got lost once, and they quickly found it, and made sure it got to me in a timely fashion. I would also like to mention their vessels which are used for storing brushes, q tips or other makeup artist necessities while protecting them from dust. One of my favorites from this brand is the Diamond Blender, which is a shape I've been looking for in a synthetic brand for quite some time. Purple is my favorite color, so the pointed purple handles are extra special to me. I also love the brush cleaner from this brand, because unlike so many other brush cleaners on the market, this one smells like a spa!   $12-33/brush

Earth Diva Cosmetics offers vegan and cruelty-free makeup and brushes online.  Their brushes are made of quality taklon bristles with sustainable bamboo handles. These brushes are quite affordable, yet work quite well. This is a great brand for those with sensitive skin because their mineral makeup is free of irritants such as bismuth, fragrance and oils.  They offer a full range of eco-friendly brushes for sale both individually or in a set. The bristles feel silky, yet they are firm enough to blend product.  $2.75-$13.95/brush

Eco Tools are probably the most widely available brush. They carry these at Walmart, Walgreens,,,, Target, the list goes on and on. Eco Tools is an earth-friendly brand that helps you get gorgeous and be green at the same time!  Their brushes are super soft and they have a line by actress Alicia Silverstone which features cosmetic cases, holders and unique brushes to the line. Stand outs from this line include the Ecotools by Alicia Silverstone 4 piece Backstage Vanity Set which includes a great finishing brush & cup holder to hold everything in.  Their best seller is the Bamboo 6 piece brush set which is a great starter kit and is highly affordable. $5.82-7.98/brush

E.L.F. ***UPDATE 11/9/2012: Please note that the Essential Line brushes are made of horse hair.  Only the Studio line or Mineral Line (which I believe is being discontinued) is vegan.*** E.L.F. stands for Eyes Lips Face and is a discount brand  that is known for their value brush sets and affordable cosmetics. Some of their products are carried at Target and the rest are available on their website. Since they are so affordable, they are a great starting out brand for a young budding makeup artist to practice her technique with. In addition to their already low prices, they frequently have sales (right now as I write this their 11 piece brush set is on sale for 88 cents when you spend $25). They sell brush sets, single brushes and brush accessories and cases. Their tools are designed for everyday use and have many available for only $1 regular price. Their website is filled with customer reviews, so you can see which brushes might work best for your needs. Their Kabuki brush is one of my favorite in their line as I think it actually does rival higher end brands. This company recently celebrated 8 years of beauty. $1.00-8.00/brush

Enkore Makeup Online offers a handful of vegan brushes that are really great for use with cream products. These have a nice long black handle, and I love to use them with foundations, cream blushes, contour and cream highlighters. Each brush has synthetic and white fiber optic bristles, perfect for high definition makeup. This site was created by Koren Zander, makeup artist and makeup enthusiast. He has some great vegan friendly makeup items in his shop as well, so be sure to check out the other goodies he has to offer. Koren is a professional makeup artist and he has many helpful videos on YouTube so that he can share what he's learned over the years with you! $5-$18/brush

Everyday Minerals is a company that uses only the finest natural ingredients in their cosmetics. They are organic, vegan and Eco friendly. None of their products are tested on animals and their makeup brushes are among some of the softest I've used. All of their brushes are synthetic and made by hand with a sturdy bamboo handle. I have their long handled kabuki and their eye kabuki with I love for blending out under eye concealer. They also sell brush rolls to carry your brushes as well as makeup bags. They have some truly unique brush styles on their site, so if you want something a little bit more special to add to your brush collection, check them out here: $7.99-22.99/brush 

Furless is an Australian based company that offers cruelty-free makeup brushes and accessories. They have a very large selection of brushes available for personal or professional use. Per their website, this company gives a portion of their profits to "Wildlife ARC, a charity organization that rescues and cares for injured or orphaned native animals, so they can be happily released back into the wild." Like me, they don't believe animal hair belongs in makeup brushes. I love their pro angled foundation brush because it has a nice long cobalt blue handle, and super silky bristles. I use this brush a lot to apply foundation or primer to clients. In fact, since Furless wants you to be happy with your purchase, they even offer a money back guarantee. They ship internationally, and their site even offers a currency converter so you don't have to do the math yourself. Their website allows you browse single brushes by type as well as offering different brush sets. It's hard to include a price range because they offer so many different brushes at various price points.  You can shop Furless by clicking here:

Hourglass Brushes are a luxurious collection of metal handle brushes made from high grade Takelon.  Hourglass is a California based beauty brand.  Sephora carries a few of their brushes. $25.00-65.00/brush

Illamasqua Brushes are hypoallergenic and completely cruelty-free. This is a British brand that I learned about from watching one too many YouTube videos by the Pixiwoos. They have recently started carrying some of their brushes on $29.37-61.90/brush

IT Cosmetics has created a new standard in luxury makeup bushes.  Their brushes are designed to prevent premature sagging of the skin, by offering super plush bristles.  All of their brushes are ideal for those who like an airbrushed look to their makeup. While the look of the bristles are somewhat similar to Sephora's airbrush line, the bristles are much softer, yet still blend product quite well. All of their brushes (as well as their makeup) is 100% cruelty-free.  I also recommend these for people with sensitive skin. These brushes are available at , and internationally at The Shopping Channel. $15-$58/brush

Kelley Quan offers a professional grade vegan brush line. According to their site, these brushes are, "Tested on models not animals!"  Kelley Quan is a makeup artist, beauty editor and fashion publisher.  Her New York based company offers a nice variety of pro quality brushes including her unique patented wave brush which is great for filling in brows. $13-65/brush

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics* aka OCC are 100% vegan & cruelty free brand. Most famous for their Lip Tars, this brand has a professional line of vegan makeup brushes that will rival any brush on the market in terms of quality.  These brushes were field tested behind the scenes during LA's Fasion Week S/S 2011.  These brushes are truly amazing and impressive, and I guarantee you no one would be able to tell the difference between their most expensive animal hair brushes and these.  The bristles are amazingly soft and unlike some cheaper synthetics, are awesome at picking up powder. Like all of the brushes mentioned here, they can be used on creme, liquid or powder products.  These brushes are the perfect weight and have nickel-plated ferrules to help balance the brush out.  I would highly recommend these if you are a pro makeup artist.  I first heard of these from another professional artist on YouTube and knew I had to try them out.  If you only try 1 brush from the line, make it the tapered blending brush, a stand-out among the line, and among my collection. $18-28/brush
100% Pure Cosmetics* is a brand that focuses on cruelty free cosmetics, which is what drew me to them in the first place.  Per their website, they "love animals and refuse to support anything that hurts animals which is why none of our formulas are ever tested on animals."  They sell cosmetics, skin care, and of course BRUSHES! They sell both short and long handled brushes made with their signature synthetic white bristles and white handles. If you are concerned about the white bristles staining, don't be, I tested them using some of my most pigmented beauty products, and they all washed completely clean with ease. These are affordably priced, so if you are a girl on a budget, who loves animals, these are the brushes for you.   $10-18/brush

Purely Pro Cosmetics  vegan brushes are ones that I came across on I bought one to start (the Chubby Blender) and was really impressed. I now own about 5 brushes from this brand, and think they are really nice. The handles are a little bit shorter, so if you like to sit close to a mirror when you do your makeup, these are a good pick. Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member, most of these are available for the two day free shipping! Favorites include the #56 Perfect Line brush and the Chubby Blender, which I love for applying liquid or cream foundation. While I have only purchased brushes individually, they do offer a 10 piece vegan set on their website, which is reasonably priced considering the quality of the brushes.  $11-33/brush

Real Techniques By Samantha Chapman have to be the most impressive brush line in their price point. I came across them by accident while browsing on  There isn't an Ulta by me so I never would have found these otherwise and consider these to be my hidden gem. I'm happy to report I recently found out they carry these at Harmon Beauty Supply as well. This line was created by Samantha Chapman a UK based makeup artist AKA one half of Pixiwoo. If you haven't watched her tutorials, I suggest you do, as I always learn something new. These brushes although reasonably priced, are made of high end materials.  The brushes are color coded so you know which part of the face they are meant for (orange is for bases, purple is for eyes and pink is for finishing).  Many of the larger brushes stand up on a table due to their flat bottom design, and the smaller eyeshadow brushes come in a case that doubles as a stand. Additionally, these brushes have their names on them so you always know their intended use. However, if you are ever unsure about how to use one, simply pop on over to their website where Samantha herself will demo it for you via a video on the site.   $5.99-9.99/brush

Royal & Langnickel Revolution brushes are probably the most technologically advanced brushes in my kit.  These brushes were created by Kevin James Bennett, an award-winning makeup artist.  These are pro quality, with textured bristles that mimic real animal hair, a no-slip handle and an overall super durable brush. With 32 different brushes in the collection, these brushes are a must have for makeup artists. My personal favorite is the BX-66 brush, which is ideal for eyeshadow blending. $4.79-$39.99/brush

Royal & Langnickel Silk Green Line brushes are an eco friendly professional grade brush. They come with a wooden handle and silky synthetic bristles. I personally own the set, which comes in a really cool cork-like case for travel. The set comes with 12 pieces and is eligible for a pro discount to qualified individuals. I would say the bristles on these are comparable to Cozzette brushes in terms of the silkiness of the bristles. I think anyone would have a very hard time distinguishing these from a high end set of animal hair brushes. While the handles are wooden, they are very smooth as though they have some type of a clear coating over them. The smudger brush and powder brush are my favorites from the set. The price of these is really reasonable considering the very high quality of these brushes.   $2.99-24.99/brush

Sedona Lace synthetic brushes come with fun pink and black bristles. Their 12 piece synthetic set is very similar in quality to Sigma's Mr. Bunny set, yet the price is lower.  Their synthetic angled flat top brush is a great way to apply foundation for a flawless finish. The quality is high end and I think these would work well for both makeup lovers and makeup artists. If you want something outside of the traditional brush, that is a little bit more fun, these are a good pick. Please note that they do also offer animal hair brushes on their site, so it is important to read the description. The Sedona Lace site does a great job of clearly labeling which brushes are synthetic and which are not. $12.95-$14.95/brush

Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush brushes work great for both liquid & powder makeup products. Their #55 brush has been a cult favorite among makeup lovers.  These brushes are made of Taklon hairs (high grade nylon fibers). Sephora is my favorite beauty store because I can find so many brands in one place.  Sephora launched in the United States in 1999 and most can hardly imagine a world without it. $24.00-34.00/brush

Sigma develops revolutionary beauty tools and has a full vegan section on their website. Their brushes are professional quality and are available both through their website and on  I was first introduced to their line with their amazing kabuki brushes. These are the most dense, soft, unique brushes I have ever used. They have every shape and size of long handled kabuki you could ever imagine. With 3 pages of vegan brushes to choose from on their website you are sure to find something to meet your beauty needs. $9.00-16.00/brush

Tokidoki brushes come with fun characters on them and are a must have for those into Japanese Anime. Their brushes are known for coming in fun sets with each brush often being named after one of the Tokidoki characters. This line is about to be discontinued at Sephora so snatch them up while you can! Tokidoki means "sometimes" in Japanese.  This brand was created in 2005 by an Italian artist and his business partner. In addition to makeup brushes, they make apparel, footwear and other fun accessories. $10.00-14.00/brush

Too Faced was one of the first high end companies that offered synthetic brushes. Their famous "teddy bear hair" bristles are super soft and loved by many. I prefer their face brushes to their eye brushes to be honest, but regardless of which brush you pick up by the brand, you can't deny the uber-cute design of them. My favorite among the line is their Powder Pouf Brush. $13.50-$34.00/brush

Urban Decay*Update* Urban Decay is now owned by L'Oreal, which is not cruelty-free* is the first brand that I decided to purchase every brush from because of their cruelty free stance. I wanted to support their values, and I found their brushes to be of excellent quality. Their brush line is known as "Good Karma Brushes" because you can feel good about buying them. The latest to their collection is the Optical Blurring Brush which applies liquid, cream or powder foundation and is 100% vegan.  Urban Decay faced some backlash recently when they had considered expanding in to China, a country which does not support their cruelty free agenda. Thankfully, Urban Decay reversed their decision before selling in this country, so they remain a cruelty free brand. This brand began 15 years ago and is now the largest independently owned cosmetic company in the United States. $20.00-36.00/brush

*Please note some of the brushes listed here may have been sent for consideration by the company. This in no way alters my review. I only list brushes that I actually use. I do not get paid to do reviews.

*Please note both The Body Shop & Urban Decay are owned by L'Oreal. L'Oreal is not a cruelty-free company and is known to test on animals.


  1. need to know if ELIANTO brand(makeup brushes) using animal hair or synthetic. Hope you can help me because I'm using it and I want to use cruelty-free product. This is my email (kindly post your answer there...thank you very much)

    1. i think elianto have synthetic make up brushes, i also buy them but of course i ask first which makeup brushes are made u from synthetic hair

    2. Thanks F3erah, I wasn't familiar with this brand. I looked online and could not find much information on them. Do they sell them online? I would be curious to learn more about the brand. Thanks.

    3. Check this website out i have just learned that products of this brand are made from pure Natural ingredients. Im staying in malaysia so it is so easy to get this brand. I buy a lot of their makeup brushes because they are synthetic and very soft too at very affordable price. I dont know u can get this brand

  2. Hi Liza,

    I love your blog and your posts about brushes have been so helpful for me. I have purchased quite a few brushes based on your recommendations and have been very happy with them! Just wondering if you have tried any of the below synthetic brushes?

    Zoeva, Sunday Riley, Liz Earle

    I’m thinking about trying these brands but want to make sure you haven’t tried them and don’t find them very useful. Also, I have very sensitive skin and believe it or not I even find the Hourglass No. 2 brush slightly scratchy. Which brands would you recommend for me? I’m thinking IT Cosmetics and Illamasqua would be the best but let me know if you have any other recommendations for extremely soft but still effective brushes for both the face and eyes. Many thanks!

    Kind Regards,

  3. hi Lisa. thanks for reading. I'm so happy you find my posts helpful. I haven't tried those 3 brands you mentioned believe it or not but I will surely look into them. if you have sensitive skin I recommend IT Cosmetics hands down. they are the softest brushes I have. they are made specifically to be delicate on the skin. I recently bought their limited edition set from QVC and it is amazing. the brushes are extremely soft. I would recommend them over Illamasqua for sensitive skin as they are much softer. they are also a sturdier brush in my opinion.

  4. Hi Liza,
    Thanks for your quick reply. Great, thanks for that I will place an order with IT Cosmetics and try them out. Thanks again.

  5. Branded J brushes are also very soft but they are more for professional use because the handles are quite long. another brand not mentioned here is ABT. They are super soft but oddly weighted so you have to get used to the handle. but they are very inexpensive for the quality of bristle.

  6. Yes I was about to order some Branded J eye brushes the other day but was put off by the long handles. I don't like short handles but I'm not keen on extra long handles either. I will check out ABT thanks. What would be an alternative to Branded J for eye brushes? Are Cozzette and OCC eye brushes soft?

  7. yes Cozzette eye brushes are phenomenal. they have a larger selection than OCC. I Also loke Royal & langnickel silk green line, bdellium tools green/pink/yellow bambu 776 & 785 are must have blending brushes for me. Kelley Quan eyeshadow brushes are very soft & silky, also Furless just made their brown blending brush available for sale. it used to only be a gift with purchase. great for blending a little larger than the bdellium tools 776 which is a perfect cf dupe for mac 217. for bdellium pink brushes have longer handles than green bambu. you can't go wrong with Cozzette

  8. I have both Bdellium tools pink 776 & 785 based on your blog and love them also. I will try out Cozzette and also look into the other brands you mentioned. Be sure to let us know if you come across any other amazing brushes :) Thanks for your help!

  9. Have you tried Wayne Goss brushes? What do you think about?


Comments/Questions are highly encouraged. However please refrain from posting links to other sites. I cannot always respond personally to every post, but appreciate and read them all.