Friday, February 2, 2018

Best Synthetic Makeup Brushes - 2018 Edition

Some of the brushes mentioned in this post may have been sent to me for review.  I do not get paid to write reviews, all thoughts are my own.

Best Synthetic Makeup Brushes - 2018 Edition

As some of you may have noticed, it has been quite some time since I have blogged! My life has taken me in some new directions, but my love of makeup, and all things related has never changed.  When I first started this blog in 2012, my goal was to have a place where people could come to learn about makeup.  More specifically, I wanted those looking for a cruelty-free option, especially in terms of makeup brushes, to benefit from the knowledge I've gained on my own personal beauty journey. Years back when I began searching for high quality makeup brushes, my choices were dismal. I kept buying and trying every new synthetic-bristled brush that I could get my hands on in search of the perfect ones.

Today, my dream of having a large selection of quality, cruelty-free makeup brushes available at all price points has come true. The world of makeup brushes has dramatically changed for the better, and we have more choice now than ever before! While synthetic hair makeup brushes have been available for a long time, the quality and selection was severely lacking. I want to share with you which brushes I love, and which ones I didn't to help you save money, and find the brushes that will work best for your lifestyle and your budget.

Like my very first post on this blog, I have gathered some brushes from my personal collection to share with you.  While my collection has grown immensely since then, I still continue to buy and own brushes across a variety of brands and price points. Below is a breakdown of these brushes and a look at some of my overall personal favorites.

Brush Categories by Purpose

Professional/Luxury Brushes: 
Hourglass, Furless, Sigma, Cozzette, Christopher Drummond, Kelley Quan, Urban Decay, Antonym, Royal and Langnickel S.I.L.K. Green Line (pictured below)

While there are many other brushes that fall into this category, above is a small sample of some of my personal favorites in this category. I define this category as brushes that are truly top quality and see these brands as some of the best that money can buy.  Any of these could be used for personal use or a professional makeup artist's kit.

Makeup Lover/Brush Collector:
Furless, Tokidoki 24K Brush (discontinued), Real Techniques (Bold Metals Collection), Sephora, Alima Pure (pictured below)

In my very first blog post, I used three categories: Professional/Luxury, Mid-Priced, and Personal Use. In this post, I have changed that up a bit.  Many brands now have multiple lines within them encompassing a variety of price points. For this reason, I broke up the categories to be defined by purpose rather than price. The same brand is pictured across more than one category depending on the specific brush pictured.

Budget Friendly (Personal Use):
Walgreens Brand, Real Techniques, Eco Tools, Elf, Coastal Scents (pictured below)

This is the price point that I am most excited to write about. Historically, choices were very limited and buying quality brushes without breaking the bank was a difficult task.  While the brands in this post are the very same that I wrote about years ago, I am happy to report that the selection and quality has vastly improved!  I think Real Techniques has really changed the makeup brush game. They offer several brush lines at a variety of price points. While I can only find most of their higher end brushes online, their more affordable Original Collection brushes can be purchased at my local Walgreens or Walmart. Eco Tools has also stepped up their game, offering a larger variety of brush styles, longer handles, and fuller brush heads. I must note, that the Elf brushes that I own continue to be some of the least expensive in my collection. However, they are also the only brushes I have that break regularly. Due to their highly affordable nature, I would recommend them only if someone is truly a beginner to makeup, and not looking to invest in brushes. The Coastal Scents synthetic brushes are not as soft as Real Techniques or Eco Tools, but they have lasted a long time for me without ever breaking.

So which brand of brush should you buy?  That really depends on what you want it for. Are you looking for quality makeup brushes that will last, feel soft against the skin, and apply makeup beautifully? Or are you looking for a gift for a teenager who is just experimenting with makeup and may only use a brush occasionally?  What is your budget?  Are you a makeup artist or looking to get into a career in cosmetology? With so many brushes on the market it is important to assess your needs before shopping so that you don't get pulled into cute marketing displays or impulse buys. It is also important to remember that if you take proper care of your brushes, clean them regularly and treat them gently, they can last you for years to come.

What About the Price?

Below are few brush types across a few different price points:

Eyeshadow Blending Brushes (left to right): Coastal Scents, Real Techniques Bdellium Tools, Furless, Sigma

You will note these eyeshadow brushes all have a similar shaped head. I call these my synthetic versions of the MAC 217.  Of all the brushes in my collection this is the shape I own the most of.  I tend to use multiple blending brushes when completing an eye look, and the hunt for the perfect one led me to buy and try as many brands as I could get my hands on. All of the brushes above will get the job done. The main difference can be seen in handle length, softness of bristles and fullness of brush head.

Above, I lined up the brushes from shortest brush handle to longest.  I personally find a shorter brush more comfortable when I am applying my own eye makeup and need to sit close to a mirror. However, if I am applying makeup to someone else, I prefer a longer handle.  The longest brush pictured above is from Furless. This brush is a staple in my professional kit because I love the long handle, and these bristles are so incredibly soft! I love that I never have to worry about it feeling scratchy on someone's eye.

I also did a side-by-side comparison of the Coastal Scents Classic Blender Brush Synthetic which sells for $2.95 and the Sigma E25 Blending Brush which sells for $16.00.  While these brushes look very similar side-by-side, the bristles feel very different on the skin. When ordering brushes online, it can be very hard to know what you are getting, and at first glance it can be hard to see a difference. I've owned both of these brushes for years, and the difference in quality is quite noticeable. The Sigma brush handle and construction feel much sturdier and appear to be made out of higher quality materials.

Fan Brushes (left to right): Elf Fan Brush, Royal and Langnickel Revolution BX-150, Real Techniques #304 Fan

As I was reviewing the prices that I paid for the above brushes I was actually taken by surprise. I knew that the Elf Fan brush was the least expensive of the three, ($4.00) but I honestly thought the Real Techniques #304 Fan brush would be less expensive than the Royal and Langnickel one.  The Real Techniques Fan brush sells for $12.99 on their website. While it is certainly a lovely brush I prefer the Royal and Langnickel brush which is available on their site for $7.99.  This Real Techniques fan brush is part of a new line from the brand, so perhaps the price will drop in the future. The Royal and Langnickel brush is one that I keep in my professional kit I have had it for years.  The construction is sturdy, and bristles are fuller than the other two fan brushes pictured.

Above you can see the Elf Fan brush along side the Real Techniques (least expensive compared to highest price of the three pictured above).  The Elf brush head, while having a wider fan, has the thinnest density of all three brushes.  As you can see some of the bristles have strayed out on the left side of the brush.  The Real Techniques brush is still in perfect condition, but this one is rather new to my collection.

Powder Brushes (left to right): Kelley Quan Synthetic Blue Squirrel Tapered Brush-Large ($65), Royal and Langnickel S.I.L.K. Synthetic Powder ($24.99), Real Techniques #300 Powder Brush ($12.99), Bdellium Tools Yellow Bamboo #980 Large Powder Brush ($17), Elf Complexion Brush ($4) 

The above brushes are in order by price, with the exception of the Real Techniques and Bdellium Tools brushes. I purchased the yellow brush as part of a complete set many years ago. I do not see it sold individually on their site, but their #980 Green Bambu brush is sold for $17 on their site.

As you can see all of the above brushes have a nice full head, with a variety of cuts, shapes and handle lengths. The most luxurious powder brush I own  is still the Kelley Quan Synthetic Blue Squirrel Tapered Brush-Large.  I have purchased multiples of this brush as well as other brushes from this brand because for me, they are the best quality makeup brushes with synthetic bristles on the market.  It is noteworthy that Real Techniques recently launched their PowderBleu Collection (not pictured) which like my Kelley Quan brush above is made of a synthetic filament meant to mimic blue squirrel hair.  The Real Techniques B01 Soft Powder Brush is available on their site for $21.  I do have a few brushes from this line, and while the hair is undeniably soft and luxurious, in comparison to my Kelley Quan brushes, their handles are not as high quality, and seem less durable. Since they are newer to my collection, only time will tell how well they will hold up over time.

If the Kelley Quan brush is out of your price range, I would recommend the Real Techniques PowderBleu brush over the Royal and Langnickel S.I.L.K. Synthetic Powder, as sadly the ferrule on my brush has come loose over time. I can tolerate this on an Elf brush at a $4 price point, but have a hard time recommending a brush that costs nearly $25 and has the same problem.  The Real Techniques #300 brush pictured above is new to my collection, so I do not have a feel yet for how it will hold up.  However I have a lot of brushes from this brand and in general all of them have stood up to many washes and heavy use.

I hope that you enjoyed this updated review of synthetic-bristled makeup brushes.  In my upcoming post, I will revisit the best brushes by brush type and provide you with a closer look at some more favorites from my collection. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

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.