I went through a phase end of last year where I forbade myself from buying any extra makeup but could easily justify makeup brushes since they don’t go bad. Having added six new brushes into my collection, I can say there is a lesson to be learned when it comes to higher end brushes. I’d be the first one admit to being a bit of high end makeup advocate but I have never really dwelled into the the realm of artisan brushes. Now, I have briefly over a past months and perhaps I feel like I’m a bit too rough with my brushes to justify any new additions any time soon. But let’s get into my thoughts on a sampling of the Surratt, Rae Morris and few others.
Kevyn Aucoin Blush Brush – this brush was my first endeavour into the Kevyn Aucoin brushes when I was looking for a new blush brush to use with my softer powders. The goat bristles is lovely to the touch and the brush is loosely packed but still has a fair amount of resistance. I actually much prefer this shape to the dome shape of the Bobbi Brown Blush Brush as it fits my face better. I find I can easily control where the product goes despite it not being the smallest brush out there and it always deposits the product really evenly. It is slightly softer and less dense than the Bobbi Brown blush and works exceptionally well with highly pigmented products.
Kevyn Aucoin Contour Brush – this brush gets a lot of backlash for being quite dense but I think some might confuse density with softness. Now I’m slowly learning the KA brushes are not the softest out there but personally I find that brushes can in fact be too soft and these are well priced for the hair quality you get. Being a fan of the Tom Ford Terra Bronzer and also recently the YSl Rosy Contouring Duo which both are quite hardly pressed, this is in fact the ideal brush to use. I used to apply contour with the Inglot 4SS and that is one scratchy brush. This one is a no brainer, fits perfect in the contours of the face and never gives me any harsh lines. I’m yet to try it with a softer contour powder but I reckon with a soft tap, it should be just fine as I don’t imagine this brush picking too much product.
Kevyn Aucoin Base Shadow Brush – I initially picked this up to be an all over wash of eye colour kind of brush and while it certainly works beautiful on the eye, I find it a bit too large. This is the same hair as the previous two and as far density goes it falls right between the looseness of the Blush brush and the density of the Contour brush. It is slightly tapered but mostly flat and my personal preference is too use it as a highlighter brush. While I enjoy the Urban Decay Diffusing Highlighter brush for a standard powder formula, I felt like that wonder that is the Chanel Illuminating Powder needed a much gentler bristle. This one fits perfectly on tops of the cheekbones and down the bridge of the nose and I’ve unconsciously a created a whole Kevyn Aucoin cheek dream team.
Surratt Highlight Brush – let me address the elephant in the room because I’m not sure I’ll spend over £100 on a makeup brush any time soon. Why? The squirrel hair is the absolute softest in my collection and you can definitely see where the price tag is coming from. The build of the brush is immaculate and in theory, this should be a versatile brush. Yet I feel I picked the wrong brush to try as my first artisan brush because I simply haven’t used it much. It is definitely too big to use for highlighter, too tapered to use for blush and most of my contours are too hardly pressed to use with a brush so soft. I anticipate this working for a softer face powder but I tend to use my Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt brush for that so I’m really at a loss as to how to use it. I bought it with the Nars Paloma contour in my mind and when in use, it performed beautifully but not the best choice to use with only one product. I can say that I finally understand the difference between the Japanese artisan brushes and the rest of the bunch though
Rae Morris Creme Shadow Brush – I have been shopping around for a Mac 217 upgrade for quite some time and finally decided on the Rae Morris take which has since been permanently stained with Nars St Paul de Vence. This one is a blend of natural and synthetic bristles but let’s just say this is too dear for me to ever use with cream products. It has less resistance than 217 meaning it is much more delicate on the eye but will pick up less product so depending on my needs, I still reach for 217 quite frequently. I enjoy it best for all over the lid wash of colour but it truly is a pleasure to blend with as well – I’d say it does exactly what I wanted a 217 upgrade to do. One last detail, the handle is a lot shorter than most on my eye brushes and I actually find it more comfortable to hold that way.
Hourglass Domed Shadow Brush – I find that Hourglass have quite a few brushes that would fit perfectly into my collection but I’m rather apprehensive about purchasing synthetic brushes especially when the price range is on par with KA natural bristles. I picked this one up though as it seemed to be a chunky pencil brush that would enable me to smoke the lash line really quickly. Needless to say I can’t imagine I put up with the Mac 219 for so long because in comparison to the Hourglass, it is just so unpleasant to use. Of course, the 219 deposits more pigment and I would still love to get a softer pencil brush but I’ve really enjoyed it for a very soft dark brown shadow along the lash line. I don’t find it picks up product particularly well on harder pressed shades but there is something about the synthetic bristles that holds onto the product quite well with softer shades.
Summing up I am definitely pleased with the performance of the Kevyn Aucoin brushes and the only downside I can think of is that some of the hair go astray but it only effects the visual aspect of the brush and not the application. Construction wise Surratt, Rae Morris and Hourglass feel somewhat more sophisticated but I do enjoy the transparent handle on the KA brushes as well. I would definitely try more brushes from Rae Morris but as much as I love the feel of the Hourglass, I don’t think the synthetic bristles are worth the price tag. I think it’s pretty clear I won’t be looking at Surratt for a while but I would love to experiment with some artisan brushes, perhaps eye brushes are a better bet. Do you have any suggestions?