Whew, how long has it been since I wanted to cover brushes? Forever. I had this on my "things to review" list for a really long time, and then I took it off because I had failed to deliver. However, I received a request (holla, Lelu's mami!), and that was motivation enough for me to get this done.
I am going to cover the brushes I use in a series of posts because there are too many to fit in one post. I mean, I don't want your butt to get numb from reading one very long post. As you know, I don't like to spend money on beauty, unless absolutely necessary. Also, I have a penchant for finding inexpensive alternative to expensive products. I know everyone says that makeup aficionados should invest in good brushes, but to be honest, I have had most excellent luck with less expensive, but effective brushes. The quest to find inexpensive brushes has led to thinking outside of the box and being creative. Sometimes, the brushes that was intended for the lips, really are great for the eye, or the brush that was meant for acrylic is wonderful for the crease.
Okay, so here is the first lineup. Let's attack them one by one:
1. MAC 217 (natural)
2. 1/2 Loew-Cornell 270 Maxine Mop (natural)
3. 1/4 Loew-Cornell AMM Mini Mop (natural)
4. Face Secrets Shadow Blender (natural)
5. Generic Large Shadow brush (I think from Walmart, natural)
6. E.L.F. Professional eye shadow brush (natural)
7. Face Secrets eye contour (natural)
8. 3/8 Loew-Cornell 270 maxine's mop (natural)
9. mark. travel eye shadow brush (natural)
1. The MAC 217-- I know, I know, this is not a cheap brush retailing at $22.50. However, I have searched high and low for an inexpensive dupe, and I have yet to find one that compares to this brush. The 217 is excellent for blending, all-over shadow applications, crease work, highlighting, and baby tickling. This brush is spectacularly versatile. When I first was introduced to this brush via Makeupgeek, I really wasn't convinced. I thought, "meh, my eyelid space is too small for this brush. It will never work." However, after more consideration (and stalking of the brush every time I entered the MAC store) I decided to buy it for my birthday. I really, really love this brush. I have even considered buying another one, but I read a tweet from Sigmamakeup a while back that said they were developing a dupe for the 217. So, I am going to hold out and see what Sigma comes up with. I really enjoy this brush because it is fluffy, but not flimsy. Therefore, it works well for color deposit, as well as, color diffusing. When turned horizontally this snugly fits into the crease to create a defined but blended contour. Plus, when traveling you could really just take this brush since it really can cover all of your bases. If you have very little lid space, then this brush may be too big for you. Get a true feel for it at a MAC store just to be sure if it works for you.
2. 1/2 Loew-Cornell 270 Maxine Mop (natural)--I got this at Micheals. I love to use art brushes for makeup. Why not? My face is my canvas and these brushes are soft enough to use. Plus, art brushes are durable and a fraction of the price of makeup brushes. This particular brush is great for covering the entire lid area. It is a soft, dense, flat shader brush. You can use this to pat on color onto the lid, you can do subtle blending around the edges of the shadow. You could also use this for highlighting. I use this every so often. I like it, but it isn't necessarily a must. I believe this was around $5, but Michaels throws these on sale all the time.
3. 1/4 Loew-Cornell AMM Mini Mop (natural)--Alright this sometimes seems to be called Ann's mini mop. However, the handle states that it is the AMM mini mop. I got this brush when I was looking for a MAC 217 dupe. However, the AMM brush is smaller, less dense, and softer. Even though it isn't a good 217 dupe, I still really enjoy this brush for all-over lid application, like a wash, and sometimes I use this for a very subtle crease. The blending capabilities kind of reminds me of the Sonia Kashuk blender brush, which is similar to the MAC 224, from what I have heard. This was about $3 to $4.
4. Face Secrets Shadow Blender (natural)--Wow, I have had this brush since high school. The Face Secrets brand can be found at Sally's and the brand has gotten a face lift. My brush has a wooden handle, but now they have black handles. This brush is wide, dense, and it has short hairs. The brush is intended for blending, but I think it is too wide and dense. I feel like this brush could muddy up the shades when blending. I like this for patting on highly pigmented shades and for more controlled application of shadows. Not a must have, just a fun to have. This was about $5.
5. Generic Large Shadow brush (I think from Walmart, natural)--Again, another wonderful cheap brush that I got a very long time ago. I include this one to prove that you don't need a name brand, expensive brush. I use this for all over washes, and it is in heavy rotation. The brush has the right amount of width and length to fit nicely on my lid. I can't even remember how much this brush was, but I do remember it being cheap.
6. E.L.F. Professional eye shadow brush (natural)--Another wonderful all-over shadow brush. This is like #5 but the hairs are a little shorter, as is the handle. Also, the end of the brush is a little more rounded. Another brush that is used heavily (you can't have enough of these type of brushes when working with several colors). This brush is especially excellent because it is only $1 at eyeslipsface.com. You really can't go wrong.
7. Face Secrets eye contour (natural)--Stellar brush for the lid. I love this brush because it is wide enough to deposit a wash of color in one swish, and the pointed end easily goes into the inner corner of my eye without depositing color about the inner corner. In other words, this is like those corner vacuum cleaners that hit the hard to reach spaces. I have also used it for contouring, but it isn't my favorite for that. Here is an example of using the brush for something it wasn't really meant for. I got this brush in high school, and it has held up excellently. About $5 at Sally's.
8. 3/8 Loew-Cornell 270 maxine's mop (natural)--A flat, shader brush. Really good for packing on the color. I use this a lot when I am going for dramatic color. This is about $4 at Michaels, but you can also find this at any art store really, and maybe for less.
9. mark. travel eye shadow brush (natural)--mark. has changed the appearance of this brush a lot since this model came out. This brush is part of a travel kit, and I definitely love to use it when on travel or just at home. I like this for blending the edges out, but it also works for washes, and it fits nicely into the crease for crease work. I also like to use this to get color inside the inner corner. A winner. Two downers, very short handle and only comes in a travel kit.
Out of these, I would say that the MAC 217, 3/8 Maxine Mop, and the Face Secrets eye contour brushes are "must haves." Of course, it's all about finding out what works. One tip, when getting the art brushes, be sure to wash before use. They come with a light coat of glue to maintain the shape while on display in the store.
Questions? Comments? Drop a line.
More to come, I promise. You can check my flickr photostream for a sneak peak of the other eye brushes to come.