Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Low Budget and Low Maintenance Brushes

Once upon a time, I had a nice collection of Stila makeup brushes. Through negligence (laziness), my collection died off bit by bit. Many brushes simply became scratchy (thus a pain in the eye) as I was washing them improperly (or too frequently), while other suffered much more tragic ends: I am not sure if it was my little brother or black magic, some of the brushes would disappear and reappear shaved or completely bald.
Starting from 2010, I started to focus on buying only synthetic or budget (most of the time I buy drugstore brands that are synthetic) brushes, so that they are easier to take care of and won't hurt my wallet too much if I were to replace them. Here is my working brush collection that works with my basic (aka, no skill) makeup need at the moment. Let's start with the eye brushes...
Ecotools Slanted Eyeliner (from the three piece mini set that cost me 99 cents!) - Small, resilient and very precise. Would be perfect for gel liners but I only use it with powder shadow at the moment.
Laura Mercier Slanted Eyeliner Brush (freebie with the baked cake liner) - With a larger contact area. This one is great for using with cake eyeliner (what it was intended for) and damped powder/cream like L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadow.
Stila No.4 Eyeliner Brush (this one survived!) - Designed for their smudge pots but I only use it for smaller areas on the eyes (tear duct or under eyes). Soft enough for what it is and last well through the ages.
Sonia Kashuk Tapered Eyeliner - It's a thick (for eyeliner) brush that also managed to be precise at the same time. It seems perfect for a thick cat flick (which I have no lid space for) with a gel liner but most of the time, I just use it to dot on concealer.
Loew-Cornell watercolor brush (forgot the name) - This is small and the fine, flat edge works well for gel liners, not so great for watercolor though.

Elf Studio Contour Brush - Soft but it's too slippery (lacks traction) so it doesn't spread the color evenly. Since I don't even have a blending brush so this will do for now. At least, it was better than the C brush (C shaped brush that's meant for deposit a big chunk of color) which I also got (that one is abandoned in Texas).
Ecotool Airbrush Concealer - Far too big for my concealing needs (dots of hyperpigmentation) but this is fluffy and feels like natural hair and seems great for blending out powder eyeshadow.
Elf Eyeshadow Brush - I think I have had it for 6 years at least(I had to rummage through the stock at HEB to find a brush that looked properly cut). It has been (had been? since the head just feel off because the glue contracted in cold weather. I will glue it back.) the perfect eye basic for depositing color and spread it evenly. I always tried to get a backup these years, but their quality for the dollar-range brush is just getting worse and worse.
Studio Gear Small Shader #21 - Does it still count as budget if the price is set at $24? (I got it on clearance for 6 bucks). It's compact, silky soft (for blending cream or creamy powder shadow)and stiff (enough to hold its shape and be directional). Great when I am working to 2+ shadow colors (and one or more being cream) and don't want to get my fingers messy.
Essence Eyeshadow - This is admittedly a bit pokey if I just use the tip (but still better than that blending brush from the same brand/line), great for digging out hard-pressed shadow. I will just use the side to spread.
Ecotools Eyeshadow Brush (from the mini set) - Too small, too stiff so I use ended up using it for brow (or not using it? Brow pencils are so much more convenient).

Now to the face brushes...
Ecotool Tapered Blush Brush - Just the right size for the cheeks. Again, this also feels like natural hair with a bit of puff and fluff (and no plastic feeling I get with other nylon brushes from Essence). I would like it a little more if the bamboo handle didn't crack the day after I bought it.
Essence Blush Brush (newer and older / pink and beige both discontinued) - Used to be the two workhorses for my cheek needs (still are) and the best bang for the buck (later replaced by 3ce pink kabuki). They are soft, small, efficient (for softer or sheer blushes. No fancy contouring though) and very easy to clean and wash. The beige one's ferrule cracked a bit (after so many years and washes) but I am using it till the end.
Lastly, here are a quick run down with my face brush (mostly for cheek color), Even though I like bold pigmented blushes, I think I always ended up reaching for the pale ones because they are hard to overdo and also double up as setting powder for concealer.

 Too Faced Retratable Kabuki 2014 edition - This stuff is huge. (Great for buffing in powder/bronzer and nothing else...That's why I don't use it).
Too Faced Kabuki (older version) - Compact, cute and has been with me for 5 years.
3 Concept Eyes Kabuki - A new fluffy favorite for pretty much the same cheek needs. It probably only works for lighter colors since I can't tell how much product is on the brush (as many of my cheek colors are in this shades of coral pink).
Too Faced Flatbuki - Small, bouncy and full (feels full sized despite being compact) for cheek color on the go.
Cargo Magic Brush - Dense and probably great for buffing (I won't find out how great because I don't have anything to buff). Sometime I dampen it and use it to wash my face...

 So, here are all the brushes that are serving me well (at the moment). Since I haven't come across any drugstore lip brush with decent quality, I am just using the flabby (it seems to be designed that way) retractable brush by Shiseido. I am planning on getting another one though, either repurchasing one by Anna Sui (the tip fell off then the lid went missing) or one by Paul & Joe. I do plan to invest an eye brush or two (by one of those Japanese brands)but I haven't really decided which one I want yet.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You have quite a collection there, way more than the make-do brushes I owned then. Sadly, I made the same mistake, as in washing them improperly and way too often, and most of my Stila brushes were destroyed as well :(


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