Why use synthetics?
- It's the only way I can be sure that no animal suffered in the creation of the brush
- They are easier to clean
- They repel bacteria better than animal hair.
- Many people have allergies to animal hair brushes.
- Synthetic brushes work with both cream and powder products.
Quality synthetic brushes are available at ALL price points. I will show you the best of the best (pro level), Mid level (makeup artists just starting out, or someone who wants to invest in good quality brushes), and the perfect inexpensive ones for someone just starting out.
I will also show you my personal favorites regardless of price point.
First up, is Professional Level / Luxury: Hourlgass, Illamasqua, Christopher Drummond, Sephora Brand.
Others to note:
Branded J, OCC, and Cozzette also make very high end synthetic brushes that are supposed to be amazing quality, but I have not tried them other than the OCC lip brush, so I can't comment on their quality. In my personal opinion, the brushes listed below are superior quality.
From left to right: Hourglass Powder Brush No. 1, Illamasqua Blusher Brush 2, Christopher Drummond Air Blender Brush (this brush is awesome for applying blush or highlighter), Sigma Precision Flat -P80, Sephora Brand Pro Airbrush #55, Sephora Brand Pro Angled Blush Brush #49, Crease Brush from Sephora Brand Advanced Airbrush Set, Concealer Brush from the Sephora Collection Deluxe Antibacterial Brush set
Mid Level Price Point (Makeup Artists, or for a makeup lover who wants really good quality brushes): BDellium (I only buy their synthetics or Green Bambu series which is a totally vegan and environmentally friendly line), Urban Decay, Tokidoki. In no way am I saying these are of poor quality by calling them mid level. These brushes are excellent quality. However the price point is much more affordable when compared against the Hourglass brushes above. The quality of these brushes are great, but they are not a luxury line and it's really like comparing apples and oranges to compare one of these against an Hourglass brush (for example). However, these are superior among their price point. For comparison; the Illamasqua Blusher Brush 2 above retails for $41.50, and the Hourglass Powder Brush retails for $65 while the Urban Decay Good Karma Blush Brush below retails for $32, the Good Karma Powder Brush (not pictured) is $36. The handles are also much shorter on the Urban Decay & BDellium brushes when compared to the pro brushes above. There is nothing wrong with this, it is simply a matter of personal preference. Some makeup artists prefer a shorter handle and use it as an extension of their own fingers/hands, while some prefer a longer handle.
From left to right: Urban Decay Blush Brush, Tokidoki 24K Brush (discontinued), BDellium Tools Eco-Friendly #957 Precision Kabuki
Personal Use (For Beginers / Budget Friendly): This price point probably is the most difficult, because there are so many poor brushes out there. Just because you don't have a lot of money, doesn't mean you can't still have a quality makeup brush. These brushes come highly recommended by me, and if I were someone just starting out with makeup, these are the brushes I would (and did) buy. I wasted a lot of money buying garbage brushes before I found ones that are worth the money. I am trying to save you the trouble, by offering you my honest review. I still use these brushes when I am doing my own makeup, or want some extra precision brushes to throw in my bag.
Of these brushes, Real Techniques are hands down the best quality brush in this category. They are extremely affordable, and EXCELLENT quality. These were created by makeup artists Samantha Chapman. I am extremely impressed with the quality of her brushes. If you invest in one set, this should be it. However, I realize that due to price constraints, different interest levels in makeup, availability etc, you may want a different brand. E.L.F. brushes are very good, and very affordable as they frequently have sales. The one thing I will say about the E.L.F. brushes, is that I have had several come loose at the Ferrel, some with the bristles falling off completely. However, I was able to just glue those back in to place. These brushes do have a place in a makeup artists kit as well. I do buy the concealer brushes from the Essential Collection and treat them as disposables, using them until they break because they only cost $1 each. The Powder Brush from their E.L.F. Studio Collection is a cult favorite and for only $3 it functions very much the same as the BDellium brush I have listed above in the mid level section. The difference between the 2 brushes is going to be mainly seen in how long the brush lasts. For example, my E.L.F. one did come apart (though was fixable), while the BDellium is showing no signs of breaking anytime soon. ECO Tools is in many ways the brand that first raised awareness about quality synthetics. This is the brand that is most available (carried at Walmart), and the one most buy as their first brush set. Some brushes, most notably the Alicia Silverstone collection are quite good, and will work very well for beginners.
How do the various price points hold up against one another? I tried to show you comparison across brush type. If you'd like to see a more in depth comparison let me know.
E.L.F. on left, Illamasqua on right - a closer look
This is part one of my very long brush review. I honestly hope you find it helpful. I'll post part 2 shortly where I will show you the top 5 brushes you need, and the best and worst synthetic eye blending brushes (VERY HARD TO FIND!).