Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The London Brush Company

I mentioned my interest in The London Brush Company brushes a little while ago and was kindly sent a few to try. I wanted to share with you a couple of my favourites.

The brushes shown above are No. 17, the Luxe Socket Blender (top) and No. 18, the Small Luxe Socket Blender (bottom). These brushes are what inititally attracted me to the brand. I really like shape and as someone with relatively small eyes, these are perfect for my needs. I use the large socket blender to do crease work and love the fact that it allows me to be more precise with placement yet doesn't blob on so much I can't blend.

I use the small socket brush to apply eyeshadow densely along the lashline. It's similar in design to the MAC 219 pencil brush as it has a tapered dome shape, but the smaller size allows for more precision and the bristles seems to be better at packing colour on. I found it particularly good for use with dark colours that I've previously found too sheer to make a good liner, such as the dark teal from my Chantecaille Turtles palette. I think this would work well to smudge eyeliner too.

I've included pictures of the brushes compared to some others that I own, to give you a better idea of their size. The larger socket brush is most similar to the Smashbox Definer brush, the difference being that it is more densely packed and the Smashbox brush is more floppy in comparion. The small socket brush is pretty much unique in my collection. It's quite a bit smaller than the MAC 219 and allows for much more precision. It's more rounded at the tip too.

L-R: MAC 226, MAC 219, Small Socket Brush, Luxe Socket Brush, Smashbox Definer brush, GOSH smudger brush

L-R; MAC 219, Luxe Socket Brush, Smashbox Definer Brush

Small socket brush compared to MAC 219

The London Brush Company brushes are handmade in the UK and designed by makeup artist Siân Richards. I believe both of these socket brushes are made from Squirrel hair. The brush hairs feel soft but not overly so, they pick up and hold colour well and have just the right amount of give. I think they use the word springy on the website which I think is an excellent description. They're definitely not scratchy which is a problem I often have with brushes that have the right shape and firmness (MAC 226, I'm looking at you). Price wise, these are around the MAC mark, maybe a little bit more. I think they're well priced for the quality and unique shape.

The London Brush Company brushes are available directly from their website or from www.cocktailcosmetics.co.uk. Both ship Internationally. I can highly recommend browsing the Cocktail Cosmetics website as they stock some amazing (and often hard to source) brands like Julie Hewett, La Femme Cosmetics and OCC.

Disclosure: These brushes were sent to me without cost for consideration for review.


  1. These look good, I have also struggled with putting shadows in the socket line as the brushes I have are all too big and put it over too wide an area. I am a tight wad when it comes to brushes (even though I know you get what you pay for!) assume the GOSH smudger is a fair bit cheaper? Do you think its effective or would I be wiser to stump up for a better brush? Sorry to pick your brains! x

  2. The GOSH brush is a mini size one which I tend to use as a travel brush. It's not fantastic as it's not quite the right size or shape for crease work but a little on the large side for a pencil brush. If you're looking for a smaller crease brush that's not too expensive, how about the Revlon blender? I've been meaning to try that for some time.

  3. These look lovely, and really good quality. Hadn't heard of them before - thanks!

  4. Oooh, these look/ sound lovely. I love blending/ pencil brushes. I also like the way they have displayed them on their site, with close ups of each one - saves you flicking through trying to find something you're after.

  5. Oh I must have these! I have 14, 15 and 16.

  6. Thank you for a very interesting post Jane. I had not heard of the London Brush Company I must admit, and the small socket brush looks perfect for me.
    Just like Debbie I had high hopes for the GOSH brush but I find it scratchy and too big. The 219 , although useful, is still not ideal. This one though, looks pretty much the right size...
    Nina x

  7. I've never heard of this company but I'm glad to learn of it. I love brushes and have a big collection because I'm always searching for the best. I'm glad to know too that they ship internationally.

  8. Thanks for this review! I love smaller brushes, and these look just perfect! :) x

  9. @Alice: I have a feeling that although they’re called The London Bush Co. and made in the UK, they’re based in the States. I think the brushes are lovely quality and hopefully they’ll become better known over here. They’re well worth a look.

    @BBH: I agree on how they’re displayed, makes it easy to pick out the shape you want. The small one has fast becoming a favourite, I’ve never had anything similar.

    @Sheenie: Thank you so much for putting me on to these. The shapes have been so well considered from a use point of view I think.

    @Nina: I love the small socket brush for adding definition on the lash line. The GOSH one is such an odd one as it doesn’t fulfil any purpose properly.

    @Marcia: Hi! I think although it says London in the name and they are made here, they’re actually distributed from the US. The shipping from their website is International postage for us if you see what I mean?

    @Makeup Magpie: You’re welcome. I still keep reaching for these all the time. The smallest is definitely a favourite.

    Jane x

  10. Hello ladies... This is a little after the fact, but last year was busy!!!
    Siân Richards here, owner and designer of The London Brush Company!! Firstly, I am delighted that you love the brushes with such passion - I have put a lot of love, care, time and 22 years of experience as a makeup artist in movies in their design - I think I know what works!!!

    I have clients buying from me directly from all over the world and I do ship globally, so it's no problem to get them to you - and we have new styles and products online now too.. For new updates, please join the Facebook page!

    If you do buy online, remember that the UK£ is still stronger than the US$ and you will not pay VAT, so you save a lot.

    I noticed that one of you girls was saying how she does not like to spend money on products.. Well, it's a matter of weighing things up really isn't it... When you buy one of my brushes, it will last for years - I have some of my father's makeup brushes from when he was a makeup artist back in the 60's and they still hold up! I don't use them any more at all, but when you buy quality, it will last forever and the brushes are not and more expensive than those by Bobbi Brown or Laura Mercier to name just two..

    So, have a beautiful May bank holiday and see you online!

    Best Wishes


    1. Thank you so much for coming to say hello Siân. I really appreciate you taking the time to come and share your passion. I have a few more of your brushes since I wrote this review and they are amongst my favourite eyeshadow brushes.

      I hope you have a lovely bank holiday weekend too,

  11. I am a makeup artist and bought a brush set from London Brush Company. The lacquer flaked off all the brushes I used most! Quality of handle not up to par with MAC brushes - just too delicate. And beware of the return policy - she will absolutely not refund money - only exchanges. Best to stick with a more reputable and more established company to avoid problems in my opinion. Brushes are too expensive and important to mess around.


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