Wednesday, 25 May 2011

My Brush Collection

It's been almost a year since I posted this look at my brush collection. It would be fair to say that time flies and my collection continues to grow. I've even manage to outgrow the vase and quite a lot of them have found a new home in my brush roll.

My urge to post this came after my brush washing session at the weekend. I hate washing brushes, it's so boring and my dislike is often used as an excuse to buy more so I can go longer between washes (you can't beat a bit of girl logic). The trouble is, the more brushes, the longer it takes when I finally get around to it. Here are most of them lined up after my efforts on Sunday.

brush collection2

Face Brushes
face brushes1

I seem to have quite a collection of face brushes. I have a lot for cheek application, a few general powder brushes and not much in the way of foundation brushes. I have a foundation brush from The Body Shop, I don't really get on with it but keep it mostly because I'm a hoarder. Since I originally purchased it, the synthetic GOSH brush seems to have undergone a name change and is now listed as a foundation brush. I've only ever used it to blend out blusher so maybe I should give it a try with a foundation to see how I get on.

Large Face Brushes
face brushes2

Of my large face brushes, I get most use from my Sigma F25 and MAC 129. I use both regularly for bronzer. The ELF Complexion brush is lovely and soft and is a favourite with my daughter (I don't mind letting her play with this one because of the bargain price). The MAC 187 is mostly reserved for pigmented blushers.

Small Face Brushes (Contour and Blusher)
face brushes4

I do seem to have a little *thing* for contour brushes. I tend to prefer them for applying blusher as I find their size and shape good for precise application. I suppose I reach for my MAC 168 brushes most of all. The Ruby + Millie is the least use and I tend to use that for dusting face powder on the T-zone. The Rouge Bunny Rouge Contour brush is super soft on the face and I find the size and shape excellent for blusher application. Like the 187, I'd always used the MAC 188 for blusher. After seeing a couple of makeup artists use it for foundation I've given it a try myself. I love the polished effect it gives but it is a beast to clean afterwards!

Fluffy Eye Brushes
eye brushes2

I love my MAC 227 brush. I suppose I shouldn't really class it as a fluffy brush as it's probably more like a super-sized laydown brush. I bought it after watching a Pixiwoo video and it's been an excellent investement. I use it for applying a base colour all over the lid, I also use it on the brow bone.

Of my fluffy blenders, I like the Sigma the least. It's a bit too big for me and quite floppy! The travel sized MAC 224 is my most used and one of these days I will treat myself to a full-sized version. The RBR has become a favourite for a light wash of colour in the crease. I used it to apply LM Sable to the crease in this recent post.

Crease Brushes
eye brushes5

The MAC 217 really is an excellent shaped brush. I do find mine isn't as soft as I'd like and the hairs have been prone to breackage but I wonder if this a fault with my brush as I've never heard these complaints before? The Sigma E35 (or SS217 as it was called) is ok, it's softer and not as densely packed as the MAC  217. It still does an reasonable job of crease application but I prefer the MAC. The No.7 blender is very similar in shape to these other two but I haven't used enough yet to give a fair review.

The Cozzette brushes were sent to me recently for review (coming shortly). Cozzette brushes are vegan professional standard makeup brushes made from synthetic fibres. They are incredibly precise for application of colour, especially the Stylist Illustrator D330 brush.

I've ranted about the MAC 226 brush before. It's a great brush, it's just a shame it's so scratchy. The Smashbox has potential but could do with being more densely packed and I recently reviewed The London Brush Company blenders here. The smaller of the two is such a little gem of a brush and I've found myself reaching for it a lot to apply darker colours along the lashline.

Lid Brushes
eye brushes7

These are pretty much a staple for me. Without a decent brush for packing on lid colour, I'd be lost. I'll start off by saying The Body Shop eyeshadow brushes just don't work for me. The synthetic fibres simply don't pick up or apply product properly. I think it's preferable to use these for cream products. The MAC 213 was my first 'lid' brush and I still think it's a great little brush but I tend to reach for the 239 in preference, possibly because of the shape.

The ELF C-shape brush is ok for eyeshadow application but it's a little short on surface for good lid application. I tend to use it more for applying dark colour precisely on the outer corner before using a blending brush. The RBR Large Shader is excellent for adding a base colour quickly to the mobile lid and it's a good multi-purpose choice because of the size and shape.

Both The London Brush Company Shadow Blender and Cozzette D225 are excellent brushes for eyehshadow application but they shine at different things. The Cozzette is great for cream or wet products. The LBC is very good at gripping product, so a good choice for eyeshadows that I have a tendency for fallout. I must review both of these brushes very soon.

Small Detail Brushes
eye brushes8

Although I tend to just use a brow pencil these days, the MAC 266 is my brush of choice when using powder to fill in my brows. The bristles are quite stiff and scratchy but they work very well on brow hairs. The Ruby + Millie eyeliner brush is my favourite slanted eyeliner brush. I haven't used it with gel eyeliner, I always use my MAC 210 for that but I like this for applying eyeshadow along the lashes. It hasn't been totally usurped by the small London Brush Company blender as this one is good for a more definite line as opposed to a smoky line. I don't seem to reach for my MAC 219 as much these days but I still think it's a well made and quite versatile brush, especially for those with larger eyes.

I do have some other brushes knocking about it different makeup bags and even some in palettes which I've missed here. I do hope this post has been interesting. If you have any questions about particular brushes do feel free to ask away, I know I've rather whizzed through them all!


  1. Nice collection!! I really need to try a new blush brush. Maybe time to try the 168. It's not just you with the 217 either. I experience breakage with it as well :-( I could live without my 239 but the only thing that's kept me from buying a second is that I like using all my $$ for colour!

  2. Fabulous collection! I have a thing for brushes lately, so this post is right up my alley. :)

  3. We have the same favourite brushes. GREAT. MINDS.

    The Ruby & Millie slanted brush is my favourite for applying powder liner. Their pointed concealer brush is also brilliant for gel liner but sadly don't think it's available any more.

    Why do all the best things get discontinued?!

  4. Great collection, I really enjoyed this. I have something of a collection myself but I always love having a nosey at other people's to see what I might be missing out on. I've been eyeing up the MAC 188 for a while (years even), I really should pick one up.

  5. Wow brilliant collection, i bet it took ages to write this post, love how you explained all of them in detail. Very helpful post xx

  6. Love this! You have pretty much all the brushes I want haha esp the 168 :) Lovely post!

  7. Fab post!! Your brushes are soo well kept also, they look new! ;)

  8. Great brush collection! I use the 168 to apply blush too - it's great for that purpose :)

  9. Fantastic brush overview, mm though makes me want more brushes hahahaha :D

  10. That's alot of brushes! I'm so very jealous :)

    Emma Dony - Twitter @emmzbrain

  11. Beautiful collection! I hate washing brushes too- it takes so long but worth it in the end.

    I need replacement 217 mine is looking raggedy.

    Glad you like the ELF powder brush- it's great for the price and if it gets pitiful - toss it! xx

  12. @Perilously Pale: Thank you! I’m totally with you on spending on colour instead of brushes which is the reason I still don’t own any Louise Young or Hakuhodo brushes. The urge will grab me now and again though (as you can see). The 168 is a good shape for blusher in my opinion.

    @HDTM: I heard you mention LMdB brushes so of course you’ve piqued my interest in those now. I still have a lot of brushes on my wishlist.

    @Product Pixie: We obviously have great taste ;). I’m glad I bought a replacement for the slanted eyeliner brush whilst I could. I’d given a previous one to a friend and really missed it. I have an Ecotools version which I couldn’t find for this post, I don’t like it as much though. It is a pest that all the best things get the chop :(

    @star_violet: Thank you! I got quite a few of the MAC ones at Bicester Village, including the 187. I haven’t been in ages but I always like browsing the brushes in there.

    @nicoletta: It didn’t take as long as I thought it might. I felt bad just posting pictures without giving a bit of an overview. Do you have a large collection of brushes for your kit?

    @Yu: Thank you! I love the 168 and I reach for it a lot, hence the need for two (more brush washing avoidance).

    @beautyWowza: Obviously that painfully dull time spent at the sink is paying off! I just got a Becca brush soap and I’m hoping that will speed things up when I wash them.

    @dempss: Thank you! It’s good to know I’m not alone using the 168 in that way. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t use it successfully for contour!

    @Jadegrrrl: I always want more brushes. Looking at The Non-Blonde and Delicate Hummingbird’s brush posts is terrible vice of mine. If only I had more face to use them all on!

    @Emma: Yes, there definitely are a lot of brushes there! Most of them are used quite regularly which always makes me feel better. I’m a sucker for the brushes ;)

    @Jeanie: Thanks Jeanie. You’re right the washing is definitely worth it in the end. I must get another 217, even if it’s just to satisfy myself that my current one isn’t a dud. The ELF brush is lovely and so soft which I think is why baby girl likes it so much. She’s surprisingly skilled at using it to apply blusher for her age :-O. Thank you so much for introducing me to it xx

    Thanks for all of your lovely comments,
    Jane x

  13. Oh, I haven't been to Bicester in ages either :-( I moved away from Oxford a while back (I'm now in Reading). I must go back to the CCO..!

  14. Impressive! I do tend to go with your idea of buying more to get me out of washing them so often :)
    I think I am going to try some of those Pixiwoo ones, are you? x

  15. Great post, love the way you categorized them!!!
    You seem to have a well-rounded collection at this moment!!! :)

    My collection is lacking a good face contour brush and a second eye crease brush (I have the 217, but would love to try the newer Louise Young one too), as well as a couple of kabukis...!

    I find that a good brush collection is a work in progress, especially if one is looking to get sth more high end and slightly more durable!


  16. @Anita: There’s always the one in Swindon to try as well. Not that I’m trying to encourage you of course ;)

    @Replica: I’m glad it’s not just me. I’m not sure about the Pixiwoo brushes. I haven’t really felt tempted. What about you?

    @Tina: Yes, it really is an ongoing thing collecting brushes. I have some that I would love to buy but require a lot of saving for. They do last well though if you take good care of them.

    Jane x

  17. Hello Jane,
    I think I will order some of the Pixiwoo, probably 2 of the sets, I think for the price if they aren't all that I won't be too upset, from what I have read so far it does seem that the face brushes are getting a lot of good feedback (not so much the eye brushes) x

  18. WOW! Fab collection from one brush junkie to another! I love reading posts on brush collections :)
    p.s. I also suffer from the same problem with washing my brushes I just hate the whole process.

  19. 'Girl logic'? no, it's common sense, in order to ensure you have a clean brush each time you do you makeup, you must have LOTS....all the brushes. It's my story and I'm sticking to it!


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