Thursday, 3 May 2012

A little bit about brushes

Hi everybody, 

I have another collective haul post again today for you, but today it's on a subject that is very dear to me- makeup brushes. Call me a pedant if you must but I think it is absolutely ridiculous to have a great makeup collection and no decent tools to apply this makeup. I wouldn't say I have alot of brushes but I really take care of the brushes I have- I have my MAC brushes for seven years now and I am fastidious about washing them, drying them properly and making sure they are clean and kept in good condition.

In this post, I'll just briefly run through what I have, what I use them for, how I keep them clean and how I store them all.


So as anybody that knows me will tell you, I love my eyeshadows, and I have a few brushes that I use over and over again. My eye brushes come from a few different places- I picked some up in Sephora when I was living in France a few years ago, I have alot of the ELF essential line eye brushes which I absolutely love, ELF Studio brushes, and Bobbi Brown brushes that I picked up a few years back.

I have a few Sephora brushes in my collection- nos. 9, 19 and 27, and for years these were my eye brushes of choice, and I am still very fond of them. They survived the constant use and cleaning over the years and served me well, and I have plenty of years left in them yet.

I absolutely love the ELF eye brushes from the essentials line, and as you can see, I have two of some of my favourite ones- including the Eyeshadow and Blending Eye brushes. I use these like pretty much every day.I also love the Eye Crease brush because the head of it is actually smaller than the Blending brush and I would use these in tandem. These are staples of my brush collection for sure- love them- these have never shed on me yet- I use and wash them all the time and they are still going strong. I also have some other brushes from the ELF essential line that I don't actually use too much- the Defining Eye Brush, the Eye Liner Brush (in my opinion the bristles are too long and move too much- a bit messy with cream eyeliners- I usually find myself using these to pat cream eyeshadow onto my lids and they are great for this), the Smudge Eye Sponge (it's a bit small and hard for me, I prefer my Sephora smudge brush- no.27) and the Eyelash and Brow Wand (I would use this to separate my lashes if I thought they were looking a bit clumpy).

Most of my Bobbi Brown brushes came from a set which came out a few years back- it was in a hot pink and black bag- and out of them all, I use the Ultra Fine Eye Liner brush the most- so much so, I asked my boyfriend to pick me up a back up when he went overseas to work last year and the poor puppet went to a MAC counter and asked for a Bobbi Brown eyeliner brush, bless his cotton socks. Anyways, I kept it in it's wrapper and everything, hope I won't have to open it for a while yet. I also have an Eye Shadow, Eye Smudge and Cream Shadow Brush, and I use these from time to time also but they wouldn't be my go-to brushes to be honest.

I am also a fan of the ELF Studio Line eye brushes, I have the Angled Contour, Contour, Eyeshadow "C", Small Precision and Angled Eyeliner brushes and I use these loads. I love the Angled Eyeliner brush- the size of the head, density of the bristles and length of the brush, I think it's so easy to use, easy to clean, you have great control over the cream eyeliner as you are applying it, I will definitely repurchase this one and have a back up of this too. Love them and I love the matte black handles of these brushes too, they actually look professional.


I have three kabuki brushes- the ELF Mineral Line kabuki brush, the MAC 182 buffer brush and the ELF Studio kabuki. My MAC kabuki is seven years old now, and I still love it to bits. It's so incredibly soft, I think it is made of goats hair, it's sturdy, it never sheds or loses it's shape, it was an investment brush at the time, I remember saving up for it, but it was a smart investment, I've never had any trouble with it and I'm sure I'll probably have it forever. As for the ELF brushes- I love the Studio kabuki, I use this all the time with the Studio HD powder and it works a charm. The first time I washed it thoroughly, there was a bit of shedding alright, but since then, not a sign, I would repurchase again if needs be. The Mineral brush on the other hand- I really hate it- it sheds, it's hard and bristly and doesn't distribute product evenly in my opinion, I regret buying this, I never use it.

I have quite a few powder brushes- from l-r, Sephora long handled powder brush (no.2), ELF essentials line Bronzing Brush and Total Face Brush, Bobbi Brown Face Blender and Blush brushes, Sephora Blush Brush (no.4), ELF Studio Blush Brush, ELF Complexion Brush (x2) and Beautytime Powder Brush.

I must admit, I don't really rate either of the ELF brushes in this set- the bristles are quite hard and rough. I never use the Total Face Brush and I use the Bronzing Brush for contouring sometimes because the angled head suits that purpose. I love the Sephora brushes, I like using the Sephora no.2 brush for applying setting powder, and the ELF Complexion Brush is definitely my brush of choice at the moment for blushes, I love the way the brush can dust over the apples of your cheeks so effortlessly. I clean all of these in the usual way (which I will detail down below) and they are all lasting well considering some of them are completely abused!

Foundation/Concealer Brushes

I am a complete foundation fanatic and I am always searching for that miracle brush to apply my foundation. I have been loving the ELF Powder Brush since the first day I got it, so much so, I actually purchased a back up already just in case, I use this to apply my foundation sometimes and buff it out, it washes really well, always retains its shape, has a nice long handle, just love it. I also have the ELF Studio Stipple Brush which I must admit I am not too keen on tbh, I kind of feel like it's too flimsy to really do anything with. I have three flat foundation brushes- one by Bobbi Brown, one from ELF Mineral Line which I received during a promotion last year- even though it's ok and I do use it, I wouldn't have purchased it myself, and of course, my trusty MAC 180 which has served me well over the years. I also have two concealer brushes- one from the ELF Studio Line and a Smashbox one I picked up in the US last year, they do the job nicely.

I also have a new 13 piece brush set from Blank Canvas Cosmetics but I haven't been able to bring myself to use these yet because they are all just so pretty and new and shiny, I think it will break my heart to sully them with dirty cosmetics so, for now at least, I am just going to admire how new and shiny these brushes are. They are all amazing quality though, so soft, nice dense bristles, if you're looking for a starter brush set that does not cost a fortune, I think this is the way to go. The customer service for BCC is amazing too, Una is exceptionally helpful in every respect and I really commend great customer service.


I bought a large brush holder from ELF last summer during a 50% off sale and I absolutely love it, it stores all my brushes perfectly. It's divided into three compartments so I can separate my brushes accordingly and it's nice and neat, matte black, it was a find. It's so easy to find the brush you need easily, it has definitely made make up application that bit easier for me. I don't put my kabukis into the holder just because I don't want them falling to the bottom and getting deformed and trampled on by all the other brushes. I also store my eyelash curlers here- which is ironic because I don't use eyelash curlers, I've tried many a time but I just feel like it's a bit of a fruitless exercise, maybe I lack the technique but I had all the best intentions- I searched NYC high and low for that coveted Shu Uemera Eyelash Curler when I was in States a few years back thinking it would be the business and I don't think I have used it more than a dozen times. I also keep my cleaning solutions near my brushes just so I am reminded to clean them every 3-4 weeks.


As I mentioned already, I am obsessed with cleaning my brushes. Every couple of weeks, I set aside like an hour of my time to deep clean my most used brushes. I often use ELF Daily Brush Cleanser on my brushes in between cleans- not on a daily basis- and I know some give out about the smell of this but I don't mind it, it's a smell that reminds me of cleanliness which can only be a good thing. When washing my foundation brushes, I usually rinse them under a warm tap (not hot) first to loosen them up, then I squirt a bit of ELF Brush Shampoo onto the bristles and massage it in to break up the make up a bit and I then rinse this off. I get a little glass and squirt some of the MAC Brush Cleanser into it and swirl my foundation brushes around in it- this liquid is magical- the brushes would be gleaming after this step and all traces of makeup would be removed. I then rinse them off again and leave them to dry naturally which takes just a few hours usually.

When it comes to cleaning my kabuki or eyeshadow brushes, what I usually do is get some kitchen roll, squirt some of the MAC solution onto it and rub the brush over it until it is clean and this works like a charm. I cannot commend the MAC Brush Cleanser enough, to be honest, the ELF offerings don't even come near. I think it's about €12 a bottle but good news is they accept these bottles as part of the Back to MAC recycling scheme- I have a MAC lippie earned from these empty bottles alone. It's worth forking out the money for this, especially if you have spent your scheckles getting decent brushes- I can safely say from experience that if you mind your brushes that they will last you a very long time indeed.

So there you have it, another little insight into my makeup collection and brush maintenance from me.
Thanks for reading and if you need any further information, comment down below.

toodle pip


  1. nice collection of brushes xD
    my collection is still under construction and I got few good ideas from you :)
    I followed your blog.
    If you want you can check out mine

  2. love your brush collection:) love the elf brushes, all mine are from there:)

    check out my blog:)

  3. @ Cristina- thanks a mill, i've been collecting them for a while now but I do take care of them and i think that's the trick! Even though you say your collection is still under construction, i think you are doing a great job, you already have two of my fave brushes- the elf Powder and Complexion brushes. I haven't noticed any shedding with my powder brush so I think you must have just been unlucky! Best of luck with collection and continued success with your blog- i'm not long after starting out myself and i know it's hard! For whatever reason GFC is not working for me tonight but I am following you on twitter (@totalmakeupadd). Thanks for reading.

    @molly96- elf brushes are pretty great alright for the most part- I think we have pretty much the same brushes! I want to start an ELF studio powder brush appreciation society- i love it for foundation, buffing, powder, it's a great all rounder! Can't follow you tonight because my GFC is acting up but I'll defo get around to it! Thanks for reading :)

  4. My favourite brushes are Real Techniques. I love them!!!

  5. Hi Sandra, I have heard great things about RT brushes alright- *some day*! :)


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