Makeup brushes are a real soft spot of mine, and despite the fact that I am not a working MUA, I have hundreds of the damn things. I am always advocating that you do not need to spend a fortune to have some great quality brushes in your collection. Today I am comparing three stippling brushes at three different price points to demonstrate that you do not need to fork out big bucks for decent quality tools. The three brushes I am comparing are the much revered MAC 187, the Sigma F50 and the Nima Brush large duo fibre brush.
I've only actually be conscientiously using stippling brushes to apply powder products for the last year or so. I generally prefer angled kabukis, but found the overall effect was not as airbrushed as I would have liked. I remember watching an MUA applying highlighter with a stippling brush at a makeup demonstration and I was struck by how flawless the application was. I personally don't use stippling brushes for cream products- for the most part because I just simply don't use cream blushes or highlighters and I prefer a kabuki brush to apply my foundation. I think duo fibre/ stippling brushes are probably the most versatile brush that you could have in your kit.
The first brush that I will talk about is the Large Duo Fibre Brush from NIMA Brush which is available from the Nima Brush website and costs €18. This brush has been created using a blend of natural and synthetic hair and can be used with both liquid or powder. This brush is a dream to apply product with and a dream to use. The brush hairs are not too tightly packed which helps with blending and not too flimsy which help with product placement. The hairs are incredibly soft and this brush is easy to wash with some shampoo and airdries within hours. Through the last year. this brush has been on constant rotation and I have very much been enjoying using it. It has also kept its shape remarkably well despite dozens of deep cleans.
The Sigma F50 Duo Fibre can be purchased here on the Cloud 10 Beauty website for €21.95. This brush is less dense than the Nima and MAC brushes, and I am not so fond of this- I find a little bit of density and weight in the brush just gives a nicer, more buffed and polished finish. Sigma is one of the most respected dupe providers for MAC brushes at this stage, and I was expecting this brush to be very similar to the MAC 187 but they are not terribly similar. I've never had a shedding problem or anything with this brush thankfully- but it's not a brush I reach for all that often. This brush does dry quite quickly after washing it- again, because the bristles are not too dense, and the head of the F50 is floppier than the other two. The brush has natural and synthetic bristles.
In my mind, the MAC 187 duo fibre brush is about as iconic as the MAC 217, and when I first started getting into makeup in a big way years and years ago, I thought it was necessary to invest in MAC brushes so that they would last the test of time. Now, last the test of time it has, but it would want to, because as far as I can recall, this brush is the most expensive of the brushes on the blog today and rings through the tills in Brown Thomas for €46.50. Steep I know, and to justify the price, I would expect this brush to do things that no other brush can do. A mixture of white synethic hairs and black goat hair, this brush is quite densely packed but not too densely packed. The white hairs in particular do a great job of picking up the product and the black hairs make blending incredibly easy, and leaves a lovely light, airbrushed finish. I've used this to apply my foundation on a few occasions but as I mentioned already, I am more of a fan of using duo fibre brushes for applying powder products- I think it is a foolproof way of blending powders on your face. I like the 187 and even though it was expensive, it has lasted well through the years.
Which brings me on to the real question- if I lost all three of these brushes in the morning (which can happen!), which one would I repurchase first? The answer for me is quite simple- I would definitely pick up the Nima duo fibre before the other two. Whilst I do use and enjoy the other two, I think for €18, the Nima brush does everything I ask of it and more, and I also think it's just darling with its white handle and rose gold detail. The length of the handle, the density of the fibres and the value for money win for me.
If you have shunned the stipplers like I did for such a long time, I'd recommend trying one out for your cheek, highlighter, bronzer application- you might be pleasantly impressed! I've said it before and I'll say it again, with Irish brush companies like Nima Brush and Blank Canvas Cosmetics constantly churning out top of the range, affordable makeup brushes, I don't see why we have to look any further to satisfy our brush needs.
Have you a favourite duo-fibre/ stippling brush? Have you tried any of the brushes above?