I know this sounds ghetto, but I always take the brushes out of it's packaging if there's no tester. I need to make sure the handle fits in my hand. I like to feel the bristles. For soft colors, I use fluffy brushes with soft hairs. I opt for nylon or synthetic hairs, but these brushes are usually made of sable. High-end brands use all kinds of wild forest animal hairs, which I'm not to keen on...sorta creeps me out, and makes me feel guilty for some reason. For mid-tone to darker colors, I look for brushes that have soft hairs, but are densely packed. I need something that will pick u a lot of color, and keep it on the brush. For this, I also try to look for synthetic brushes. If I can't find a vegan brush (which are REALLY hard to come by in Japan), I will go for sable. Again, no raccoon/monkey/chipmunk/squirrel/weasel hair for me. (BUT the sable is from the weasel family...*barf*...but it sure 'aint no weasel!)
I'm always on the prowl for small to medium sized brushes in the standard Maxine's Mop shape. My double-eyelids are small, so I need a brush that can get in there, without putting color where it needn't be.
For blending, I always use a small or medium pointed detail brush. Since my eyes are on the small side, I find that a fluffy tapered blending brush ends up ERASING more color that blending it. I think Asians with smaller eyes would benefit from using a smaller tapered/pointed brush for smoking out the corner of the eyes or blending overall color.
My Holy Grail brushes from L to R:
- Elle small brush: I use this to apply mid tone, bright and dark colors. It's the perfect size for my eyes!
- Costco angled brush: This is for applying highlight color(s) under the brow.
- NYPM medium pointed detail brush: Dense, and not too soft! Perfect for applying darker colors to the outer corner and outer V. Also great for blending!
- Costco fluffy blending brush: If my look calls for applying a light shade all over first, this is the brush I use.
Here's for a comparison of the different size brushes I own. I don't really like the width of M.A.C's 239 (right), although it's the standard. I prefer the smaller ones, like the one on the left that I just bought yesterday. It's an original Takeda brush. They're a famous Japanese company that makes professional makeup and stage makeup brushes. Unfortunately, the hairs are made from...sable. But NOT chipmunk, thank gawd. o__O
Here are two synthetic brushes I've had for a few years. They still work great...and get this, I got both of these at the 100 yen store near my mom's! I can't seem to find any like these now. I should have stocked up! These brushes are very smooth, yet firm. I use these babies for applying loose eye shadow and pigment shadows. They're good for foiling (applying wet) as well. They'd probably work great for applying cream shadows too. When applying a wet substance like cream or a foiled pigment, you want to use a brush that won't absorb the product. Natural hair bristles absorb more product and color.
And last but not least, my two HG concealer brushes:
- Tina's Dresser wide brush (L): I found this randomly at Don Quijote (a discount chain). Their entire line of brushes were soooo cheap! This brush was 300 yen. I love the width. It's densely packed, so it makes applying mineral concealer a cinch, especially for someone like me who's always rushing. You save time by not having to pick up color so many times, since a brush like this will grab more powder.
- Coastal Scents synthetic oval concealer brush (R): Nothing special, it gets the job done! I like the fluffy bristles and the pink handle, of course!
I'll be posting my favorite face brushes sometime...hope you enjoyed this!