Japanese brushes, part 2

Well, feck. It’s been over two months since I last updated. And yet, I still managed to gain a follower on Bloglovin’, and more likes on my Facebook page. I don’t even know.

To be honest, continuing this brush post series feels a bit pointless and incomplete. In typical fashion, I’ve waited far too long to get my thoughts together on brushes and in the meantime I’ve bought more brushes. However, I no longer have all of my brushes here with me in order to present a more comprehensive comparison. So now I’m letting the sunk cost (effort) fallacy guilt-trip me into plowing on with what I already started.


Teardrop-shaped brushes

I mainly use these shapes for highlighter. This picture is more for size and shape comparison, though.

Thoughts on the Chikuhodo Z-2 in my previous post.

The Wayne Goss 02 is a daily workhorse. I love the small, precise shape. The soft squirrel bristles apply even the most intense, metallic highlighters, with subtlety and finesse. I’m toying with the idea of buying a second one. It’s only $35 USD, which is incredibly value for the quality.

The hakuhodo + Sephora PRO Kotsubu brush is okay. I really don’t have any strong feelings toward it, one way or another. I thought about selling it off, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. It goes in and out of stock on sephora.com (currently not listed), so keep checking if you’re interested in getting one.

The Zoeva 105 is a decent brush. It’s a synthetic/natural (goat?) blend. As it’s a budget-friendly brush, it’s a good one to get to try out the shape, if you’ve never tried a teardrop shaped brush for highlighter before.

I don’t use the Real Techniques Contour brush for highlighter, at all. I use it for liquid foundation, and sometimes a gentle contour.  To be honest, I’ve left it in Hawaii and I don’t miss it one bit.

I like some Real Techniques brushes and I enjoying watching the Pixiwoo sisters on YouTube. However, I do think as their business grows, the quality of their brushes are suffering. I also feel that they are pumping out too many new products at once, and I find it annoying that many brushes are only available in sets, instead of individually.

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Japanese brushes, part 1

*taps mic* Is anyone still here?? I’m sorry I haven’t posted since July.  Between settling down in a new country and starting a job, this draft post has been gathering dust for about two months. (And yet, despite my silence, my Facebook page has been steadily gaining likes week after week?? I don’t even know. Thank you, though!)

Anyway, in the midst of all the crazy bullshit happening in the world right now, let’s talk about lovely things instead.

I’ve been meaning to write about my Japanese brushes for a long time now. I first got into fude(s? What’s the plural for this?) about a year and a half ago. Since then, I have managed to build a nice little family of wonderful, handmade fluffies. Brushes are my current beauty obsession; I’m more interested in researching new shapes and bristle types with makeup releases nowadays.

First off, I very firmly believe that you DO NOT need expensive-ass brushes to apply makeup well. High quality tools are obviously very important, but do you need to splash out $100+ on a blush brush to achieve perfectly flushed cheeks? No. No one “needs” high-end makeup brushes anymore than anyone “needs” high-end designer bags. If you use and love drugstore brushes, and they work well for you, that’s great! Makeup, brushes, and application all come down to highly personal preferences.

For me, I simply enjoy the superior craftsmanship a fude offers, and I love the way they apply products. They’re a small daily indulgence, and using them makes me happy. I’m not here to tell you why you should buy a fude instead of a drugstore brush. This post is pure vanity, showing off my fluffy treasures.

Here’s a great post by Karima about why you you might want to consider Japanese makeup brushes. Additionally, Sonia’s blog, Sweet Makeup Temptations is an absolute TREASURE TROVE of information and comparison pics, if you’re interested in learning more about fudes.

Enough blabber, here are some pics!

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beautyblender Size Comparisons

A quickie post comparing the different sizes of the beautyblender sponges! There’s a US quarter for scale, as well as a £1 coin for my UK readers. ;) The Sharpie is for anyone/everyone else. :P

beautyblenders dry

My old beautyblender is almost a year old now. The neon pink pigment bled a little each time I washed it, and now it looks like the new “bubble” shade they’ve just released.  It’s worth noting that I didn’t wash it after every use as suggested. In my defense, I use a brush to apply my foundation, then I go over it all with a beautyblender to make it all melt into my skin.

When dry, the new beautyblenders felt bouncier and softer than the old one. This makes sense, as the same hardening happens to regular cleaning sponges.

beautyblenders wet

Here you can see how they’ve expanded when wet/dampened. I’ve been using the blusher and the micro mini with cream/liquid blush and concealer, respectively. I like the blusher size, but I don’t think it applies and blends cream blush any better than my fingers do.

The micro mini, while awfully cute and weeny, is quite fiddly to hold and manipulate. I don’t really understand the reason for creating such a small sponge, especially when the original’s pointed tip works just fine for getting into the corners of the face.

beautyblender all.about.face Kit

Right now, Sephora has this all.about.face set that includes these three sponges, plus a mini beautyblender soap solid. I think it’s a great way to try out their different sizes and see which one works for you. Incidentally, I bought mine from Beauty Bridge and had no problems whatsoever. But, Sephora should be having their April 15% off sale soon, so… ;)

Don’t buy this: Makeup Academy Stippling Brush

Generally, beauty blogs will egg you on to buy the latest and greatest. Limited edition? Girl, you need it, like, yesterday. Fresh-faced brand on the market? Immediate new HG (Holy Grail, I hate this term) products.

However, today I’m going to warn you about and deter you from a product I hated: Makeup Academy Stippling Brush.

Makeup Academy is a well-known and well-loved brand in the UK. In late 2014, buzz began that it was expanding to the US, to be sold exclusively at CVS. I saw a display of brushes at my local Longs/CVS around the same time, and since I’d heard such good things about the line in the UK, I picked up a stippling brush to try.

makeup academy stippling brush

It was about $16-$17, which is pretty spendy for a drugstore brush. Although I did use a 20% off coupon, I still had high(er) expectations because I could get a similar brush from Sephora for just a few dollars more.

makeup academy stippling brush 2

First impression: this thing is huge.

makeup academy stippling brush real techniques sigmaTop to bottom: Makeup Academy Stippling Brush, Real Techniques Stippling Brush, Sigma F50 Duo Fibre brush (travel sized)

Compared to the other stippling brushes I own, it was gigantic. The handle was thicker than most of the face brushes I have, and it was extra long as well. It took up a lot of room in my brush holder, and it felt a bit awkward to use, especially if I had to put on foundation without my glasses.*

*I am as blind as Mr. Magoo without my contacts or glasses, and putting on makeup takes twice as long because I have to be literally inches away from the mirror to see anything.

Additionally, this brush shed. A lot. It also bled black dye every single time I washed it. Overall, it was not my favorite brush to use. I regretted the decision to throw away the box and receipt, because otherwise I would have returned it.

Then, just months later, this happened:

makeup academy stippling brush broken

For a brush I didn’t use often, and therefore didn’t wash often, this is completely unacceptable. I’ve owned brushes that I’ve washed consistently for YEARS, and they’re still intact and happily applying and blending with aplomb.

I checked the time stamp of my pictures, and I bought the brush around September 2014. It fell apart around January 2015. Four months. I had probably used it less than a dozen times at that point.

It’s worth noting that the Makeup Academy line in the US is “created exclusively for CVS,” and therefore the product line-up is not the same as the UK’s. I personally do not have any experience with the UK line. There are scores of rave reviews, especially the Undressed palettes as being dupes for the Urban Decay Naked palettes.

However, as far as the CVS version goes, I skip over the brush display every single time I’m in a store. I have zero interest in trying any of their other brushes. I have yet to see any  actual makeup displays, but Hawaii is lame and often we do not get a full line up of any brand, high or low. I wouldn’t be very enthusiastic if I did stumble across it, though.

Have you tried any Makeup Academy products, UK or US? Based on MakeupAlley reviews, the BB/CC cream brush was just as craptacular, so at least I don’t feel like I got a dud.