I officially retired from make-up this year. I’ve hung up my brush belt, and with the exception of a few photographers I still collaborate with, I’m otherwise completely out of the make-up biz. I don’t even wear much make-up myself.
So I don’t need any new make-up brushes, right? Right.
I was at IMATS last week and between talking to a bunch of people who weren’t yet embittered and cynical by make-up and the make-up industry, and having a chat with Kevin James Bennett about his new [R]evolution collaboration with Royal and Langnickle, I felt a misplaced (and expensive) rush of inspiration to update and edit both my personal make-up brush collection and my professional kit.
I think what interested me the most about the new [R]evolution line from Royal and Langnickle was the somewhat radical choices made in regards to how the brushes are manufactured. All the brushes are made of a new synthetic fibre that emulates the micro bumps and divots of real hair. Given that most synthetic powder brushes are abysmal at handling powder due to how smooth their fibres are, having a textured synthetic bristle means that finally there’s a viable animal-free option for all types of brushes. The bristles are fused behind the ferrule instead of glued and the brush handle is made of acrylic, so the brush itself is infinitely more durable and will handle age and use gracefully.
Seriously, it’s pretty neat stuff. Between embracing all things new and technology-driven and having a serious ongoing love affair with Hakuhodo’s traditional handmade brushes, I swagged embarrassingly hard at IMATS. Here’s a quick breakdown of my impulse buying shame, from top to bottom:
- Hakuhodo J521 Eyeliner Brush D1 Flat (horse hair) – this stubby flat brush is technically for eyeliner, but I swear by using brushes with this shape for use with hard cream concealers. I pat the concealer over whatever needs to be covered, then gently use the pad of my finger to warm the concealer and blend off the edges. This way I get maximum coverage without any noticeable concealer patches.
- Hakuhodo J532 Eye Shadow Brush Round & Flat (goat hair) – if you’ve got average to good brush skills, then this is the eyeshadow brush to end all eyeshadow brushes. I can use this brush dry to get a sheer but uniform application of colour, or mist it damp and apply shadow in a patting motion to get full colour without any patchiness or streaking. I’m generally not a big fan of pigments or loose eyeshadows, but this style of brush makes using shadows like that laughably simple.
- Royal & Langnickle [R]evolution BX-70 (synthetic)* – this brush was a kind gift from Royal & Langnickle (thanks guys!) which is kinda handy, as it’s a style of brush I find useful but never think to buy for myself. The chunky wedge brush is excellent for working shadows through the eye crease while still keeping a controlled application. It’s a particularly good investment if you do a lot of structured neutral eye work and need to keep your shadows blended within a very small margin.
- Royal & Langnickle [R]evolution BX-140 (synthetic) - man, I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I was when KJB passed it to me. I couldn’t care less about the mascara spoolie on the end, as the other end is what’s important to me. See, it’s a metal lash comb. Metal lash combs are brilliant (and terrifying to use on yourself, let alone a make-up client). They’re also unbelievably hard to find. I’ve been holding onto a raggedy and rusty old Scott Barnes metal lash comb for years, so finding one of these being produced for under AU$20 was glorious.
- Hakuhodo G5552-4mm Powder & Liquid Brush round/angled (goat & synthetic) – isn’t it great when bloggers egg each other into impulse purchases? Tina from Chasing Elixir has been raving about a similar but not identical brush from Shisedo, so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and nab this brush for the cream foundations I buy but never use.
- Royal & Langnickle [R]evolution BX-40 (synthetic) – another foundation brush, but this time a large mop style brush. This style of brush is excellent if you’re working on someone with touch-reactive skin (i.e. rosacea, post-facial skin) or if you’re using a radiance foundation that runs the risk of its pearl or shimmer particles showing brush strokes or finger marks.
- Royal & Langnickle [R]evolution BX-10 (synthetic) – a small powder brush. The bristles are quite densely packed but have enough bounce/spring to make sure coloured powders like blush and bronzer have some translucency. You can never have too many blush brushes, I say.
- Rachel Montgomery for Crown Brush SS015 Deluxe Tapered Powder (badger)* – oh man, this brush. This is one of those make-up artist secret brushes that we all use professionally, but it’s a style rarely offered in consumer brush lines. This is an oversized fat and dense powder brush, ideal for dropping a lot of product down with very soft edges. You know how you look at, say, a model in a magazine with beautifully applied dense bronzer and it doesn’t look overdone or thick despite being applied very deliberately? This brush is the magic secret. It covers a lot of space, it applies product smoothly and evenly, and doesn’t leave any hard edges. It takes a little practice to get it working right, but trust me – it’s worth the effort.
So there you go! The new and the traditional all bundled up together in a frenzy of impulse buying. If you were are IMATS recently, I’d love to hear what you got. Lemme know in the comments!
* These brushes were a kind gift.