Tag Archives: elf studio brushes

My Favorite Brushes – Face Edition

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Favorite Brushes - Face

Hi all! First, a quick note about the blog – I’ve been unusually swamped at work, which means less time for posting. I do apologize for scarcity of posts lately – hopefully everything will be back to normal soon!

Today, I’m going to talk about my favorite face brushes (favorite eyes, brows, and lip brushes are here). I think of my face brushes as being in two separate categories – brushes for powders, and brushes for creams.  For powder products, I generally prefer natural hair, as I feel like it picks up product better and distributes it more easily. For cream products, I prefer synthetic hairs, as they’re easier to clean (yet still soft). Continue reading

My Makeup Brush Collection

Makeup Brush Storage

Makeup Brush Storage

Today, I have brush picture spam for you! Above, is my brush storage – I started off with the two containers on the left, for face and eye brushes. However, I now have too many burhses for just those two containers, and they’re also too tall for some of my brushes – so I’m using a wine glass and a shot glass as well (the shot glass works surprisingly well for travel-length handles).

On to the pictures! This post is going to be mostly pictures with minimal text, but I’d be happy to answer questions in the comments.  I apologize that several brushes are dirty; they’re never all clean at the same time – since most of them are clean right now, I though this was a good time to take photos.

First, Hakuhodo brushes – these have a reputation for being very expensive – and some are! – but most of the eye brushes I love are in the $15 – $25 range.

Hakuhodo J110, K020, G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

Hakuhodo: J110, K020, G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

I would recommend all of these brushes except the G5533, which is too floppy to be useful. My favorites are the K020 blush brush, the J515, G5515, and K005 eye brushes, and the 270 lip brush.

Here’s a close up of the eye brushes & the lip brush:

Hakuhodo G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

Hakuhodo G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

My MAC eye brushes are also staples, and I sometimes use my 188 to contour with eyeshadow.

MAC 188, 239,239, 219, 217

MAC 188, 239,239, 219, 217

Notice anything odd about the two 239s?

I have two Shu Uemura eye brushes – they’re the most expensive eye brushes I own, but they really are fantastic.

Shu Uemura natural 10, 5r

Shu Uemura natural 10, 5r

I recently bought some short-handled Sonia Kashuk brushes, mainly because I was intrigued by the shape of the 3rd brush – I haven’t figured out what to do with it yet though. It’s very small – about an inch across; you can see it in the shot glass in the first picture in this post.  The 4th one is a fantastic pencil brush, though.

Sonia Kashuk set

Sonia Kashuk set

Here are some miscellaneous eye brushes:

Laura Mercier Finishing Eye Brush, Monda Brush , Smashbox brush

Laura Mercier Finishing Eye Brush, Monda Brush (from beauty
supply store), Smashbox brush (from unknown source)

Benefit Get Bent brush, L'oreal brush x2, spoolie

Benefit Get Bent brush (discontinued), L’oreal brush (comes with
gel liner) x2, spoolie

Sephora brow brush, Maybelline cream eyeshadow brush

Sephora brow brush (trimmed a bit), Maybelline cream eyeshadow brush

Moving on to (mostly) face brushes, here are the mixed brands.  I adore the Ecotools Bronzer brush especially, it’s wonderful for buffing in powder.

Ecotools Bronzer brush, Sigma F80, Sonia Kashuk Medium Angled Multipurpose brush, MUFE 24S,  Illamasqua Blending Brush 2

Ecotools Bronzer brush, Sigma F80, Sonia Kashuk Medium Angled Multipurpose brush,
MUFE 24S, Illamasqua Blending Brush 2

I have several Real Techniques brushes; I really like them, but tend to find myself using them for purposes other than what they are intended for. The crease brush (second from right) is a great concealer brush, and the brow brush (right) is terrible as a brow brush, but great for using dry eyeshadow to on the upper lash line.

Real Techniques brushes

Real Techniques brushes – combined from various sets

I also love for ELF Studio brushes.  My favorite is the eye contour brush (third from the right) – it’s just fantastic at laying down a cream base. I actually have a second one, which was hiding for this photoshoot.

ELF Studio Complexion Brush, Blush Brush, Small Tapered Brush, C Brush, Contour Brush, ELF Mineral Blending Eye Brush,  ELF Glitter Eyeshadow Applicator

ELF Studio Complexion Brush, Blush Brush, Small Tapered Brush, C Brush, Contour Brush,
ELF Mineral Blending Eye Brush, ELF Glitter Eyeshadow Applicator

I also have a handful of ELF’s $1 concealer brushes that I use as lip brushes.

And, that’s my brush collection! I think that only ones missing are that hiding ELF contour brush and the retractable Maybelline lip brush I keep in my bag.

Favorite ELF Brushes: Pictures and Mini-Reviews

Favorite ELF Brushes

I posted about my favorite eye brushes and favorite face brushes a few weeks ago; you probably noticed that many of them – especially the eye brushes – are on the more expensive side.  So, I thought it would be useful to do a round-up of my favorite ELF brushes since they’re inexpensive and although not all of them made it on to my favorites lists, I still like and use them.

Overall, I’ve found that I prefer the Studio line brushes (which sell for $3 each) to the Essential line brushes (which sell for $1 each).  I’ve tried several brushes from the Essential line, and found the face brushes scratchy; the eye brushes are okay, but not great.  In contrast, the Studio line brushes are very soft and very well made – I haven’t had a problem with any of them shedding, even after several washes.   All of the black-handled brushes in this post are from the Studio line.

ELF complexion (powder) brush

ELF complexion (powder) brush

The ELF studio complexion blush, which I use for powder, did make it on to my favorites list.  It’s very soft and does a good job at applying a thin layer of powder, or dusting off excess powder.

ELF blush brush

ELF blush brush

The ELF studio blush brush is also very soft and is nicely shaped; it hasn’t lost its shape after several washings.  It is fairly small, so best for those who prefer a more precise blush brush.  I generally reserve it for my few shimmery blushes, to avoid getting any shimmer particles on my go-to blush brush between washings.

ELF eyeshadow C brush

ELF eyeshadow C brush

The ELF eyeshadow C brush is the same shape as ELF’s basic $1 eyeshadow brush, but better quality. Again, it’s well made and soft; however, I don’t love the shape.  I prefer a smaller brush to lay down eyeshadow on the lid, and a slightly fluffier brush for blending.  I think that if I had more lid space, this would be a more useful brush for me.  As is, I tend to reach for it when my go-to brushes are dirty, and it does a great job – it just requires more work because of the fit between the shape of the brush and the shape of my eyes.

ELF contour eyeshadow brush

ELF contour eyeshadow brush

I love the ELF contour eyeshadow brush; this really could have been on my favorites list.  I use it for applying cream eyeshadow, and it does a great job. Plus, I prefer to use synthetic brushes for cream products (all ELF brushes are synthetic).   I’ve also used this to apply concealer to my face, and it worked very well for this.  The densely packed bristles are just perfect for applying a thin, even, layer of cream product.

ELF small precision eye brush

ELF small precision eye brush

I use the ELF small precision eye brush to go over my eyeliner with black eyeshadow.  I used to use it more frequently, but lately I’ve been reaching for the brush that came with the L’oreal gel eyeliners instead, which is a little more precise and has a shorter handle. Still, it’s a good brush to have around.

ELF concealer brush

ELF concealer brush

The ELF concealer brush is the one brush in this post from the Essentials line that I love and use all the time. I actually have seven; six to use as lip brushes (so I always have a clean one!), and one that use to clean up my manicures.  It is absolutely perfect for both of those purposes, and it’s so great that it’s only $1!

ELF blending eye brush

ELF blending eye brush / used for detail highlighting

I forgot to include the ELF blending eye brush, from the minerals line, in the photo of all the brushes.  I included this in my roundup of favorite face brushes, because it’s my go-to for precision highlighting. I use a larger brush to highlight my cheekbones, but this is perfect for my browbone, bridge of the nose, and cupid’s bow.  It’s very soft and well made – the quality is similar to the Studio line.

Overall, I would absolutely recommend any of the ELF Studio line brushes, and there are some brushes among the other lines that are good as well. And remember that you don’t need to use a brush for its intended purpose; I use an Illamasqua eye brush as a highlighter brush, the small ELF eye brush above as a detail highlighter brush, the Ecotools Bronzer brush as a powder brush, and more  — make the brushes work for you!