I am not a makeup artist neither am I a makeup artist in the making. I’m not even someone who wears makeup daily – at least not a full face makeup. So I ask myself, why do I need so many makeup brushes?
The simple truth is: I don’t.
The past year, I’ve developed an interest over artisan makeup brushes. It all started one day around Christmas time when I was checking out the beauty products at Harrods: I found Suqqu and it was love at first stroke. With the new found love came the desire to own these beautiful fluffies and you can guess what happened next – my brushes multiplied.
If you know a thing or two about artisan brushes, you’d know that the best quality brushes come from Japan, mainly from a town called Kumano. You’d probably have heard of Suqqu, Chikuhodo, Hakuhodo and Koyudo – probably even Kashoen and Koyumo. You’d also know that these brushes don’t come cheap. Some may even set you back by a few thousand dollars!
Whilst these brushes may be more expensive than the ones you can get from your local drug store, they are of supreme quality and I don’t regret spending the extra bit for them. I guess it’s safe to assume that many people are familiar with MAC? To be fair, some of the Japanese brushes I own are priced similar (and some cheaper) to MAC brushes but IMHO, the quality far surpass those of their MAC buddies.
Getting hold of these Japanese brushes aren’t easy. With the exception of Suqqu which I can get from Harrods (or Selfridges), the rest I get online. But despite the ease of global commerce, some manufacturers don’t ship outside of Japan and some websites are only in Japanese (if only I can still remember even half of the Japanese words I learned in high school, sigh…) Nonetheless, if one really wants to get ones hands on these brushes, one will find a way.
Having a few good quality brushes would always come in handy. They would make your makeup application more enjoyable and allow you to create the look you desire. Take note: I said “quality” not “expensive”. If you have the budget to splurge, then it’s ok. But you obviously don’t need to break the bank to own a few good brushes. You need to remember that brushes are mere tools that can help you get the end result that you want but the makeup itself and the technique you use also play a big factor.
Good quality brushes don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Some tips to buying brushes:
- The bristles: Synthetic vs natural hair. Synthetic bristles are generally cheaper than natural hair and some are very soft and pleasant on the skin too. If the bristles don’t irritate you, you don’t have to search high and low for the softest brush.
- If you opt for natural hair, you will need to consider how the hair functions. Squirrel, goat, pony, kolinsky, beaver, etc work differently. For example, squirrel hair is generally softer and more expensive than goat. They are good for very pigmented products as they tend to pick up less from the pan, so you don’t have to worry about becoming a clown with just one swipe. Very good for people who are heavy handed too. They are however, more delicate and not suitable for liquid products. Goat hair on the other hand is more durable and can be used for both powder and liquid.
- The handle. The design of the handles can really push up the price. Some manufacturers like Hakuhodo makes similar brushes within their range. If you’re on a budget, opt for the more basic range. For example, their S110 has the same head shape and bristle as their B110 but the former cost US$70 whereas the later, US$48. The difference is in the handle (and ferrule). The former is presented to you with orange vermillion handle and gold plated ferrule whereas the later comes in a basic black handle and metal ferrule.
- Set vs individual brushes. Buying a set is usually a tad cheaper than buying the same brushes individually. You have to consider whether you need all the brushes in the set though. If you only need one or two brushes and can’t see yourself using the rest, it’d be more economical for you to buy the brushes you want individually rather than getting the set.
- Expensive doesn’t always mean better. Sometimes, you pay extra for the name.
Now back to the point of why I have more brushes than I really need. Well… they are simply beautiful and I feel lucky that I can afford to have them. Spend within your budget. Truth be told, we all have unlimited wants. If I need to choose, yes, I’d rather spend my hard earned cash to travel and see the world – that’s me. But if I can also afford to have a few beautiful brushes in my life, why not? The important thing is, I do use them – they are not merely for display, too precious to even be touched.
What’s your say? Do you think it’s worth (and justifiable) to splurge on luxury makeup brushes?