I’m always on the lookout for cheap but good makeup brushes. I like to have a million of everything so that I always have at least one that’s clean. What can I say. I’m lazy (and I bet a lot of you are too so judgement faces off please). Lauren Luke, or Panacea81 off of Youtube, has a compact but comprehensive range of brushes that can be found here. I chose to buy the set of eight essential brushes for £33.75 (you get a free pencil brush with the set). I actually also purchased an additional pencil brush which cost £3.25.
There is no arguing about the fact these brushes are phenomenally cheap but they don’t feel cheap. I’ve have these for over 2 months now and so far everything is holding up very well. I love the pink gold ferrules and the light weight but sturdy black handles. The type of hair used varies from brush to brush, some I adore and some don’t quite work for me.
The Angled Liner brush costs £3.25 individually and is made from synthetic hair. Intended for use as a liner brush and for brows I actually find that this is one of the best brushes for gel liner that I own. It is very thin but also very firm which makes it a doddle to get a thin precise line. I don’t personally find it great for my brows as this particular synthetic hair doesn’t seem to pick u powder so well for me and I prefer a thicker brow brush.
The Blending Eye Shadow Brush (£4.50) and the Tapered Blending Brush (£4.50) are both goat hair and are actually very similar in shape, the Tapered Blending brush being slightly longer. Both are incredibly soft and I have had no shedding at all from them. The only problem for me is that I cannot use them as eye shadow brushes. They are huge on my tiny little eyes! They tend to splay a lot and lose their shade a little with washing so if you have brush guards I would use them with these. I have actually found a use for these though. I used them to blend out eye shadow primer all over my lid right up to my brows. It just feels so much more gentle than tugging at my lids with a finger. So yes I like them and I use them but for people like me with small eyes I do not recommend these as eye brushes.
One eye brush I do love for its intended purpose is the Flat Eye Shadow Brush (£4). Another soft goat hair brush that has not shed on me at all. It is ever so slightly less dense and a little shorter than the MAC 139 but performs almost exactly the same for me. It works brilliantly at laying down colour on the lid.
The Pencil Brush (£3.25) is another good little work horse of a brush. Again made of soft goat hair I love it for inner corner highlighting and smudging shadow under the lower lash line. I find these (I have two) to be a little shorter and less tapered than the MAC equivalent and whilst they have never shed they are also prone to getting a little fluffy after washing. But they are so much cheaper than the MAC version and at the end of the day I think they perform perfectly well.
On to the face brushes. The Flat Contour brush (£5.35) is really very interesting. Again this is goat hair and it feels very soft but not quite as baby soft as the eye brushes. I have lost 1 or 2 hairs during washing. Nothing to write home about though. It’s the shape that I love. It has a flattened top meaning you can use the edge of it to really chisel in some cheek bones when contouring. I like using the flat surface straight on for blush too and I find that it picks up and blends powder products very well.
The Foundation Brush (£6) is by far my favourite brush of the bunch and I fully intend to purchase another one. The synthetic hair is gorgeously soft and I have never seen another brush with this unique domes shape. At first I was a little wary but it applies liquid and cream foundation beautifully and the tapered dome makes working the product around your eyes and nose a doddle. It’s a brilliant multitasker too! The shape lends itself beautifully to applying cream contour products (my Tom Ford palette for example) and as long as you use a very light hand it works for cream blush too.
Finally my least favourite of the bunch. The Large Powder Brush (£6.50) is HUGE. Not necessarily a bad thing. The size actually works pretty well for a light dusting of setting powder or an all over wash of bronzer. I just don’t find that the goat hair in this one is soft enough. In fact I would go so far as to say I find this brush a little scratchy. One to miss I think.
Over all, with the exception of the Large Powder Brush I’m impressed. There are some really good brushes here and they are genuinely good brushes, not just good for the price. In hindsight I would have skipped buying the set and just picked up the Pencil Brush, Foundation Brush, Flat Contour Brush, Flat Eye Shadow Brush, Liner Brush and either the Tapered Blending brush OR the Blending Eye shadow Brush. I don’t think you need both and I would have passed on the Large Powder Brush.