|e.l.f essential brushes|
I chose five basic, collection staple brushes to try, two face and three eye. I'll start with the face brushes. They're very pretty, the handles painted in shimmery, pearly white, and the bristles are kind of a cherrywood red, different from anything I've seen and very striking against the pearly handles.
|bottom: Total Face Brush; top: Bronzing Brush|
The Total Face Brush is the biggest brush in the set and is meant to be the powder setting brush. The idea is to swirl your powder, tap off the excess, and very lightly press the powder onto your skin, but this brush falls short. The head is neither plush nor wide enough and the bristles not stiff enough to do an adequate job. It's one of the roughest face brushes I've ever tried, on top of it, and it sheds and frays on its first washing. I found it best suited for powder blush application (as long as the blush is not overly pigmented), and at $1.02, its sensory flaws are forgivable. Personally, I'd skip this one altogether and splurge a little on a good powder brush and look to e.l.f.'s Studio line for a better blush brush.
I looked to the Bronzing Brush, the smaller, angled brush, to apply my blush and perhaps blend my undereye concealer/highlighter, but I ran into the same stiffness and plushness issues I had with the Total Face Brush. If you're into contouring, you might actually like the shape of this one as a supplemental brush, as it creates a stripe but doesn't do much to blend, but the whole package makes this one a complete no-go for me. I've used it the least and the handle and barrel are already starting to separate. Save your buck and don't even bother. Again, the Studio line, for just over $3 per brush, boasts better angled, tapered, and dual fiber blush and bronzing brushes.
|bottom to top: Eyeshadow Brush, Defining Eye Brush, Blending Eye Brush|
The eye brushes' handles and barrels are identical to the face brushes. The bristles differ-- these are the sort of standard medium brown, which is good-- it's a much softer material than the bristles on the face brushes. They're just better made brushes all around, as they hold up to normal cleaning without shedding or fraying.
The Eyeshadow Brush is flat, wide, and somewhat tapered. I couldn't find two identical Eyeshadow Brushes on the shelf, and they were all cut so irregular that some of them more closely resembled the shorter bristled, but identically shaped, Smudge Brush. I chose the most evenly tapered brush I could find and it still is quite irregular and has a few long, wayward bristles. Application wise, it worked just fine. I use this one as my highlighting brush whenever I do a full eye look, as it fits perfectly into the contours of my eyebrows, bearing in mind that you always, ALWAYS need to blend. This one is worth your dollar.
The tapered Defining Eye Brush is best for all over color and applies so nicely that I wondered why I wasn't using a brush like this for my lid color before. It delivers nice, subtle, perfectly placed coverage and is now THE brush I use for my singles. Definitely worth your dollar-- there's no reason to spend more when this one works so beautifully.
The Blending Eye Brush is plush and compact, with a shorter head than any blending brush I've ever seen (and used), and that makes it super easy to control. It blends right where I want it to and doesn't pull shadow too far in one direction or another (something I've struggled with when using a larger and wider blending brush). I love this brush. It does the job beautifully and, like the Defining and Eyeshadow brushes, feels wonderful against my lid and browbone. Simply, it is the best eye brush I've ever used. This one is a steal.
The eye brushes and Total Face Brush used as a powder brush results in action:
Bottom line, you get what you pay for in regards to the face brushes. They're fine in a pinch but there are much better ones out there for under $20 (check out the Real Techniques Powder Brush and Duo Fiber set). The eye brushes, on the other hand, are as good as, if not better than, any spendier brand and totally worth it. Shop e.l.f.'s single brushes online HERE.
Thank you for reading and have a fantastic day!! ☼♥