I have long admired many makeup brushes from a far. I have found some that look so perfect I’d never want to use them in fear of damaging them. I’m still figuring out which ones are best not just for function but also aesthetics.
I have used the Artis brushes for quite a few years now and I’ve narrowed down which ones are my favourites, (Oval 6, Oval 7 and Linear 1). However, I definitely reach for traditional brushes when it comes to creating eye looks. The Oval 3 and Circle 1r are best for one and done eyeshadow looks. They apply product nicely but it’s much harder to use them to layer and blend out the edges, especially if you want that seamless blown out effect. I also find that the bristles can cling onto some of the product, which can also dull the effect.
My makeup brush experience goes as far as Artis, Pink Bambu from Bdellium Tools and more recently the Ecotools Start the Day Beautifully set. I had the Pink Bambu brushes for a while, however the bristles were never as soft as I’d prefer. They also deteriorated to the point that they scratched my skin enough to bother me. The set from Ecotools is a perfectly good, affordable starter kit. I find myself wanting to be finished with my eye makeup quicker, because they don’t blend as nicely as I’d like. It also takes a while for it to blend. Mostly though I have always been annoyed with how big the eye brushes were. They do have smaller ones though, so keep them in mind if you’re on the hunt for affordable, more eco-friendly concious brushes!
Not me though. Oh no. I have been wanting to collect some beautiful brushes that could stand next to my already stunning Artis brushes. I was intent on buying fude, but I had reservations because it’s impossible for me to see them in person and they use animal hair. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to own some of what could almost be considered artwork created by talented artisans!
The next best compromise is fude brushes created with synthetic fibres. Now I know that some of the more well known brands like Chikuhodo and Hakuhodo do create brushes with synthetic bristles, but here came my next concern. I definitely didn’t want a mix of brush handles, in fact I was hoping for all black!
Enter Rae Morris, a well known Australian makeup artist. While the first edition fude brushes were crafted with animal hair, the second iteration are now created with a Micro Crystal Fibre. This fibre is synthetic, but it’s vegan and designed to mimic the cuticle of natural animal hair. What sealed the deal for me though, was the magnetic feature. Each brush has a magnet in the base.
The Rae Frame / $75.00 AUD
I chose the Rae Frame over the Rae Plate mainly because it offers more storage options. They’re both minimalist black steel so they fit with aethetics of the black hard maple/cherry handles. If you need extra room, the Rae Frame has 7 usuable sides so your brushes can be safely stored without being cluttered together. I’m especially interested in being able to hang them downwards after cleaning, to avoid water pooling in the brush head.
1 Deluxe Kabuki / $105.00 AUD
I prefer this for the final step of finishing powder. They say you can use it for cream products but I haven’t tried. It is one of the looser bundled brushes and it doesn’t really keep it’s shape when you use it. It’s much better for dusting on loose powder. I don’t think it works that well for blending mineral foundation as the bristles are aren’t packed densely enough. If you use powder blush or bronzer, I think it’s a very good shape and size for that as you can use just the tip for more precise placement.
6.5 Angle Eye Blender / $90.00 AUD
They say this is good for hooded eyes, and I agree. It’s fantastic to use if you want to properly blend out any eyeshadow. I either use it for a one and done shadow, like the Rituel de Fille Eye Soots, or I’ll use it to blend out the edges of any eye look, ensuring there are truly no harsh lines. I tilt my head back, look down at my mirror and then blend away. If you hate blending, or find it hard to, then this brush a great tool to make the task effortless.
8.5 Crème Shadow Shadow / $70.00 AUD
I bought these second hand, so I think this one is an older version as it doesn’t match what’s currently on their website. It looks more like the 11, Medium Oval Shadow. I would consider this more of a blender brush. Used flat it’s good at a soft wash of colour of powder eyeshadow, that can be blended if you switch to using just the tip. I’ve never really liked these types of brushes for packing on colour because I feel like product gets stuck in the centre of the bristles. The bristles are bundled so it’s a little fluffier than the 11.1.
9 Detail Point Shader / $70.00 AUD
Oh where have you been? I stay away from smoking out liner on my top lash because it just ends up too overblown, way outside of where I want it. The pointed taper of this, along with small back and forth motions means I can keep the blend where I want it. You do not need much at all for it work! It’s feels much silkier if used on it’s side. It maintains some stiffness in the bristles, rather than splaying out. I also use it for spot concealing wherever I need a little extra coverage.
11.1 Small Oval Shadow / $80.00 AUD
The thin, flatter profile is great packing on colour, especially cream shadows like the Eye Soot from Rituel de Fille. It picks up colour very nicely and applies majority of it with ease. The thin bundle means the colour doesn’t migrate towards the centre. It’s also a great size for my tiny eyelid. I normally find it really hard to apply colour right to my lash line, but this is small enough to do so. It’s more silky than soft, as the bristles are a touch stiff to maintain tension as it runs across the skin.
12 Lash Line Smudger / $55.00 AUD
I chose this one because I am loving a softly smoked out lower lash line. This has a bigger, slighter fluffier bundle than the 17. The tip is sharp, but means I can apply a thin line and then blend as much as I want. I much prefer the size of this over any other angled liner brushes I’ve used.
17 Square Lash Liner / $50.00 AUD
I wasn’t sure how much I’d use this one, but it’s so fine, it’s perfect for tight lining. I don’t often do this because it can end up on smudged on my actual lid. The thin end ensures precise application. I dip the tip into my eyeshadow or liquid liner and then just press it into my lashes. It’s even thin enough to do a winged liner. Even though it has a blunt finish, it’s not abrasive. If you feel it side on, it also has the same silky quality as the 11.1.
I am pretty pleased with these. Ok, I’m damn happy with these. The shapes feel much more intuitively designed for eyes. They are small enough to apply colour right where I want, as oppposed to all over. I can blend colour out, without making a mess. I am also amazed at the tension they have. I don’t know if that is the technical term, but I find that if you don’t need pressure to apply colour evenly. This is particularly good for when you’re trying to apply colour close to your lashes. I have often irritated mine using other brushes.
I have found that with the Ecotools and even sometimes with Artis, I feel like I have to press hard, or swipe a few times to achieve the colour payoff I want. I find that most of it is left on the bristles and I can swatch it perfectly on my hand, because I can use more pressure than what my eyes tolerate.
I think another reason I’m so pleasantly surprised by them is that I feel like I can apply my eyeshadow with a bit more finesse. One and done shadows are my best friend and a nice, big brush will very easily fluff it on. My issue with that is I end up fluffing it everywhere. Perfect for when I’m racing out the door, not so much when I want to take my time. Since I’m at home a lot more now, I have been loving taking the extra time to fiddle with eyeshadow application. It’s that extra time to myself which is calming and quite enjoyable.
These blend seamlessly because of the cut and fibres. They are a pleasure to use because they don’t irritate my skin, and the silkiness almost makes it enjoyable. Imagine that! A tool that encourages you to blend more!
So of course, I’m not here trying to convince you to rush out and spend hard earned money on something that you might consider frivolous. In fact, I didn’t pay full retail price. I bought all these brushes second hand and the Rae Frame was a gift from my husband. I do want to purchase some more, but I’m definitely keeping an eye out for sales. However these are contributing quite a bit to improving my makeup skills and mental health, so I’m quite happy with my purchase!
If you are lusting after vegan, cruelty free fude brushes, I’d definitely recomend checking out Rae Morris. I think if you’re interested in splurging on beatifully minimalistic, but also high quality brushes they are an excellent choice. Quite a few of them are multi-purpose, but the ones that have firmly settled into my routine are the 6.5, 9, 11.1, 12 and 17.