Sunday, 18 March 2012

Latest Kit Acquisitions: Brushes!

I am known amongt my friends for my love of brushes and my constant obsession of finding obscure brands and types to use in my work. I have lost count of how many I have and to be honest I have also stopped counting. As I get older and more experienced in my work as a makeup artist, what I look for in a brush evolves according to what and how I do makeup and what products I am using. When I work abroad, I almost always make it a point to pop into a pharmacy or beauty store if i see one to just browse. Many of my favourite brushes have been found in the weirdest of places!

Recently I attended IMATS (International Makeup Artist Trade Show) in London for the first time ever on their PRO day as I had a rare day off before a trip abroad for a shoot. I knew that Japanese brush company Hakuhodo was showing there and since hearing so much about these brushes, I decided to go but alas the stand wasn't set up and the Hakuhodo guys were flying in that day to set up, ready for business the next day when I was away! Shame but since I was there, I walked about and met many of the makeup artists I have admired so it wasn't really a waste. 

I also got to meet Louise Young, an experienced makeup artist with over 20 years under her belt. I knew of her brushes from Twitter and also through the many blog posts about her highly thought-of brushes. Well I finally got to have a try myself and I was not disappointed. Have a look at the set, I am missing a few but this is pretty close to the whole complete set.
After 19 years doing makeup professionally I am quite particular with brushes so I can safely say I know what I want and dislike almost instantly. Louise Young brushes are incredibly well thought through in terms of shapes and sizes. It is very obvious that the brushes were designed by and with a makeup artist in mind. A combination of Taklon and natural hairs, there is a brush for literally every part of your makeup routine. I love them and after trialling them during a shoot, they are now a firm part of my brush kit.

You can purchase the brushes directly from Louise's online shop here.
L-R: SUQQU, Stilazzi, Shu Uemura, Japonesque
During IMATS I also got to meet Paul Esper and Matt Morelli, the guys behind the wholesale makeup store Frends based in Hollywood, where they stock lots of the best products for film and television makeup. Working there was also makeup artist Mariam Jensen who I have chatted to many a time on twitter. The boys and Mariam talked me through a sample of what Frends brought over to showcase at the show and immediately I was drawn to the brushes! Paul explained that this was their own brand that they developed and they're good! I chose 2 to try at work and I'm impressed. Firm, soft and well shaped with no hair fall outs. Straight into my kit!

You can buy Stilazzi brushes directly from Frends or from good friend of mine Julie Burford of Cocktail Cosmetics.

Well as you know by now I did not get to buy or even feel any Hakuhodo brushes so when I heard that another Japanese company Chikuhodo made brushes for SUQQU, I thought there was my chance. Favoured by many an experienced makeup artist, Lisa Eldridge who I admire being one of them, I got me some as soon as possible! And they're lush! Ultra soft, luxurious and well shaped and cut, these brushes are on a different level. Hand cut and shaped, you can feel and see that a lot of work had gone into making them. 

You can buy SUQQU from any of their stands in beauty halls or from the Selfridges online store here.

I recently received news from a friend who worked in one of my favourite brands Shu Uemura that a brush was going to be discontinued. Well I legged it there as soon as I could and discovered that it was one of their Kolinsky brushes, of which I have quite a few and am a huge fan of. The No 15 Kolinsky will no longer be reproduced when stocks run out so I had to have one! Just as well as it was the last one left in the shop. Designed for the eye, this slightly large brush is well padded and full but yet possess incredible control when applying product. 

You can purchase the brush from any of their stores or stands.

Last of my recent finds is the Japonesque range of brushes. I've known of this brand for many years, especially their palettes which I love for my kit. Brushes however I will admit to not knowing much of. So when I had the chance to play with some, I was suitably impressed. I have chosen 2 of my favourites for their shape and cut. The first is a mineral angled concealer brush with anti-bacterial bristles. I love the angle cut into this brush for really getting into the nooks of a face such as the sides of the nose. The second one is a smudger/crease brush. Soft but yet firm, it's great for smudging and blended round the eye or even along the lip line to blur lipstick and pencil. 

Purchase Japonesque from Cocktail Cosmetics.

So there you go, a look into what I can only call an obsession of mine. I love my brushes and look after it well, in fact so well that I still have brushes I bought when I first started out 19 years ago! Just remember that brushes need not always be expensive, for me it's always about the shape and how they suit me as a makeup artist. What do you think?


  1. Beautiful new acquisitions! I'm finding it so hard to decide on new brushes to try. I'm anxious to try Suqqu but they are such an investment. I had been hoping to attend IMATS in Toronto last year almost exclusively to purchase some Hakuhodo but couldn't make it happen. I may just pic up some more MAC brushes soon as they are so accessible to me online but I have also been looking into Royal & Langnickel that I've been hearing more about lately.

    1. Ahh so like me you had no luck with Hakuhodo too! Annoying huh? Well apparently many a blogger have said that Chikuhodo is better and they make SUQQU and if so, they're great! I adore my SUQQU ones and they're soft beyond anything I have tried! MAC's great too. TBH I had a look at the Royal & Langnickel stand at IMATS and I didn't see anything that suited me personally. It had the same generic shapes that many brands tend to have, I'm sure they're fine but it just wasn't for me. Thanks for the comment x

    2. Thanks for the tip about R&L. I think I have FINALLY made the decision to make a go at being a makeup artist. I know being in my rural area I'll be destined for weddings etc to start but I can't live my life never having made an attempt to live my dream. Things are at a point right now where I really have nothing to lose trying. When I first commented here I hadn't had my little "epiphany" so I was thinking the R&L for personal use. Now that I have a KIT to plan I am totally lost. I suppose MAC is the best way to go maybe for now. So much work to do! Thanks for you always inspirational posts! <3

    3. Wow! I wish you all the best and look forward to hearing more of your adventures in changing careers! I love what I do and hope that I come across that way in work and in how I interact with others. It truly is a wonderfully artistic job that's hard but also fulfilling. It's not rocket science but it makes me happy. Good luck and if you ever need any advice please do ask ok? X

  2. The brushes are fabulous! We dont have all this amazing ones in India so I end up with a lot of brushes from Shiseido, Clinique, Estee Lauder and then buy some amazing brushes from Scott Barnes from
    Its lovely to see hakuhodo brushes but their conversion into my country's currency is going to make me really poor!

    1. I am sure ther's no real need for all these brushes, I'm just greedy and at the end of the day, it's the skill that really matters.

  3. I know this post is from a while ago, but I have been trying to find some reviews on Stilazzi and I was wondering if you could tell me what you thought of them?? Thankyou!!!

    1. Hi Johanna, I'm a big fan of their brushes. They're really soft and shaped really well so it suits my way of doing makeup a lot. I am looking forward to seeing them at IMATS London again to get more. I hope this is useful.

  4. Thankyou for your quick response. I have purchased some of the false lashes, but wasn't sure if I wanted to take the plunge on the brushes (could not really find much information on them!), saw that you mentioned them. So glad I did, I've been browsing your blog this week during down time. The women you work with (although beautiful to begin with) are totally transformed by you, it's great to see the before and after shots. Thanks for sharing it all!