Wednesday, 22 February 2012
ELF Studio Brush Review
A while ago I needed to expand my brush collection (actually, I still do), but as I didn't particularly feel like spending a fortune in MAC I decided to buy some brushes from ELF instead. The four brushes I will be reviewing here are the Retractable Lip Brush, the Stipple Brush, the Small Angled Brush and the Kabuki Brush, which all form part of the studio line. It's taken me a while to write up this review, as I wanted to really put them through their paces before commenting on the quality and I've actually had them since before Christmas.
First up is the Retractable Lip Brush, which costs £3.50. I wanted a lip brush that I could chuck into my handbag for on-the-go touch ups of lipstick without having to worry about lipstick smudges getting everywhere and that's exactly where this brush comes in.
This has a clever little mechanism where you pull off the lid and slide it onto the back of the pencil in order to push the bristles out. This way you can control how far you want the brush to push out, which will determine the bristle length and firmness. It's a great idea, but unfortunately something in the mechanism broke after a few washes and now the lid won't go on properly. It's not so bad that I can't use it properly, but I do need to be careful when I carry it in my handbag.
As for the brush quality it's pretty good, unbeatable for the price. I love the fact that you can control the firmness of the brush, though even at full length (as pictured above) the bristles are still quite firm which makes precise application of lipstick a breeze.
Next up is the Small Angled Brush at £3.50 as well.
I'll be honest with you: When I first got this brush I thought I'd have to throw it away. I bought it with the intention to use it with brow powder, but the bristles were incredibly sharp and scratchy, which made for a painful application and tremendous amounts of fallout in the powder pan. In theory this could be used to apply eye liner as well, but with the amount of scratchiness I wouldn't dream of putting it anywhere near my eyes.
Then something magical happened. After a few washes the sharpness of the bristles seemed to disappear. They softened just enough to make application a pleasure, but not so much to lose their firmness which is much needed for precise application.
The tip of the brush is fairly wide, so if you want to use it for eye liner or for tightlining it's only good if you're after a wide line - not so great if thin application is what you're after.
Moving on to the Stipple Brush, which -surprise, surprise- also cost £3.50
I bought this to apply my foundation with and I have to say I'm not a massive fan of the result this brush gives me. I'm not sure if it's something all stippling brushes share, but I found that I really have to work my foundation in, otherwise I get lots and lots of little uneven patches. Once worked in, however, my foundation made me look almost airbrushed, a fantastic result. Ultimately, I think that this brush could do with being a bit denser. Once the hairs get in contact with anything liquid they tend to clump together and it doesn't feel like there's that many of them there at all!
However, I've found a perfect alternative for this, which is to apply creme blusher. This brush is now BFFs with my Topshop blush and together they give a gorgeous, dewy finish, which unlike the foundation isn't patchy at all.
I admit I saved the best till last. I present you proudly the Kabuki Face Brush, which is the most expensive of the lot at £5.00.
Now, this brush is a dream. As soon as I opened the packaging I discovered it was incredibly soft, which makes running it over my face a pleasure every single time. I use this to powder my face and it picks up the perfect amount of product and dispenses it evenly for exactly the kind of finish that I'm trying to achieve. I really can't say anything bad about this brush, other than that it takes a long time to dry after washing, which is due to the fact it is so dense and fluffy!
As for longevity I have to say that none of these brushes shed a single bristle. Not once. And that's more than I can say for my MAC brushes which always shed a fair bit until they've been through the wash a couple of times. The only thing I would criticise would be the handles. As mentioned above, the mechanism on the lip brush broke after a while and the handle has loosened from the ferrule a little on the stipple brush. This makes me think that these brushes certainly won't last a lifetime, as some higher end ones would, but for the price they are absolutely unbeatable.