Favorite Brushes for Blush, Contour and Highlight Application

In line with my previous posts, I am sharing my favorite makeup brushes. This time, I am sharing my favorite brushes to use for applying blush, highlight and contour.

 

The oldest brush in this post is around 11 years old, while the newest is around 2 years old. It’s always best to purchase a brush of good quality because, if you take care of them, they last a really long time.

 

This is made from natural hair and measures around 6.85 inches. The bristles are 32 mm from Ferrule to tip.

Laura Mercier Cheek Colour Brush

This brush has compact bristles. If I need to apply a pop of color, I use this brush because it picks up more product. The bristles are very soft and feels gentle on the skin. I have had this brush on my kit for 11 years now. As you can see to this day, it has still retained its shape. I primarily use the brush when I am using powder blush. This is made from natural hair and measures around 6.85 inches. The bristles are 32 mm from Ferrule to tip.

 

Japnoseque Kumadori Highlight and Contour Brush

This brush is the “youngest” brush in my kit. Read about my experience with this brush here.

 

This is made from goat hair and measures around 6.20 inches. The bristles are 37 mm from Ferrule to tip

Hyakusuke Yachiyo Brush (Large)

This brush is fluffy in nature. I use this when I apply cream/gel blush products. The brush tips are white, so this enables me to clearly see the color I am applying. Before I had this brush, I had trouble applying cream/gel blushes using a brush with dark bristles because I couldn’t see the product on the brush tips. I would end up applying to little or too much; constantly second guessing myself.

Sometime I use this brush with powder blushes that have high shine content. The fluffiness of the brush picks up a gentle amount of product which allows me to layer the color as needed.

One tip, after purchasing this brush, run some superglue along the entire cane wrapped handle. This is just a preventive measure to keep the cane from unraveling.

 

 

Top: The Ita Bake 35 measures at around 5.85 inches Bottom: Ita Bake 45 measures at around 5.65 inches.

Hyakusuke Ita Bake Brush (35 and 45)

Hyakusuke is a local shop in the heart of Asakusa that has supplied local Geisha and Kabuki actors with makeup for more than 100 years. This is where I bought these brushes in 2010.

These two bruhes are almost identical. Both these brushes are made from a combination of goat and synthetic hair. The bristles on both brushes are 22 mm from Ferrule to tip.

Ita Bake 35          Ita Bake 45

The Ita Bake 45 is wider by 10 mm that that of the Ita Bake 35; which measures at 34 mm.

This makes the Ita Bake 35 have a denser and fuller brush head that that of the Ita Bake 45.

I use these two to blend or define contour. These works well with cream/powder contour products.

 

Beau-Temps Fan Brush

I have had this brush for around 10 years. As of this writing, the ferrule is wobbly. So this brush is at the end of its Iife time. I bought this in Vietnam during the early days of my career. I could not find any online content for this brush. I do not know where this was made and my best guess is that the bristles are made from Bager.

This is my favorite brush to use to apply powdered highlights. The bristles are fluffy enough to pick up a gentle amount of shimmer that enable me to layer it as needed on the face.

The brush measures at around 8.8 inches. The bristles are 38 mm from Ferrule to tip.

 

This brush measures around 6.7 inches. The bristles are 35 mm from Ferrule to tip.

Coastal Scents Round Powder Brush

This brush is part of a 22 piece brush set. Although this brush is named a powder brush, I use this for applying and blending liquid contour / cream products. The bristles are made of synthetic fiber which do not absorb the product. The bristles are easy to control and maneuver, gliding easily along the hollow of the cheeks, the jaw line or by the hair line.

 

See some of these brushes in action on my makeup videos 50’s Inspired Make-up Look and Red Carpet Inspired Glam Party Look.

I am currently not familiar how much these brushes cost individually. If you are interested, and if applicable, do click on the names of the brushes to be taken to that brand’s main website.

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Let me say that the products I am using has worked for me and it might not necessarily work for you. Always be discerning when purchasing makeup tools, cosmetics or skin care products. Always read the label and the literature! Always do a patch test before you purchase a product for the first time to see that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients listed.

This is not sponsored. The products that are shown here are the products that I always use, love and live by.

~

Say “Hi!” on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/tortorre

 

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Favorite Powder Eye Shadow Brushes

These are the seven eye shadow brushes that I primarily use for work. With the exception of one brush, these have been with me even before I turned PRO 11 Years ago. This age is evident on some of the brushes, the laquer from the wooden handle has fallen off/warped/melted. I know you think it’s time for me to buy a new one, but I cannot bear to let go of these.

Do take note that some of these brushes are made from natural hair, animal hair, natural fiber etc. This is why I consider my brushes to be very precious. I prefer to lose a piece of lipstick, blush or foundation, my heart breaks when I loose a brush.

I get really upset when I lose a brush. Not only are the expensive, but they are difficult to produce. I do take care of my brushes out of respect for anyone or anything involved in a brush making process.

I have a number of brushes on my kit, but these brushes are the ones that I keep coming back to when applying powder eye shadow.

 

The entire length of the brush is around 5.55 inches. The brush head is around 11 mm from the ferrule to the brush tip.

Crown Brush C135 Oval Shadow

I use this brush when I want a single full wash of color on the eyelid. This large brush is quite versatile, because it’s bristles are compact. Enabling me to deliver the color that I want, depending on the amount of product it picks up. The key is on how much products is picked up depends on the pressure exerted on the eye shadow product.

This brush is made from Natural Sable.

 

 

The entire length of the brush is around 6.6 inches. The brush head is 12 mm from the ferrule to the brush tip.

Laura Mercier Eye Colour Brush

This brush is one of the best brushes I have used. It is a medium-sized brush that pics up the right amount of product. I use this product primarily when I am applying the first wash of color.

This brush helps me shape the the eye. The flat tapered design helps me create a gradation of color when I am blending an eye makeup look.

This is made from Natural Hair.

 

The entire length of the brush is around 6.45 inches. The brush head is 9mm from the ferrule to the brush tip.

Crown Brush C124 Firm Shadow Brush

I use this brush when I am applying a specific color in a specific area on the eye. It is small enough to fit into the eyelid or at the brow bone.

Since it’s firm, it picks up more pigments and delivers a full impact of color.

This brush is made from Natural Sable.

 

 

 

The entire length of the brush around 6.6 inches. The brush head is 8mm from the ferrule to the brush tip.

Laura Mercier Corner Eye Colour Brush

Unfortunately, this brush is no longer listed on their website. Thus, this is no longer in production. So, this to me is a very precious brush.

I mainly use this when I would apply some minute detailing to the eye shadow look I am creating. Mostly enhancing/deepening the color on the crease or the outer corners of the eyes.

This is made from Natural Hair.

 

The entire length of the brush is around 6.3 inches. The brush head is 19mm from the ferrule to the brush tip.

Laura Mercier Pony Tail Brush

I use this brush when I am blending colors on the eye lids. I also use this when I want to add a gentle amount of color unto the crease of the eye.

This brush tapers to a point, which enables me to pick up more color at that part and less product on the surrounding bristles. So upon application, the point on the brush applies the intensity of the color right on the crease and blends it at the same time.

This brush is made from Natural Hair.

 

The entire length of the brush it at 5.65 inches. The brush head is 15 mm from the ferrule to the brush tip.

Paula Dorf Eye Shadow Brush

I use this alone or in tandem with my Laura Mercier Pony Tail brush. This brush does not taper the way LM’s Pony tail does.

It’s more compact. If I’m going for a stronger eye color on the crease, I use this.  It picks up more color from the pot and releases the color generously on the lid.

The bristles are made from Blue Squirrel.

 

 

The entire length of the brush it at 6.5 inches. The brush head is 4 mm from the ferrule to the brush tip.

Laura Mercier Smudge Brush

I use this a lot when creating a smoky eye look. The bristles are very short and very compact. This is my go to brush when I want to soften pencil eyeliners or cake eyeliners. I place this brush on the lash line and smudge the product. Sometimes, I use this to apply eye shadow on the lower lash line. It’s fail safe and very easy to use.

This is made from Natural Hair.

 

 

See some of these brushes in action on my makeup videos 50’s Inspired Make-up Look and Red Carpet Inspired Glam Party Look.

I am currently not familiar how much these brushes cost individually. If you are interested, do click on the names of the brushes to be taken to that brand’s main website.

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Let me say that the products I am using has worked for me and it might not necessarily work for you. Always be discerning when purchasing makeup tools, cosmetics or skin care products. Always read the label and the literature! Always do a patch test before you purchase a product for the first time to see that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients listed.

This is not sponsored. The products that are shown here are the products that I always use, love and live by.

~

Say “Hi!” on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/tortorre

Japonesque Kumadori Brush Collection

I have a number of “core” brushes that I use for work all of the time. Over the years, I have managed to add a few to that “core” number of brushes. It’s a big deal, because as an artist, you end up picking up the same brushes over and over. In time, you get to “know” the brushes that you use; what they are good at and what they are good for.

My latest additions are these brushes from the Kumadori Brush Collection by Japonesque. If you are a makeup fan, you might think that these brushes are from the Kabuki Collection of Nars Cosmetics.

Top:  NARS  Mie Kabuki Powder Brush Bottom: Japonesque Kumadori Powder Brush

For the sake of comparison, on first glance, the wisteria wrapped handle of the Nars Kabuki Brush Collection is shinier than that of the Japonesque Kumadori Brush Collection.  There are also other subtle differences in product design like: the handle designs,  the ferrule designs, and the brush head design. Go see for yourself.

I have been told that Japonesque produces the Kabuki Brush Collection of Nars Cosmetics, but I could not find substantial information to know this to be 100% true. One other possibility is that, both these companies might have the same manufacturer in China.

The Japonesque Kumadori Brush Collection is inspired by Kumadori.

Kumadori Makeup Style. Photo taken from http://goinjapanesque.com/10660/

Kumadori is actually a makeup style worn by Kabuki actors who perform in the aragoto style. Aragoto is an acting style where in Kabuki actors perform using exaggerated, dynamic body movements and dramatic vocals to portray their characters. Kumadori. is described as the use colors applied in stripes or in a specific pattern over white foundation to depict the character he is playing. To read more about Kumadori read on at http://goinjapanesque.com/10660/.

The Japonesque Kumadori Brush Collection is a collection of 5 brushes. All of which have a plastic handle that is wrapped in Wisteria bark. Some people might not like having a textured brush handle, but I like it. It gives me some traction, securing my grip which prevents the brush from slipping through my fingers.

The brushes are very versatile. The bristles are made from natural fibers which feel very soft and very luxurious. You can use these brushes for powder, cream and liquid products.

The wisteria bark, brushes handles and the bristles are dyed black. So always wash the bristles with warm water and soap before using. Don’t be alarmed by the dark dye getting flushed by the water, it eventually clears after the initial wash.

Of the 5 brushes in the collection, I purchased these three:

The entire length of the brush is around 7.25 inches. The brush head measures at 2.10 inches starting from the ferrule to the brush tip.

The Kumadori Powder Brush

This is great to use when you want to have a thin veil of powder on your face.

I primarily use this brush for powder applications when I want to set foundation. I also use this as finishing brush when using loose powders.There have been times I have used this for applying and blending out powder contour.

The bristles are tapered and not as compact as other powder brushes.

The entire length of the brush is around 6.6 inches. The brush head measures at 1.7 inches starting from the ferrule to the brush tip.

The Kumadori Contour/Highlighting Brush

I use this brush mostly in applying bronzer. The brush head is tapered and fluffy. It picks up the right amount of color and helps me deliver it evenly on the skin.

I have tried applying blush, in powder and cream formulas. As seen here, I prefer to use my Mitsuyoshi Yachiyo Brush for this purpose because the brush heads are white. This enables me to see the color of the blush, unlike the black brush heads of the Kumadori Countour/Highlighting Brush.

The entire length of the brush is around 7.05 inches. The brush head measures at 1.5 inches starting from the ferrule to the brush tip.

The Kumadori Fan Brush

I use this brush as a secondary highlighting brush. I find the bristles too “stiff”. I had to re-train my hands in using this brush because, if one is to heavy handed, streaking happens. It’s best to use this brush with a very light hand. In terms of comparison, I prefer to use the badger Beautemps Fan Brush. The bristles are softer, less compact and it picks up a small amount of product that is perfect for layering.

 

To see the two other brushes from this collection click on their names:

Kumadori Buffing Brush

Kumadori Blending Brush

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I bought these brushes during my trip to the US in 2016. Cholo and I were visiting our good friend Frankie in Maryland. We were walking along Downtown Silver Spring, a complex of shops, and I saw an ULTA!  In the US, these brushes are only available at ULTA or at ULTA.com. Prior to arriving in the continent, I had already planned to visit an ULTA physical store to get these brushes. While I was at Los Angeles and New York, I totally forgot to visit a store. I thank serendipity for showing me to ULTA when we were on our way to the parking lot.

The Kumadori Powder Brush retails for $ 28 [Php 1500 +-] (exclusive of tax).

The Kumadori Fan Brush retails for $19 [Php 1000+-] (exclusive of tax).

The Kumadori Contour/Highlight Brush retails for $19 [Php 1000 +-] (exclusive of tax).

Check these brush out at ULTA.com.

These brushes are also available here at the Philippines at the Beauty Bar.

The Kumadori Powder Brush retails for Php 2095.00.

The Kumadori Contour/Highlight Brush retails for Php 1395.00.

The Kumadori Fan Brush retails for Php 1295.00.

Check out the Kumadori Contour/Highlight Brush in action on my Red Carpet Inspired Glam Makeup Look video.

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Let me say that the products I am using has worked for me and it might not necessarily work for you. Always be discerning when purchasing cosmetics or skin care products. Always read the label and the literature! Always do a patch test before you purchase a product for the first time to see that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients listed.

This is not sponsored. The products that are shown here are the products that I always use, love and live by.

~

Say “Hi!” on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/tortorre

 

The Artis Makeup Brush

My latest brush acquisition is this Elite Mirror 5 Brush Set from Artis Brush.

Over the years, I have seen these brushes pop up online every so often. I have been been generally intrigued by it. I first saw this modern makeup brush from MAC. However, upon seeing the design sensibility of Artis,  I wanted to have one.

Nat passed on to me this Elite Mirror 5 Brush Set during my recent trip to New York. He had this in stock but he never used it. This set comes with:

Elite Mirror Oval 6
The Elite Mirror Oval 6 ($55)

 

Elite Mirror Oval 4
The Elite Mirror Oval 4 ($45)

 

Elite Mirror Oval 3
The Elite Mirror Oval 3 ($40)

 

Elite Mirror Circle 1
The Elite Mirror Circle 1 ($35)

 

Elite Mirror Linear 1
The Elite Mirror Linear 1 ($35)

This set retails for $165 with a $210 value.

Nat and I have discussed the ergonomic design of this brush in detail. Using this for the first time will take some getting used to. We have come to the conclusion that it is easier to use this brush on oneself than using it on somebody else.

The brush heads of Artis are designed to be like the pad of your fingertips. Therefore the movement in makeup application is the same as that when you are using your fingers.

The bristles on the brush are very compact but very soft. It’s the same sensation as running your fingers through a very fine piece of Persian carpet. I used this on Suzi Abrera when I did her makeup for the show (MARS) we work on, she found them to be very soft. The bristles glide smoothly. She said it was like a cross between a brush and a sponge.

The fibres are called Cosmefibre. Synthetically produced to be more superior than that of natural animal bristles. These fibres do not absorb any product. This means more product is delivered unto the skin, less residue on the brush.

I have used this with cream, liquid and powdered products. It’s very versatile. I have used these for foundation, cream and powder blush, concealer, powder and cream eyeshadow, eyeliner, gel and powdered eyebrow products and lipstick. It does the job, with a little bit of practice.

I clean my Artis brush heads the same way I clean my traditional brushes. Although Artis has it’s own cleaning system. I find it too extravagant and wasteful (click here to see their full range of cleaning products.). I still prefer to clean my brushes on the palm of my hands or on a brush cleaning pad with an anti-bacterial washing agent.

Over time, as a makeup artist, you will find your own rhythm, your own style, your own process. The tools you use will adapt to this. As an artist, you can use any brush to suit your needs at any given time. As with any other brush, there is no one specific way that you have to use them. What works for you might not necessarily work for other, and that is totally fine!

To see tips on how to individually use the brushes featured in this blog, here are a few videos from the Artis Brush Youtube page:

The Oval 6:

The Oval 4:

The Oval 3:

The Circle 1:

The Linear 1:

Artis Brushes are made by Japanese manufacturing company Taiki. The brushes however are produced in China. The brain behind the redesigned brushes from Artis is former MAC executive Mathew Waitesmith.

Emergency Brush Kit

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My old emergency brush kit

If you are an aspiring makeup artist, I suggest that you build an emergency brush kit. Trust me, you’ll need it.

It always happens on a hectic week; in between shows, private clients, Mars taping and TVC shoots. When I am pressed for time, I do a simple cleansing routine on my brushes after work that evening. After cleaning them with a brush cleaner, I put them on a rack to dry; ready to be used the next day.

I get to work and start setting up. As soon as I open my light box, my brush belt is not there. I realize that my brushes are still at home; on the rack beside the kitchen counter.

I panic. Going back home to get them is not an option. Manila traffic is not my best friend. I stop for a minute to think of what to do. It dawns on me. I have a “purse” full of brushes in my back pack. I start to relax.

In my entire professional career, this has happened to me twice. From then on, I have always been mindful of my brushes.

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I never intended to build an emergency brush kit. It just sort of happened.

Early in my career (circa 2009), I had a fascination with double-ended brushes from Laura Mercier. I collected them when she’d release them as limited edition travel sized brushes during Christmas season. It’s practically everything that you’d need to complete a look.

The brushes you can see above are a combination of two brushe sets released a year apart.  One was sold as a traveling brush set and came with a brush purse. The other one was sold as part of a smoky eye set. Because of this, I practically have brushes for foundation, powder, blush, eye shadow (cream and powder), eyeliner, brows, concealer, and lips.

To this day, I tend to save brushes from used blush sets from Benefit, mainly just for posterity. The brushes remind me of kabuki brushes from Japan.  That small fan brush came with a tester set for some mineral powder from Laura Mercier. I have two C157 brushes from Crown Brush that were a gift from my best friend Nat.

All of these were in a small brush purse that I kept in my back pack. Let me say that these brushes were not really  “kept”, they were constantly being used in conjunction with my full-sized brushes. It even came a point that I used these mini brushes more often than the full-sized ones. I relegated these brushes to “emergency brush set” status after I left my brushes at home for the second time.

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A week ago, I decided to revamp my emergency brush kit. The brush purse has finally out-outlived it’s use.

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Revamped emergency brush kit

 

I now house the brushes in a small container intended for tools. This keeps the bristles from bending out of shape or the brushes from snapping in half.

I’ve added a few brushes that I don’t use on a regular basis. Like the lip brushes from the OCC Lip Tar kit and an old Makeup Forever Lip kit, The Touch Up Brush from Bobbi Brown, The Mac 183 Flat Top Kabuki Brush (currently discontinued) and an Ita Kabuki Brush. I’ve also added some testers (primers and foundations), eyelash glue and a triangular sponge to the mix because “you’ll never know”.

Many of the popular brands have travel brush sets for sale all year round but it’s only displayed prominently around Christmas season. There are some brands that include mini brushes in an eye/ lip palette. You do not have to buy everything in one go. It’s best to check what you have then look around and see what you need.

This is a great idea not only for makeup artists but for ladies out there. Especially those type of women who doesn’t like to splurge on a full-sized brush but appreciates the quality of a well made product. Usually the price of a travel brush set equals to that of a single full-sized brush or even two full-sized brushes; depending on your chosen brand. So choose and spend wisely.

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If you are primarily working in a city like Metro Manila, where traffic is horrendous, back tracking home to get your brushes is not a good idea. TIME is of the essence so it’s always best to be prepared. It pays to have an emergency brush kit in your bag.

 

 

 

SAKURA Art Brushes

If you are an avid lover of gel eyeliners or water activated eyeliners who is currently looking for a brush to use, here is a suggestion:

Sakura Art Brushes.

Available at National Book Store.

Costs between P198 to Php226, depending on brush size.

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Top: 3/0 Sakura Brush 555 | Middle: 2 Sakura Brush 855 | Bottom: 3 Sakura Brush 555

Of the three brushes shown on the photo on top, the number 2 Sakura Brush (the one in the middle), is what I have been using the longest.

Like, since college.

I initially bought it for an art project but never used until I started being a pageant queen in the local pageant circuit.

I have been using this brush for a little over 10 years now and I have learned to gain control of this brush. I can thin out or thicken or a line depending on the pressure I exert on the bristles.

For the regular woman, I suggest using the number 3/0 or the number 0 Sakura Brush 555. It’s roughly the same size as most eyeliner brushes out in the market today.

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The brush heads

The reason why I have varying brush sizes is because there might be times that I would need to create specific details for a certain eyeliner look.

I also use these brushes to create a cut crease or any eye shadow detail as needed. Since this is made out of nylon, I can use whatever type of eye shadow formula. May it be powder based, cream based, water based or even silicone based. These brushes can work with it.

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I know you’re still wrapping your head around the fact that I use art brushes for make up. Let me say that I am one of many makeup artists out there who use art brushes for work.

Again, if you are looking for an eyeliner brush to use, try checking out Sakura brushes. It is durable, versatile, easy to maintain and most of all, inexpensive.

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal Scents: Elite 24 Piece Brush Set and 22 Piece Brush Set

Starting out in the world of Makeup Artistry is expensive. Especially when brushes are involved. I know you want to have the top of the line, popular, and branded brushes to grace your makeup kit, but it’s more practical to invest on a brush set when you are starting out.

Here’s why.

  • A brush set practically solves your problems. You’d have all the necessary tools needed to complete a face.
  • A brush set is a “saner” purchase that buying individual brushes. It saves you money.
  • Eventually, you’ll loose a brush. It will happen. When it does, it won’t weight heavily on your heart.

Over time, once you earn more and decide to “level up”, these brushes become your back up brushes and you can use them as you deem fit. Like maybe for body makeup application or for special effects.

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If you are planning to study makeup artistry or currently a budding makeup artist in need of tools, here’s a suggestion.

Coastal Scents is a brand that sells bath and beauty products. It was my best friend Nat, a New York based makeup artist, who introduced me to this brand. They sell a variety of makeup products, makeup tools and other personal care items at very affordable prices. The only catch is, the company is based in the United States. The good news is they ship world-wide and shipping is free anywhere in the continental US for orders above $50. For more shipping info click here.

I purchased an Elite Brush Set from their website and had it shipped to a friend’s home in Chicago who was bound to come home.

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The Elite Brush Set
It is a collection of 24 professional cosmetic brushes. As you can see, this set has everything you need. The synthetic brushes are mounted on a bamboo handle which are held together with a black ferrule.  The beige (black optional) foldable brush case is included in the purchase. These type of brushes are best to use with cream or liquid products.

This retails for $99.95 (Php4,500) on their website. Price indicated excludes shipment costs, custom duties and taxes for international buyers. I know it seems quite expensive BUT (for the sake of comparison) one MAC brush can cost, at most, $53 (Php 2350). To read more about this brush set click here to be brought to their website.

I also purchased a 22 piece brush set from Coastal Scents.

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22 Piece Brush Set. But I lost one brush…
This brush set is a mix of synthetic and natural bristled brushes with an all black ferrule and handle. Again the foldable brush case comes with the purchase. It costs $59.95 (Php2600). Again, price indicated excludes shipment costs, custom duties and taxes for international buyers.  To be brought to the product listing on their website, click here.

Out of the two brush sets, this would be the most useful because you can use these brushes for cream/liquid products and powder products.

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Here’s the good part. Coastal Scents  always goes on sale. ALWAYS. I bought these two products when they were on sale at 50% off. At that time, I was regularly checking out their website (www.coastalscents.com) and Instagram page (Coastal Scents IG) for sale updates. I suggest you do so as well.

Once again if you are searching for tools that are affordable, dependable, and not tested on animals Coastal Scents is for you. Remember, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how expensive or cheap your brushes are, it’s about how you use them.

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Website : www.coastalscents.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/coastalscents

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/coastalscents