Monday, May 4, 2009

Beauty Binge: Budget Brushes

I am a *big* believer that quality doesn't mean having to shell out a bunch of moolah. When most people are brand snobs - turning their noses up on cheaper, affordable products, I am completely the opposite. I *love* drugstore stuff! These days, my drugstore products have far out-numbered my high-end brands. In this time when the world is heading for what is said to be worst than the 'Great Depression' of the 1940's, I am constantly on the look out for cheaper alternatives to feed my make up addiction. One valuable lesson I've learned is that cheaper doesn't mean bad. Yes, sometimes you get what you pay for, but I've had many disappointments with brands I've paid an arm and a leg for. It's also about making smart choices.

A beauty addict can never have too many products. I have too many brushes, and still looking out for more!! I love what good brushes can do to your make up. Let's be real, those sponge applicators that come with the shadows are really a tad bit useless, no? And those silly little blush brushes...they're the worst applicators you can find, and they leave a streak!! Eek! Having good brushes is a must these days even for the simplest of make up applications. I've picked up a thing or two on different techniques using different brushes. I love experimenting, and like most stuff, learning to use brushes is, often times, trial and error.

Who has not heard of the wonderful things MAC brushes can do?? I think those babies are in everyone's wishlist, no? They sure are in mine!! But a make up artist friend once told me, unless you're a pro and do make up for a living, why would anyone want to spend over RM100 on one miserable brush? Regardless if it's a MAC or not?? If you're a novice at make up, and don't wear it often, hunt for a cheaper alternative that still does the job. Trust me, they're out there. Just need to do a bit of homework, and you can then save a lot of money. (Saving money is good, no??)

I chanced upon Loew Cornell paint brushes as a make up tool. A lot of people were surprised to know that I use paint/art brushes to do my make up. I wish people were not so.... ummm....'straight'. Paint/art brushes doesn't mean they're just for art work. If you don't experiment, you won't know. And so I hunted for these art brushes and found a craft store carrying the Loew Cornell (LC) brand, to my delight.

Loew Cornell Art Brushes

The Maxine's mop 3/8in is said to be comparable to the great MAC 239 shading brush. The cut is almost the same, and both us
e white goat hair. The LC is a little stiffer than the MAC 239, but it still performs! The LC 3/8in is by far my most favourite eye shadow brush, next to my cheap ELF shadow brush. It's a flat shader brush that picks up a tonne of colour and packs it on your lids like a pro make up brush. And it costs a mere RM14 and some change!!

LC Round. LC Liner. LC MM 1/4. LC MM 3/8.

I also picked up a couple of liner brushes (with the yellow handles): LC No.0 Round Brush, and LC No.2 Liner Brush. I like to use both brushes with my gel liners as they provide excellent control, even when I want to line my lower lash line. These cost less than RM15!

LC MM 3/8". LC MM 1/4". Filbert #8.

There are other sizes as well, I have another Maxine's Mop in 1/4in, which is great for smaller eye area and smaller detailed work. LC has tonnes of other brushes you can look at for your make up needs. They also come in a packet of 10 synthetic brushes which may come in handy with cream or pigments. You can find LC brushes at Craft Haven, top floor new wing of One Utama, PJ.

MAC comparables in art brushes

Another art brush worth mentioning: a filbert-cut taklon brush which is great for cream products, loose pigments and for foiling. I bought the Ashley Filbert no. 8 at about RM12! I had intended to use this for my CS gel liners (as a base), but ended up using my fingers instead. You can find this at Art Friend store, The Gardens, KL.

Here are some info I collected from the different forums and blogs if you're looking for a good MAC alternative:

MAC 239 = LC Maxine's Mop 3/8in purple handle
MAC 150 = LC XXL
MAC 129 = LC LRound

MAC 136/134 = LC Maxines Mop 1in
MAC 208 angled = LC angled 1/8in
MAC 266 angled = LC angled 1/4in
MAC 269 angled = LC angled 3/8in
MAC 194 = LC filbert #8

MAC 228 = LC Maxines Mop 1/4in
MAC 190 = LC filbert 1in

You may be able to find these at Craft Haven as the LC collection there is quite small. I wish they have more choices as you can find dupes of MAC 219 and 217, 224. But I strongly recommend you to have a look at these if you need inexpensive but good tools to learn the art of make up or simply to save a bit of money. They're awesome comparables!!

Another great place to hunt for cheaper alternatives is the forums. Malaysia's own is a 'playground' for all sorts of bargains. I found some pretty good Taiwan-made brushes from this forum which have served me well.

LYN finds!

The skunk brush which I paid for RM40 is quite average. It sheds like crazy but does an OK job in stippling on your liquid foundation. These days however, I have shifted my love to the ELF Powder Brush for liquids, so this skunk remains for powders and blushes.

The shader brush is a great little brush for less than RM40 (can't remember the exact price). It uses white goat hair, it's soft, though not as dense as the LC MM 3/8in, it does pack on the colour and has remained a favourite back-up when my LC and ELF shadow brushes are dirty. The fluffy brush on the far right is a blending brush that looks exactly as the MAC224. It's a black goat hair brush, very soft and makes an awesome dupe for the 224 any day.

I was pleased to see this little kabuki at Sg Wang, KL. It was tucked away in a little accessories shop on the 1st floor (I think!) and it reminded me of a similar kabuki I had bought from The Body Shop. Except this little one was for RM35 with 50% off! What a deal!! The bristles are synthetic, and oh-so-soft; I use this for my minerals. Great find!

Recession-friendly and oh-so-soft!

If you are fortunate enough to have a CVS near you, or even catch the elusive spree, I strongly recommend you getting these two - the Essence of Beauty crease duo brushes.

*image from*

They are not just all hype, these babies are da bomb!! I got them for less than $6, and they have found their way into my 'must have' brushes almost immediately after I test-drov
e them!! The finer crease brush is really great for finer detailed work, for lining/smudging; I often use it to define my outer 'V' and gently smoking the colour out. The larger of the duo is a soft rounded crease brush, great for a wash of colour in the crease, or to blend out the harsh lines.

Essence of Beauty crease duo

But wait!! For the bigger of the two, I found a brush locally, that has the exact same head!

Essence of Beauty round crease. Life & Companion round crease

I saw this brush at Carrefour MidValley and Jusco's pharmacy in Sunway Pyramid for less than RM8!! It has a black ferrule and a white plastic handle, with "Life & Companion" written on it. So if you're in the market for a round crease soft brush, give this one a try. Of course there is always online shopping with and, but these mentioned here are by far my favourite affordable brushes.

Great finds for half the price tag.

Happy brush-hunting!! ;)



cloe said...

OMG thanks for sharing i've been looking for LC brushes all over!! and now i know where to get it!! thank you!! said...

Hiya Cloe! You're most welcome. Have fun shopping!! :)

Shizuru said...

You're a life saver dear.
Will definitely check out Craft Haven and Art Friend for those LC goodies.
Thanks much (^_^) said...

Shizuru: Glad am able to help. Happy brush shopping!! :)