While the whole blogging world is reviewing Zoeva brushes, I’m over here looking at my Artiste brushes and thinking that, considering they’re the only makeup brushes you can reliably buy in stores in New Zealand, it might be useful to say some words about them. Artiste brushes, made by Manicare, are carried at Farmers stores and it would be fair to say they are most people’s first forays into makeup brushes beyond the stubby plastic scourers that come free in your blush compact.
If you want to see a snapshot of what makeup brushes I was using two years ago, this is it. This is my admission to the world of makeup-as-an-interest, in pictorial form. Alternatively, see these pictures as a chart of trends in foundation application: the flat paddle brush, circa 2008, followed by the duo-fibre stippling brush of 2k10.
Let’s start where it all began, with the Manicare flat foundation brush ($14.99). This dates from the pre-Artiste era, when the only makeup brushes you could buy in the cheap bit of Farmers were cardboard-backed and hung alongside corn planes and exfoliating gloves.
There’s not a whole lot you can say about this. It has synthetic fibre bristles (good if you’re vegan) and you can use it to transfer liquid foundation from receptacle to face. It behaves much like an ordinary paintbrush, including leaving brushmarks on your face if you’re not careful. I’ve abandoned this brush for foundation application, but it is very useful for applying face masks if you want to feel like you’re in a spa.
Once you’ve got a brush to put your foundation on with, it stops making sense to apply your powder with a sponge. (Has it ever made sense to apply powder with a sponge?) The Artiste powder brush #11 ($27.99) is fairly standard in the world of powder brushes: it’s big and fluffy but the natural bristles are still somewhat dense. This brush is perfectly functional for entry level powder application, and it’s softer than some of the really low-budget powder brushes out there.
The Artiste short handled slanted blush brush #18 ($19.49) is cheaper than the long-handled one ($22.49), but other than that I can’t see any difference between the two. This is another natural-fibre brush that is flattened at the ferrule and cut on an angle, which some people find easier for blush and bronzer application. When I bought this I had the intention of using it for both blush and contouring, and it certainly does both those things.
This brush has come loose at the ferrule (the metal part that joins the bristles to the handle), I think from getting wet. It’s a bit of a pain, but hasn’t significantly affected its function.
Teeny eye brush! It’s easy to forget that you need a dense, flat shader brush when everyone is talking about MAC 217s. And while the MAC 217 and everything made in its image is beautiful/fantastic/perfect, it’s useful to have one of these guys too, to lay down shadow and built it up for pigmentation. The Artiste small all over eyeshadow brush #30 ($16.49) is the best eyeshadow brush the brand has on offer. I can’t figure out exactly why these strange brushes exist. Why would you spend real money on a foam applicator? Don’t. Spend it on this instead.
I bought the Artiste stippling brush #17 ($23.49) after being disappointed by how small the Real Techniques equivalent was. There was a window of time in about 2010 where everyone on Youtube was using a stippling brush for foundation, so naturally I followed suit. This brush has been the worst for shedding and coming loose at the ferrule. That being said, it is handy for a light application of blush, so I haven’t given up on it completely.
Overall I don’t have much bad to say about the Artiste brushes – no shedding apart from the one, and they’re affordable and functional, and most importantly, accessible. For people in New Zealand, I hope you’ve found this Artiste brush review helpful. Sometimes I’m prepared to throw an extra ten dollars at a brush if it means I can have it right now, as opposed to waiting for it to arrive after buying online. Don’t you agree?