Jessup makeup brushes are pretty well-known in the bargain-hunting online beauty community. They’re touted as being as good as Sigma, Real Techniques or xoBeauty brushes, but are significantly cheaper. Are they actually though? DON’T WORRY, I BOUGHT ALL OF THEM FROM EBAY TO TRY FOR YOU. In this post I’ll tell you what I think of the Jessup 15pc makeup brush set, and both the large and small 4pc Kabuki makeup brush sets. This is a pretty massive post, so grab a cup of tea and while you’re at it, blow a goodbye kiss in the direction of your other brushes. Trust me.
So, what’s the deal with Jessup? They don’t have a brand website that I can find, but are sold primarily on eBay by a few different sellers based in China. Their Kabuki brushes get a lot of love online, especially in Makeup Obsessives, and those were the first ones I tried, but I’ve since bought the 15 piece makeup brush set too – I was curious to see how the quality of their other brushes would be.
I’ve seen a lot of crap, shitty cheap makeup brush sets in my time, and I would usually steer people away from them. I know that even Real Techniques brushes can be prohibitively expensive to people, though, especially in stores in New Zealand where a set will cost $50 or more.
Let’s start with the Jessup 15 piece makeup brush set in gold and grape. The colour doesn’t matter, really, but gold and grape looked fun (although I would call it more of a maroon). At the moment this set costs approximately NZD$22. That’s TWENTY TWO DOLLARS for FIFTEEN MAKEUP BRUSHES. INSANITY. Even if you aren’t going to use all of them, that’s incredibly good value. Provided they’re good quality.
And they are! They are all made from synthetic bristles except for the two white-haired eyeshadow blending brushes. The bristles of all the brushes are incredibly soft, and perform equally as well as my more pricy brushes – on par with Real Techniques, Eco Tools and Artiste. I didn’t experience any shedding when cleaning them apart from a few hairs in the first wash.
I’ll show you my favourites and what I use them for because that is useful information. I’ve chosen eight as my favourites, so even if we were to completely write off the other seven brushes, they’re still coming out at under $3 NZD each. Hand is for scale.
The Jessup Tapered Face Brush was really the driving factor in me picking this set, because brushes of this shape aren’t common in cheaper brands. I was hoping it would be a dupe for the MAC 138 brush, although I don’t own one to compare (it’s waaay too expensive). No matter, though, because this is soft as fuck, feels nice and is an awesome shape for bronzer, blush and targeted powdering (like under the eyes).
The Jessup Large Fluff Brush is like a comically large flat eyeshadow shader brush. It’s so huge that I wouldn’t use it for eyeshadow, but it’s great for digging in a serious contour. Because it’s synthetic, it’s also really good for concealer under the eyes.
The Jessup Flat Definer Brush is a dupe for MAC 212, which I do own for comparison. I have gotten into using brushes like this lately to darken my upper lash line with black eyeshadow (a softer alternative to eyeliner), or for smudging colour along my lower lash line. Dope.
In exactly the same vein, the Jessup Short Shader Brush is great for detail around the eyes. I like this for the lower lash line when I’m using cream eyeshadows. It’s also good for packing shimmer on to the inner corner if you want to look ~glam~.
I don’t have anything quite like the Jessup Small Tapered Blending Brush in my collection, and it’s a very welcome addition. It’s narrower than the MAC 217, and rounded at the base, rather than flattened. Because of this (and I think because it’s synthetic), it’s really nice for blending eyeshadow in the crease. The slightly smaller tip means you can be more targeted with your blending.
The Jessup Blending Brush and the Jessup Tapered Blending Brush are described as ‘wool’, although I think they mean goat hair. The Blending Brush is a similar shape to the MAC 217, but significantly larger. The Tapered Blending Brush is longer and rounded, like it’s smaller synthetic counterpart. Both are very handy to own.
Last is the Jessup Duo-Fiber Powder Blush Brush. I have been using this brush for base products when I want lighter coverage, which, again, is most of the time at the moment. I’ve shot it next to the Real Techniques Duo-Fiber Contour Brush to compare the bristles. You can see there is quite a difference in length between the black and white bristles in the Jessup brush, but this doesn’t make it any harder to use.
Moving on, now, to the Kabuki brushes: the four piece Jessup Kabuki face makeup brush set, and their smaller counterparts. The smaller ones are pictured at the very top of this post, but they’re unremarkable and add little value. Frankly, you could do without them. They are, however, often sold in sets with the larger ones, and they certainly do a job at blending concealer, so if you’ve got the ten dollars spare, there’s no real harm in getting them.
Jessup Tapered Kabuki Face Brush, good for concealer and cream contouring. Decent at applying foundation when all your other brushes are dirty. This is the equivalent of the Sigma F86.
Jessup Round-top Kabuki Face Brush, good for thicker foundations. This is very similar to the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush or the Sigma F82.
The Jessup Flat-top Kabuki Face Brush is the business for foundation application. You get a good surface area to buff your foundation into the skin with. It has blunter edges than the Real Techniques Buffing Brush, but it is otherwise very similar. It’s like the Sigma F80.
Lastly, the Jessup Angled Kabuki Face Brush. This is my second-favourite of the four, because it has a good surface area like the flat-topped one. It’s equivalent to the Sigma F84.
Like the 15 piece set, these wash well and work well, and I really see no point in buying the more expensive equivalents. The eight piece Jessup Kabuki face makeup brush set is about $17 NZD at the moment, so again, a really great deal! They seem to always have free shipping from eBay, and I found they took about 2 weeks to arrive.
To conclude this massive post… Jessup brushes are pretty fucking good. If you need new makeup brushes, or more makeup brushes, or are looking to start your collection, they are a great and affordable option. The only shortfall I can think of is that they don’t offer an eyeshadow blending brush quite as good as the MAC 217. Luckily, another affordable brand has that covered.
So, what do you think? Have you tried the Jessup brushes? Will you try these now? Do you have any questions about these brushes that I haven’t answered?