TOOLS | Jessup brushes superpost

Jessup makeup brushes on Hyacinth Girl

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.

Jessup 15 piece makeup brush set on Hyacinth Girl

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.

Jessup tapered face makeup brush on Hyacinth Girl

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).

Jessup large fluff makeup brush on Hyacinth Girl

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.

Jessup flat definer makeup brush on Hyacinth Girl

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.

Jessup short shader makeup brush on Hyacinth Girl

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~.

Jessup small tapered blending makeup brush on Hyacinth Girl

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.

Jessup blending eyeshadow makeup brush on Hyacinth Girl

Jessup blending eyeshadow makeup brush comparison on Hyacinth Girl

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.

Jessup duo-fiber powder blush makeup brush on Hyacinth Girl

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 on Hyacinth Girl

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 rounded kabuki face brush on Hyacinth Girl

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.

Jessup flat kabuki face brush on Hyacinth Girl

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.

Jessup angled kabuki face brush on Hyacinth Girl

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?

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  • Steph Hicks

    Do you have an XObeauty flat top foundation brush? If so how does the Jessup one compare?

    • I don’t, but I do have a Sigma one and the Jessup one is pretty much identical to that. The Sigma is a liiittle bit softer, if I had to point out a difference. I think the xoBeauty ones and Sigma ones are meant to be pretty similar?

      • Steph Hicks

        I just caved and bought the 8piece kabuki face brush set in black and gold 🙂 yay!

        • Awesome! Can’t wait to hear what you think 🙂

    • I have the XO Beauty one, and if I did a blind test I couldn’t tell the difference between Jessup and this one.

      • Steph Hicks

        Sold! I just wish the 15pc set had a flat top foundation brush in it! Coz I don’t really want the other three (angled, tapered) brushes that come with that set!

  • Kezia Lynch

    Bloody good blog post Morgan! I am such a fan of the 10 piece kabuki set I own and am now keen to get the 15 piece set! I really like the mini kabuki’s, I find them ideal for concealer or cream shadow <3

    • Thank you Kez! You’re a genius, I knew I was stupid letting the mini kabukis go to waste. I’m gonna try them for that tomorrow!

  • anjaok

    Oooh, that 15 piece set looks intriguing. You can never have too many brushes, right…?

    • NEVER. The more brushes you have, the less frequently you have to wash them!

  • Toni Barrett

    These brushes are good, but I wouldn’t buy them.

    Companies like this exist because they piggy back off companies like Sigma who have spent thousands on R&D. Thousands of dollars that have gone towards paying their staff a legal, liveable US wage, and towards marketing and promotion that has spread the word about how awesome a flat top kabuki brush can be for applying your foundation.

    It is harder and more expensive to innovate that it is to blatantly copy. We need more companies like Sigma in this world, and less churning out cheap copy-cat shit that ends up in landfill.

    • These are really good points and on the whole I agree with you. I’m a huge opponent of replica makeup, for example. I think these brushes are slightly more acceptable than replicas, though, as while they are banking on the popularity of Sigma’s brushes, they’re not labeling and selling them as Sigma. I guess with these I don’t see it as much different from drugstore brands duping popular, expensive new releases. It’s just happens that these are made and sold from China (like lots of other things we use and buy!)

      The other thing is that, while Sigma brushes are well-made and very good, they’re just not accessibly priced for a lot of people. There’s a market for very affordable brushes, and while Real Techniques and Ecotools serve that market well, they are missing some key brushes that Jessup offers.

      • CK

        This is very interesting especially since Sigma is a fairly young company it was founded in 2009 and flat top Kabuki brushes are nothing new to the makeup world. Lots of company’s were making them way before Sigma. And many people were using them. I’m 44 years old and have been using them since I started using makeup which obviously was before 2009. The kabuki is named after and got it’s start in the Kabuki Japanese drama theater. Which has been around for 100’s of years. Sigma by no stretch of the imagination came up with the flat top kabuki brush. Chikuhodo has been around since the early 50’s and is a maker of wonderful high end brushes another is Hakuhodo which was founded in 1974 and is also a maker of high end wonderful brushes. So maybe Sigma piggybacked off of them. I personally don’t believe that. I think Sigma brushes are great. But I have heard several people comment that Sigma brushes are dupes for MAC brushes. I think having a less expensive option such as Jessup or Real Techniques is great. We all can’t afford Sigma but that shouldn’t mean we can’t have makeup brushes. I in no way believe in buying a fake product but Jessup has their own website and never says they are Sigma brushes. Someone who uses only Hakuhodo brushes may feel that Sigma brushes are cheap dupes as the Hakuhodo brushes are much more expensive and have been around for a long time. Probably the smartest move by Sigma and what has made them so popular is they gave their brushes for review to popular bloggers and and Youtubers. Which got their name out there.

    • michelle

      As long as there is a market for cheap, quality makeup brushes, people will continue to make and buy them. If word got out that their brushes were awful, these companies would likely go out of business after some time. I also don’t see how anyone’s brushes will be ending up in landfills. People generally don’t throw away makeup brushes, unless they break or shed.

  • Laura Lock

    I really really like the look of the Kabuki range, i’m in the market for a good foundation applicator, and I’m not gonna lie I have no idea what to look for. My Real Techniques one is good but I feel like there are better ones out there.
    In your opinion Morgan, would you rate Jessup above RT or should I try a Sigma?

    • Laura Lock

      Also. This is an amazing blog post. Thank you for writing it!

    • I think if you have Real Techniques brushes already, it would make more sense for you to upgrade to a Sigma brush! What type of foundation do you use most? I would usually recommend the flat-top kabuki but it might change depending on the formula of your foundation.

  • Anna Charlotte

    Hadn’t heard of this brand before (beauty reading on internet: way down) but so glad you posted this today! I’ve been eyeballing a few different brushes of Sigmas and RTs etc and cringing at the prices. In conclusion, just ordered both these kits haha. Thank you!


  • I’ve heard heaaaaaps about the Kabuki brushes but seeing your ones from the grape and gold range was the first time I’d seen that range. I have been wanting to buy a set to replace my mum’s shamefully disgusting brushes, and I was umming and ahing between EcoTools, RT and ELF, but I think I’ll go for these actually. There might be some she doesn’t use but I’m sure I’ll find a use.

  • Kayla Wilde

    Thank you, was going to go for real techniques but this might be just perfect since I don’t wear make up enough to justify expensive brushes.

  • Lucie_EB

    Thank you so much for this comprehensive guide! I’ve just linked it to a third friend I had asking about the brushes. I’m waiting for mine to arrive in the mail! Excellent as always, Morgan x

    • Oh you’re welcome Lucie, I’m so glad it has been helpful! Let me know how you find the brushes once they arrive x

  • Amara

    what a great post! i will definitely be following your activity from now on. great attention to detail and down to earth comments. ps. i have no idea how that pic attached itself to my comment lol

  • AlysonJayne

    I purchased the 15 brush set thanks to you. I’m looking forward to trying them out. I’m tossing up whether to get the kabuki brush set or not because I usually use my hands to do my foundation (I don’t know if that’s horrifying or not, it’s just what I do).

    • Awesome, I hope you like them! And as long as your hands are clean it’s fine. Some foundations sit a lot nicer when you use your hands because they warm up and you can really work them into the skin. Apparently NARS Sheer Glow is designed to be applied with your hands!

      • AlysonJayne

        Spotlessly, of course ;). That’s interesting, I’ll have to check it out. I find patting my foundation on with my hands after I’ve applied it gives it a nice even finish – I’ve used brushes before but always go back to my hands – but that’s only because I haven’t found anything that works better for me yet. I’m considering trying out the Beauty Blender too but I’m a bit reticent as you’re supposed to replace them so frequently

  • Aly

    Posting a bit late to this post but posts like this can never get too old especially when people like myself search around on the internet for reviews and come across a fully detailed and honest review, plus photos! Awesome! thanks so much for this review, its really got me thinking of ordering some since i want sigma brushes but just not for the price they are sold at, especially when the shipping cost to Canada right now would cost me a leg and an arm lol!

    • Angelica Villacampa

      Check out Sedona Lace too as that’s exactly like Sigma brushes but for better price.

      • Thanks for the tip! I’ve never tried Sedona Lace brushes.

  • I too own the entire Jessup brush set. I ordered them on Ebay & they have an amazing quality.

  • Bianca Fidock

    So glad a blogger I read linked this piece. I just order both sets. I think I have just found Christmas presents for my sister and mum! Will check back in when my brushes arrive!!