May 8, 2011

Smudge Brush Reviews (Urban Decay, Sonia Kashuk, Bobbi Brown and ELF)

I have finally put together a throughout review after all these months of lazy blogging. Please read and feel my effort! This time I am doing things a little differently. I have put together a smudge brush reviews on 4 smudge brushes from all different brands.

The Smudge Brushes I am comparing:
2) Sonia Kashuk Smudge Brush from the new Gold Mine Collection

What Smudge Brushes do?
- Creates detailed pin-pointed color application
- Blend in eyeliner and shadow to create a smokey eye look or to fill in brows
- Use to apply powder to line eyes or create concentrated color definition
But I only use all my smudge brushes to line my eyes using either my Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink or the ELF Cream Eyeliner.

Characteristics of each smudge brush:
1) Urban Decay Good Karma Multi-Tasker Brush
Got it from Hautelook for $12, this brush is in amazing quality. I use and wash this brush everyday for the past 3 months. This high performance multi-tasking brush is still in great shape after so many washes and my rough use. The medal handle gives the brush a good amount of weigh and the grooves designed on the handle acts as the pivot point allows me to easily control and get a good grib moving the brush around when applying liners.

2) Sonia Kashuk Smudge Brush from the new Gold Mine Collection
Don't fool by the flared bristles even only after 2 times of wash. They do not affect the application. This lightweight, slight convex C shaped brush is perfect for beginners. The handle is the thickest and shortest among all. The wide width allows fast and precise application.

3) Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush
Got this brush along when the very first version of the Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner came out, yet have never been (and never will be) impressed with this brush. The bristle hair is very high quality. Though named to be 'Ultra fine', it never occurred to me that it was any 'fine'. But at the time I was a makeup noob and had so much loyalty towards Bobbi Brown so thought it was the best it could offer for $25. However, after couple months of usage and wash it flared out like crazy. Yes call me superficial but I expect Bobbi Brown brushes to last for a very long time! Unlike all 3 other smudge brushes, this brush comes with same length bristle hair. What does it mean? It means when the bristle hair flare out it will get in your way during application because touching the 'flared out' hair is inevitable.

4) ELF Small Smudge Brush
Not sure if it is because this synthetic haired Taklon brush has the shortest bristle hair among all, or it really has lived up to its expectations, this brush has still not yet flared out on me after many washes. The thin and light handle compliments the short bristle to allow easy turning and twisting for pin pointing flawless application. The only down side about this product is that it may be difficult to draw a thick line due to its thin tip, you might need to "redip" to get more eyeliner to do so.

Handle & Bristles Comparison:
Handle Length:
1) Urban Decay: Shortest
2) Sonia Kashuk Smudge Brush: Short
3) Bobbi Brown: Longest
4) ELF: Long
Handle Material:
1) Urban Decay: Medal
2) Sonia Kashuk: Wood
3) Bobbi Brown: Wood
4) ELF: Plastic
Only the Urban Decay Good Karma Brush is significantly heavier, the others are pretty much the same.
Bristle Hair:
1) Urban Decay: Feels like animal hair but they claim this brush is Vegan lol!
2) Sonia Kashuk Smudge Brush: Synthetic
3) Bobbi Brown: Horse/Syethetic
4) ELF: Synthetic
1) Urban Decay: $24 but got it for $12 from Hautelook
2) Sonia Kashuk: The entire Gold Mine set is $24 with other 6 brushes, so roughly around $3
3) Bobbi Brown: $25
4) ELF: $3 but got it for $1.5 with a 50% discount

Horizontal line Competition: (From Top to Bottom)
1) Urban Decay: Easily manage to draw a line from thick to thin. Color fades as stroke fades.
2) Sonia Kashuk: With its wide width, it was difficult to perform thickness on application. Yet the stroke and coloration are constant.
3) Bobbi Brown: Impossible to avoid the flared bristle hair even tipping the brush during application. Coloration is, however, very constant and smooth.
4) ELF: Handle seems to be too light to apply pressure with. It's hard to get a "feel" of how much product is being applied. However, coloration is comparable to the Bobbi Brown brush, the color remains opaque with thin strokes.

Curved Line Competition: (From Left to Right)
1) Urban Decay: Constant and easy to turn and twist.
2) Sonia Kashuk: Very difficult to draw thin curved line with with its wide width. When forcing it to do so, it adds thickness to the line. However coloration is constant and opaque.
3) Bobbi Brown: Almost impossible to draw thin curved line because of the flared bristle hair.
4) ELF: Thin tip allows precise curved line application. Application does appear 'roughness' due to the lightness of the brush.

Overall Recommendations:
The Urban Decay Good Karma Multi-Tasker Brush is the best quality among all the brushes and is the one I recommend the most. The hair stays the same even after many washes and its heavier weight applies a good grib to make application a lot easier and manageable. It is a little pricy (only $1 less than the Bobbi Brown) though I believe it will last for a very long time. 
I do recommend both Sonia Kashuk Smudge Brush and ELF Small Smudge Brush if you are on a budget yet are on the hunt for a decent quality smudge brush for your cream liner. However, after comparing them from different perspectives, I slightly recommend the ELF one over the Sonia Kashuk Smudge brush because of its shorter bristle and better quality bristle hair. 

Hope this review helps! With my poor composition ability this has taken me HOURS to do *tears go down. Have a great weekend and leave me comments if you wanna share your 2 cents on any of these brushes or have any recommendations!

April Favourites video and couple OOTD videos are also uploaded on my youtube channel! Make sure you check them out if interested! Last but not least, Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there!


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