Often times, a good blush/cheek brush is the difference between “I’ve got blush on” and “OMG I look good!” It’s true that some brushes can cost hundreds of dollars, but you can get wonderful brushes for $50ish. It’s all about the quality, material and preference rather than price. I’ve been reading reviews, stalking sales and finally splurging for “the best” that many Makeup Artists and bloggers have raved about — Suqqu Cheek Brush. Now that my cheek brush collection has been completed, it seems like a good time to talk about it!
And doesn’t spring just make you want to put a little blush on? Some pink, peach or coral with the prettiest and softest brush, yes? But there are so many kinds of cheek brushes available, what should you use? They can be categorized by shape, which depends on the technique/purpose, or by type, which depends on the product or your preference.
First, let’s talk about the bristles/hairs, which is one of the key factor in the cost of the brushes. Synthetic are all-purpose and works better with cream or liquid products than natural hair. If that’s what you like, try Real Technique, Sigma, IT Cosmetic, Sephora and MUFE. I tend to use a lot of powder blush, bronzer and highlighter so I like to go for natural hairs. The really cheap natural hair brushes can feel scratchy since the hairs are cut while most high-end natural hair brushes use the tips, naturally tapered and much softer.
One of the most common natural hair is goat hair. Some of them can smell a little animal/goat before you wash (*cough* Benefit 06 *cough*), but most don’t. They are firm, supple and great for blending. They work well with sheer or hardpressed powders where it takes some effort to pick up the color or product. Wayne Goss (02) is the softest goat hair brush I’ve tried and I can buff and blend liberally without worrying about irritating my skin. Hakuhodo Yachiyo (point, large) can feel a bit rough if you are heavy-handed with buffing, but it is great to use with pressed powder blushes where you want to scratch it off or use a lot (and it’s softer than NARS Yachiyo).
On the higher end, squirrel hair is very popular. Canadian or red squirrel hairs are firm and supple, similar to goat hair (Koyudo Canadian/Red Squirrel) but are not scratchy at all even when buffing with firm pressure. But my favorite have to be the grey/blue squirrel hair. Sometimes you will see bristles listed as “grey squirrel” and sometimes “blue squirrel”, they are the same, it’s just different translation depending on brand. Grey/blue squirrel hair provides the SOFTEST bristle ever. It feels airy, like smooth silk gliding across your skin no matter how you brush, buff and blend. This hair type is best for pigmented products, buffing/blending on sensitive skin or if you want to know what luxury feels like. It truly makes applying makeup feels more luxurious and pleasurable.
There are several shapes for cheek brushes. Fan brushes are more commonly used for highlighter or clean off excess powder, but it can also be used to apply very pigmented blush. There’s also the angled blush brush, which is supposed to hug the contour of your cheek as you sweep back and forth.
And as contouring become more popular, I see more and more paddle/flat blush brushes since they allow more precise placement of blushes. I only have two of these type, Real Technique rose gold which is synthetic, very dense and great for buffing cream/liquid product as well as the Koyudo Canadian/Red Squirrel, which have less hair and is much softer so it blends well but is best used for powder products.
However, my favorite have to be the round cheek brush since I like to blend blend and blend my blushes. Suqqu cheek brush is the the creme de la cream, the mother of all luxurious cheek brushes favored by all the Makeup Artists and brush connoisseurs. It is made of the softest blue/grey squirrel hair, perfect for blending very pigmented and soft/powder blushes. When I want to wear sheerer blush, or pressed powders that are hard to pick up, I like my Hakuhodo Yachiyo, which is a bit more dense, supple and rough. Wayne Goss is a happy medium between the two, where it is almost as soft as squirrel hair but is more dense and supple.
So that is my cheek brush collection. I got Suqqu cheek from Selfridges for $108ish during their free shipping event (the shipping to US is $40, whaaat?) but most places have them for $150ish so yeah. It is the king of cheek brushes, but if you don’t feel like spending that much money or want a brush that works with a variety of products, I would highly recommend Wayne Goss. It’s a great all-purpose brush for applying/blending blush, or adding a touch of highlighter/powder to strategic places on the face. And it’s the softest you can get without going for squirrel hair (or goat/squirrel blend).
So that’s my cheek brush collection and some of my favorites. This blog post is more of a basic overview with lots of pretty pictures. If you are interested in learning more about EVERYTHING brushes, I mean from bristle to brand to shape to how they are made, I highly recommend taking a look at Sweet Makeup Temptation. So, what brushes do you like?