The hot new beauty tool out right now, next to the Beauty Blender sponge is the oval "toothbrush" style makeup brush. They are created to be a more ergonomic way of applying makeup in front of your mirror. The originals made by Artis are very modern looking. Made of a rigid, but high quality resin plastic, they have synthetic bristles that are packed very tightly, yet manage at the same time to feel like velvet against the skin.
At one point, Artis could not keep them in stock, even at their high price point. A small set of 5 will cost $170, and the entire Elite Mirror set will be about $395. The Fluenta line has a handle that is angled forward. The Brushcraft series is much less expensive, with four different brushes that are available individually between $18.50-$24.50.
I love tools!!! If anything newfangled comes out, I am chomping at the bit to try it out. However, the Artis brushes are pretty pricey and I did not want to risk spending a not- so-small fortune on something I would end up not liking.
I have seen the original Artis Elite Mirror brushes in person. Here is what I like about them:
Soft, velvety feel. Sensitive skin need not shudder in fear.
Synthetic, cruelty free bristles.
A balanced feel without being heavy.
All this being said, let's face it. If you are used to using traditional brushes on your face, there is going to be a learning curve, since it is 180 degrees different than conventional means of applying cosmetics.
Wanting to dip my toe in the shallow end of the pool, I ended up ordering a dupe set from Amazon.com. They are a rendition of the Fluenta brush set.
The dupe brushes are a nice weight, albeit top heavy. They fit very nicely and securely in the box they come in, which has a magnetic closure. They are made from a heavy plastic that feels rigid...there is no annoying flexing at the brush neck which is what happens with many other dupes.
There are nine brushes in the set, ranging from a very large brush you can apply body highlight and bronzer with, to small circle brushes that apply lip products, contour eye shadow colors and a linear brush that smudges out eye liner.
Here is what I like about the dupe set:
The price was excellent, at about $35.00 on sale.
They do not feel flimsy.
The box it comes in is a bit large, but it is great for storage.
They have a soft feel to them and the bristles are densely packed.
I feel that the brush set contained more brushes than I would use.
I enjoyed using the second and third largest brushes for foundation and concealer.
The largest brush was just too large. I will not have a use for it.
I did not like using the smaller eye brushes for eye makeup. It is awkward trying to be precise with them and I found myself reaching for my normal brushes instead.
These brushes work best for cream and liquid products. If you try to use them with powder, they are so densely packed, they may take your foundation off if you are not careful.
I had a hard time controlling blush application. On one side of my face, blush was applied almost as well as if I used a normal brush. Operator error: I dipped back into my blush pan and got WAY too much on the other side of my face. Whoops!
The brushes felt soft against the back of my hand, but they were not as soft as they could have been. I would even go as far as saying, the smaller the brushes became, the more irritating they were on my skin. The Artis bristles feel much more refined and gentle in comparison.
The overall finished look was very soft and blended looking, which is great if that is what you are looking for. If you want a cat eye, a cut crease and contour and highlight on fleek, these brushes just won't do it for you. In that case, I would give them a hard pass.
The jury is still out for me. If they felt softer against my skin, there is a good chance I would like these a lot better, but in the end, I feel that oval makeup brushes are a gimmick.
Save your money.
If you need brushes at a great price point, I recommend Royal and Langnickel, Real Techniques and Eco Tools.
Like shopping at Target? Sonia Kashuk black handled brushes are the best ones to get.
Medium price point brushes: My vote goes to Sedona Lace and bdellium Tools.
Want something a little bit more upscale? IT Cosmetics, Zoeva and Sephora Pro are worth considering.
Need brushes that are darned near bulletproof? Royal and Langnickel (R) Evolution brushes are for you.
If you absolutely, positively HAVE to have the Artis brushes, buy the five piece set and an Oval #7 brush for foundation. All of the other brushes, in my humble opinion, are superfluous.