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To be honest, when I first saw ergonomic makeup brushes, I was fairly certain that it was just another beauty fad. When MAC, one of my favorite makeup artistry brands, had first released their line of three “Masterclass” brushes in 2013, I thought that they looked like fancy toothbrush-makeup brush hybrids, with their dense bristles perpendicular to the handle. How could it possibly be easier or more ergonomic to use something that was completely different from the makeup brushes we’ve been using FOREVER?! At the very least, you’d have to re-train yourself on how to hold it–which didn’t seem very practical to me.
Well, I might have been wrong. While I’m remaining a little skeptical that these brushes can COMPLETELY replace every brush I currently own, I can definitely now see why the Artis brushes have been called revolutionary, and the “Rolls-Royce of Makeup Brushes.” They’re NICE brushes. Designed by Matthew Waitesmith, who has over 40 years of experience in the makeup industry (and was former senior executive at MAC!), Artis creates innovative tools for makeup professionals and the everyday makeup user.
The Artis brushes come in two style options, Elite, which has a more flexible handle and is available in several color options; and Fluenta, which has a more rigid handle, with a deeper curvature at the end. There are about ten different brush types: two sizes of Circular bristle arrangements, three sizes of Linear bristle arrangements, and six sizes of Oval bristle arrangements.
I received the Artis Fluenta Oval 4 brush ($80) which is described to be perfect to apply a foundation, or setting powder to the entire face; or to apply and blend bronzing or highlighting powders to large areas of the face and body. The brush comes securely packaged in a large velvet box (it’s nice, but a bit bulky for storage in my opinion). When I first took the brush out of the box, I was pretty impressed with the quality. The brush itself is a nice balance of being lightweight while also being substantial, and the cruelty-free bristles are incredibly soft and densely packed. While it didn’t have a metal ferrule like most brushes, the bristles were firmly adhered to the brush, and I didn’t notice any shedding.
So then it came to how well the brush worked during makeup application–the TRUE test. The packaging for each brush indicates the possible uses, but I was still a little unsure of how well they would do the job. Artis also has a TON of video tutorials on the best techniques on how to use this specific type of brush, and what each brush shape and size can be used for, so I watched several of those (I didn’t want the issues to be due to user error!)
The first thing I learned: throw all of your previous experiences with makeup brushes out the window. I feel your skepticism, because I had it too–but remember when you went from using those little eyeshadow sponge applicators and started using REAL makeup brushes? And what a difference it made? You’re about to have that kind of revelation.
These brushes are dramatically different, and that’s a good thing. They’re meant to mimic the original makeup applicators–our fingers. Like our fingers, Artis brushes are meant for continuous long, soft sweeping motions across the skin, depositing color more evenly and smoothly than regular makeup brushes. Much less pressure is needed than you would use with a traditional brush, and also much less product. Because undoing years of learned behavior can be hard, Artis recommends trying out their brushes with your non-dominant hand for best results.
Individual Artis brushes retail starting at $35 and up, making these brushes a bit more of a splurge than your typical makeup brush. However, it seems that a lot of their brushes are better multi-taskers than your typical conventional makeup brushes, so you might not need as many to do a full face. So if you’re inner skeptic is also giving the side eye to ergonomic makeup brushes, I would really suggest giving them a good try, particularly a versatile brush that could be used for liquid foundation, powder, blush, bronzer or contour, such as the Oval 8.
What innovative beauty tools were you initially skeptical about, but later loved?