When it comes to the ease of applying makeup whether foundation to shadow, the quality of the makeup brush can make it or break it, and with that said; it’s the hair that truly makes the “grade”.
Orange County is abundant with animal activists, vegan, and vegetarians alike who might gasp at the mention of the multitudes of animal hairs that makeup brushes are derived from. Whether it be squirrel, badger, capra(goat), to sable. For example, many professional makeup artists are big fans of the squirrel-hair makeup brush. So it’s a common response heard across the cosmetic counters and beauty salons, as they bare witness once again the “Awwwes”, and “Ooohhs”, when they tell their clients why the brush is so divinely soft.
For the devout vegetarian there are some well made synthetic brushes out there. If you are positively against the use of any animal fur, look for brushes composed of Taklon and Nylon for example Eco Tools found at Walmart, RiteAid, and CVS pharmacies. Also many high end companies such as Yves Saint Laurent, Sephora, and Shu Uemura will offer several styles of brushes in a synthetic make. More and more pro makeup artists are turning to synthetic as quality has improved over the years, but some believe that nothing has come close to the versatility and silky touch of squirrel.
To also educate a few on the fact that the higher the “grade” of hair the better chance it is Cruelty-Free. As with squirrel, kolinsky sable, and mink, check with the manufacturer if they are “First-cut” hair, which means they were sheared from the tips of the fur(not harming the animal), and is truly the softest to the touch. Lower grade brushes are typically created with “blunt-cut” hairs coming from the lower cut of the fur, which are more course and can feel scratchy or prickly to the touch.
These days thank goodness one doesn’t have to pay an arm and a leg (or a tail) for a nice set of makeup brushes, but if you are a collector and admirer of the beauty and function of the brush, it can become quite the investment.
Here is a list of hair-types from highest grade to lowest:
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