We might not spend that much time thinking about our makeup brushes, but they are a crucial tool in our arsenal. Because you can have the best products in the world, but if your tools aren’t good at applying them, you’re screwed. We use them for everything, from applying highlighter…
…. our foundation…
…. and eyeshadow. Among all the other things.
Kylie Jenner recently made headlines after launching a a set of *insanely expensive* brushes. After fans questioned why on earth they cost so much, she said that they were luxury brushes and were real as opposed to synthetic. But what does that even mean and does it even make a difference? We explain:
About the Bristles
Basically, the handle has nothing to do with it, whether they are unicorn horns, magic wands or your standard variety. ‘Real’ or ‘synthetic’ refers to the bristles and what they are made from. While synthetic brush bristles are made from nylons and other types of plastics, real ones are made using the fur from various types of animals, such as squirrels, foxes and sables.
Why the Price Difference?
Makeup brushes that are made using fur from animals are generally more expensive. This is because of how the hairs have to be sourced. Manufacturers can’t make animals produce good-quality fur that is uniform in size and colour, because nature doesn’t work like that. Because of the competition among competitor brands and the restrictions on fur harvesting, the cost to actually make a brush goes up. So in order to make a profit the retail price of the finished product tends to be above average, too.
Is there a Difference in How They Feel
Many makeup artists claim that there is a difference, but synthetic brushes are better at certain things and real ones better at others. So they use them for the function that they perform best. Good-quality synthetic brushes don’t feel that different or perform worst than their real counterparts. The lifespan of a real brush is shorter as the hairs can become damaged over time. There are also ethical concerns around the manufacturing of real brushes: while brands claim that the fur harvesting doesn’t hurt the animals, animal rights group PETA disagrees. The jury is still out on this, but brushes using real fur are definitely NOT vegan-friendly.
Real or Fake?
Professional makeup artists like to have both real and synthetic brushes in their kits in order to get the results that they want. This doesn’t mean that well-made synthetic ones can’t rival them, though. As for what you should choose, it’s all about trial and error, ethics and budget. Find ones that work for you, look after them well and they will reward you right back with flawless applications.