For years, the only brushes in my life were toothbrushes, hairbrushes and random brushes with destiny. I was content using the sad lil’ sponge applicators and teeny standard issue brushes that came with eyeshadows and blush. When I look back at my pictures from high school and college (aka, “the brush drought years”) my makeup didn’t look bad … but it definitely didn’t look good, either. My application was splotchy, and there was no blending to be had within a three-mile radius. *Cringes*
Fast forward a few years: it was 2002; I bought a few basic MAC brushes (252, 266, 217, 224, 129, 190) on a whim and my makeup life changed forever. ‘Twas a whole new world for your girl. Now, I love brushes so much that I’ve looked beyond MAC into other brush lines as well, and there are a lot of great brushes out there!
Product: Billy B’s Master Paint Brush Collection
Use: To apply makeup on eyes, face and lips
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A-
Makeup artist Billy B’s Master Paint Brush Collection is one such line of fantastic brushes. It offers excellent quality at an affordable price. With all the brushes you need for eyes, face and lips, at $249, Billy’s set of 13 brushes is one of the best values around. I know that $249 seems like a lot of duckets, but it breaks down to about $20 per brush, comparable to MAC eye brushes averaging $25 dollars each.
I know it; you know it too. Yes, brushes can get expensive, but the right makeup brush can mean the difference between looking hella broke or looking super hot.
Why a new line of brushes?
Billy created the set when he got tired of tweaking brushes to suit his needs. “I would find them [brushes] in the oddest places,” says Billy, “like a drugstore in Paris or some out-of-the-way beauty supply in Mississippi. I’d modify them with little cuticle scissors and stuff. And when I lost them I’d be so frustrated.” So he decided to make his own brushes from scratch.
What makes Billy’s brushes different?
The quality of the brush heads (the actual brush part of the brush) is what make this set outstanding. The bristles are so soft to the touch, not scratchy at all. The eye brushes feel great against my lids, and they’re actually softer than some of the MAC eye brushes that I own.
Billy gave a lot of thought to the design of each brush, and it shows in their performance. Take the eye brushes, for example. They are the standout performers in the set. With their domed shape and full brush heads, each applies color smoothly and evenly, making it so easy for me to layer and blend eyeshadows. Whether I’m doing a simple eye look with two eye shadows, or a complicated one with five, I find myself constantly reaching for numbers six, eight, 12 and 13.
I love number 12 for smudging eye liner at the lash line (a job previously given to my MAC 219 pencil brush). Number 12 and the MAC 219 look nothing alike. The 12 is angled and thin, and the MAC 219 is stubby and pointed, but Billy’s number 12 does the job better. When I use the MAC 219 to smudge liner, the brush head feels rough and scratchy and so big and bulky that I often just end up smudging the liner completely away. Billy’s number 12 is smaller, thinner and softer than the 219, giving me more control and making it easier to create subtle fades and transitions of color, even with thin lines.
One last eye brush side note: Ya’ll know I’ve got a borderline scary obsession with the MAC flat angled 266 brush (BOW DOWN!). Billy’s equivalent to MAC’s 266 is his 11. While it does a decent job of filling in my brows, I am not giving up my 266 any time soon. Score one for MAC.
A unique brush head design…
What I appreciate most about Billy’s brushes are their smaller brush heads, a concept quite different than most of the brushes currently on the market. Billy believes that many of the brushes out there are just too big for a woman’s small face. He’s well known in the industry for being a master of fine detail, and he wanted to create smaller brush heads that would be able to handle finer detail work, especially around the nose and eyes. “If you’re really doing beautiful makeup,” says Billy, “then obviously detail is important. A gigantic brush isn’t going to fit into the corners by your nostrils. It’s getting powder into your hairline and on your hair and on your clothes and on your lashes.”
Light, short handles…
While I’m not crazy about the short birchwood handles, I do appreciate the reason behind their design. Billy spends a lot of time flying between New York and LA (celeb clients he services include Mary J. Blige — Holla! — and Paula Abdul), so he needed brushes that wouldn’t add extra weight to his makeup kit.
Billy’s Paint Brushes are available online at www.billybbeauty.com.
Do you have a brush obsession? What can’t you live without?
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,