Dear Becca: We Knew Your Brush Was Too Good to Be True

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BeccaOnePerfectingLet’s start with the *big* promise of Becca’s “The One Perfecting Brush,” which sells for $49. According to the claim on Sephora’s website: “This patent-pending brush cuts makeup application time in half by replacing 10 other brushes and tools.”

Sounds great — if true!

On its own website, Becca further states: “From start to finish, primer to powder, The One Perfecting Brush can be used with liquids, crèmes, powders and anything in between. Non-porous, high-quality goat hair allows product to sit on top of bristles rather than absorbing, ensuring a seamless application with no wasted product.”

Click This Pink Bar to Read Rant About The Underlined Claim Above
We underlined “non-porous, high-quality goat hair” because we’re a little troubled by this kind of nonsense-science marketing.

First of all, hair doesn’t, technically, have pores in the first place. Real organic hair has a cuticle made up of tiny scales that creates a microscopically rough surface structure, which is helpful at picking up makeup particles and depositing them on the skin.

Photomicrograph of Goat Hair

FBI Photomicrograph of goat hair, which makes up the majority of fiber used in cosmetic brushes worldwide. Science!

That said, non-porous can also mean not capable of being penetrated. But since goat hair most definitely has a cuticle, the only way this could be true is if they selected goat hair with a very flat to non-existent cuticle or maybe this goat hair has been treated in some way to fill in the cuticle crevices and prevent the hair from sucking up product? The Sephora description does note that “The bristles are reinforced with shed-resistant technology.” (Not that it’s working that well based on many reviews, but more on that later …)

In any case, this non-porous claim is so strange that we’re not sure exactly what to make of it, but we are very certain that real goat hair most definitely has a cuticle.

Also, in the video reviews below, it appears that the thing that keeps the product on top of the brush hair is the actual the density of the hair assembly. Because if you look at the sides of the used brushes, it does appear as though the product is somewhat absorbed into the hair. In any case, let’s move on!

The brush itself is very pretty. White goat hair has a pretty depth to it, with some natural brown undertones, and matched with the brown handle, it’s visually lovely.

The plastic rounded bottom is an interesting choice, and several reviewers noted that it feels hollow. If it had been flat, you could set it on your dresser hair-side up like a traditional kabuki brush. But the curve mandates you lay it down. 🙁

Here is a great side view of the brush.

animation (11)Becca’s One Perfecting Brush is also quite substantial. The hair assembly is about 1-inch tall, 3.3-inches wide and a little over 1-inch deep. The total length, or height, of the brush is 3.7 inches.

This size comes with benefits and challenges. Because it’s so big, you can use the brush for different parts of the face without too much product mixing and you can also cover a lot of area quickly. But because it’s so big, it may take a bit more technique to avoid messy, imprecise color application.

How to Use the Brush

You can watch the official video from Becca at this link. But we prefer vlogger Dana Packet here, who gives an honest-sounding and adorably sweet review.

animation (12)To use this brush, basically, you work the product into the toe and then do your makeup in the regular order: primer, foundation and concealer, powder, highlighter, contouring, blush. And because the brush is so big, you can use different parts of the brush to do different things. This brush does not claim to replace any eye brushes.

Dana and other reviewers can be seen wiping the brush on a towel between several steps, which seems like it would add to the time spent using this brush. What’s more, if you’re going to wipe your brush on a towel in between applications, I guess a lot of foundation brushes could proclaim that they replace 10 other brushes. …animation

Anyway, most of the reviewers of this brush are a bit surprised by how much they like it. They love the way it feels and applies foundation, powder, contouring products and bronzer.

But many also complain of frequent shedding. Watch Dana and the other vloggers here literally pulling hairs from their faces and brush …

Becca and its retailers seem to go through an awful lot of explanation on this shedding issue. The Sephora description of this product, for example, notes: animation (1)“The bristles are reinforced with shed-resistant technology. However, the brush may lose strands during use. As with the hair on your head, this is completely natural and will lessen with use and proper care.”

And while some reviewers have said that shedding faded over time — and this brush does get good reviews overall, about 4/5 — we still think shedding remains a major issue for this brush.

On Sephora, the brush gets 4 out of 5 stars based on 99 reviews. animation (2)Reviewer amyelisabeth87 writes under the headline “Really Torn!” … “I bought this brush and was so excited to use it, since its bristles are incredibly soft! I loved the flawless, airbrushed finish it gave my skin, and was really impressed with its ability to be used in so many different ways. I was able to use it to apply foundation, cream bronzer, cream highlight, powder bronzer, powder blush, etc. I was totally sold on the brush! However, I have had the brush for about 2 months now, and I just have so much trouble with it shedding. I am so distressed, because I truly thought this was the best overall brush I have ever used. I am not sure if I just got a bad brush – perhaps they are not all like this, but I’m not sure. Maybe you will have better luck? It really is a great brush, if only it wouldn’t shed!”

“It really is a great brush, if only it wouldn’t shed!

On MakeupAlley, it’s much the same. The brush gets 4.3 out of 5 there. And reviewer Actionwoman writes: “I bought this brush when I purchased the Becca Ultimate Coverage Creme foundation, specifically to use with the foundation. The foundation went on nicely (I’ve never used this type of brush before, I’m used to the flat type, so I have nothing to compare it to) but I could not believe how many goat hairs I had stuck to face after I was finished. The brush sheds like crazy. I did not pay $49 plus tax for a brush that is going to shed like this – it’ll be bare within a year. So I returned it to Sephora.”

Becca Website

Screen grab from Becca website – March 2014.

Given that shedding is, generally speaking, becoming less of a problem across the industry, it really makes one wonder why Becca chose goat hair, given that all real hair holds the potential to shed — especially, apparently, this particular goat hair. And then they went through the bother of treating it for shedding. We’re guessing that somebody important at Becca really, really wanted that white goat hair …

Synthetic hair might have been a better choice for this particular brush. Because one thing all the reviews of this brush do support is this: Becca has come up with a very usable and excellent style of brush. The size and configuration of the toe most definitely works in replacing a few brushes, although probably not quite 10 for most folks.

But the hair choice is a negative distraction.

If we were superpowers at Becca, we would investigate some new fiber choice. Surely they can use or extrude a fiber that resembles pretty white goat hair and keep the specs the same! This seems especially important since Becca seems to be going all-in with this brush and it’s one of only two brushes left on their website for purchase! The conventional brushes shown in the display aren’t listed for sale anymore. (See screengrab at right!)

Seriously?

Another issue we have with the Becca brush is the cleaning advice.

animation (3)On Birchbox, this advice is given: “Because this brush does it all, it’s more important than ever to keep it clean. Gently clean with a mild soap and warm water, and lay flat to dry. If used daily, clean every two weeks.”

Seriously? You want me to use a brush every day with almost all of my face products and wash it that infrequently? I cannot imagine after doing all of my face with one brush, including contouring and blush, using that same brush with residue color left on it the next day with my starting foundation on a clean face. Not to mention rubbing a dirty brush into my makeup and contaminating it …

Um, no thank you — Not even once.

Pros and Cons

So, if you’re considering buying Becca’s The One Perfecting Brush, here is the bottom line:

Cons:

  1. Price.
  2. High potential for shedding.
  3. Because of the big size of the brush, it may be difficult to get the brush dipped into some cosmetic products, such as the Benefit Box O’ Powder product, or even palettes where the color you want is in the middle or close to another color.
  4. May be too big for precise application, especially if you have smaller face.
  5. Just passable application for under-eye concealer and for small detail areas, such as around the nose.
  6. Causes excessive flaking or exfoliation for some women.
  7. May need to be cleaned frequently, given potential for product mixing and contamination.

Pros:

  1. Does hold the potential to replace several brushes, although probably not quite 10.
  2. Very soft.
  3. Nice makeup finish.
  4. Exceptional for foundation, contouring and bronzing, including the decollete.
  5. Pretty.
  6. Difficult to find another brush just like it – although there is something close on the market.

ecotools face and body brushIt’s the EcoTools Face & Body Sculpting Brush ($11.99). Its toe is wider than the Becca brush, so it’s not as good for contouring, but it’s incredibly similar and one-fourth of the price. Also, this Becca brush is *NOT* a dupe for the Nars Ita, despite several comparisons. This Becca brush is ENORMOUS in comparison to that popular model. The only similar thing about them is that they have a relatively long flat toe for contouring.

If you do decide to purchase this Becca brush, we recommend actually doing so in person and trying to select a brush that sheds less than the others on the shelf. It does appear from the reviews that some brushes may shed more than others, which could be a result of variation in the hair supply or manufacturing.

In conclusion, if we were stranded on a desert island, this might be “The One” brush we would choose, as it seems passable for a multitude of functions. But when this big, mostly civilized world is full of so many delicious brushes, why on earth would we ever want to choose just one?

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Even More Information

Pro-Reviews

http://www.loveforlacquer.com/2014/01/becca-one-perfecting-brush-review.html

http://kimbalikes.com/beauty-duty-becca-the-one-perfecting-brush/

Mixed-Reviews

http://neonchipmunkmakeup.blogspot.com/2013/12/becca-one-perfecting-brush-review.html

http://beautyinfozone.com/brushes/becca-the-one-perfecting-brush/

http://www.adifferentface.net/2013/11/03/review-becca-the-one-perfecting-brush/

Con-Reviews

None seem downright negative on the brush, not even this one 🙂

1 comment on Dear Becca: We Knew Your Brush Was Too Good to Be True

  1. L
    March 31, 2015 at 5:33 pm (4 years ago)

    This brush comes boxed. I know this post is older, but telling people to go through a bunch of boxed brushes and check/feel for the best shed-resistance in-store means telling them to very likely make multiple units unsellable for that store, and making a huge headache for the people working there. In cosmetic retail you have to trash almost everything once someone has opened and touched it- which loses your store money, and effects things like scheduling (the cost of a brush is probably the same as 3-5 hours of pay for most people in retail, and stores do have budgets). I’m all for getting a quality product, but if the units are from the same lot there’s likely not enough difference between them to justify causing the waste and making a few unavailable for others to purchase.
    I do understand why the advice was given, it’s just a lil food for thought.

    Reply