From the onset, I thought they were spectacularly beautiful — mirrored in chrome as they are — but I wondered if a drastically different approach to the makeup brush was really, truly needed?
I also worried the chrome plating would eventually chip off the underlying ABS material, like it did on my cheap plated Barbie accessories of years gone by.
In early November, I finally brought a set of them home, and today, I can officially declare: I love, love, love the innovative new approach and performance of the Artis brushes.
Ultimately, they make application easier, faster and, in my humble opinion, more goof proof.
The Oval 10 – It’s Worthy
Let’s start with the biggest brush, the Artis Oval 10, which is so big and special that it is hereby inducted in the My Brush Betty Hall of Fame, where it joins just four other super-special makeup brushes.
Let’s start with the sheer size of the thing. The Oval 10 is so big that it’s like an Honest-to-God hairbrush paddle, the kind my grandma might have swatted my behind with in the 1970s. Yet, somehow, with its long leg, skinny neck and mirrored body, it maintains its elegance.
I seriously thought this big brush would just drag foundation all over my face. But I’m big enough to admit it here: I was wrong. Oh. So. Wrong.
The Oval 10, which retails for a noteworthy $62, deposits, and buffs, foundation products onto the skin quite beautifully. That includes liquid and mineral powder foundation, although getting the powder onto the big brush toe can be a small challenge with, say, a cap full of Bare Minerals powder. You have to dip the edge of the big toe into your cap of powder somewhat carefully …
Why does the Artis brush toe work so well? Foremost, the Oval 10 has more than 250,000 fibres. Artis said they are “CosmeFibre, a revolutionary engineered fibre made for applying cosmetic and makeup products.”
Forget about Taklon — these are incredibly soft, advanced synthetic makeup brush fibers.
Because of all these microfibers, the big brush has a unique sensory effect as you move it across your skin. Now in Japan, many women “dry brush” their skin for circulation and exfoliation. While I’m told the Japanese use a much rougher brush for that act of dry skin brushing, the Artis brush feels therapeutic and a touch exfoliating as you drag it to and fro across your face.
I’ve been using the brush with YSL Touche Eclat Foundation, and the finish is just wonderful. While it also leaves a natural finish, I’ve also found it can build up foundation nicely, too.
This brush, and the entire line, has some surprises, too. One of the bigger of those for me is the flexible neck of the brush — the skinny part that connects the unique handle to the brush toe. The flex adds to the brush’s ability to move along the face gracefully, as you can see in the Oval 10 video here. In many ways, this brush feels similar in the hand to a toothbrush, which also has a flexible neck. And while I’ve never had one of those snap apart during brushing, I’m curious to see how well this brush neck holds up with repeated face brushing.
The handles are also unique. If you were paying close attention, you probably noticed that this style of toothbrush-as-makeup brush was first launched by MAC Cosmetics under the “MAC Masterclass Brush Collection.” That is because the founder of Artis is Matthew Waitesmith, a former senior VP at MAC Cosmetics.
We note this here because the Artis brush handles are just a complete step up from the same MAC black-skinned version of the same brushes. Both have a nice ergonomic grip to them, of course, but the Artis brushes have a crisp white inset that feels substantial in the hand. It probably also alleviates any concern about rubbing the chrome plating off the ABS.The white is also easy to clean, as I discovered after accidentally transferring some product onto the handle.
Ultimately, the Artis brushes are much more feminine in appearance than their MAC sisters.
Now, maybe, just maybe, you could compare the final performance of the Oval 10 to some of the flatter or flat-top kabuki synthetics on the market — the Sigma F80 quickly jumps to mind — but nothing is so unique or pretty in appearance, and none has a toe so large that covers ground so quickly. And to be so large and elegant at the same time is truly a challenge.
So My Brush Betty congratulates Mr. Waitesmith on this wonderful and innovative brush line, as well as the Oval 10, the biggest and boldest representation of something truly new and worthwhile in the beauty marketplace.
Other Thoughts on the Artis Brush Line
Also wonderful is the use of the Oval 6 for cream or powder blush. It really gives a natural finish, rather than the look of powder sitting on top of the skin. The size is a little bit bigger than a thumb and really works the blush into the skin rather than dusting a layer on top.
I also love the Circle 1R for eyeshadow, particular shaping the crease. Here the shape of the handle really shows off its usefulness. You don’t realize how much a traditional brush handle blocks your view of eyeshadow application until you use this brush and you CAN SEE the application clearly. For me, and my hooded eyelids, it may be extremely difficult to go back to a standard brush for crease applications. This is officially my new go-to standard for eyeshadow.
If you’re wondering what the difference is between Circle 1 and Circle 1R, you’ll see that the R version has a rounded top while the Circle 1 has a flatter top. But the uses are virtually identical as you can see from the chart above here.
Now, the Artis brush line is, relatively-speaking, expensive, at $275 for the entire set. There is also a 5-Brush ($135) and 3-Brush collection ($75).
Of course, My Brush Betty is going to recommend its own collection: Oval 10 ($62), Oval 6 ($42) and Circle 1R ($24). A total of $128.
While I also liked the Linear brushes for doing my eyebrows, I found the linear brushes too stiff overall for my upper eye, which caused my lid to drag around too much. I also found it difficult to use them to create a sharper, precise line on the outside of the upper eye — say, a winged cat look. Also difficult: multiple eyeliner colors, as I sometimes do. If you’re going for a softer liner look, maybe the linear brushes would work well. I did like the Linear brushes for a soft line on the outside of the lower lid. But a lot of brushes can do that, so I’m not sold for that purpose.
So, if you must go for a linear brush, go for No. 3. For the same reason you want warm oatmeal — and not cold or hot.
Now: How to Clean These Novel Tools?
When you use a big paddle brush like the Oval 10 with foundation, there’s a lot of fiber to absorb product and, given the fact it’s densely packed, it seems like it would be difficult to clean. Artis, of course, offers a whole cleaning system that must be used with this new brush style. It involves special microfiber cloth pads and foam soap that must be replaced, and they come with luxury pricing to match the luxury brushes. The Brush Cleaning Starter Set is $30.
Being acne prone, I like to clean anything that touches my face with soap and water to make sure it’s really fully clean before it touches my face. I have found that wipe solutions, such as the one offered by Artis, don’t get into the nooks and crannies of the brush fiber as well as my sensitive face requires, and my face will stage an ugly protest pretty darn quickly.
So, I washed the the smaller Oval, Linear and Circle brushes directly in soap and water inside the My Brush Betty’s Cleaning Kit, with My Brush Betty’s Brush Bubbles, and the brushes came out great in a 1-minute wash cycle. The Oval 10, however, was too big for the container, so I washed it directly under the faucet with baby soap and water, and it is holding up very well so far.
Over time, we will revisit how well the Artis brush line holds up with use, washing and re-use. Dustin Hunter below, for example, notes that somebody had a pad of the brush fiber pop out of the brush.
But for now, I am proud to feature these pretty, spectacular brushes on my vanity. I even know a few teen-age girls who are jealous of this 40-something’s makeup brushes. Which allows me to brag: When you get older and have a nice career, you, too, can splurge on premium, exotic niche makeup brushes.
And, Dustin Hunter’s review of the MAC version of these brushes:
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