So, I’ve been working on a feature story focused on foundation brushes that isn’t quite done yet. One of the many, many brushes I was researching as part of this project was the Dior Fluid Foundation Brush ($45), which came out in the past year.
It’s an exceptional brush in some key ways, with amazingly soft synthetic fibers that are layered and tapered along all sides. That makes the substantial toe of this paddle brush simply not as flat as the others, with some more useful dimensions. I also think this particular Dior brush gets short shrift compared to the other Dior foundation brush with the flat, angled top, which is meant for more full coverage.
I first bumped into this updated paddle brush at the beauty counter at my local Nordstrom and was really taken aback by how much I liked it — and I’m a serious brush guru.
Dior’s marketing materials say this brush is handcrafted by Raphaël, the French brush manufacturer, whom we’ve written about before. “Each brush is handcrafted, necessitating the expertise of some thirty people,” the Dior website says.
Anyhoo, for whatever reason, I didn’t pick the brush up while I was at the store. But by the time I made it home, I decided to buy it for a more in-depth tryout. Suffice it to say, I was in a hurry when I popped online later that night and I accidentally bought TWO. (It’s a tired Mom thing)
When the package arrived a few days later, I was surprised to see the mistake and quickly opened my first box. The brush comes in a lovely velvet slip, but when I pulled it out, the brush was, literally, in two pieces: A handle, and a ferrule-fiber assembly.
I was a bit stunned given that this is a $45 brush. But, okay, mistakes happen. Especially when products are handmade or crafted, as this one is said to be. (Although, truth be told, most brushes are hand manufactured at some stage).
I tried to slip the ferrule-fiber assembly back on the handle, but it wouldn’t fit, as the glue was all hardened in a way that wouldn’t let me glide it on. (It maybe even looked like the brush suffered through some excessive heat during shipping that made things all awry?)
After a few frustrating seconds, I gave up.
Normally, beauty lovers are more worried about the integrity of the toe assembly — nobody wants hair/fiber falling out — than the handle-ferrule relationship. That’s because it’s easy to glue a handle back on a ferrule. And I will say that the toe assembly looked fantastically durable and well made.
That said, nobody expects to have to glue a handle back on a Dior brush that retails for $40+ …
Luckily for me, I accidentally bought two, right?
Dior No. 2
So, I opened the second box, where I expected the second $45 brush to be in perfect order. Except that it was NOT!
Although that brush was *not* in pieces, the fit and finish was terrible for a luxury brand brush. The metal ferrule was not closely snug around the full lip of the handle at all, as it is in the marketing photo at the top of this story.
Quite frankly, I remain shocked and irritated by the whole experience. I have a big studious lot of makeup brushes and I get brushes from different price points all the time. I have $1-$10 brushes with better fit-and-finish than this.
For Dior, this was far from acceptable and very far from worthy of a $45 brush. Let alone a luxury name.
Clearly, the Dior brush makers are having a problem manufacturing this brush. … Which leads me to wonder if maybe a few robots couldn’t do a more consistent job than those 30 people supposedly making it by hand? Or select a better glue? Or make the connecting area more rough for adhesion …
But here’s the even bigger dilemma that has me prickly over this situation: This brush features an outstanding toe shape, unlike anything else on the market. I don’t normally favor paddle-style foundation brushes, but this one really won me over for it’s unique dimensions. I *wanted* to recommend it, which is why I bought it for a further test drive in the first place!
Nordstorm Saves the Day!
The only thing that made this whole experience better was my beloved Nordstrom, which made the situation as right as they could by sending me a special beauty gift package — hooray for free peptide products! — along with a THIRD version of this brush.
And, boy oh boy, I was excited to receive it. Would it be a mess like the others or worthy of calling itself a Dior? Oh, the anticipation …
Fortunately, the No. 3 brush was perfect, just like the big brush picture above. The ferrule fits perfectly around the handle and everything looked and felt A-ok. After my prior two experiences with this brush, though, I must confess that I’m now worried about the longevity of my new brush. But for the moment, I can report that it’s a beautiful and fantastic brush.
I had been considering making it my top recommendation for a paddle-style foundation b
rush, but there’s no way I can do that now, sadly ….
So if you have any inclination for this brush with the excellent paddle toe, try to get it at the store where you can closely inspect it and make sure it’s been put together properly. I still think it’s a great brush, but it — clearly — has some issues with consistent manufacturing. Either that, or I was having a seriously bad brush day. I mean, what are the chances, right? …
If you watch this first video, there is also a remark right after the 2-minute mark about somebody else having a problem with handle detachment on their Dior brush …