On the subject of stippling brushes I am notoriously hard to please. A small parade of brushes have passed in and out of my displeased possession: the infamous MAC 187, homage to disappointment (on 3 separate occasions of owning it), the bijoux-sized MAC 130, so small I actually got bored applying foundation, and then most recently, the E.L.F. Studio Stippling Brush, the copycat that never was. And then there was the Real Techniques brush designed by Samantha Chapman and made by the people who make Eco Tools.
I'm not really sure why I was drawn to buying it after that weak litany of stippling brush-related failures, but £10 or so and a couple of days later, and a package from love-makeup.co.uk was delivered to me by the cheery postman.
I'll be blunt on the design: I really don't like it and if I saw it in Boots with no prior knowledge of its quality, I'd probably pass it by and leave it for the more teenage consumer. I am past the stage of thinking pink or any other bright colour is a 'cute' addition and the Hello Kitty thing passed me by anyway. The aesthetic of this brush is a personal thing however, which doesn't change my opinion of the overall quality or experience using it.
The brush comprises of an aluminium all-in-one ferrule and handle with a rubberised base. It has been designed to stand up by itself; I guess that'd be useful somewhere. I imagine the majority of us store our brushes in some kind of pot/jar/thing/whatever, so the feature, at least for me, is pretty redundant. The aluminium handle, however, makes the brush lightweight without the flimsiness of the E.L.F. Stippling Brush impostor, and it feels well-made and durable.
The bristles are short, synthetic and densely-packed on this brush; I'm reminded of a MAC 130 duo-fibre brush, but a little bigger and less boring to use. The bristles are sufficiently soft and good quality with no shedding or dye leaking to speak of, however this is not a review based on a long-term usage so I will update as I see necessary. Where I've always found stippling brushes really floppy and useless and was fed up of continually poking myself in the eye with the errant 187 bristles, the bristles here are stiff enough to stipple or buff without any splaying - it almost feels like they're bouncy!
The first time I used this I got a flawless effect on the skin by using the stippling method, but I also used a lot more product than usual. It worked really well with my Estée Lauder Doublewear and my MAC Pro Longwear, both more difficult foundations to work with. It performed well with cream blush products too, but I wouldn't recommend it for powdering your whole face unless it's brush laundry day as it's simply not effective enough - why send a little brush to do the work of a big brush?
THE FINAL WORD.
Overall, I'm really pleased with this brush and the way it performed: it cost me a reasonable £10.99 and is good quality. It is well-made and sturdy, and has withstood very regular washings, and quite a few of them. The size of the brush made it big enough for quick foundation application, but still small enough to fit around the contours of the face. I don't like the price increase for the UK market and it isn't the best brush I've ever used. Do I like it? Yes. Is it reasonably-priced? Yes. Do I think there's just a teeny bit of hype surrounding this product? Definitely, and that's something to bear in mind.