Brush with nature

An essential part of your makeup arsenal, here’s why you should go natural with bristles

The makeup world can be a confusing place — be it finding your undertone, a colour match or choosing between loose and pressed powder. But when you start looking at makeup brushes, the confusion goes up a few notches. The various sizes, shapes and, sometimes, colours can intrigue and intimidate. So let me give you the low-down on natural makeup brushes.

They are made with animal hair — namely goat, squirrel and sable, and are extremely good for makeup application as they pick up powder products easily and blend them into your skin, mixing with your natural oils to prevent patchy application. If you’re considering getting into the world of natural bristles, read on.

Know your brands

The best for natural bristle brushes are usually Japanese, as they hand-pick the fibres, making every single piece unique and of the highest quality.

So where should you begin?

Easily the best known brand is Hakuhodo. They not only make their own, but also make brushes for several well-known luxury makeup brands. Their brushes range from ₹1,300 to over ₹10,000. But to save you the hassle, some of their must-haves are the J5523, which is a blending brush for the eyes (₹1,300), and the J110 (₹3,200), a versatile product that works nicely for bronzes, blushes and even face powders.

Chikahodo is another well-known Japanese brand that also happens to work with luxury makeup brands such as Suqqu and Sheishedo. The Chikahodo Z1 and Z9 powder brushes (₹14,500 for each) are wonderfully soft and pick up just the right amount of product. Similarly, Suqqu’s cheek brush (₹6,640) is considered to be the softest, perfect for diffused blush application.

Wayne Goss, the well-known makeup artist and YouTuber, created his own line, handmade in Japan, and his 13 Face brush (₹3,450) is perfect for cream products. It also works with foundation and concealer, and dries almost immediately so you can use it with powder products and to powder your face! All these brands are available on

Money matters

The biggest problem you will encounter when trying to decide what brushes to get will be the number of companies that make them and how expensive they are. While some are pricey, several brands sell their brushes for much cheaper, which can bewilder a buyer. The reason for the price difference is really simple.

When the hair is collected, the softest goes to the premium brush companies such as Hakuhodo. The slightly rougher ones go to companies that claim to sell the same brush for much less. So chances are, when you buy products from brands who sell theirs for a lot less, they will be scratchy and shed a lot of hair.

It all comes down to personal preference. I own a fair few natural bristle brushes and, while they have lasted me really long (a few over eight years old now), they do require to be cleaned more often and reshaped more often than their synthetic counterparts. However, if you look at these brushes as an investment, you won’t be disappointed. They only get softer and better with time.

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