Holy Grail brushes have evaded me until now. My regular rotation includes a few favourites, but none that I would be particularly sad to never use again.
I’ve been slow to warm to high end options. I returned the Sephora + hakuho-do brushes that I purchased because they were scratchy and the shape confused me.
I totally bought into the Morphe hype and was disappointed by most of my selections. I love the G3 tapered contour brush for cream products (the image on the website, by the way, looks nothing like the brush I received), and I cycle through an assortment of crease/blending brushes because I have them on hand.
Most earn a hearty meh.
Enter NYX brushes. I think I started purring when I reached the brush section of the NYX Store on Queen St. in Toronto. I couldn’t stop touching these incredibly soft brushes, and they were all under $19.
Unsurprisingly, being so soft and affordable, the shelves were just about bare save for the testers. I grabbed two that I thought I might get some use out of: a buffing brush and an all-over shadow brush. Once I used these two brushes, I knew I had to get more. I have since acquired an arsenal that seem to suit all of my brush needs. I’m actually tempted to set the rest of my brushes aside for a time to see if I even have to reach for them anymore.
NYX Pro brushes range in price from $9-19 CAD and have a straight black plastic handle with a satin finish metal ferrule. The NYX logo and brush number are printed in white on the handle; these will probably rub off with regular use but so far after a few months, they’re still completely legible. One thing I don’t quite get about the numbers is that they aren’t indicated on the product pages online. I’ll include that information below next to the name of each brush in case it’s useful for any offline shoppers.
Multi-Purpose Buffing Brush – 03 ($17 CAD)
This round, dense brush made with synthetic fibres is perfect for applying powder and cream foundations. I have very sensitive skin and avoid brushes for base makeup—scratchy brushes don’t do me any favours so I stick with always-gentle beauty sponges. This brush, however, feels like a sponge on the skin. I didn’t think that was possible—I had certainly never experienced it before.
I still prefer to use my beautyblender to apply foundation, but I have found this brush to be an effective makeup eraser. Too much blush or contour? Use this to buff excess product away.
All-Over Shadow Brush – 12 ($10 CAD)
I skip eyes most days. Partly because I lean toward a minimalist look, but also because blending shadows over my lids often leads to irritation. Like the buffing brush above, this synthetic all-over shadow brush is extremely soft, and feels like nothing on the lids. It is fairly dense and picks up lots of product, allowing you to pat and buff your lid colour easily and evenly.
Blending Brush – 16 ($10 CAD)
It’s just so soft. I can’t emphasize that enough. It feels like nothing against the skin. I use this synthetic brush to blend a defining colour into my crease, to erase over-application with translucent powder, or to blend out my nose contour. This is by far my favourite brush. Perhaps of all time. Blending with this brush causes absolutely no irritation.
I ordered this brush online and was thrilled to discover it was just as soft as the others I’d tried. By the time I attempted to order another one, it was sold out. Sad face.
Crease Brush – 17 ($10 CAD)
This brush comes with a stiff plastic sleeve that fits across the brush in order to keep the natural bristles in place. It’s slightly more tapered than the blending brush, so you’ll get a more precise application. If you’re like me and don’t bother with precision, skip this and get an extra blending brush instead. This brush is not scratchy, but it’s not as soft as the others.
Contour Brush – 05 ($14 CAD)
It’s difficult to judge the scale of brushes when ordering online, so I was on the fence about this one. This natural bristle brush is soft and slightly rounded; it’s a perfect size and density to achieve a soft, blended contour.
It’s too bad that it did not come with its own stiff plastic sleeve like the crease brush did. The brush definitely held its shape after a deep clean, but having the sleeve would be great for traveling.
Fan Brush – 06 ($17 CAD)
This dense fan brush seems to be made from the same synthetic fibres as the buffing and blending brushes. That means—you guessed it—it’s really soft. I’m still not sure how to use this brush. I normally reach for a fan brush for highlight, but this brush packs too much product for my taste. The density is great for buffing, but the shape is wrong for that. If you prefer a strong, defined contour, this might be a better choice than the contour brush, which is a lot more fluffy.
Dual Fibre Foundation Brush – 04 ($19 CAD)
After learning how insanely pigmented the Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Bronzing Veil was, I turned to my elf Studio Stipple Brush to attempt a lighter application. It worked great, but when I washed the brush a few days later, the hairs came right out of the ferrule! It was my only large dual fibre brush, so when I ordered more NYX brushes I decided to try this one out.
A combination of synthetic and natural fibres, this brush feels a little more dense than a traditional dual fibre brush since the bristles aren’t as long. NYX describes this as a foundation brush, but I love it for pigmented bronzers and blushes, which you can blend out to an airbrush finish.
Flat brushes like this one are ultra versatile since they can be used on their wide or narrow side to customize application. I’ve been loving this brush for a light dusting of finishing powder along my T-zone, but it’s also been great for blush, highlight, and contour.
There are a few brushes here that don’t quite fit into my day-to-day routine, but overall I am surprised and impressed by these brushes. They are more affordable than MAC and Sigma brushes yet I find their quality to be far superior. I didn’t experience shedding with any of the brushes, and all of them have so far survived a couple of deep cleans.
In stores and online, brushes come packaged in a clear, cellophane sleeve. The high quality of fabrication is consistent across all of the brushes. If you haven’t yet ordered online from NYXcosmetics.ca, it is completely hassle-free—shipping is free for orders over $45 and I’ve always received my packages very quickly (sometimes they arrive the same day I receive my shipping notice). Make sure you’re comfortable with their Returns & Refunds Policy before you order.
I hope NYX starts carrying their full brush line in stores, because I would love to see them in person before buying more. Have you tried any of the detail/precision brushes in this line? Leave your thoughts below!