Sephora x Mara Hoffman Kaleidescape Charcoal Brush Set ($64, Limited Edition) - This set contains 5 brushes and a reusable gift box. Each brush features a rose gold ferrule and a wooden handle in a custom Mara Hoffman print. They also feel very lightweight in the hand. As for the bristles, they're all made of cruelty-free synthetic fibers that are infused with bamboo charcoal and feel very soft. (Bamboo charcoal supposedly keeps bacteria at bay and are environmentally friendly.)
- Allover Face Brush - It works really well for buffing in liquid foundation and covers the entire face quickly. It's also suitable for applying cream bronzers, such as the Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel (review), because the shape of the brush fits well on the "3E" of the face. When compared to the ELF Ultimate Blending brush (review), the Allover Face brush has a smaller head. When compared to the Real Techniques Buffing brush (review), the Allover Face brush has slightly longer bristles. Regardless, I use all 3 brushes interchangeably. (The Allover Face brush measures 6.6 inches in total length.)
- Cheek Brush - It's pinched at the base and is thinner than most cheek brushes. I find that it's ideal for highlighting the cheekbones, creating a soft contour and applying blush on the apples of the cheeks. I usually apply blush on the entire cheek area rather than just the apples. So, I prefer a fuller brush for that type of application. (The Cheek brush measures 6.75 inches in total length. The Real Techniques Cheek brush (review) is shown for size reference.)
- Highlight Brush - The pointed tip makes it ideal for (1) reaching the undereye area and applying concealer, (2) highlighting the cheekbones, bridge of the nose and any other high points of the face, and (3) creating a sharp contour. Keep in mind that when using it to contour, you'll have to reach another brush, such as the Allover Face brush, to blend the product out. Also, if you plan on using it to apply concealer, I recommend using a concealer that's thinner in consistency. The brush is by no means flimsy, but it's just not firm enough to work with thick & heavy products, and it'll take a bit of time to blend in the product.
The Sonia Kashuk #121 is bigger, firmer and intended for foundation application. I find that it blends in product easier and faster due to its size and density, while the Sephora Highlight brush is better for laying down product with precision. (The Highlight brush measures 6.5 inches in total length.)
- Shadow Brush - It's bigger than your typical eyeshadow brush. So, it's great for adding a quick and sheer wash of color all over the lids. (Synthetic bristles tend to lay down powder products more lightly compared to natural bristles.) I also use it to apply cream bases. I love that the tip is fluffy because it doubles up as a blending tool. (The Shadow brush measures 6.4 inches in total length. The MAC 239 is shown for size reference.)
- Crease Brush - It's too big for applying color to my crease, but it works well for blending out cream bases. (When working with cream products, synthetic bristles tend to absorb less product and blend better than natural bristles.) For blending powder eyeshadows, I prefer to use a brush that's made of natural bristles, such as the Sephora #19 (review), because natural brushes tend to blend powder products more seamlessly and evenly. (The Crease brush measures 6.6 inches in total length.)
Sephora x Mara Hoffman Kaleidoscape Pro Flawless Airbrush 56 ($32, Limited Edition) - This brush features the same design as the one from the set, except it has a longer handle that measures 8 inches in total length. The bristles are made from cruelty-free synthetic material (without bamboo charcoal) and feel just as soft as the ones from the set. It's also available in the black handle from Sephora's permanent collection.
The Sephora #56 brush has more flexibility than the Tarte Retoucher (review), Real Techniques Expert Face (review), Kat Von D #10 and Elf Selfie Ready Powder brush (review). It's also pinched at the base so it's thinner and not as dense or as full as the other brushes.
The brush is ideal for contouring with cream products. It lays down the product and blends it into the skin, while creating a soft, natural contour rather than a sharp chiseled look. The #56 also works well for applying cream blushes on the apples of the cheeks and cream highlight on the cheekbones. (Tip: To prevent disturbing your foundation, use a tapping motion rather than a sweeping motion when applying cream blushers, bronzers and highlighters for a more airbrush & streak-less finish.)
I especially love using the #56 brush for applying concealer underneath my eyes and creating a highlighted effect. I just use the tapping method and it does all the blending work for me. (Tip: Hold the brush "vertically" so that it fits perfectly under the inner corner of the eye to the outer corner of the eye.)
For foundation application, I find that the #56 brush buffs product in the skin easily without tugging the skin. I also like that it can reach into the tight spots around the face with ease. Though, it can take a little bit longer to cover the entire face than say, the Allover Face brush from the Mara Hoffman set. Regardless, this brush is a keeper!
Kat Von D Lock-It Edge Foundation Brush #10 ($34) - This brush features a sleek stiletto handle and provides an ergonomic grip for ultimate control. It doesn't feel as lightweight as the Mara brushes, but the Kat Von D brush is by no means heavy and still feels very comfortable in the hand. Also, the pointed end doubles as a mixing tool for foundations, concealers or whatever tickles your fancy.
The head of the brush features a sculpted shape that conforms to the curves & contours of your face. The bristles are made of cruelty-free synthetic fibers and feel just as soft as the other brushes mentioned in this post.
The Kat Von D #10 brush works especially well with heavy, thick and full-coverage foundations, such as the KVD Lock-It, Marc Jacobs Remarcable and Urban Decay All Nighter, because of its dense bristles. It just blends and buffs product into the skin seamlessly, while getting into every nook & cranny, and leaves a streak-free finish.
When working with full-coverage foundations, the brush provides a little more than medium coverage, but less than full coverage with one layer. When working with medium to full coverage foundations, such as the MUFE HD (review), Dior Forever (review), L'oreal True Match (review) and Burberry Cashmere (review), the brush provides a little more than light coverage, but less than medium coverage (with one layer). The reason for this is because the bristles tend to absorb some of the product, which makes it ideal for working with full-coverage foundations. You'll still get the coverage you need, but without the foundation looking cakey or heavy on the skin.
It can also be used for cream contouring because the bristles are symmetrical tapered. So, you can lay down the product by using the tip of the brush, and then blend it out by using the side of the brush (in a tapping motion). (The Kat Von D brush measures 7.5 inches in total length. The Elf Selfie Ready Powder brush has a more oval shape and is shown for size reference.)
Bottom Line: The Sephora x Mara Hoffman brushes are both functional & beautiful, and great as a gift. The Kat Von D foundation brush is ideal for those who want to wear full coverage foundations without looking like a cakey mess. All of these brushes are cruelty-free, super soft, do not shed and most importantly, do not disappoint!
Note: The Sephora x Mara Hoffman Brush Set, Pro Flawless Airbrush #56 and Kat Von D Foundation brush are available at Sephora.
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