Review: The Brush Guard (Guards Your Brushes!)

Hey everyone!

How are you doing? Is Tuesday easier than Monday? I certainly hope so!

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned The Brush Guard somewhere, and now I am finally ready to review it after having tested it out thoroughly! I might be slow to the party, but let me just say I’m pretty glad I discovered The Brush Guard! I have talked a lot about the importance of owning good brushes (so much that Bdellium Tools actually made me their February’s La BeautĂ© of the Month lol). Once again, if you have invested in brushes, you might as well take good care of them. After experimenting with The Brush Guard, I can say it’s one of the things that can help you achieve that goal!

What is it?
The Brush Guard is essentially plastic tubes that are slightly stretchy. I got a variety pack to try it out, and it contains one in size XS for shadow/liner, two in size S for blush, two in M for foundation, and one in L for powder/kabuki. I actually use XS for liner brushes, S for shadow brushes, M for foundation/blush brushes, and L for my Bobbi Brown bronzer brush though. Basically, you want something that fits snugly enough without the need to overstretch to fit. You can also purchase all sizes separately.

How does it work?
According to the instructions, you are supposed to shape your brushes after washing them, fit the Brush Guard on, and dry them heads down in a cup. However, in the following picture you will see that I don’t do it this way for two reasons. Number one, it takes forever and ever to dry brushes this way. I don’t think it’s the humidity in Belgium, I really think it’s because of the low temperature. My brushes are usually laid out to dry in my bedroom, where the heater is just about never on. When the weather was colder, it takes more than a day for a shadow brush to dry, let alone anything bigger. Second of all, Dustin Lujan, the manager of the Le Metier de Beaute counter at Bergdorfs wrote this article about brush cleaning. He very specifically says that brushes are never supposed to be left drying in a cup (or heads up), because it could cause root rot or shedding. I know that everybody has a different theory about this. I choose not to dry mine in a cup basically because I don’t believe it does the brushes any good to stay humid for a couple of days after each wash. Therefore, I dry them with their heads over the side of the counter, like this:

In my experience, the Brush Guard makes real differences for fluffy brushes. MAC 217, 168, and Bdellium Tools 953 for example, really benefit from the Brush Guard. Flat brushes like liner brushes, MAC 239, or Bdellium Tools 965 for example, don’t change much with or without it. What amazed me is the fact that the Bobbi Brown Bronzer Brush also stays the same without the Brush Guard, though I still dry it with and I reckon similar brushes would also benefit from the Brush Guard.

These are brushes dried with the Brush Guard:

This is MAC 168 dried without the Brush Guard:

The second from the left is MAC 217 dried without the Brush Guard:

Can you spot the difference? They retain their shape so much better with the Brush Guard! Without it, they look pretty fluffy and shapeless. You get much more precision with brushes that are nicely shaped, and the couple of strands of flyaway/unruly hairs are also tamed. Also, if you don’t have a handy brush roll like my Bdellium Studio Roll-Up Pouch, the Brush Guard will also make storing brushes in a bag a lot safer for your brushes.

Bottom line: If you have problems with brushes losing their shape, you might want to try the Brush Guard. It is an inexpensive solution to keep your brushes in good shape (literally), though admittedly not ALL brushes would benefit from it.

Have you heard of/tried the Brush Guard? How do you keep your brushes in shape? Do you think something like this is too gimmicky or actually useful?

Sunny, your beauty culture translator

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Review: Bdellium Tools Maestro Series 934, 953, & 965. How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways…

Hey everyone! Even though Valentine’s Day is a couple of days behind us, it is never too late to properly acknowledge what we love in life and give it some credit. Therefore, I’m bringing you a lengthy but hopefully helpful review of Bdellium Tools brushes!

I probably sound like a broken record by now, but I cannot help but repeat how important it is to have good brushes. They fulfill the potential of your favorite products, do detailed work that cannot be done otherwise, and are a lot more pleasant to use than any applicators that might come with the products. The only problem? They are an investment, and the price tags could sometimes be too hefty to swallow. I pined for duo-fiber brushes for a while because I knew it would work with foundation, highlighting, and soft blushes like Tarte ones. However, I had to put it off because of the price, until I discovered Bdellium Tools.

Bdellium Tools is a California-based company that makes professional antibacterial and eco-friendly makeup brushes at an affordable price. The company makes 5 lines of products, including the Maestro Series, Studio Line, Travel Line, Green Bambu, and Yellow Bambu. The two Bambu lines are made with synthetic bristles, so they are 100% cruelty-free. The other three are a mix of natural and synthetic bristles and treated with an anti-bacterial agent. The travel line features the same brushes with the studio line, only smaller and therefore easier to travel with. The major differences between the maestro series and studio line include the color of the handle (black versus yellow) and material used for the ferrule (nickel-plated brass versus anodized aluminum). Since the price difference is minimal, I opted for the maestro line whose ferrules are supposed to be more shiny, durable, and stronger.

Let’s start with 934, the precision concealer.

934 is made of synthetic fibers. It is supposed to be “perfect for small-area touchups & good for blending undereye (this comes straight from the back of the packaging. The English teacher in me is freaking out a little over the use of lowercase letters, but let’s not be too picky lol).” When I first tapped the brush on the back of my hand, I wasn’t so sure it would work very well. The bristles have a good yield, but they felt a bit too long for enough control. Once I tried it on my face however, all the doubts dispersed. It is indeed a great concealer brush. I have tried to cover my dark circles with cream-based products and spots with a drier formula. Both worked beautifully. I don’t get brush strokes with this at all. You can do one thin layer as well as more depending on what you’re trying to conceal. When I use concealers on top of foundation, I don’t want to disturb the foundation too much. This is when a nimble concealer brush comes in handy!

953, the duet fiber foundation brush, is the secret of the perfect foundation universe. It is touted to be able to create “very smooth textures on skin.” It can be used with both liquid and cream foundations. I used to apply foundation with my fingers. This apparently works OK with certain foundations, but you will end up with a thicker layer. With 953, I need only one pump of Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation for my entire face. I even have some to spare for my undereye area where more coverage is needed. When I first saw this brush I was again a little skeptical, because the brush head is quite small (if you go to the picture in which I’m holding it in my hand you will see what I mean). I thought it would take forever to do my foundation with such a small brush but no, that didn’t happen. I pump foundation on the back of my left hand (I’m right-handed), dab the brush gently in it, and start working from the center of my face. Because of the delicate brush head, it covers all the nooks and crannies effectively. What’s more, it buffs foundation in efficiently. You can easily avoid brush strokes by not getting too much foundation on the brush in one go (dab the brush gently in foundation once to begin with and see how it goes) and not going to the undereye area when there is still a lot of foundation on your brush.

Cleaning this brush is slightly tricky, but not trickier than cleaning face brushes in general. I do have to swirl it around with some brush cleaner in my palm for a while, and run water through it until I can’t see any suds when I squeeze it dry, but it is certainly not impossible to clean. I also like to dry it with the brush guard. The first time I dried it without, a couple of strands of black hair looked a little frayed. With the brush guard however, the brush keeps its shape. Also, the first couple of times I washed it, the water ran a tiny little bit gray. However, that was only a tiny bit when I was squeezing the excess of water out, so I don’t consider it a problem. It has shed maybe a hair or two so far, and I hope that’s that!

965, the duet fiber blusher brush, is yet another amazing one! It is “ideal for flawless lightweight blusher application or highlighting,” and it fulfills that promise. I find this brush excellent for soft powdery blushes, like my Tarte ones. With a traditional blush brush, too much product is kicked loose and I end up wasting some that way. This one, on the other hand, grabs product without kicking too much loose. I have to build up a little more, but it is also a lot easier to blend everything out and get it even with this brush. Also, you don’t risk putting way too much in one go, however pigmented your blush is. The tip, as you can see in the picture, is pretty fine. I can finally use my Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick to highlight the top of my cheekbones properly now that I’ve got this in my arsenal! This one is easy to clean and hasn’t shed/lost color on me at all! Though to give 953 some (more) credit, it is because 965 is not used with liquid products.

All in all, I highly recommend Bdellium brushes. They are of good quality, and you simply can’t beat the price for what you get! For those who live in Europe, you can get Bdellium products from Cocktail Cosmetics and Boozyshop. I really appreciate a company which is willing to go past geographic borders to reach out to as many customers as possible! I bought mine from Cocktail Cosmetics, because at that moment it was the one who had 953 in stock. My order arrived lightening fast so that was nice!

Next on my Bdellium wish list is their 760 liner/brow brush. Jessica from Beautezine raves on and on about this one, and after watching her demo I was completely sold (also, if you guys would kindly allow me to go off on a tangent, she has the cutest way of saying “out!”)!

Have you heard of Bdellium Tools? Do you think you’ll check their brushes out? What are some of your favorite brushes that don’t break the bank?

Sunny xx