Ah, Coastal Scents. When they first popped up on the beauty blogosphere years ago, many of us (myself included) approached with a skeptical eye. There were raves upon raves, but in my experience it’s a bit of a mixed bag. I’ve purchased Coastal Scents products I love and others that were truly just bad. However, one area they tend to excel is in synthetic brushes. I’ve recently been trying out some of their newer synthetic brush lines, hoping to uncover some cruelty-free gems to share with you. Today, I have a selection from their Elite Brushes Bamboo Collection, including comparison photos with similar brushes I own. Warning – this post has become very photo-heavy!
ANGLED BLUSH BRUSH
1. Essence of Beauty Blush Brush*
2. Coastal Scents Elite Bamboo Angled Blush Brush
3. Eco Tools Angled Blush Brush
4. IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Blush Brush
First up, we have the Angled Blush Brush. As with most angled brushes, the shape makes it ideal for applying blush to the apples of the cheek then blending back. The brush head is thinner and longer than the Eco Tools Angled Brush. The IT Cosmetics brush is about the same length, but wider and denser. The Essence of Beauty is similarly shaped, but about 25% smaller and not nearly as soft. The downside to the Coastal Scents’ softness is its so airy-light, it provides a rather sheer application. Great if you have an ultra pigmented blush you want to tone down. With most blushes, it takes a few extra swirls in the product to pick up enough color on the bristles for visible application.
*Essence of Beauty Angled Brush: I’ve had this brush for nearly 10 years. I don’t know whether it’s synthetic or not, but Essence of Beauty currently sells a similar (very popular) brush that’s animal hair, so I think it’s safe to assume this one is animal hair as well. Included for comparison’s sake.
TAPERED POWDER BRUSH
While these two brushes are similarly shaped, the Real Techniques is denser and more tapered. The Coastal Scents feels a bit flimsy in comparison, which again makes it best for products you want to apply super lightly. I’ve been using it for highlight powder and dusting on silica powder. If I want more precise product placement, like with bronzer, I go with the Real Techniques. The Coastal Scents works well to blend out edges of blush you’ve already applied. While it takes a bit longer, it does give an impeccable finish without disturbing any products you’ve applied beneath it.
1. Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush
2. Sigma Blending Brush – E25*
3. Coastal Scents Elite Bamboo Blender Brush
4. Coastal Scents BR-C-S06
5. Eco Tools Fresh & Flawless Set Buffing Concealer Brush (my review)
While Coastal Scents calls this a blender brush, I find myself more often reaching for it when I just want a quick wash of shadow all over my lids. Because this brush is relatively flat and not especially dense, I like it more for placing shadows than blending. The fibers are… I hesitate to say flimsy again, but it’s the word that keeps coming to mind. It works as a blender brush and for general edge-softening, but it just takes a bit more time and offers less precision than a firmer (though equally soft) brush like the Eco Tools 5-Piece Mineral Set. It’s softer and less scratchy than the Sigma E25, though it picks up less product, so it takes more time to build up saturated color. The Real Techniques is quite similar, but firmer and a bit less malleable, which I generally prefer. The Eco Tools Buffing Brush isn’t as soft and is much denser and more rounded. The Coastal Scents BR-C-S06 (review of this line to come!) is similar but slightly thinner and it holds its shape better.
*Received as GWP, I believe it’s natural hair so not cruelty-free
DETAIL POINTED BRUSH
1. Real Techniques Detailer Brush
2. Coastal Scents Detail Pointed Brush
3. OCC Lip Brush
I like this for precise concealer placement. I still favor my Real Techniques Detailer brush, which is stiffer and a slightly different shape, but it works well. Like the RT brush, it can double as a lip brush. It’s slightly bigger than the OCC Lip brush and comes to more of a point. I don’t use lip brushes often, but I tested it with the OCC Lip Tars and had no complaints.
FLAT TIPPED SHADOW BRUSH
I purchased this tightlining in mind, but it’s really too big for that. If I place it at the outer edge of my lid, it deposits color about halfway along my lid. I’ve used this to place color along the lash line and diffuse it upward, for a softer lined look. It works well for that (would work even better if it were a couple milimeters smaller). The softness allows you to get right along your lash line without irritating that sensitive skin. And an advantage of the larger size is, of course, you could essentially line your eyes with a single dash.
Note: This is the first time I’m showing brushes from a brush company that sells both synthetic and natural hair brushes. I arrived at my decision to show these after much thought and getting input from other cruelty-free beauty bloggers. My thinking is that it makes sense to show these, because the more people that support their cruelty-free brushes, the more they’ll be in demand. It also can help show people who may still believe the best brushes are natural hair that there are synthetic brushes of equal or superior quality.