Reviews, Tools

Review: Make Up For Ever Artisan Brushes – Eye Edition

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If you saw my recent review of NARS Eye Paints, you’ll know that I’ve recently been expanding my eye makeup repertoire to include more products than just powder eyeshadows. I’ve also been interested in trying out more of the new MUFE Artisan brushes, and using cream shadows and shadow sticks means I need some good synthetic eye brushes, right? Right??? I’ve had a while to use them now, so here’s what I got, along with my thoughts on them.

MUFE 242 – Blending Brush ($30)

MUFE 242

MUFE 242

MUFE 242

The 242 is a fluffy round blending brush with long-ish wavy fibers. It isn’t as soft on the skin as natural hair with uncut tips, but it’s much softer than some of the other synthetic blending brushes I’ve used. I’d put it somewhere close to the MAC 217 on the softness scale. The length of the bristles, though, makes it a little different in use than the MAC 217/Hakuhodo J5523. While those are short enough to push product around a little bit, the longer bristles of the 242 will diffuse your product but not really assist much in shaping it. I reach for this one the most when I’ve got the placement where I want it and just want to soften the edges. It works well with powder products, and it’s great for cream formulas too as long as you start blending before it sets.

  • Total length: 172mm
  • Bristle length (at the longest point): 21mm
  • Diameter at the ferrule: 6mm
  • Diameter at the widest point: 12mm

MUFE 272 – Lash Brush ($12)

MUFE 272

MUFE 272

A dedicated spoolie was something I didn’t really think I’d ever need, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have one so I put it in my cart (don’t judge me). I’ve found myself using this one quite a bit though. I use it to comb my brow hair into place now that I’m using the spoolie-less NARS Brow Perfector, and it’s also come in quite handy for combing out my lashes – it separates much better than toothed lash combs. The bristles are flexible but not floppy, and not too scratchy. The tapered tip makes it easy to get those little lashes in the corners of my eyes. The handle, however, is so thin that it feels a bit fragile – I definitely wouldn’t travel with this brush for fear that it would break.

  • Total length: 175mm
  • Length of brush head: 26mm
  • Diameter at the widest point: 8mm

MUFE 228 – Medium Shader ($25)

MUFE 228

MUFE 228

MUFE 228

The 228 is a flat paddle-shaped brush that tapers in thickness toward the tip. I originally got it to use with my cream shadows, and promptly found that it’s only “medium” if you have normal-sized eyes. On my small eyes it covered a little too much area, so I ended up returning it. It applies cream formulas beautifully, but I didn’t find it very useful for powder. It didn’t pick up enough of the powder product, and didn’t hold onto it well, which resulted in a lot of fallout. Unfortunately I forgot to get the measurements of the brush before I returned it.

MUFE 220 – Small Shader ($22)

MUFE 220

MUFE 220

MUFE 220

The 220 is a small paddle-shaped flat brush. I purchased it as a replacement for the too-large-for-me 228, and it’s just the right size for precisely placing cream shadows. Once again, though, I don’t find it terribly useful with powders – I’ll stick to my natural hair brushes for those.

  • Total length: 162mm
  • Bristle length (at the longest point): 8mm
  • Width at the ferrule: 8mm
  • Thickness at the widest point: 2mm

Some thoughts on quality

All of these brushes have well-shaped brush heads, high-quality synthetic fibers and haven’t shed. In other words, they meet most of the criteria for quality that I look for in brushes. However, I do have sort of a gripe with how the handles are assembled. See Exhibits A and B below:

MUFE 272

Exhibit A: MUFE 272

MUFE 228

Exhibit B: MUFE 228

On two of the brushes I got, there’s a noticeable difference between the ferrule size and the handle size. On the 272 it’s just a minor aesthetic annoyance, but on the 228 the seam is right where I held the brush and that made it uncomfortable to use. Even if the brush had been the right size for my eyes, I would have exchanged it due to the handle issue. The handle/ferrule junction on the 220 also doesn’t feel seamless, though it isn’t visibly uneven. The handles still feel like they’re attached firmly – no movement if I try to pull or wiggle the ferrule. However, consider this excerpt from the description of the brushes that was published before release:

[Dany Sanz] consulted with renowned brush manufacturer Raphaël on the island of Mauritius to create specialized brushes that require unparalleled craftsmanship. The construction of each brush involved 25 unique stages, and was hand-crafted by a total of 30 people from start to finish.

Out of five MUFE Artisan brushes that I’ve personally owned (I also have the 146 blush brush), two have been what I consider defective. “Unparalleled craftsmanship” isn’t the first phrase that came to my mind when I pulled these two brushes out of the box. I feel like the quality control and attention to detail are sub-par for brushes at this price point. It is a very new product line though, so perhaps we can give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that the quality control with become tighter now that they aren’t under a launch deadline.

In Short: These brushes have performed wonderfully for the purposes I bought them for, but I’m not over the moon about the construction quality.

Make Up For Ever Artisan brushes are available at sephora.com

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