Monday, October 19, 2015

More Zoeva Brush Reviews: 101 Luxe Face Definer, 102 Silk Finish, 142 Concealer Buffer & 226 Smudger

My first Zoeva brush review (click here for more information on the company, the ordering process and 105, 109, 227, 231 and 317 brushes) is currently one of my most popular posts, so I thought it may be helpful to share my thoughts on four more Zoeva brushes I purchased recently. This year, I've been really focused on sorting through my make-up brush collection and updating some brush types that I reach for frequently, and having had great luck with my first Zoeva order, I decided to get just a few more.
Let's start with 101 Luxe Face Definer Brush ($24, also available in vegan bamboo edition). I actually don't have a similar brush to compare it to, but it's a larger face brush with long natural (I'm assuming goat) bristles that taper down, giving it somewhat of an egg shape. The Face Definer can be used for applying setting powder either to specific areas of the face or all around, but I find it especially useful for bronzing and contouring powders.
101 Luxe Face Definer next to 105 Luxe Highlight for size and shape reference
The brush picks up product easily, either using just the tip or a side of the brush, and blends powders seamlessly on the face. The length of the bristles make it a bit more floppy, which works well for avoiding a harsh contour/ bronzer line; it gives a subtler, more diffused effect than the 109 Face Paint brush from my last order, but it also covers a larger area of the face. The natural bristles feel very soft and plush on the skin (obviously not as soft as Japanese blue squirrel brushes, but hey, let's not get ahead of ourselves here...), and wash well with soap and warm water. To preserve the tapered shape and avoid stray hairs, I dry it overnight in a plastic mesh brush guard.
I ordered the 102 Silk Finish ($15.50, vegan taklon bristles) as a back-up for my beloved Real Techniques Buffing brush (pictured), which is a favorite for applying liquid and cream foundations. However, the Zoeva version turned out to be a little different. The Silk Finish brush is incredibly dense with a domed shape, and works well both for pressing/ stippling the product into the skin as well as blending it out in circular motions. Compared to the Real Techniques, it is much denser and thus less flexible on the skin, which is why I like the Zoeva better for stippling rather than buffing motions (the opposite being true for the RT). The 102 Silk Finish doesn't absorb too much foundation, doesn't leave streaks or brush marks, washes and dries well even without the brush guard.
The 142 Concealer Buffer ($10.50, vegan taklon bristles, also available in the Bamboo Edition) is pretty much a scaled-down version of the 102 Silk Finish. Again, it's very dense and has a domed head, which works well to blend out concealer under the eyes and on other areas of the face without losing coverage. Because the bristles are so dense, the brush can also be used to stipple the product on the skin; I really enjoy using it around my nose and on some larger marks/ blemishes elsewhere on the face. Compared to a standard eye blending brush (even the Real Techniques domed shadow/ crease brush), the bristles on the 142 Concealer Buffer are twice as dense and the ferrule is round, not pinched, which translates into a more opaque application.
Lastly, the 226 Smudger ($9.50, synthetic taklon bristles, also availale in the Bamboo Edition) is your typical brush for applying and smudging out darker shades along the upper and lower lashline. The main difference between the Zoeva Smudger and my other eye smudging brushes is the length of the bristles - the ones on the 226 are much shorter, and the ferrule is wider. This makes this brush a lot firmer, which on one hand, feels a bit stabby on the sensitive skin around the eyes, but on the other, makes blending out even the most pigmented pencils or liners incredibly easy. The tip of this brush is also finer than on my other smudgers (see below, compared to Bdellium Tools 772), so you can get a very precise application.

Again, I'm very satisfied with my purchase, and have been using these brushes nearly every day for the past month. I still think that Zoeva has remarkable quality brushes for a great price, even taking into consideration the gradual price increases and the high shipping costs (at least for North America). I feel that I have now achieved a well-edited, high quality brush stash tailored to my specific needs and preferences, so I'm not intending to purchase more brushes from Zoeva in the immediate future, but if I ever need to replacement, I'll happily order from them again. What is your favorite inexpensive brush brand? What are your go-to brushes for applying foundation and concealer?


  1. I find myself reaching for my Zoeva brushes too! I have all these, and I also love their synthetic powder brush. I believe it's the 106.

  2. I own lots of Zoeva Brushes but I haven't known all of these. I own the smudger and I use it seldom. The length of the hairs is a bit too small and you have to concentrate a lot xD
    Silk Finish seems to be an interestingh one since I own an "normal" foundation brush which leaves lots of streaks and stuff. The concealer buffer seems to be a good deal too. I own the Bobbi Brown Concealer Brush and it's good for application but not good for blending as it is very small.
    My favourite one is the Crease.

    I think I should buy some more when I buy new cosmetics... Have you tried one of their blush brushes? If yes, which one do you recommend? It's the only "brush-family" I don't own any of them.

    1. Hi Lila! Do you mean like a flat 'paint' type of brush when you say 'normal' foundation brush? I haven't use one of those in a long time, I feel that most of them tend to leave streaks and lines. I've never tried any of the Bobbi Brown brushes, but heard some really good things!

      I haven't tried any of their blush brushes; I have a Hakuhodo one that's technically meant for highlighter that I use with my blush (I prefer a smaller blush brush because I have a small-ish face), and I'm thinking of picking up the Surratt Cheek brush in the next month or so.

  3. The 105 Luxe Highlight looks like Mac 217 to me, or is it? If so, the Luxe Highlight is worth checking out -- often I'd like a fluffier, somewhat larger 217 version for eye shadow base, general more precise dusting and such and it looks like it may be the brush that I've been looking for.

    For inexpensive brush brand.. in the past I've favored Sonia Kashuk but I now realize the quality is not as good as it used to. Still, I think design-wise, they are great. For foundation, I still prefer fingers/sponge, and for concealer, I actually love using RT dome shadow brush (synthetic & holds up to frequent washing). For pinpoint concealing, I use a brush I found at an art store (regular, synthetic-kind that has pointy tip).

  4. I actually have all of these brushes, I ended up buying one of the sets and to be honest these are my least used brushes. I didn't like the Silk finish brush it was way too stubborn for my liking and I didn't have the patience to break it in! I love my initial purchases including the luxe highlight and probably all of the eye brushes. They are really really good!

  5. This actually helped. Getting the Silk Finish right away <3