Monday, September 12, 2016

Affordable Travel Brushes: DUcare 10 Piece Makeup Brushes Essential Kit*

Last year, I was pretty obsessed with finding the perfect make-up brushes to fill in the gaps in my existing collection. I've been buying brushes for years now and after a lot of trial and error, I do feel now that I know exactly which shapes and types of brushes are essential for my make-up routine. Which is why I'm not hugely interested in brush sets anymore; although I will say that I often wish I had the ideal kit on hand for travel so that I wouldn't have to worry about washing and drying my pretties in time for the trip. Well then, DUcare was probably listening when they offered to send me their 10 Piece Makeup Brushes Essential Kit Travel Collection* ($22.49 on Amazon here, available for Prime members with Free One-Day Shipping).
Before we dive right into the review, let me point something out: yes, these brushes are made in China. I realize some people have a problem with that, and often equal products made in China with bad quality. However, the reality is that a vast majority of make-up brushes on our market from well-known and respected brands are manufactured in China as well, for example the Real Techniques, Crown (and most likely Morphe), Coastal Scents, EcoTools - this list is not complete by any means, but man, it's so hard to find the country of manufacture for most popular make-up lines. What I'm trying to say is that I completely respect anyone's decision not to purchase products made in China, but before you automatically turn your nose up at something from a Chinese manufacturer, just be aware how much of the stuff you're already using comes from factories located there. Okay, I'm getting off my soap box now.
The DUcare 10 Piece Essential Kit comes very nicely packaged in a carboard box, and the set includes a quilted faux leather brush case. I've had a different pleather brush case in the past that I bought specifically for travel, and to be honest, the DUcare one is much nicer quality than that one, and I like how the quilted design provides more padding around your brushes. There's also a little pamphlet explaining the function of each brush included in the box as well.
Inside, there are 10 separate slots for each brush - 4 slots on the left side for the larger face brushes and 6 slots on the right for the 6 eye brushes. As you can see, all the brushes inside came individually wrapped in a plastic sleeve, while the tiniest eyeliner brush additionally had a hard clear cap on to protect the bristles.
The 10 Piece Makeup Brushes Essential Kit Travel Collection consists of 100% synthetic duo-fiber bristle brushes with tapered wooden handles. The set includes a flat top foundation brush, a domed powder brush, a paddle-shaped and an angled cheek brushes for blush and bronzer, two eyeshadow brushes for packing on the shadow and blending in the crease, a straight edge eyeliner brush, a wispy 'script' type gel eyeliner brush, an angled brow (or eyeliner) brush, and a lip brush. Overall, the set does include enough brushes for a basic full make-up application; I will admit though that I often end up using more than 10 brushes in my routine or at least some of my brushes are different shape/ purpose than those included in this kit. But let's take a closer look at each brush:
I think a good foundation brush is an absolute must for any brush set, and DUcare's flat top performs its function very, very well. The bristles are soft and flexible enough to allow for both a stippling and buffing motion without leaving streaks on the face. It's a little less dense than my favorite Real Techniques Buffing Brush and a lot less dense than the Zoeva 102 Silk Finish (reviewed here - but in short, I find that brush too dense to comfortably use for blending out foundation). As far as the tapered powder brush in this set, I can't find any fault with it either; it's fluffy but picks up both pressed and loose powders very well and I like the smaller size for setting specific areas of the face. It's a similar shape but smaller and less dense than the Zoeva 101 Luxe Face Definer (here).
I also really enjoy both of the cheek brushes included in this set. You can obviously use either one interchangeably for bronzer/ contour and blush, according to whichever shape you prefer for those purposes. I've been using the angled brush for my bronzer for the past three weeks and I like that its smaller size allows me to control the shape of the areas I wish to bronze up a little better; I have to be a bit careful though because it tends to pick up more product than what I'm used to. The pinched paddle brush works great for my blush; in this case, I really like that it picks up enough product from the pan without having to go back and forth, and blends everything out seamlessly. It is better suited though to sheerer or more hard pressed blushes, if you're using something with a lot of pigment I'd probably recommend you tap off the excess on your hand before applying the blush to your cheeks.
Now when it comes to DUcare's eye brushes from this kit, I'm not quite as impressed as with the face ones. The pinched eyeshadow brush and the domed crease are my favorite of the bunch: the former reminds me of my favorite Real Techniques domed shadow/ crease brush because just like the RT, it can be used both to lay down the color on the lid and blend it out into the crease. It can also be used as an undereye concealer brush. The round crease blending brush works well for more defined crease looks or the outer corner as it's not super flexible and tends to pick up quite a bit of product - if you like a very subtle transition or work with a lot of pigmented shadows, it can be a bit tricky to achieve a seamless diffused look with this one.
The tiny eyeliner brush works very well with my Clinique Cream Eyeliner; the point is small and very precise and it's easy to draw even lines with it as long as you're used to working with this brush shape. As for the lip brush, I have to admit I haven't actually tried it on my lips; I very rarely reach for a lip brush so I've been using it for spot concealing instead, and I enjoy working with it. I don't see why it wouldn't be a good lip brush though because again, it's very precise with a nice sharp edge.
Now, the two eyeliner/ brow brushes are my least favorite of the whole set. The flat edge brush is just way too stiff for both my brows or to line my eyes with; it feels too firm and pokey on the skin and I find that when used with gel or pencil eyeliners, it drags the product too much, creating gaps. The angled brush is a little better: I like the smaller width because it's easier to maneuver, and it's a little less stiff than its straight edge cousin. Still, it doesn't come close to the performance of my favorite Zoeva 317 Wing Liner (here).

To sum up this rather lengthy review, I'm happy with this travel set from DUcare. I find the quality of these brushes to be very much on par with my Real Techniques or EcoTools synthetic brushes, and the length of the handles is much more comfortable than most other travel brushes on the market - in fact this 10 piece set would also make a good gift for a make-up brush noob. In addition, I have washed these brushes a few times already and haven't noticed any shedding, misshaping or bleeding of the dye, and there's no suspicious smell to the bristles either. Are all the brushes included in the kit my absolute favorite for their assumed function? No, but then again I wasn't really expecting them to be - I have specific preference for the types of brushes I use in my daily routine and have yet to come across a premade set that would do it all. So overall, I think the DUcare 10 Piece Makeup Brushes Essential Kit is a really solid option and I would recommend it if you're looking for an affordable travel or make-up beginner set.

Do you use a separate set of brushes for travel? Which one is your favorite?

Disclaimer: Product featured in this post is a press sample I received from the brand's PR for review consideration. All links are non-affiliate. All opinions are 100% honest and unbiased, no matter if the product featured was purchased with my own money or provided free of charge. Thank you for reading!

1 comment:

  1. When I travel, I usually bring makeup that allows me to apply using my fingers. Cream blush, stick shadows, mascara and brow pencil with attached spoolie. Oh, and BB Cream :-)