Applying your make is a sensory experience, something of a ritual; but next time you are about to glide over your cheeks with a soft blusher brush - STOP! The chances are that it is made of animal hair and the process of obtaining the hair or fur will have been inhumane. In fact, the animal hair make-up brush industry supports and actively enables the fur trade. So, what animals are used? Well, here's a breakdown:
Sable, and mink- the majority of make-up brushes made from mink and sable hair are bi-products of the fur industry, which itself is horrifyingly cruel.
Raccoons, badgers and squirrels- each year many millions of animals are trapped and brutally killed in the wild for their fur and hair. I will spare you the soul-eroding statistics of animal deaths on fur-farms and the fate which meets these animals even while still 'living', suffice to say they live in misery. Hair from horses destined for pet food products and the meat industry is used to make brushes too.
Goats - are shorn and in the same method of production as sheep the workers are paid per animal. The job ends up being fairy brutal and the animals suffer stress and oftentimes injury.
All of this is unnecessary and utterly avoidable. Beauty should and must not cost lives, whether this is in cosmetic product testing or in the making of make-up brushes. In addition it is worth mentioning that mammalian hair shares an almost identical anatomy to human hair - the cuticle, or dermic coat is porous, and can therefore potentially harbour bacteria and dirt even with frequent cleaning.
However, the good news is that there is now an abundance of excellent synthetic brushes on the market and it is therefore completely unnecessary to use animal hair brushes. Furthermore, there are many benefits in using synthetic brushes:
• Many people suffer allergic reactions and/or have allergies to animal hair.
• Synthetic brushes are cheaper and last longer.
• Synthetic brushes repel dirt and bacteria more effectively than animal bristles.
• Synthetic brushes shed less, if at all. They are also easier keep clean and therefore more hygienic.
• They actually work better with cream-based products.
• Purchasing synthetic brushes is guilt free!
Here are my pick for the best synthetic brushes on the market:
Liz Earle Foundation Brush -Liz Earles brushes are 100% man- made fibres so totally animal friendly. This brush is great for applying your foundation. The texture is very soft so feels nice and smooth on the skin.
Hourglass No.8 Concealer Brush - I absolutely love this brush! It's the perfect size to reach the nooks and crannies such as under eyes, around the nose and chin. You can also use this to apply foundation if you only want to cover certain small areas of the face.
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) Angled Blending Brush -This is a great synthetic brush, which makes blending easy. I use this after applying my eyes shadow. To create a seamless finish use light circular strokes.
Liz Earle eye colour brush -If you have a low makeup budget an eyeshadow brush is a key item to have. This will make the best of your shadow application giving you a nice even finish.
Neal's Yard Remedies (NYR) Blusher Brush -This is a good synthetic brush that will work with mineral powder blusher or normal powder blush.
Hourglass No.9 brushThis brush is a nice size to apply shadow along the lower lash line. It really picks up eyeshadow pigment so you can either create a soft smoke or intense line.
Bare Minerals Eye Liner Brush -If you like to use a gel liner this is the perfect brush to use. The size is great for creating a 50s flick or if you want to trace along the lash line for definition.
OCC Large Powder Brush -This large powder brush is great for giving your face a wash of colour. I would use this for bronzing. Dip your brush into the product, dab of the excess on your hand and apply to the areas where the sun would naturally hit your face.
NYR Lip And Concealer Brush -This is a brilliant Multi purpose brush which can also be used effectively as a lip or concealer brush. The shape and size is perfect for creating the perfect lips its also good for pin point concealing.