Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tom Ford Smokey Eye Brush

Are you there, God?  It's me, Smokey.
Pencil brushes are important to me because I have hooded lids and a very defined eyeliner doesn't do much for me.  It just disappears.  I prefer (by necessity) a more smoked out line or haze of deeper color around the eyes that has the potential to peep through and be seen above the hood.  I used to like precise gel-lined eyed, but I've since realized that with my mediocre makeup application skills, the less precise and more diffuse everything is the better.

Enter the Tom Ford Smokey Eye Brush.  I've been using this nearly every day since I've purchased it.

Let's first talk about the shape, density and size because those would be some key factors when you are choosing a eye shadow brush.  In terms of its shape, it has a short, and very well defined pointed end.  The defined end means that it is easy to be very precise, so you can make some quick work of applying a highlight or other fine detailed work.

As I've mentioned before, the Tom Ford goat hairs are extremely fine and soft, but in this case, there is a good bit of density and resistance when you press down.  It's this combination of density and resistance that makes for an excellent smokey eye brush.  I've successfully used this brush to apply a powder eyeshadow and smoke it out and it's fine point and soft hairs also make excellent work out of applying a hazy plume of color under the eyes.  It is also similarly fantastic in blending out a creamy eyeliner as well.

Competitors in my collection to the Tom Ford Smokey Brush (if not in looks, then in function):

  • Shu Uemura 5R, a kolinsky brush that has long hairs with a slender profile.  While a great overall brush, the Tom Ford is significantly better in the smudge/smoke look.  While not exactly floppy, hairs of the kolinsky are awfully springy.  The head also struggles in working to smudge any product that isn't already very pliant.  A more detailed 5R brush is to follow later.  It is quite a good brush for many uses.
  • Nars Smudge Brush, which is a dome shaped brush with short, densely packed hairs.  It is a very good smudging brush, but the hairs are firm and slightly scratchy.  It is made out of pony hair, so it definitely does not have the same luxurious feel.  Also it is less multi-purpose with it's dome shape and is incapable of any detail work. 
  • Suqqu M Brush, has a similar pencil pointed shape, but much bigger and with airiness from the squirrel hair.  It's size and floppy softness makes it a lesser choice for a smokey brush.  Does make for a fine crease brush and applies a very soft layer of color.

My magical unicorn for this type of brush is the Suqqu S brush, which has been long discontinued.  I have a feeling that the squirrel hairs would be too soft for the effect that I am looking for which Tom Ford seems to well satisfy.  I also do not own the MAC 219, which may be a good alternative.  The Chikuhodo Z-10 may also be a good contender, but like the Suqqu M, I'm guessing it may be too soft for my intended purposes.

This is the one brush I am actually tempted to purchase another which is saying a lot.  Which eye shadow brush is your favorite smokey smudging tool?


  1. Suqqu S!! I wonder why in the world they discontinued that. D: I typically use Sigma synthetic pencil brush to smudge. Although I don't have too much use for pencil brushes with a lot of resistance, this one just flat out looks pretty. Lol. Also I am curious to see how soft their goat hairs are. :D Thanks for the review!

    1. Why does Suqqu discontinue all the good stuff?! These brushes are very pretty! Not sure all are worth the money, but they sure look nice. :D

  2. Hi! I too lament the discontinuing of the Suqqu S, since the medium is such a wonderful brush. To be honest, I'm not that fond of squirrel-haired eyeshadow brushes because they tend to require a lot of work for the pigment to show up (vs. Kolinsky/Sable brushes) and they also tend to apply dark pigments unevenly, particularly if the surface (typically your eyes) is not entirely smooth (which is all the time for me). But the Suqqu M is lovely because it has a density and springiness to it that is really unusual and lends it efficiency. The Z-10, on the other hand, is nice... to fondle. LOL. That sounds all kinds of wrong but it is very soft. However, the softness does not do the pointed shape any justice so I wouldn't call it a pencil brush. I'm trying to figure out a good use for it right now and I had such high hopes for it...

    To my shock and surprise, after more than 10 years of makeup application and brush collecting, my favourite brush for smudging is actually the Shu Uemura Kolinsky/Sable 10. I started using the 10 just because it was one of three eyeshadow brushes in my collection and the only one with an edge thin and hard enough to smoke stuff out. I would use it when I was too lazy to reach for the NARS smudge brush. But I've since come to realise that the 10 allows me control over how much I wanted to smoke stuff out. It can also handle any texture I throw at it, be it powder or cream, since it's made of Kolinsky and sable.

    Sorry for the long post!

    1. Ahem, Tori! Might I say, I'd like to come over and fondle your Z-10? ;-)

      Thanks for your amazing comment!

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