Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tom Ford Eye Shadow Blend Brush

It is the thought of writing this one particular post that made me want to take a long, sleepy break from writing the rest of the Tom Ford brush posts.  I am so overly dramatic, right?  This particular review/comparison/showdown is intrinsically tough to write because many excellent-quality blending brushes exist.  It's splitting (goat) hairs.  I think a lot of how a person develops an affinity to one particular blending brush is going to be some combination of personal factors like: price point, brand loyalty, pure and simple aesthetics.  And your eye shape!

Preamble out of the way, I have several blending brushes which are more than good. They are really excellent brushes.  So how does the Tom Ford Blending brush compare?
Hello, you sexy beast
As with all eye brushes, it appears to me that the very best one for you is best suited for your particular eye shape and requirements.  So let me get to how this one looks, performs and all that good stuff.


It has a round ferrule, with densely packed hairs so you have a relatively rounded top.  The hairs are long and do open up slightly to have a slightly larger circumference around the top of the hairs.  I'm sure you've heard me talk about the hairs before, but in case it's your first time landing in my blog, it has incredibly fine, soft and high quality hair.  It's excellent at picking up evenly distributed amount of pigment from powdered eye shadow and from cream ones and wonderful as a general task brush for applying color.  I have very limited lid space and a shallow crease, and its relatively narrow shape makes quick work of depositing an even amount of color into the crease.  As a blending brush, it is fluffy, dense and soft, which allows it to perform brilliantly for a blending brush.  It has been holding its shape well after many washes.

Glowing review yadda yadda yadda.  BUT, there are so many other contenders for the general eye shadow/ blending brush.  For instance:


  • MAC 217 - which for me is the grand daddy of blending brushes.  It is accessible, certainly not cheap, but with a more friendly price point.  I believe it is also made my Hakuhodo, though the goat hair doesn't seem as fine and soft, it is a major work horse.  I've heard newer MAC 217 seem to have some quality control issues, but my own, which is a few years old continues to perform beautifully.

some crinkly hair differences here
density looks about similar to me
  • Hakuhodo J5523 -- this is a recent purchase for me because it's been discussed as a potential dupe for MAC 217.  I believe Hakuhodo is also the manufacturer for Tom Ford, so this was an intriguing purchase indeed.  The shape of the brush head is different from the Tom Ford or the MAC 217.  The ferrule is clamped so the head is more oblong and less rounded than the Tom Ford.  It is also slightly less dense, but with a similar level of softness has the Tom Ford and still much softer than the MAC 217.  It's shape might make it a really excellent brush for someone looking to place into the crease more precisely than the Tom Ford can.  As blender, it is excellent.

  • Edward Bess Luxury Eye Blending Brush - Another goat hair blending brush with sleek black lines all around.  Somehow over the last year or so, the head has expanded a bit, which bugs me a bit, but I use this very often for blending.  I don't think it is as good for general placement because the head is large (and poofy), but still places sheer washes well.  I also find that for an item with "luxury" in the name, the hairs are slightly scratchy!

  • Suqqu Eye Shadow Brush L -- this puppy is all squirrely soft goodness.  Squirrel hair in itself is more floppy and soft than goat, so the effect and feel on your lids is completely different.  However, if I were comparing apples to apples and not goats to squirrels, functionally-wise it gives a radically different effect.  For instance, the head is quite large on this brush but flatter at the head than the Tom Ford.  It is very good at sheer color washes and blending softly.  It's not one that is going to work on super blending as say a MAC 217, the Tom Ford or even the Edward Bess.  Though I love this thing to death, with my limited lid space, I don't use very often.  It looks nice nestled among the rest of my Suqqu brushes, though.  (Hoarder)

Final recommendation?  Tom Fords are pure luxury.  By all means run out and get it because it's an excellent brush and will perform well.  If you are screwing up your face and sticking your tongue out at me because this is a ridiculously expensive brush, I greatly recommend both the Hakuhodo J5523 or the MAC 217.  You will find them to be worthy contenders for blending brushes.

What about you guys, my resident experts?  Which blending brushes are rocking your world right now?  Is it the Tom Ford, your MACs, you Hakuhodo or your Paula Dorfs?

18 comments :

  1. I bought a 217 about a month ago. Was really looking forward to using it, but I'm not diggin' it so far. For one mine isn't that soft. I have a cheapo Target eyeshadow brush that feels softer! I don't have a crease at all. I think it was kokolaroo on youtube I heard say something like her eye space is like a football field...well this is me too!!! Yep, so that's me...football field monolid!!

    All that to say the 217 is a bit too long and a little too floppy for what I wanted it for - to blend a little color on my massive monolid. When I try to use it, I feel as though I'm putting it through some sort of torture against it's natural instinct...all it wants to do is to try to put a crease where I have none & am not trying to create one!! LOL!! I try to use it in little circles and it just does not want to do that - it wants to go back and forth. Anyway, perhaps I didn't explain to my friend or the MAC artist well enough, because when I said 'blending' the automatically said this one.

    I do wonder if the newer 217's are different. I know it's hard to tell from the picture, but I swear yours looks a bit shorter than mine? But I think I'll probably stay away from this TF brush, as I think this shape in general is not what I should be looking for.

    Enjoyed your review and pictures!!! Thanks for letting me rant - don't know it any of it made sense but thanks still ha ha!!! :-)

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    Replies
    1. Have you seen this from Driveller Kate? http://drivelaboutfrivol.blogspot.com/2012/08/old-and-new-mac-217-brush.html

      I think mine looks like the newer one. Hmmm!

      Yes, walk on by and save all your money for the Burberry! :D

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    2. Wow that is really different!!! I hadn't seen that post...thanks!!

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  2. I recently picked up the TF blend brush as it looked like it had the most promising shape for my miniscule lids and crease. Had the 217 and it must've been one of the new ones because I found it was scratchy and stiff - so not great for blending. I also tried the Shu 8HR but it was way too big and the hairs were a little too long.

    Given the strict return policies here in Aus and my bad luck with blender brushes, I'm still working up the nerve to use my TF blend brush... but now that I've read your review I'm going to go home and do it!! :p

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    Replies
    1. Hi there Gwen! Your Australian prices are ouch too! D:
      Let me know how you like the TF blending brush when you use it. I'd love to hear how you like it.

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    2. Gwen,
      Did you also end up getting the contour one? Did you use it yet?

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    3. Yes I caved after I saw it reviewed by Wayne Goss! It is seriously good. I can pretty much do my whole eye with this one brush! Its like the MAC 239 but more versatile with its angled head/pointy side :D
      Now I'm eyeing the smokey eye brush... Argh to think it took me so long to buy my first TF brush (blender) and in a space of a few days, I have two and am still wanting more! Its a slippery slope... and I hold your awesome reviews responsible! :p

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    4. Gwen,
      You are on the edge of a dangerous fluffy precipice. *SHOVE*
      ;-)

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  3. It looks like a great blending brush. But I'm pretty happy with my blending brushes to splurge on this particular one. I am awfully curious about try Suqqu L or alike squirrel brushes to see how they blend. :) Beautiful pic as always!

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    Replies
    1. Ms R,
      Which blending one are you using these days?

      The Suqqu L is lovely, but I actually get a lot more use out of the M and F.

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    2. I'm using j5523 and trish mcevoy 29 mostly. But I have paula dorf coming so that might change soon. :)

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    3. hee hee, just deleted your duplicate comment.

      I love that J5523. It is a really great brush. I only have one TM brush and it is really nice. I hear such nice things about that Paula Dorf brush. Will you post it on your blog? I can't wait to see it.

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  4. Oops. Hehe. I surely will! I watched so much Lisa Eldridge videos that I was bound to get it at some point. Lol

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    Replies
    1. And now I forgot to click on Reply. Fail. Lol

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  5. Hey Bellyhead,
    thanks for the extensive review. MAC 217 is my HG blending brush. Tom Ford's blending brush also caught my attention but I would need to think an rethink before purchasing as it is very expensive. I hope it performs very well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree with your plan. For a lot of us the 217 is great. But check out the J5523 from Hakuhodo. I am really happy with this one brush.

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  6. HOW did I miss this post? I've been wondering about your thoughts on this brush for a while. Anyway, I just ordered it :). I've gone a bit blending brush crazy recently and got both the Haku 5523s as well :/

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    Replies
    1. You can never have too many blending brushes, right??? :))) I really like the J5523, but I really like the TF. I hope you like it!!

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