Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tom Ford Eye Shadow Brush

(Small update on the bottom!  MAC 217 and Hakuhodo J5523)
Do you know that writing blog posts is an excellent deterrent against buying more stuff?  I would imagine if I blogged about clothing, skincare, groceries and other sundries, I would die naked with a greasy scalp and an empty stomach.  I can't imagine splurging for the rest of the Tom Ford Brush line because giving those purchases enough thought and then having to take pictures and write about them pretty much kills most desire to buy them.  (note I said most.  Because I'm weak.  I already told you that.  I would be nice to have them all, but...)  With that, I bring you the Eye Shadow Brush.

Isn't this such a generic name for a brush?  This brush is a paddle-shaped brush with long hairs that graduate into a rounded edge.  While flat, it is still fluffy enough to have a bit of give when you press the flat sides between your finger tips.  It has a pretty decent amount of surface area at the tip of the brush, too.  (soft, nice goat hair, yadda yadda yadda)  Notice that the tips of the hairs are not cut, but hand shaped with the natural ends of the hairs.
In profile
It's not a flashy brush, but it is a terrific lay-down brush for depositing a nice even layer of shadow on your lids.  The flat sides of the brush hold and lay down brush evenly on your lids and is a great one-step brush for a simple eye look.  The gentle and wide dome of the top part of the brush has enough fluffiness to deposit a little extra color for dimension along the crease.  It turns out that I have several similar brushes.  (Who would have figured?!)

Bellyhead's Generic Lay-down Brushes of the Paddle Persuasion:

  • Tom Ford Eye Shadow Brush - as described above
  • Suqqu Eye Shadow F Brush - this diminutive fellow is a brush made with grey squirrel hairs and is gloriously soft.  While the hairs are soft, they are packed very densely into the ferrule and is significantly firmer than the Tom Ford.  Also, when pressed on the flat sides, there is hardly any give, unlike the Tom Ford.  It is happily firm but soft with the beautiful squirrel hairs.  

  • Chanel 2 Brush - sorry, #2 brush is from the old line of Chanel brushes that were released and is no longer available.  This one also looks like someone has been gnawing on it (who, me?) as several hairs have fallen out.  Not really sure what the hairs are, but feel like a soft pony hair.  The hairs are short, about similar in length as the Suqqu, but less dense in packing.  The tips of the hair are laser cut I think, so doesn't have the same level of softness as the TF nor the Suqqu.

  • Chanel 11 Brush -  also no longer available, but held up well for over ten years!  This brush has a really large head and I rarely use it for my eyes, but it does work very well applying cream shadows.

Which brush reigns supreme?  Both the Tom Ford and the Suqqu F are excellent brushes.  Though in general, while grey squirrel hair is so soft,  this particular Suqqu brush has excellent ability to pick up and lay down color and will lay down color very well.  It does this even better than the Tom Ford.  Goat often picks up pigment with some force, but in this case, the particular level of density in this Tom Ford brush lays down color with some softness.  I use both fairly evenly depending on the look I want to go with for the day.

I just realized that the Suqqu L may be a good brush to compare with.  Take a look at at this, which has the L brush in more detail.

You know what this means, don't you?  The Series Est Fini!  Hope you enjoyed my agonizing posts on these brushes.  I've enjoyed going through them and I also learned a bit more about what I like in brushes.  So thanks for sharing this little goaty journey.


...or IS IT?!
The lovely and incomparable Kate the Driveller wanted to see how this pricey Tom Ford compares to the MAC 217, based on her experience with J5523.

The Tom Ford is indeed a much wider brush compared to both the MAC 217 and the Hakuhodo J5523.  In terms of fluffiness:
The Tom Ford looks practically pancake-like compared to the more rounded heads of the MAC and the Hakuhodo.  The MAC, at the midpoint of the brush-head is a voluminous bulge of hair, while the J5523 is pretty even from ferrule end to tip of head.  Maybe that's the big difference between the two?  And the Tom Ford, while fluffy compared to the others in this post, is rather flat.


  1. This post is amazing :D

  2. I am dying to try Suqqu brushes but they are so expensive. Thanks for the detailed review. :))) XO

    1. Hello Doc! I'm glad the review was interesting. :D The Suqqu brushes are really something special. If you splurge on one (or two), may I humbly suggest an M eye shadow brush and a Cheek Brush? Both indispensable in my opinion.

  3. My darling, do you happen to know how the Tom would compare to the old MAC 217? The Haku J5523 hasn't met my expectations, but this looks similarly flat-yet-fluffy albeit bigger...

    1. Ello, love. Please see the dinky addendum to the post! :-**

    2. You delicious creature! :"D actually looks unlike anything I currently own XD *sighs and adds to wishlist*

  4. Ahhhh . . .the Tom Ford #11! This brush is so awesome, I own three. It picks up just the right amount of pigment and puts it exactly where I want it and then blends it to perfection without removing or muddying the color. I find that this brush even makes it possible for me to use TF's more glittery eyeshadows without looking like a silly old woman who is trying too hard. That's important to me because even though I'm cruising towards 69, I still love a bit of refined "adult" glitter for evening wear :-) I also like how this brush can be turned on the side to do contouring. I have a lot of exposed lid space so a larger brush is perfect for me. Whether laying down color, smudging it along the lashes, contouring the crease, or blending; my favorite TF does it all.

    Hi Kate,

    The TF #11 looks like a larger version of the MAC #239. That's where the similarity ends, though. The TF is larger and infinitely softer thanks to the better quality goat hair and how it is made (no cut tips). TF does make a crease brush which is similar to the MAC #217, but I didn't bother with it because using the #11 on it's side works just as well for me. I know that people use the #217, though for so many other things and not just crease work.

    1. Eileen,
      I haven't tried this with the TF glitter shades!!! I am excited to try it with this brush. Doesn't matter if you're a teen, a thirty and 40 or 68, we all NEED a bit of shimmer and glitter in our lives!

  5. Hi Bellyhead,
    Thanks for a very detailed review. I appreciate it :)
    I just bought a Tom Ford blending brush and haven't really taken my time to judge its performance. However your review gives me insight on how TF brush compared to Mac/suqqu.

    1. I do really like the blending brush, so I hope you enjoy it!!


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