I thought I would just very casually check out the Surratt Beauty Artistique Brush Collection. Just...er... you know, look.
|Troy and his brushes!|
The brushes from Surratt Beauty are hand crafted in Kumano, Japan. And they are here, just minutes from my local lunch deli! *deep, calm breaths* There are over sixty steps an artisan takes that create these brushes. It takes a week to make a brush! Coincidentally, it takes me a week of master procrastination to put up a blog post.
I was only here to gawk at Troy Surratt and pretend not to be completely awestruck. Coincidentally, I think he is the true brush geek. *swoon!* Selecting a specific circumference of blue squirrel hair for specific brushes? *thud* From the ethereal softness of the blue squirrel hair, to the absolute precision of kolinsky sable, these brushes really impressed me at first glance (cuddle & swish). The weight of the handle counterbalances the weight of the brush head and the feel of true artist's tools rests easy in my hand. I could immediately tell I was a goner. Ugh.
As much as the hair selection as an aspect, the handle balance is another big kick for me down into the rabbit hole. The fact that the hair tips are not cut and shaped, retaining their natural fine hair tips and arranged into those beautiful brush head shapes is a really exquisite art.
Thing is, I own some glorious things of beauty. Really, I know its hard to believe, but I'm not one to hold back from treating myself. But for me, having this level of beautiful quality readily available is a real kicker! WOOOHOO! I can go cuddle these during my lunch break now!
I was impressed enough to put my money where my mouth was. I purchased four brushes. I think I've blown my lunch budget for the next year. Would you like to see some seriously beautiful brushes?
I chose the Face, Cheek, Smoky Eye Medium and Classic Eye Shadow Medium.
Let's back up a bit. I want to bring your attention to this very beautiful packaging and presentation:
Hair Types Used:
The face brushes are blue squirrel, with the exception of the Sculpting Brush which is a blue squirrel and goat hair mix. Troy and Nathaniel both said that grey and blue are interchangeable. I had previously thought there was a distinction, but I will need to research so more. Any knowledgeable gurus can lend a link?
The Smoky eye brushes are blue squirrel. The Classic Eye Shadow Brushes are Canadian squirrel. The two Concealer brushes are kolinsky, which I did not purchase.
I've neither washed nor used these brushes, so there's no telling if the heads will expand or lose shape or not. In my experience, squirrel hair holds shape very well even after many washing and over years of use.
Here is the Cheek Brush nestled against the bigger Face one.
The Eye Brushes come in two flavors, the Smoky Eye which has a very unusual long and tapered shape and a more usual flat paddle shape in the Classic Eye Shadow. Each comes in small, medium and large and I purchased the medium in each.
Smoky Eye Medium:
The blue squirrel hairs are very long and then shaped into a very fine tapered point. It is a loosely packed brush.
Originally, I wasn't drawn to this thinking that the floppy hairs wouldn't perform very well. Troy showed a way that I thought would be really useful: 1) swirl the tip of the brush into your eye shadow pan 2) use the pointed end to apply the color to your lid 3) brush back and forth in a windshield wiper motion to blend and smoke the color. Let's see how it works!
Simplelifexsimplyme on Instagram mentioned these smoky eye brushes are similar to the ones made by Chicca (another Japanese brand). I'm familiar with the brand, but not so with the brushes. It makes sense to see similar brushes in other brands if made (I'm guessing) by the same manufacturer.
Classic Eye Shadow Brush Medium:
This shape is pretty mundane as far as brushes go. I have many others in this shape. When I saw the original promo images and the mottled looking hair, I was really excited that there might be brushes in Canadian squirrel. I own a Koyudo Canadian squirrel cheek brush and posted about how this particular hair functions compared to other hairs on the blog before (here). It has a very soft, but weird springiness and firmness which does really nice work in blending and picking up pigment. This idea of gentle and effective is really what got me interested in this particular brush, and yes, Canadian. Actually Troy said Canadian Pine Squirrel. Is this the same thing?
I also took some comparison pictures against my SUQQU brushes. I actually think these have a lot more similarity to the Chikuhodo Z series, but I only own the Z10 and the Z3 (a pencil brush and a contour brush). The density of the Surratt Artistique brushes has more in common with the Zs, I think.
Face to Face
I initially thought these were very close in shape and size, but upon closer inspection (and subsequent slathering on the face), they are different! Look similar, don't they?
Here's view from the side. The ferrule of the SUQQU is slightly crimped allowing the hairs to flair out while the very round ferrule of the Surratt allows that cheek brush to remain bulbous in overall shape. The density is different as well, with the Surratt having much more density.
From the top of the brush head, the size difference is more apparent.
The Surratt Smoky Eye Brush is unique to my collection and not normally a shape I'd be drawn to. It's kind of a dumb exercise to show it versus my SUQQU eye brushes, but maybe it would be interesting to see for size and such.
The Surratt Classic Eye Shadow brushes are not unique in shape and in fact pretty close to a few others I own. But keeping things consistent among the SUQQU comparison:
The Surratt is slightly less wide than the SUQQU F. While the SUQQU is plenty soft, this is one of the most densely packed of the eye shadow brushes from the brand. The Surratt in comparison feels even softer? Huh... this will need some good use and additional squishing to confirm this.
Apart from being among the earliest of ardent brush lovers to get to see these beautiful things in person, it was equally fun and impressive meeting the people that make the brand. Troy had such a genuine geek love for makeup and brushes. His absolute energetic enthusiasm for his products really shined! And funny! And sweet!
I also had the amazing pleasure of having Monika from Rocaille Writes at this opening event which doubled all the fun for me. What a day!
Surratt is exclusively available at Barney's New York in the US, Liberty London in the UK and Takashimaya in Singapore. I'm not sure when these brushes will be available on line on the Barney's website, but two brushes are available for pre-order there. The full range is available currently in the New York store. Joey, the counter manager helped me and I'm sure she can help you with your order. (212) 833-2824.
Also, yikes! This post was exhausting. Hope you enjoyed this peek at a truly exciting release. I'm excited, are you?