Westman Atelier: A Really Thorough Brush Review
Updated: Mar 1, 2022
More in this series:
I bought my first makeup brushes three years ago. I bought four brushes from Walmart from Elf’s beautifully precise line. They seemed like the best brushes on offer at Walmart. I bought four brushes and felt like I was breaking the bank at $50 total. However, I was learning about makeup, and in order to use a lot of pressed powder products you need something other than your fingers.
After that I invested in some brushes from the Sephora Pro collection. I remember really humming and hawing at the $50 price tag for the #99 blush brush. But I needed a blush brush in order to use pressed powder blushes, so I took the plunge during one of their seasonal sales. I’ve purchased six more from that line since. My most used ones are #99, 57, 50.5, and 47.5. You’ll notice the decimal point for the last two, because I got the travel sized for those ones because the head is the same, but the handle is shorter, and they were half the price. Even then, at $25 for each of those brushes, I was like hmmmm…
So the WA price tags are truly astronomical for me. Like, I am deeply, deeply unsettled by the amount I have spent. I spent half a day learning all about brushes - real versus synthetic hairs; machine versus handmade - trying to understand the pricing for premium brushes. What I’ve concluded is that those blue squirrel brushes are literally never going to be for me because they need to be babied a little too much. Look people, at the end of the day, I’m a beauty junkie by way of a near scientific level curiosity. It was an investigation into ingredients that inspired me to rehome my makeup in the first place, and dive into the rabbit hole that is now Glou Beauty. Anyways.
Brushes are like designer handbags. It’s usually a good idea to invest a little bit of money into something that will hold up for a long time. However, spending $5k on a Chanel bag doesn’t mean it functions any better than a $200 Coach bag. In fact, the anxiety of babying a bag that expensive is 0% appealing to me. If I spend money on a nice bag, it’s gonna be a bag I’m going to use everyday for 5+ years and not have to think about it. I want it to be nice enough to last and be stylish, but not so delicate that getting stuck in the rain causes anxiety.
I read Sonia G’s review on the WA brushes. She’s the queen of brushes, for the uninitiated. The woman owns thousands of the best brushes, and even has her own line. Makeup brushes are her life’s purpose and passion. She prefers real hair brushes, so I had to see what the fuss was about. And I did try my best to buy her 4 most used brushes that were featured in this post.
In order to conduct the most thorough investigation into the world of brushes possible, I decided to buy a real hair brush (made in Kumano, Japan), and also bought one off eBay to see if it would be fake (which means I had to buy the authentic brush too - blog post on this to come!).
So why are the brushes so expensive?
It all comes down to the craftsmanship. They’re handmade by the best of the best.
After reading Sonia G’s blog and exploring the pricing of handmade Japanese brushes, seeing how they can cost into the hundreds of dollars, the WA pricing didn’t seem so bad anymore.
I really like the short stubby handles. I have pretty bad astigmatism, which means that without my glasses, the world looks like a Monet painting. I need to stand very close to the mirror to do my makeup, so long brushes can get in the way. One of the most useful gifts I have ever received is my simplehuman makeup mirror. It’s also one of the most “extra” things I own. But, omg the small size and magnification, is a blurry-visioned girl’s best friend. It’s something I didn’t know I needed and now I literally don’t go anywhere without it.
Okay, now onto the brushes!