Worth the Splurge? Surratt, Wayne Goss, & Artis Brush Reviews

During the end of 2017, I treated myself to some luxury makeup brushes. I'm not a makeup brush snob at all-- I've got plenty of real techniques, elf, and wet n' wild brushes to go around. But I also appreciate the finer things in life. Like fancy makeup brushes!

In blogger speak, these brushes totally elevated my makeup experience. Not only do they feel fancy, but most times there's a remarkable difference in results too.

Since I've had 2 or 3 months to play with these brushes from Surratt, Wayne Goss, and Artis, I'm here to reflect on my experiences. Total disclosure: I've never written a brush review before and am not brush expert, but we all gotta start somewhere, right?

Also, I tried measuring the brushes as I've seen people do in brush reviews, but it was a lot harder than expected. I might need to be smarter about it next time and draw the measurements out instead of photographing the brushes with a ruler πŸ˜…

A Noob's Intro to FUDE

The first half of this post deals with Fude brushes (the second half are from Artis.) I'm am a total Fude noob, but I can tell you that Fude are hand-crafted brushes, often made with natural bristles, handcrafted in Japan-- they're actually named after a type of pen traditionally used for calligraphy.

One of the main reasons these brushes are soft as heaven is because of the brush hair. All the brushes reviewed in today's post are squirrel hair (99% sure of this.) It's hands down the softest brush material I've ever tried. It makes the goat hair MAC brushes I have look like cement. Another reason the brushes are so soft is because the brush hairs have not been laser-cut. Instead, they've been painstakingly selected and put together to create the tapered shape of the brush.

There are a wide variety of FUDE brands, offered in a wide variety of price points (unfortunately you won't find anything as affordable as drugstore offerings, but there are brushes within the $20 range.) I personally stuck with Surratt and Wayne Goss because they were easily accessible to me. The Surratt brush I was able to test out and purchase at my local Sephora and the Wayne Goss brushes were purchased through Beautylish, a retailer I'm familiar with as I've shopped there multiple times through the years. If anything were to go wrong with my orders, or if the brushes did not perform as I expected, I had a safety net of the return policies of the two stores.

Another thing to mention is how to take care of and clean these brushes. From what I've learned, they're not meant to be cleansed with soap and water constantly. Since I'm not using them everyday, I've not had a need to clean them much. So far I've only cleansed each brush with soap (I use the beautyblender cleanser solid) and water once, and that was right before using them the first time. Since then I've been dry brushing them along the Artis brush cleansing pad (PR gift) which has quickly become a staple for me.

I also do not use them with liquid products, only powders!

Surratt Sculpting Brush

$90.00 available via Sephora, Bluemercury, Barney's, Cult Beauty, & Space.NK

Why not kick things off with the splurgiest splurge of the bunch-- the Surratt sculpting brush. I remember when Surratt first made its debut at Sephora, I was baffled by their prices and wondered what lunatic would pay that much for a brush. Answer: future me. I did purchase it for 20% during the VIB sale so the levels of lunacy are not as serious.

It's sold as a contouring/ highlighting brush, but I personally bought it to apply blush. And my oh my does it get the job done.

It's soft as silk and densely packed. The actual hairs themselves are not stiff at all and just sort of glide along the surface of my skin. It's quick to pick up product and easily buffs it out without making things streaky. So far it has yet to shed a single hair!

Compared to the other angled brushes in my collection, it's on the smaller side. The handle is also relatively short, especially when compared to the MAC 168. While the MAC and Sigma brushes have some heftiness to them, the Surratt brush is almost weightless.

My favorite random detail about the brush is actually the packaging! It came in a black cardboard box with a slide out lid. Did I mention the inside is velvet lined? It's like a little coffin. Needless to say I couldn't toss the box and instead use it to store the brush!

Wayne Goss Brush 04 Small Eye Shadow Crease Brush

$28.00 available via Beautylish

If I had to pick between splurging on eye brushes or face brushes, I would pick eye brushes every time. Doing my eye makeup (as simple as it is 90% of the time) is made easier by using the right tools!

The #4 brush is a relatively small tapered brush that I use to blend out my eyeshadow into the crease. I LOVE IT.

It's incredibly soft and it buffs out shadow like a dream. I've used it on everything from $1 coastal scents shadows to $30 Nars singles-- it delivers every single time. No streakiness, no patchiness, no shedding, no scratchiness. It's the perfect density for blending. It's the perfect size for keeping things precise. It doesn't unintentionally muddy things up. For instance, if I use my Wet N' Wild crease brush (10/10 would not recommend-- it's a horrible brush), I usually get eyeshadow all the way up to my eyebrows. With this brush, I only get eyeshadow where I want eyeshadow.

Wayne Goss Brush 06 Eye Shadow Blending Brush

$25.00 available via Beautylish

At first glance, the 04 and 06 look quite similar. You definitely don't need them both (technically you don't need any) but they each have a place in my stash. The 06 is what I reach for when I want to do a simple one shadow look. I can use the flat side to pat the shadow on the lid and use the tip to blend it out into the crease. The 04 is what I reach for when I want to do more precise work in the crease. I especially like it when I'm adding darker colors. Since I have smaller eyes, I don't like wearing too much dark eyeshadow because it makes my eyes look even smaller. So when I do use a darker shadow (usually in the crease), I want my application to be precise, not muddied out everywhere. The 04 is perfect for this type of application. The 06 also works as a phenomenal crease brush but it isn't as precise. It's something I would use for blending a neutral transition shade into the crease.

I'm happy to report that I also haven't had any shedding with it either.

If you look at the brushes side by side, you can see the difference in shape by the ferrule. The 04 is rounded all the way around, whereas the 06 is pinched creating a flatter side.

Previously my go-to crease blending brush was the MAC 217. I loved it so much I bought two! After I started using these Wayne Goss brushes I swear the 217 starting scratching the hell out of my eyeballs.

Here are some comparison shots of the Wayne Goss 6, 4, and MAC 217. As you can see, the MAC 217 and WG 06 have pinched ferrules, whereas the WG 04 is rounded all the way around.

If you're thinking of purchasing the MAC 217, I say save your money and buy the Wayne Goss instead. It's the exact same price but so much softer and blenders even better. Also, MAC recently switched over to all synthetic brushes and from reviews, they're rougher than the previous natural bristle brushes.

Wayne Goss Brush 02 Powder Brush

$35.00 available via Beautylish

My first foray into Fude was the Wayne Goss airbrush which in turn was apparently inspired by the 02! The way I see it, the 02 and the airbrush are basically the same things as the 06 and 04, but for the face. Like the 04, the 02 also has a rounded ferrule. And like the 06, the airbrush has a pinched ferrule. Also, like the eye brushes, these brushes are so incredibly soft.

I've used this brush with setting powder, highlighter, bronzer, and blush. It's a true multi-tasker!

At first, I thought it would be too small, but when ample pressure is applied it splays out a bit. I'm also learning to be more precise with my application and this brush has been a big help. I know my reviews are getting repetitive at this point but this blends so well. It also doesn't disturb my concealer or foundation because it's so incredibly soft and lightweight.

It has a nice density to it. Not too much that it applies my makeup as stripes of color, but enough that I'm able to deposit product where I want it. Also, I've yet to experience any shedding!


Part 2 of this post is reviewing three Artis brushes! I was lucky enough to meet with the team at Artis and learn a little bit about the history of the brand, the range, how to use them, etc. The founder of Artis actually used to work for MAC! Aka he knew his brushes and he knew them well.

The brushes all have a curved handle which honestly does make them easier to use. And they use a special type of fiber that doesn't suck up the product. Sounds like marketing hooey but it's true!

Artis Oval 6 (PR gift)

$57.00 available via Nordstrom, Artis, Saks, Net-A-Porter, & Space.NK

As I have a strong attachment to my beautyblender, it’s impressive when I like a brush enough push my bb to the side. Over the past couple of months, the Artis 6 has been competing with my bb for the spot of most used base makeup applicator.

All the Artis brushes have an ergonomically curved handle. I know that sounds like marketing speak but it’s true! The curve makes it easier to handle and fit into the contours of my face. There’s something natural about it πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

There is a learning curve to using the brushes. You don’t need a heavy hand and you definitely don’t need to press them into your skin. Rather I lightly sweep it along the surface of my face.

The oval 6 can be used for base makeup, blush, contouring, bronzing, and setting powder. While they’re meant to be used with liquid and powder products, I prefer them with liquid. With powder products, I find this brush picks up too much product. I’m a very minimal makeup kinda gal so I like a light hand when applying things like setting powder.

With liquid foundations, I find it works with everything from heavy, full coverage foundations like the EstΓ©e Lauder double wear to barely anything there, skin like foundations like the Glossier skin tint. In both cases, it doesn’t make my makeup streaky with proper blending.

The brush itself is very densely packed. It’s made out of synthetic fibers that actually don’t absorb as much product as you would expect. Have you ever gone to blend in your full coverage foundation and then wonder where the heck it left? That doesn’t happen with this brush! Oddly enough, that's sometimes a downside for me. When using full coverage foundations I like how my beautyblender soaks up some of the product. It makes it more lightweight and natural. For that reason, I use my beautyblender on fuller coverage foundations and use the Artis on medium to light coverage foundations.

If I had to say something negative about the brush it's that it's not as easy to clean as a normal brush, simply because it's so densely packed. It's not a big deal but something I thought I would mention.

Artis Oval 4 (PR gift)

$46.00 available via Nordstrom, SaksAnthropologie, ArtisNet-A-Porter, & Space.NK

The oval 4 is the same thing as the oval 6... but smaller! As I've been a bit of a cream blush nut over the past year, this has become my go-to brush for applying cream blush. It easily blends things out without disturbing my makeup too much. Usually, I would apply cream blushes with my fingers, and I still do, but the oval 4 makes things easier. It's particularly helpful when applying brightly pigmented blushes.

I love hot pinks and bright reds, but it can be difficult to pull them off without looking like a total clown. When applied with my fingers I find that the application isn't as even. Since they are more noticeable than natural or lighter shades, it's very apparent when they aren't blended in evenly. With the oval 4 the application is A LOT more even. There's not one spot where it's noticably concetrated, instead it's an even flush.

Artis Linear 1 (PR gift)

$36.00 available via Nordstrom, ArtisAnthropologie, Net-A-Porter, Saks, & Space.NK

Unfortunately, out of all the brushes in this post, this is the one flop. It's actually not a bad brush, it's just not a brush I need. Let's somehow my brushes were to vanish into thin air, I would save to replace all these except this brush.

Like the other two Artis brushes, the construction of this brush meets the standard of luxury. There's nothing flimsy or cheap about it. The fibers are densely packed. It hasn't shed. It holds it's shape well. On paper it's a good brush.

But I just don't have much use for it. It can be used to apply brow powder, but I prefer the lighter touch that I get from using an angled brush. It can be used to apply eyeshadow, but again I prefer the ease of traditional brushes. Because it is so densely packed it does pick up a lot of product and I find that harder to blend out.

Where it is superior to traditional brushes is in applying gel or powder liner. I have small eyes and not the steadiest hand. With this brush I can sort of stamp on the inner part of my liner and quickly drag it out. It's a lot quicker and cleaner than using a regular angled brush. Surprisingly I can get the line pretty thin as well! But that ease of use is not worth $36 as I seldom use gel/ powder liner.

Brush It Off

The end! That's the end of this brush post! It will probably be awhile (read: never) before I publish another brush post because it took way more time and energy than expected πŸ˜… What's your favorite brush of the moment-- drugstore, luxury, or mid-range-- I'd love to know!

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