If you’ve been following some of the more popular Instagram makeup accounts for some time, you’ve probably seen the strange tool that people have been using, that looks like a giant hairbrush, to apply foundation. This year has been one for the books when it comes to strange trends such as clown contouring and using household objects to contour, however the oval brushes were quite intriguing. I’ve watched many videos of individuals reviewing the original Artis makeup brushes, and all were quite positive. The price was the only think really stopping me from trying those brushes out, but luckily I was recently contacted by Trade Secrets and they generously provided me with a set of oval brushes to try! I’ve been using the brushes for the past week, so I’ve had plenty of time to deliberate. Want to know if these brushes are the next best thing, or just another weird Instagram trend? Keep reading to find out.
The Relaxus Photo Finish Brush Set is currently available through Trade Secrets for $59.95 CAD. The set comes with 5 brushes with various sizes. Here is the description provided from the Trade Secrets website:
Relaxus Photo Finish Brush Set from highlighting to contouring, this set gives you so many options for doing your makeup. The brushes have a round shape design that’s perfect for blending foundation, blush, or powder to your face or cheeks. With so many different sized brushes to choose from, you can achieve any look you want! Oval front facing brushes.
- Provides flawless coverage Synthetic Hair
- Vegan, antimicrobial
- Firm grip handle design and tilted brush tip
As I mentioned previously, these brushes are very similar to the Artis brushes – the original oval brushes which are seen all over Instagram. There are obviously some differences, the first being the price. The 5-piece Artis brush set the most similar to the Relaxus one is about $165 USD. The material used for the handles also differs between the two brush sets, with the Artis brushes having metal-plated handles whereas the Relaxus brushes have plastic handles. Given the fact that I do not own any Artis brushes, I cannot make an accurate comparison between the two brands.
The bristles on the brushes are quite compact and they are all extremely soft. The two larger brushes are essentially very densely packed kabuki brushes. There are also two very thin and long brushes, and one tiny kabuki-esque brush.
This is the largest brush in the set which I mainly used to apply foundation. This brush is definitely much larger than any of the other traditional foundation brushes in my collection, however it was still a good size for my face. When I first tried this brush, I was not feeling it at all. To be quite honest, I wasn’t entirely sure how to use it. I just applied foundation as I usually would with a regular brush; using short strokes and stippling the brush on my face. I ended up with a very streaky and badly blended mess.
I knew there was something wrong with the technique I was using, so I went on YouTube, checked out some videos using similar brushes, and quickly learned that the best way to use this brush is by using long strokes and buffing motions – kind of like when you’re icing a cupcake! So I tried the brush again, this time using less product than I normally would, and I started really buffing the foundation into my skin. The results were wonderful! Firstly, the buffing motions felt really good on my skin because the bristles on the brush are velvety soft and smooth. Secondly, the foundation blended into my skin very seamlessly making it look like skin. Finally, it took almost no time at all to apply the foundation using the long stroke/buffing method. I applied a second layer of foundation to see how product would build using this brush, and it did a pretty good job of adding coverage. I expected the product underneath to just buff away, but surprisingly it worked quite well.
I haven’t used this brush with powder products, however I suspect that it would work very similarly to the Tarte Airbuki Foundation Brush which is one of my favourite brushes to use with powder foundation. Since both brushes have very densely packed bristles, it helps give an airbrushed, full-coverage look after buffing the powder in. Overall, I really enjoyed Brush #1.
This is the second largest brush in the set, and it’s essentially a mini version of Brush #1. I used this brush to apply my under-eye concealer. While the brush blended my concealer out nicely, it isn’t my ideal tool to apply it. I prefer using either a small, regular brush, my fingers, or a Beauty Blender because I can tap and press my concealer in. Using this brush, I can’t really use my regular technique without it looking like a blotchy, unblended mess. Having to buff the product underneath the eyes also slightly sheers it out, which isn’t really what I’m going for when I’m trying to cover up dark circles.
With that said, I definitely think this brush is a great option for cream contouring. I used this brush with my Chanel cream bronzer and it worked wonderfully. It did a great job of blending the product into my skin and I preferred the fact that it sheered out the product when using it for this purpose.
This brush is probably the strangest one in the entire set, in my opinion. I could only think of one use for this, which is cream contouring. The brush is very tall and the bristles are very thin, yet firm. I think this brush would work well if you’re looking to create a very sharp and defined contour on certain parts of the face, however I can’t really think of anything else where this brush would come in handy. I tried contouring my nose a bit suing powder with this brush, but it wasn’t really doing it for me.
This brush is essentially a shorter and thinner version of Brush #3. I’ve been using it to apply eye shadow on my upper lash-line, and so far it’s just “alright” in my books. It’s great for when I’m in a rush and don’t have time to do some detailed work with a smaller brush, however this brush is just a little too big for my eyes . This could also work for contouring if you need to be really detailed, or even as a brow brush to apply powder products.
This is the smallest brush in the set. I’ve been using it to apply my eye shadow base and to blend out foundation on areas that are harder to reach, such as the corner of my nose. I’ve also been using it to apply my inner corner highlight. I happen to really enjoy this brush because I can use it to do so many different things. I’ve seen people use brushes like these to apply lip products, however I don’t see myself using this brush for that purpose simply because I never use lip brushes.
One layer of foundation (Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk + NARS Sheer Glow) using Brush #1
As you can see above, the foundation blended into my skin very well. The coverage is quite light because I only used a small amount of product, however I liked how the brush allowed for the product to spread evenly across the face. With that said, I noticed that this brush didn’t give a full-coverage look like this foundation normally would using a regular foundation brush. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I think that the skin-like finish with medium coverage is a great trade-off.
Close up of skin; one layer of foundation
Under-eye concealer applied using Brush #2
2 layers of foundation, concealer done, all set with powder
This brush set definitely has its pros and cons, but I enjoyed the brushes for the most part. Brush #1 was definitely my favourite out of all of them. It really exceeded my expectations and I think it has definitely found a place in my workday makeup routine. I really love how my foundation looks after using this brush, even after several hours I noticed that my foundation wasn’t really looking as drab as it usually does. I didn’t notice it settling into my fine lines as much, and I think it has to do with how this brush evenly distributes product on the face. I also enjoyed Brush #2 and #5; 2 for its uses for cream contouring, and 5 for its multiple uses. I think I could’ve done without Brush #3 and #4 simply because I don’t really have a need for those brushes, but if you’re someone who is really into detailed and crisp contouring, these brushes would be work well. Overall, I think this set is a great alternative to the very pricey and very hyped Artis brushes.
I want to thank Trade Secrets for the wonderful gift, and I’m so glad that I was given the opportunity to try these brushes out! I also wanted to mention that Trade Secrets is doing a “12 Days of Giveaways” contest, and a little birdy told me that they’ll be giving one of these sets away. If you’re interesting in this brush set, check out their Facebook and Instagram pages. They’re also giving out a ton of other products, so be sure to stay posted!
Note: These products were received as complimentary items from Trade Secrets for my consideration. In addition, I did not receive any compensation for this review.