Monday, March 16, 2015

Review: Bdellium Tools Makeup Brushes

The first time I tried out Bdellium Tools brushes was about two years ago when I saw them at The Makeup Show. I'd heard about them from watching YouTube videos and when I saw their booth at the show, I simply couldn't pass them up. 

OK, I also couldn't pass them up because I have a minor (*cough* major *cough*) makeup brush addiction. But that's neither here nor there. 

Regardless, I picked up a few of their brushes and liked them. So, I was incredibly excited when Bdellium sent me some brushes from their Maestro series and travel sized collection to test out and review. 

Maestro series

The brushes from the Maestro series are made with both synthetic and natural bristles that are soft and have professional full-sized handles in a sleek black and silver design. The brushes feel comfortable and balanced in my hands. But part of what caught my attention the most is that the bristles are antibacterial. 

Bdellium uses an antibacterial agent on the brush bristles to guard against harmful bacteria, fungus and mold to help make their brushes more hygienic. However, while it guards against bacterial growth, you still need to wash the brushes regularly to maintain them. You can read more about the antibacterial properties in Bdellium's FAQ section

Note: Bdellium is discontinuing the antibacterial agent in May, so if this is a selling point for you, make sure to nab some brushes now. 

Angled shadow brush #766

For a brush lover, I have very few angled eyeshadow brushes in my collection. If I'm coming clean, Bdellium's 766 brush is only my second angled shadow brush. I know, I've been shamefully slacking on my angled shadow brush game. 

For some reason, I just never reached for these types of brushes often. Clearly, I needed to change my misguided ways. 

While testing the 766, I rediscovered just how useful the angled shadow brush can be. The shape makes it perfect for placing color along the outer corner of the eye and make that outer V look sharp. It's also perfect for contouring along the crease and other smaller areas of the face or even to sharpen the cheekbone contour. And the bristles are nice and soft so it blends effectively too. 

Basically, this little sucker can mulititask

The quality of the brush rivals other well known (and pricier) brands. The brush hasn't shed at all. Not even when I washed it. 

Tapered blending brush #785

If there's one type of makeup brush that I hoard, it's a blending brush. I'm drawn to them like a magnet. I don't need any more of them but it still takes all of my self restraint not to buy one when I see one. It's a problem people. And that problem magnifies ten fold when I'm face to face with a MAC-217-like brush. (By the way -- the Bdellium 776, which I own in the Studio version, fits that bill and is an excellent dupe in case you're wondering)

Anyway, Bdellium knows the way to this girl's heart because they sent me a blending brush and I was over the moon about it.

The 785 is fluffy and soft and blends effortlessly. If you're looking for a dupe for MAC's 224 or an alternative to Sigma's E40, check out Bdellium's 785 brush from the Maestro series.

I specify the Maestro version because I own the Studio 785 and while it works well and is good quality there is a telling difference. The bristles on the Studio version of this brush aren't quite as soft. In fact, they're a bit scratchy. So, the $2.50 price difference is well worth it in my book.

(Note: I own five other brushes from the Studio line and none of them are scratchy so don't let my experience with the 785 in the Studio line deter you from trying out the Studio brushes. It is possible that my experience is an anomaly because the according to Bdellium the Maestro and Studio line bristles are identical -- you can read this in their FAQ section. However, my Studio 785 is definitely not as soft as my Maestro 785. So perhaps it's a fluke?).

I didn't experience any shedding while using Maestro 785. However, it did shed a few hairs the first time I washed it. No biggie though. It hasn't happened again since.

Tapered contour brush #944

Now here's a brush I was particularly excited about because I really don't have one quite like it in my collection. The 944 is great for contouring. It should be, because that's specifically what it's made for. It's tapered shape and slimmer size (compared to a typical blush brush) mean it fits perfectly in the hollows of my cheeks to carve out my cheekbones and slenderize my face. The shape, size and bristles place color exactly where I need it and blend it out just right. (Read: No thick Snickers-like contour on this girl's face).

I've been using a fan brush for a long time to chisel my cheekbones and it worked excellently (Read: Perfect for avoiding thick contours reminiscent of a candy bar) so I never really gave much thought to getting a brush specifically made for contouring. That is, until Bdellium sent me this one. It's like having a face-sized version of the 785. It blends my contouring out even better than my fan brush (which is still quite a good option if you're wondering), making it seem even more natural. I didn't even know that was possible! And, just like my fan brush, this is also great for lightly sweeping highlighter on my cheekbones. Although, I must confess, I turn to it more for contouring than highlighting.

In summary: Zero shedding. Perfect cheekbones. The 944 takes home the prize.

Travel sized series

Bdellium's travel brushes are basically the same as the Studio line brushes, except that the handles are shorter. By the way, like the Maestro series, the bristles in the Studio and Travel line are also treated with antibacterial agents and the bristles are both synthetic and natural fibers. 

I don't know about you, but I do love a nice travel set. It's great to have them set aside and at the ready (read: clean and organized) when I need to head off to some far off place (or more likely a weekend jaunt). It's always a good idea to have your favorite brushes in a mini size (or a back up in regular size) for just such occasions. You can grab and go without having to set aside time for a brush cleaning session before you pack. Plus, when you have them at the ready, you're less likely to forget to pack your absolute must-haves. One less thing on the to-do list is always a plus. 

Let me just pause for a second to say this: I'm really diggin' the signature yellow handles. The sunshiney color just brightens my mood. 

Anyway, let's talk about that brush they sent me.

Travel sized angled face brush

When Bdellium let me know they were sending me some brushes to review they also told me which ones they were sending. So, like a good little blogger, I immediately did some extra recon. I dutifully went online and studied the brushes I'd be testing. When I saw the Angled Face brush #990 online, I thought it would make a great contour brush. I mean contouring is suddenly all the rage in 2015 after all. So, if we're jumping all over the contour kits out there, we may as well also arm ourselves with some contour friendly tools, right? That's my logic anyway. You can justify things however it suits you.

When the 990 arrived in the mail, I was a bit shocked. This brush is large! The width of the bristles spans across the palm of my hand. And the bristles themselves are pretty dense, long, and soft. By comparison, many of the contour brushes I've seen out there with a similar shape have shorter, stiffer bristles, which made me wonder whether it would be as effective a contouring tool as I originally thought. So I started to experiment.

You see, it's much fluffier than your typical angled foundation brush and narrower than your typical angled blush brush. And upon first inspection, I thought the bristles might be too flimsy for effective contouring. But I would not be deterred. I would try everything I could think of anyway.

Luckily, Bdellium offers suggested uses for their brushes on their packaging, which came quite handy for me with regards to this brush. Here's what the packaging said:

"Perfectly suited for whisking powder of the face gently or brush off any excess."

After reading that, I thought, this is basically like a large fan brush. And that's how I proceeded.

What I found is that this brush works great as a powder brush. It doesn't pick up too much product, so it keeps me from over powdering, which is nice. And it's shape fits exceptionally along the contours and angles of my face.

It's also handy for contouring cheekbones. The soft bristles blend well and the angled shape fits well into the hollows of the cheek. Since it's not as wide as a angled blush brush, it also keeps you from making your contour too thick -- once again avoiding a chocolate bar sized streak on your face (are we noticing a pattern of avoidance here?). Because its bristles don't pick up loads of product, it allows you to build up color better and it's great for highlighting the top of the cheekbones without ending up looking like a shimmer bomb.

Oh by the way, no significant shedding when washing (maybe a hair or two?) and no shedding during use.

Other useful things to know:

  • Receive free standard shipping on purchases of $20 or more
  • All Bdellium Tools natural hair bristles are either pony or goat hair. They do not use exotic animal hair fibers and there is no animal cruelty involved in the production of any of their tools. 
  • Vegan brush options are available. 
  • Discount code (10% off): GIRLYTHINGS

All in all, I'm a fan of Bdellium Tools. Every brush I have of theirs in my collection is great quality and their prices are really fair. I have and will continue to spend my own money on their stuff, so clearly I'd recommend them.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Some of the links in the post above are "referral links" or “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item or sign up for a service, I will receive an affiliate commission or referral rewards. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. Warning: The product apparently was discontinued within months of it being shipped to customers in February 2014. Why? Unknown but from what people have posted on a Julep Facebook group Julep knew the product either spoiled fast or was contaminated. I just pulled mine out of it's box - never opened or used - and it's full of some type of fungus or mold.

  2. I love Bdellium tools. In fact they were the second set of makeup brushes I ever owned.


  3. Nice! I wish I could still remember the second brand of brushes I ever owned. I can only remember the first (and I still have a few of them), they were a travel set from Victoria's Secret my mom bought me way back in 2003. Before that I used the ones that came with my makeup. My how far I've come.

  4. I love their brushes. Most of the brushes I use in my kit are from them. And they're so affordable!

  5. I have a lot of their eye brushes but the face brush I have is a foundation one. I want that travel size one!!

  6. When you see how big it is you're going to be like, whoa. Hahaha!

  7. Do you happen to have the 990 in your kit? Would love extra tips from a makeup artist on this one. I'm always down to figure out multiple uses for my tools.

  8. The tapered contouring brush sounds like a dream! I think it would be perfect for the contouring kit we got at the meetup!

  9. Is that contouring kit fabulous? I really wanted to go to the meetup but had a conflict. The contour brush is rather fantastic. Check it out if you have a chance!