I’ve been testing more budget items again, folks, and this time it’s brushes. I mentioned back at the beginning of the month I’d be testing the Makeup Gallery Stippling Brush from Poundland but I’ve also picked up the angled brush from the same range, so I’ve been testing that one too. It’s not part of the March Budget Makeup Finds though, so I’m reviewing it here.
I decided to do it head to head against my favourite angled brush, my Spectrum Collections A05. I love this brush, even if it is starting to shed when I wash it, and when it gets a bit thin, I’ll be buying another one. It’s the best brush I’ve found for applying my blush or contour with, and I can’t imagine not having it in my makeup bag.
So you might think the Makeup Gallery brush was on the back foot to begin with – not so, because I like to give everything I try a fair chance. I’ve tried things that have made me change my mind about products I used for years, so just because I love something doesn’t mean that I’ll be biased towards it in a head to head with a new product.
The Makeup Gallery brush is, obviously, on the left of this shot – there’s no mistaking that gorgeous Spectrum Collections design and colourway on the right, is there? The handle of the Spectrum brush is longer and it feels nicer to hold – the handle of the Makeup Gallery brush is a bit stubby for my liking.
Moving on to the bristles, the Makeup Gallery brush is pretty soft for a £1 brush. I was expecting it to be horribly spiky, and while it’s not quite the lovely soft squish of the Spectrum brush, it feels quite nice when you’re stroking your thumb over it. The bristles aren’t as fine as the Spectrum brush, or as densely packed, and I reckon this is why it’s not quite as soft. But this is a budget brush, and I’ve seen angled brushes worse than this for more than this price-wise.
The biggest problem with the Makeup Gallery brush came when I compared how these brushes pick up product. I used my MAC Sheertone Shimmer Blush in Trace Gold for both tests and, well… it didn’t go well for the cheap brush.
It’s hardly picked up any product at all, whereas the Spectrum brush picked up plenty:
The blush is running out, so yes, you do have to rub the brush into it, but even doing that, the product literally just fell off the Makeup Gallery brush.
Just to be sure, I tried the test again with both brushes into my MUA Undress Your Skin highlighter in Ice Sparkle.
The photos kind of speak for themselves.
The Makeup Gallery brush barely picked up the slightest dusting of powder, whereas the Spectrum brush picked up a lot of powder. I know the bristles of the Makeup Gallery brush are black so it will look different, but the highlighter is ice blue, so it looks pretty obvious on the brush! Here’s another black brush swirled across the highlighter for comparison:
That’s a MAC face brush 129, so it’s a higher priced brush, but you can clearly see the blue shimmer on the black bristles. It’s really not looking good for the Makeup Gallery brush at this point.
That said, despite the miserable pick-up from products, the Makeup Gallery brush blends pretty well. Because it’s not very dense, it is a little harder to control than the Spectrum brush, but it’s not bad for dusting powders over a very general area – it did work nicely with some bronzer on my temples.
I think we’ve found the calling of the Makeup Gallery brush then – distributing product over large areas of the face. It’s definitely not stable or precise enough to use for contour or blush or highlighter. The bristles are too soft for that, but for a general dusting, it’s not bad.
It’s nowhere near as good quality as my Spectrum Collections brush, but it’s not being consigned to the bin. It’s going to become a backup bronzer brush, probably for travel when I don’t feel like dragging my giant powder brushes with me (why are they all too long for my travel makeup bag? Huh? Who designed these?). If you need an emergency brush, then for £1, it’ll do. But for everyday use, I’d spend a little more on some better quality brushes.
The test of the stippling brush continues. I’ll report back on March 30th with my thoughts on that one, but for now, if you’re stuck for a brush, you could do worse than the range at Poundland.
(All opinions in this post are my own and I was not paid for this review.)