Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bdellium Tools Makeup Brush Review

At IMATS this past weekend, one of the booths I KNEW I had to hit up was Bdellium tools (pronounced dellium tools - the B is silent). I had heard amazing things about these brushes and I wanted to check them out myself. I must admit. I am a bit of a brush snob. My brushes are all Hakuhodo, Edward Bess, Shiseido, Chanel, Bobbi Brown, By Terry and the odd Smashbox/Urban Decay/Benefit brush added in that to be honest, I rarely touch.

Now, can cheaper brushes work? Yes. As well? Not usually. I am not going to debate the usefulness of an ELF or Real Techniques brush. They do work. And if you have never used a Japanese or other high quality brush you are likely to not have any issues or see any problems. BUT. Once you have used an artisan brush (I will say artisan because making a good brush really is an art form) you will then SEE the difference. They are subtle, but they are there. The fall out seems to be the easiest difference to visually note on a one on one comparison. I will not get into any more than that on the subject other than to direct you to Robyn's (Brightest Bulb In The Box) blog for a visual demonstration of the differences between brushes. 

Anyways, that being said, I have heard great things about this line and wanted to try some out for myself. I decided to start with a ten piece set and picked up an additional brush I just couldn't NOT take home. This set retails for $69 at I picked up brushes from the Studio line as those are the ones I was recommended. I was warned the bamboo ones were not of the same quality and I would hate them (I have no idea if this is accurate or not, just what I was told). I thought the ten piece set would be a great way to try out the brand without too much of an investment.

Now because we all know I have a big mouth, I want to start with a few words about my experience because I feel that it really has impacted my feelings towards these brushes. I will start by saying I dont NEED any more brushes. Yes, I have lots I want. But when it comes to makeup and beauty it should be FUN. Add drama, or negative energy and you can take your product and shove it up your you know what! So when I went and got the brushes, the gentleman at the booth was WONDERFUL. He was helpful, he was welcoming and he made me WANT to try with and play with the brushes. I bought the set and an additional brush. Fast forward an hour or two. I go BACK to the booth with a friend and delete wonderful helpful Bdellium man (his name has since been confirmed as Daniel though I really like the sound of Bdellium man and hope he takes no offense if he reads this) was gone, and a female was there. To be honest, I am pretty sure Bdellium man WAS there but was helping someone else. I mentioned to my friend I was going over to the Hakuhodo booth to pick up a few brushes and the female, known from this point forward as Makeup Artist Meanie said "Actually, these brushes are better than Hakuhodo. You should stick with ours". Now I kind of looked at her as if she had a second head. BETTER THAN HAKUHODO?! As good, and Ill find it hard to believe, but no way are they BETTER. She asked me if I wanted to know why she said that. "I do." I said in a challenging voice. She then went on to tell me how Hakuhodos shed (mine surenever had) and then proceeded to bash the other brands there going as far as to tell me that Cici brushes were good for nothing more than drawing a line on a wall with a bucket of paint. I had nothing to say to her. I just kind of walked away, no longer even wanting to TOUCH these brushes. It was just such bad taste and it sucked the fun out of the brand for me. I don't want to hear a brand trash others. I want to hear why they are great. And there is room in my stash for all sorts of brushes and I don't need to hear you trash others in a failed attempt to sell me your product.

Anyways, this morning, four days later I called Bdellium trying to get some information on the type of hair in the brushes. And who do I speak to? Bdellium man Daniel! He was extremely helpful and I ended up telling him about my experience. I have to say, I really hope the company appreciates him as his customer service skills are fantastic. He didn't excuse the girl. He apologized profusely. He told me that that was not the view of the company at all and in fact hes had dinner before with the people from Hakuhodo and that they are all very friendly. It makes sense since they all travel the same circuits. He was honest in that his brushes are NOT the same quality as Hakuhodo and that's fine. They aren't. But that doesn't make them bad brushes. I can spend a fraction of the price on a Bdellium brush and they do feel fantastic. I have yet to put them all to the test, but they FEEL fantastic. They also are not all genuine hair brushes. That too is fine. Brushes of many types and price points have a place in my collection. The question is purpose. Does this brush serve a purpose? How well does it function? If the answer is that it functions well and has purpose then it has a place in my stash. At least until I find something that performs better (I am fickle that way!).

The point of this long diatribe is that while I am no longer put completely off of the brand, I am LESS excited than I was after having left the booth the first time dealing with the wonderful Daniel AKA Bdellium Man.

Now I cant get too in depth on the acutal brushes and how they function as I have not had enough of a chance to use them, I will share with you my current observations/likes/dislikes.

I LOVE the brush roll. That is not to say its perfect. Its actually VERY flawed. But the flaw is sooooo obvious and large that it actually makes me laugh. I have no idea why the roll was made this way and it amazes me this wasn't caught or corrected but I find it very funny. The brush roll feels like a super soft leather with a velcro closure. I am not sure if the leather is real or not (I suspect not) but its very soft and all around its a pleasure to use.

The cover that protects the brushes is also very large. I really like how big the entire case is and how much coverage it has. The greenish/brownish inside feels like its made out of a camping tent. You know the material I am talking about? It feels like its going to last a really long time, though just typing that out feels like I am jinxing the entire roll!

I also like how on each side of the roll are two little side pockets. Great for sticking a small Kabuki, or sponges or other applicators. Not necessary, but a nice touch.

And here it is with the ten brushes from the set.

And now we get on to the stupidity of the design and the flaw that just makes me laugh.

They advertise this as having 20 slots for brushes. It DOES have 20 spots for brushes. BUT....... look at how they are. I don't know if you can tell, but the one pocket is DIRECTLY over the bottom one with no extra fabric to give room for it. So if you have a brush in the top pocket, you cant put a brush in the bottom one. I had to fight to push in this thin eye brush on top of the other brush and as you can see, it pushes down the first one. When I put the 990 brush in the pocket, I couldn't put a SINGLE brush in front of it. So yes, it has 20 pockets, for all intent and purpose it has only 10. Again, this doesn't bother me, eye brushes can be double or tripled up in some cases and I really don't need more room when travelling. But its a big flaw in my books.

Now on to the brushes. I wont discuss them each since I really have not had the time to play around with them. But the majority are made out of a combination of real hair and synthetic. The real hair is either pony or goat depending on the brush and the colour I have been told will not tell you which. I have been told some goat hair is dyed and some pony hair is dyed and they dye brushes both black and white so I really don't know which ones are dyed and which are not. So long as they don't bleed though, I have no issue with this. the 957S, which is the precision cheek brush (the flat topped one that actually sold me on the set) is the only one in this set that is 100% synthetic. Now according to the website states that the 945S, 776S and the 765S are all 100% natural hair, but when Daniel responded to me he said they were all a mix. So I am unsure about those three, but the others are a mix of both synthetic and genuine (pony and/or goat) hair.
"Bdellium Tools Studio Line of brushes is makeup tools designed from top grade materials and assembled by hand for superior quality. Each and every brush showcases the flawless application medium that is Bdellium Tools. From precisely shaped brush heads to balanced mixtures of natural wooden handles, the Studio Line will give you optimum control and comfort resulting in a perfect application time after time. All the Studio Line brushes are treated with an antibacterial agent on the bristles."
I did use the 990 (the last one that came on its own today so I will discuss that one quickly. I have only used it once. So I can't speak about anything other than my immediate first impressions. This brush is part synthetic and part goat hair and is BIG. As in covers half my face big. It is called the angled face brush and it says "This wide flat angled brush is perfectly suited for whisking powder over the face. It can also be used to gently brush off excess product. With its large handle, this brush helps to illuminate the most subtle contours of the face". I really liked this brush for applying my finishing powder. It was very large, very easy to get a gentle dusting of powder and it feels REALLY soft. As in REALLY soft. It seemed to pick up a lot of product, and considering the size of the brush that is something that I think I will have to be very careful about. But for the first time I really enjoyed it. I can't speak as to how it stands up to a washing, or if it will shed much going forward, but I had no shedding on it today. That brush retails for $19 and is also available on the website.

955S Finishing Brush:

964S AP Blusher Brush:

957S Precision Cheek Brush:

942S Slanted Contour Brush:

945S Contour Brush:

769S Angled Contour Brush:

776S Blending Brush:

781S Crease Brush:

765S Small Angle Shader Brush:

755S Smudge Brush:

990S Angled Face Brush:

And all of the brushes together: As you can see, the 990S is MUCH larger than any of the cheek or blush brushes. Its really a GINORMOUS brush!

And with the cover on the brushes:

And all nicely rolled up!

Have you ever tried Bdellium brushes before? If so, what are your thoughts? Any you LOVE? Any you hate? Since I will be back at IMATS in 8 weeks (OMG! Is IMATS LA in sunny California really only 8 weeks away?) I will have an opportunity to play with or pick up some more! Let me know if there are any I MUST get or any you really want a review of!


  1. I just bought them at imats! I wasnt planning to get so many but I thought since they are so popular I might as well give them a try. I spoke to Daniel aka the Bdellium Man and I didn't even know it was him at the time! He was very friendly and I wish he was able to tell me more about the brushes. I've tried one so far and I love it, I hope the rest are just as good!

  2. I believe Daniel is actually one of the owners of Bdellium. I love their brushes, mind you I've never used any of their Bambu lines but I know some people who go gaga over them. Their Precision Kabuki is my favourite face brush of all time. And oddly enough, I know exactly which sales associate you are talking about. She was a bit snippy at me when I first went to the booth. Thankfully a very sweet and helpful young lady came to help me out instead.

  3. My favorite brush from Bdellium is the Flat Top Kabuki. I'm in lust with that brush.



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