Today, I am sharing with you a special review, my thoughts on Billy Brasfield (Billy B) and of course also his brushes.
If I had to choose only one makeup artist in the whole world that I wish I could meet in person it’s Billy and I didn’t even know he existed before Wayne sent me an email some weeks ago. Wayne knows how obsessed I am with great brushes, not that we need anymore brushes at all but we just love brushes, like anyone else loves cars, jewelry or art, we love brushes. Wayne told me how much he loved Billy’s brushes, that even though they weren’t the softest they were extremely efficient.
As I said, I wish I could meet Billy, I have been watching many Youtube videos of him or about him. He is the most generous and amazing makeup artist, a great personality, a great talent, a great heart.
Billy has his own Youtube chanel and Wayne just recently reviewed his brush range for us. To better understand why Billy designed his own range and what materials he uses -or why-, please watch this video. Basically, as long as the brushes do the job, he doesn’t care what material they are.
I love Billy, I love his vision and I am so glad he succeeded, it looks like he didn’t have the easiest teenage years and today when you watch his videos and when you listen to him, you feel how genuine and how touching he is. I am hypnotized by his ideas and creativity, he is Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Sharon Stone’s makeup artist (just to mention a few), he can go from the most natural enhancing makeup look to the most extraordinary drag makeup, both achieved perfectly well and with his own brushes. That’s also what I love about him, he shows his technique and shares his ideas, when you watch a video you actually see how he works and how he uses his brushes, for example here, unlike Claudio Riaz. Claudio also makes videos (too short in my opinion) were he tries to explain how to use his brushes BUT the makeup is already done, you don’t see how he works from the beginning and I have to say that it doesn’t help me, but maybe it’s me, for example here or here, can you actually see what he is doing ? I prefer videos like Billy’s, where you learn so much more. My favorite quote from Billy is “let the eye tell you what it needs” (same for the brows, same for the face…). That’s exactly what I try to do with my little knowledge, of course I am very very far from being able to correctly achieve that but it’s like a game, I have so much fun and that’s also what makeup is about.
Billy B brushes
His range goes from 15usd to 37usd, it’s only available in the USA. On Behindthechair and Beautylish websites. A very dear friend helped me and ordered them in the USA on Beautylish and then she sent them to me. The Beautylish customer service was incredibly nice and the shipping very fast, shame they don’t ship internationally but other than that, they were efficient. Thank you Stacy !!!
The brushes are lightweight and shorter than usual, I am actually used to shorter handle brushes since many Japanese brands have either long and short handles or even only very short handles.
Some of these brushes looked just perfect but not that soft and I have a problem with not-soft-enough brushes, my skin is extremely delicate and I am prone to migraines -I have a little problem with an intervertebral disc in my neck that I believe adds even more sensibility, therefore many brushes that feel just fine for most of you, will feel scratchy on my skin, will hurt and will make the full process unpleasant and not worth it. I had to get rid of many of my brushes (part of my Mac and more…). That’s also why today I own the softest brushes you will ever find on the market and as you may know, they are mostly from Japanese brands like Chikuhodo, Hakuhodo, Koyudo, etc.
But something strange happened recently and that is the main reason why I suddenly started to be interested in” less-soft-yet-not-scratchy” brushes, hope this makes sense for you… I had to prepare a review on some Koyudo brushes that weren’t as soft as the ones I was used to, I wasn’t really interested in them but I forced myself into using them in a regular basis in order to be able to give you a more detailed review (coming tomorrow by the way). After some time, I suddenly realized that I was naturally and automatically reaching for the less-soft Koyudo brushes and that I was liking them a lot. These Koyudo are not scratchy at all, just not as soft as squirrel/goat blends for example. This experience is what got me into trying the Billy B brushes, if I can use them (if not too scratchy) they might be incredibly efficient and totally worth it.
Since the full Billy B set wasn’t available anymore, we ordered several separate smaller sets, so I own nearly all the brushes except for the eyeliner 10 that was sold out.
Measures 28cm long, 18cm tall, you can fit 8 brushes (or more if you put them together), the max brush size that you can fit inside will be approx 16.5cm, a Mac 239 is 17cm and can fit inside, but just. Billy’s brushes are max 15cm long.
It’s easy to carry and practical, if your hands are covered with cream and foundation you will probably stain it but it’s machine washable. I like that it doesn’t have a magnetic closure which is better if you are carrying it inside your handbag, I don’t like magnets to get close to my wallet, you never know…
Brush number One – powder/blush brush
In terms of softness (just to know what to expect) it’s similar to the Nars Yachiho or the Mac 116 I own, softer than the Mac 134, less soft than the Mac 109 (well difficult to say…), less soft than the Hakuhodo K022 but only slightly. Compared to the Koyudo BP019 (pictured below), it’s slightly less soft.
Since my skin is so delicate if a brush doesn’t hurt me, it’s very likely that it doesn’t hurt you either. This brush doesn’t hurt, applies powder and bronzer beautifully.
It did shed a little but it’s ok now.
I LOVE the size of the Mac 116, I wish it was a bit softer but I can still use it without problem. The Koyudo here is very special and has become my favorite but you will see why in my next review.
The Billy B is a great brush, works with many different products and I do enjoy using it.
Probably the closest option in Mac brushes could be the 129 but I had to get rid of mine since I could not use it at all on my skin. The Mac 129 is 35usd, this Billy B is 36usd.
The One compared to the Three and the Hakuhodo K022 :
Brush number Two – foundation brush
I don’t often use flat foundation brushes, I just use them to place the product and then I blend with a rounded foundation brush. If you like flat foundation brushes you will enjoy this one. It’s larger than many similar ones, thinner, doesn’t leave a streaky application at all. I really prefer a rounded fluffier brush but that is just my personal preference. You should watch the Billy B video linked above, you will understand why he designed the brush like that.
Brush number Three – powder/blush brush
Very similar to Hakuhodo K022, the K022 is more densely packed and is slightly softer. I can apply powder or blush with this Billy B no problems at all, but if I use it in a stippling motion it does hurt (unlike the number One that doesn’t but the surface is more pointed). If I use it in a swirling or sweeping motion no problems at all but I have to admit that I prefer to use other softer brushes.
Brush number Four – Countour/blush/powder
This is a cute little brush, extremely useful and versatile. Very soft, doesn’t hurt at all, it’s not very dense, the application of blush or contour is fabulous, it will diffuse the application seamlessly. I am always looking for precision brushes and I often find the contour brushes too small for me and the blush brushes too big, this is the perfect versatile contour-blush brush in one.
On the top the Trish 45 for reference, in the middle the Mac 109.
Brush number Five – Concealer/lips/eyes
It’s firm and directional, doesn’t hurt or poke, I don’t use it with concealer because I prefer softer/fluffier brushes but it is a nice concealer brush.
As a lip brush, it performs really well, it doesn’t irritate my lips, feels soft enough but it’s too big for me.
As an eyeshadow brush I prefer a softer and fluffier brush but for the Mac paintpots it’s fantastic for example, very easy application, you can precisely take it near the lashes and blend upwards. I will be using this brush very often.
The Mac 217 (top) for size reference, the Hakuhodo Kokutan WS (middle) :
Brush number Six – Shadow/blending/finishing…
Unfortunately I will not reach for this brush, it does the job really well but it’s not very pleasant to use on my lids at all, I just wish it felt slightly softer. Shame because it is exactly the perfect shape and size and it blends really well.
Very similar to the RMK brush, but the RMK eyeshadow L (horse hair) even though it’s not extremely pleasant to use either, I can tolerate it, same for the Rouge Bunny Rouge. So I reach more for the Chikuhodo Z-5 but we are not talking about the same price range at all.
Brush number Seven – Detail brush
You can use this brush on the lips or as concealer brush or even eyeliner (I like to use it with thicker eyeliner creams for example). I prefer a fluffier brush for the lips but if you are looking for precision this one is soft enough and fantastic.
Brush number Eight – Blending/crease
It’s my favorite Billy B brush. When I first saw it I really wasn’t impressed but I have to say that it delivers fantastic results. I love it for the crease and blending, it’s the PERFECT size. This one doesn’t hurt my skin.
I had to apply/remove my makeup 5 times in a row, I couldn’t believe how great it was, I had to do it over and over again. It will probably become my favorite crease brush. The others pictured here (and the Hakuhodo J5523) are great as well but don’t allow the precision of this Eight brush.
Together with some other brushes, Mac 217, Koyudo BP033, RMK eyeshadow double-ended :
Brush number Nine – Mascara
Fantastic idea. I have tried it and now I cannot live without it.
I don’t have many lashes and each one of my bottom lash is looking in a different direction, when I apply my mascara with a normal mascara this effect is even more emphasized. This mascara brush is excellent to apply mascara and at the same time “redirect” each lash to the right direction and they will have all the same intensity which is something quite tricky to achieve with a mascara wand.
You just apply mascara to the tips and brush your eyelashes one by one.
Now I use this brush very often and the spot cleaning with the Bobby Brown brush cleaning spray allows me to quickly clean it and use it straight afterwards.
Here with a Koyudo (I don’t know which one it is, I got it as a present), and the Hakuhodo K005 :
Brush number Eleven – Brow
A brow brush, slightly thicker than the Hakuhodo pictured below and slightly less soft but a great brow brush. Precise and does the job really well too.
Hakuhodo B264 and Billy Eleven :
Brush number Twelve – Crease/lining/blending/smudging
Funny brush, unique and weird.
I wasn’t expecting such a weird brush to be honest, it is so different and unique. I love to use it on the brows when I apply powder to fill them in roughly and get a very natural result.
I also love to use it when I do a smokey eye look. I never thought it would work, it’s not that dense and it’s not that soft and it looks too wide for lining-smoking the bottom lashes, I don’t know how it does it, but it does it well and beyond. A pencil brush also works for that but somehow this brush will help you apply and blend the final application and give you an additional more sultry dimension to your smokey eye.
With the Hakuhodo G5520 that I love, the Twelve will deliver a more smoked and less precise application, perfect for a smokey eye :
Brush number Thriteen – Highlighter/detail/blending/finishing
It has a similar shape than my RMK eyeshadow M (horse hair). The RMK is smaller but the final purpose is the same for me : too big for the eye area so I use it for highlighter or to clean-up the final application, like a fan brush.
Retractable lip brush – lip color/gloss
For creamy or glossy lipsticks it works really nicely, it’s fluffy and flexible, not firm, feels soft on the lips, it’s rounded unlike any other lip brush. I cannot achieve precision with this one but I still have to practice. Maybe I will get better
The great thing about it is that it closes completely, not only retracts but it seals. If you want to take some lipstick on the brush and keep it there for touch ups that is possible since it will not touch anything else in your makeup bag, no dust or particles will stick to it.
It’s more curvy than the Chanel or the Shu Uemura. The weight is exactly the same for the 3 eyelash curlers (21g).
I like it, I had one in the past but it got lost somewhere, this one is fantastic. I also enjoy that it is slightly curvy (compared to others like the Rae Morris one for example), it makes it easier to use.
What you get : Efficient brushes at a nice price, designed by a talented makeup artist.
I really do appreciate these Billy B brushes, I wish the number Three and Six were a bit softer so that I could enjoy them too, but except for these two I am enjoying all of the others and I would repurchase them anytime. My top favorites are the Four, Eight, Nine and Twelve, I will use these 4 in a very regular basis.
For the other Billy B’s brushes, I will use them as well of course but as you may know I also own many other high-end brushes and I have to say that I would rather use other softer or more “luxurious” options, just remember that efficient brushes are not always the softest and most expensive brushes and luxury is not a necessity !
That said, I admit I love luxury and when it’s combined with efficiency it’s even better
These Billy B brushes have a nice price but for example the Hakuhodo J5523 is 18usd vs the Billy B Eight which is 24usd. In my opinion they aren’t expensive but Hakuhodo for example also have excellent and inexpensive options.
I deeply love Billy, he is humble and kind and I am really happy to be able to use his brushes, for more information about Billy and his brush range, please also visit these sites :
If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate…