I started with the cheek brush, then some eyeshadow brushes, and recently some face brushes. It was just a matter of time -but nearly a year- before I gathered enough and posted my thoughts, looks like it’s happening today.
- If you are interested in the Surratt brushes you probably already know that they are handcrafted in Kumano, Japan, with the finest materials, the highest quality and a lovely packaging. I keep my Surratt brushes in their packaging, the boxes are made of black solid cardboard with velvet padding, they are useful to protect the brushes during transit and then practical depending on how much space you have available, I just simply use these to store the brushes.
- If you are just discovering Surratt brushes today, I hope this gives you an idea of what they look like and how they perform, not easy to feel them in person depending on where you live.
- If you were already thinking of getting them in the near future, I hope I can give you enough reasons to do so -or not- but let’s see 🙂
These brushes are available in different online stores (Sephora, Barneys, Liberty London, Net-a-Porter), depending on the store and country they will have different prices so check what is the best option for you. I got mine at Barneys, Liberty London and recently got the crease brush from Net-a-Porter (not yet here). Sephora is not an option for me (in Switzerland).
ARTISTIQUE FACE BRUSH (~230$)
When I was looking for it, I saw it on the Sephora website and it had a 1 star review, so I wanted to see what customers were saying about it. They say it’s expensive, that “hair is made from gold or unicorns” or that “there are other pretty good brushes nowhere near that price point“.
Hair is blue (or grey) squirrel (it’s actually the same), and yes there are other pretty good brushes nowhere near that price point I totally agree, but not with that type of hair, density and quality.
It is expensive that’s for sure, but I wouldn’t rate a McLaren (P1 please) just 1 star only because it’s expensive, if I could afford it believe me I would be driving it today and despite its high price it still deserves a 5 star rating because it’s so awesome. A McLaren would get me to the destination just like any other car but it’s not quite the same thing… is it? Of course it’s a matter of taste, preferences and unfortunately wallet, we wish those type of brushes were more easily affordable but it’s not often the case. The price is what kept me away from them for so long.
We have to keep in mind one simple fact, a handcrafted item does not have the same production cost as a machine made item, never ever, there is a gigantic difference between them. If on top of that, you have customized handles like Surratts it adds more costs into the production, and then there is the packaging. Some of us prefer a nice packaging when we are splurging on a beautiful item so even if we don’t think it’s a necessity, at the end we expect a nice packaging. That packaging may not cost a lot to produce, I don’t know, but there may be design, research and development behind it and that has a cost. Remember my Claudio Riaz experience? It was awful, expensive brushes with no packaging and no quality, those brushes had unique shapes but the rest just did not meet my expectations.
The Surratt face is very dense, less dense (more airy) than the Chikuhodo Z-1 but denser than the Suqqu face (~168 £) and also much denser than most of the other brushes in the pic. The Suqqu face is dense too but feels floppy due to the much finer bristles, the Suqqu will just flex if you push it against your skin and the Surratt will remain firm and buff the products more easily. For squirrel brushes, the Surratt are squirrel brushes with a sporty engine, a fast reliable engine though. Cars are influencing me lately 🙂
When you look what other brushes fall into the same category there is the Chikuhodo Z-1 (~178$), first in line and the closest to the Surratt. The Z-1 is denser and more directional (firmer at the very top), although the Surratt can do all that the Z-1 does, I would use the Surratt for bronzer but not the Z-1, unless you are going for a very controlled application, then it’s totally fine.
The Houkodou here is actually a pretty nice brush, I got it in Japan during my visit but I don’t remember the price or reference (I just sent an email to Houkodou asking for info and I will update if they reply). This Houkodou is less dense than the Surratt but still of very good quality, I got it because I was looking for a less dense Z-1 type of brush, still a bit firm but more airy if you see what I mean and that fitted my requirement. The handle has nothing special, just a simple black ordinary handle, could be better specially if you consider the high quality of the head, I just feel like it deserves a better handle. Same about the Chikuhodo G-9, (~174$) the gold ferrule gets scratches easily and the short handle has nothing that appealing, I am just a bit sad because it is the type of expensive brush you want to use and eventually leave on your vanity to contemplate and I think the handle makes it look ordinary or tacky when in fact it is a very nice and extravagant brush.
The Trish McEvoy is a very soft brush but the one I have is very old, the newer version costs 69$ and they don’t mention what it is made of. Mine here is squirrel but the bundling is not that even, it is quite floppy and the application doesn’t feel as efficient because each bristle seems to behave differently, they don’t necessarily flex “together”, maybe the fact that it is not as dense and that the bristles are of different thickness causes that behaviour, it does not feel as smooth and effortless as the others.
The Chanel #1 (~65$) here is not squirrel, it feels like goat, it’s not soft on my delicate skin, it’s actually quite unpleasant to use but the shape is very similar to the Surratt, also the density but it was achieved with different type of bristles. The only positive thing about the Chanel is that it is a very efficient brush but it is very rough on sensitive skin, whatever the technique. I was loving it for mineral foundation or for polishing, I guarantee you’ll get polished with it.
The Koyudo Fu-Pa14 (~72$) is here because I am certain some of you have it and would like to know how it compares to the Surratt. The Koyudo is denser and much more firm at the surface for buffing, it is a mix of goat and squirrel but you can’t even feel the goat bristles, very soft and pleasant to use.
This is a picture taken from the other side of the table, brushes facing to the camera to show a different angle, there will be some inevitable dust particles in the pics mainly because I do use the brushes, all of them, in between posts I clean them with a cloth and the camera has en evil pleasure capturing any left -invisible to the eye- tiny dust or speck and transforming it into a gigantic disgusting mold. Apologies.
In my humble opinion the most amazing brushes are the Z-1, the Suqqu and the Surratt, the Surratt being a less directional version of the Z-1 but a firmer version of the Suqqu, funny the price is also in between, Suqqu retails at approx 262$ and Z-1 at 178$.
I love the Suqqu face because it’s a Suqqu and yes their bristles are the finest squirrel bristles you can find today. If you are a collector for example, you cannot skip that brush because it’s a collector’s dream. However, this has a con, while the Suqqu is extreme softness, those soft bristles are sometimes too soft or floppy to use and they seem more difficult to bundle in a perfect shape, on the other hand the Z-1 to me just screams perfection, the bundling of the bristles is the most perfect I have come across, not one bristle is out of sync and it’s a real pleasure for the eyes and the skin. That said, if I had to choose one only because of its functionality it would definitely be the Surratt, it will achieve the most versatile applications without a doubt, it’s the squirrel powder brush that I can use with the most variety of products and for such a delicate brush, obtaining strength from its soft bristles was a great challenge, and it is a success.
Today the Surratt is the one I reach for the most because it matches my routine the best, I use it with bronzer, meteorites powder, or the Serge Lutens foundation powder, not for heavy coverage but for buildable and seamless applications.
ARTISTIQUE CHEEK (~115$)
It’s certainly the most praised of all by the Surratt fans and my fav blush shape on top of that. I probably have 5 dupes that share the same shape and size but the Surratt is just denser and firmer at the surface and the bristles even though they are still equally soft they seem to have added strength and functionality capabilities. It picks more, it blends better, it’s more controllable, what I mean is that from the application to the blending you definitely are in control, it won’t be as forgiving as a less dense brush but it will definitely do what you ask it to.
The Suqqu cheek can not be compared to the Surratt, the super soft bristles of the Suqqu is what makes it so special, also being able to handle the most pigmented powders with a surgical precision (layered control) is a plus but the almighty Surratt will beat the Suqqu in terms of versatility.
The one I use the most is the Surratt cheek. The Chikuhodo Z-4 is an excellent blush brush since it’s also very soft, nicely dense and strong, the main difference I find with the Surratt is that the later follows the face features better, more stability, a bit like a close shave if you wish, its design puts a similar pressure from many bristles at the same time making the application more even and defined without it being too heavy.
The Chikuhodo RC-2 is not as dense. Could you get the RC-2 instead of the Surratt cheek and achieve the same results? (same dimensions) Yes but the RC-2 bristles splay out more and don’t allow the same control, for the same coverage you will have to work a bit more and manage the lack of precision (being picky here but you get the idea).
The Kumano Select Shop brush is bigger, covers more surface, I have the same comments as the RC-2, not as controllable as the Surratt but also a super nice soft brush, just bigger and more rounded than the RC-2.
ARTISTIQUE HIGHLIGHT (~115$)
I was totally surprised, the candle shape is not my fav at all, I have the Chikuhodo Z-2 and I barely use it and when I checked this Surratt at the counter, they appeared totally similar but something felt different. I know now what it is and why I prefer this over the Z-2. Even if it’s pointy, the bristles have a different movement to them, they follow much better the face features, they don’t have this “right-left” sudden flex movement, it’s difficult to explain, the bristles melt into the skin, the application feels like velvet and it results more even and more blended. The sensation they offer feels like a cat’s paw on the skin, very relaxing and actually very sensual.
I took some pics for comparison purposes but this is certainly the first time I am really loving a candle shaped brush that much. It’s pointy but you can use a generous extent of surface against the skin, suitable for blush too and if you want to use it to set your concealer or foundation in precise zones it can’t get any better since it’s dense and precise.
The Koyudo BP026 is actually a goat brush but a damn good one, one of my holy grails because of its thick velvety and super efficient surface, the Surratt is quite similar but the Koyudo is firmer and stronger, does a freaking amazing job.
The Surratt sculpting brush pairs super nicely with the Surratt sculpting powders (contour and highlight actually). I love when I see that the artist behind the brand releases brushes that perfectly combine with both the texture of the powders and the pigmentation. That is not always the case.
I didn’t get his crease brushes because I already had some Chicca ones and they always felt too floppy for my taste and routine. I have the medium and big Chicca that look exactly like the Surratt but I don’t use them as eye shadow brushes but instead just to set concealer or apply highlighter. However, something happened recently, I received the Chikuhodo/Beautylish Sakura crease brush that was part of the set, I tried it, it took me just a few minutes (hmmm seconds) to fall in love with it. As a result, today I have ordered the small Surratt crease brush and it’s on its way to me. I had no idea that I would love such a weird brush, seriously, I am 100% sold, I am so attached to it that I need to know where it is all the time, I don’t want to loose it ever. I hope the Surratt performs just as good but it should because it has the same specs.
I think what kept me away from the Chicca brushes (as eye brushes) is the fact that the Chicca shadows are super difficult to pick on the brush, there is barely any pigment at all and a lot of sparkles, I found that the Chicca crease brushes were not appropriate for their powders. When I tried this small crease brush with Surratt shadows all made sense, it worked perfectly well.
I show you my similar crease brushes but I don’t have the Surratt yet. There is a small smoky, a medium and a large that should correspond to these:
It’s a different technique, don’t expect to work with it the same way as a Paula Dorf crease brush, this works with the sides, it may or not be for you but if you can try it at the counters it would be interesting and you may like it.
CLASSIC SHADOW GRANDE
It’s not a novelty for me, I already have similar ones and I love them because they are made with canadian squirrel hair (the best) and they have a pointy shape but a thick body, allows control and power at the same time and that shape allows to place and blend the crease too.
Three have a very similar one, the Three brush I have is just a bit thicker. Takeda, Three and Surratt are same material.
The Takeda is just stunning, it’s even thicker and has a large surface at the top. I am over the moon with it.
The Suqqu L is here for size reference as it is the same length, the Three and the Surratt are more tapered. It’s funny how I did not love the Suqqu at the beginning, I found it too floppy and today I find it actually much more appropriate for me, we evolve and I am lucky I kept it.
CLASSIC SHADOW MOYENNE
The Chicca brush here is one of my top favs since the first day I tried it, I was going to get a second one but then Surratt happened. It’s the same brush, same material (canadian squirrel).
What I love about these is that they aren’t too long or too short, they allow just the perfect flexibility at the top and the sides to apply the shadow anywhere you want, blend it and do it with very little to no effort at all.
I can do all my eye look with it. Even the bottom lash line, since those bristles retain the pigment super well and release it evenly as you swipe, you can remove all the excess powder and just use a tiny bit that is left on the top of the brush, you place it perpendicularly on the bottom lash line, apply and smudge it, you will end with a 2mm thick perfectly smoked out line drop dead gorgeous. No fall out, no powder in the eyes.
The Wayne Goss 18 delivers similar results but it’s supposed to be goat hair, I am sure there is something else than goat hair in there (good for us) but if you want to use it perpendicularly and you have sensitive eyes like I do it won’t feel as soft as the Chicca of the Surratt and you don’t have quite the same precision.
CLASSIQUE SHADOW PETITE
This little guy is fun, I use it for:
- The brows: I have thick brows that just need some rough filling, test passed, totally manage with it
- The lips: canadian hair should not be used for creams or liquids, I use it with powder highlighter in the cupids bow
- The eyes: inner corner highlight, browbone highlight, precision placement
It’s longer and more flexible but still firm and soft. No need to tell you that I love it because I have the Chicca and I still got the dupe Surratt…
There is not much difference between the Chicca and the Surratt, probably the difference in thickness is just due to a batch difference, maybe not intended, you can barely feel any difference at all.
Chikuhodo are responsible for Chicca brushes, and Three, and more… there is a big chance they are also responsible for Surratt’s.
Surratt has also a full range of products, I love their contour (Grisaille) and highlighter (Aureole). I think he picked up French names because in Japan French is very sexy and sells really well… 🙂
Pigmentation is just amazing, buildable, does not look powdery or tacky and the range of colors targets both pale and dark skin, that is fantastic and much better than Suqqu who releases blushes only for lighter complexions.
Don’t get me started with the shadows, oh dear… I am totally blown away. Some finishes are opaque, some are more translucent, some look sparkly but then the base color is buildable and the sparkles end up appearing flattering -even at my age. I am thrilled with the ones I have and I certainly don’t mind and won’t resist getting more in the future.
I am super happy with the brushes, except for the price I can say only good things about them… Well, if the Surratt had longer and heavier handles I would have loved them even more.
There is just one detail and I don’t know if you all noticed it, the powder and highlighter brushes have a different (nicer) ferrule, rounder and curved at the top, I wish all the round brushes had that same ferrule (the cheek doesn’t), just details, but here I am, being a hopeless obsessed fanatic.
Troy Surratt is going to release more brushes soon, a duo fibre for sure, maybe a brow, a powder and a spoolie but I am not sure about that.
They are very rewarding to use, get you to want to use them frequently, you miss them when you don’t. Surratt introduced performance oriented brushes into the market, luxurious, impressive and addictive. I have a zillion brushes but there will be many days where only a Surratt would do.
|Material||Total length (cm)||Hair length||Ferrule width||Surface||Price (usd)|
|Artistique Face Brush||Grey squirrel||16,5||5||2,5||3,5||230|
|Artistique Cheek Brush||Grey squirrel||15,5||3,3||1,6||2,5||115|
|Artistique Highlight Brush||Grey squirrel||16||3,6||1,6||115|
|Artistique Sculpting Brush||Grey squirrel and goat||15,3||3||1,8-1,3||2,5-3,5||90|
|Classique Shadow Grande||Canadian squirrel||14||2||1,2||55|
|Classique Shadow Moyenne||Canadian squirrel||13,3||1,3||0,8||50|
|Classique Shadow Petite||Canadian squirrel||13||1||0,5||45|