I often see this question on Instagram comments “Can I use your brushes with cream products?”
The answer is that it depends. Please let me explain.
It depends on the type of bristles, on the brush shape, on the frequency, on the product, on the technique.
In general, natural bristles deliver better results with powder products, while synthetic bristles usually deliver better results with creams and liquids. This is true most of the time, with exceptions, in every rule there are exceptions.
The type of bristles
Synthetic brushes are better for liquids and creams as they don’t absorb as much product compared to natural goat bristles. The more product is absorbed, the more product you waste and the natural bristles may stain in the longer term, unlikely, but it is a possibility. It happened once to me.
I also understood that some components in cream products may penetrate deeper and alter the dyed cuticule on a natural bristle, I think that it is a combination of this, paired with a more frequent deep washing, that may cause a faster deterioration of the bristles.
Using cream products with natural bristles may be a bit more agressive on the cuticules in comparison to a usage only with powders, but, we also have to keep in mind that the water and soap (or cleaning method) that use may also have an impact on the durability of the brush. I use Beautyblender solid soap most of the time.
The “Sonia G” brushes that are bundled with dyed goat bristles (brown) should not be used with creams, the white ones can. This is the manufacturer’s advice. However, I do use some of the smaller brown dyed brushes with creams and I haven’t noticed any change in the bristles. I shouldn’t use them that way if I want to strictly follow the recommendations, but I still do it in order to see how they age. I use for example the Flat Definer or the Builder Three quite a lot with cream pots, so far I did not notice any bleeding, any change in quality or performance. Some of my close friends told me they also sometimes use these same brown dyed brushes with creams and they saw no deterioration or impact on the brush. Other than the impact creams could have on the dye, the manufacturer behind the brushes likes to protect himself and consequently say that you shouldn’t use dyed brushes with creams or liquids.
It’s good to know that:
- Squirrel bristles or mixes that contain squirrel bristles should never be used with liquids or creams.
- All natural bristles are different. White goat bristles coming from a manufacturer are most of the time – or even always- different from the ones used by his competitors, even when talking same grade of hair.
- Some dyed goat bristles can be used with creams, if this is the case it is in general mentioned by the manufacturer.
- Even if brushes can last years, they all have a life span, after some time they are supposed to be changed.
Brush shape and product compatibility
Some cream products are tougher to pick, if the brush head is too floppy or too fluffy, you may need to press the bristles hard against the product and then again on the skin in order to get some color pay off, or a nice blending. The more strength and stress you put on the bristles, the weaker the bristles get, whether in the short or the long term. This applies to both dyed and undyed goat bristles. Also often applies more to handmade brushes because machines can use bundling techniques and glues that are different.
In the Sky Eye set, the Soft Shader is bundled with white goat bristles, this was on purpose so that we can use this brush with cream shadows or even concealer.
The Fan Pro, Classic Cheek or Sculpt Four are brushes I sometimes pair with creams because they are denser, stiffer and quite strong so we don’t need to put so much stress on the heads in order to be able to pick or diffuse cream products.
The Classic Cheek from the Sky Face set is on the denser side, it was bundled in such a compact yet fluffy way in case you actually want or need to use cream blush or cream bronzer. Because the shape is between a ball and a paddle brush, it can be used with the tip, or the sides, this shapetends to be less restrictive, it allows more flexibility with the technique and more versatility with the products.
So you may ask, why don’t they all have white goat bristles in order to be able to use them ALL also with creams?? Because I strongly believe that dyed goat bristles are the very best to use with powders and powders are what we use the most.
Spoilers: I am working on a parallel collection with synthetic bristles (to target liquids and creams), I started more than three years ago but I am very picky and they will only come out once I am convinced they will be the best for the job, and still handmade in Japan!
If you only use creams once in a while, then it doesn’t make sense to get dedicated synthetic brushes, it’s perfectly fine to use white goat brushes. If you love to use creams very frequently, then it’s worth to invest on a dedicated brush for the purpose. This will preserve the life span of your other natural brushes, and probably or hopefully, they will do a better job with creams.
There are many brush shapes available and each brush calls for a different technique. A rounded brush is appropriate for an application in circular motions. A paddle/flat brush is more appropriate for an application with its sides. Forcing a brush in a movement that it is not meant to, may break the bristles and cause shedding.
For example if you want to use a paddle brush for stippling, it may not be a very safe idea.
We also shouldn’t need to put a lot of strength on a brush for it to be efficient, if you need to do so, then maybe it means you need to switch the brush.
As a general rule (with exceptions):
- white goat bristles can be -quite safely- used with cream products
- dyed goat bristles should not
- synthetic bristles tend to be more resilient and don’t usually care what you throw at them, providing they are well constructed
Whatever the brushes you are using, enjoy them fully and stay creative!!!