Collective brush review: Up & Up, Sonia Kashuk & ELF

Finding affordable brushes is something I always like to do. In fact, most of the brushes I own are very affordable or were affordable when I bought them. Some of them have gone up in price by now, but still, I think that a good brush doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. When I was in the USA last summer, I knew I would be able to hit up Target: THE place to go if you’re looking for an affordable brush. I picked up a few from their store brand Up & Up, Sonia Kashuk & ELF and here’s what I think of them.

Looking for some affordable brushes? Try your hand at these!

On my trip to target I picked up a few different brushes that I had heard lots about via the international online beauty community. I pretty much bought each brush EmilyNoel83 on Youtube loves to use. I have been watching her videos for years and I really wanted to try a few. Two of the brushes I bought on her recommendation are the ELF Studieo Small Stipple brush and Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Small eye shadow brush no. 106. She also tried some Up & Up brushes just before I left and raved about them, so I decided to try out a few of those as well.

Up & Up powder brush

The Up & Up Powder brush appealed to me the moment I saw it. It is a large, fluffy brush with a slightly tapered shape. The super soft hairs are made out of a synthetic material and the brush holds together nicely even after a few months of use and washing it. My favorite way of using this brush is to apply bronzer all over my face. I like using flat top kabuki or more pointed brushes for applying my powder, but for bronzer this works miracles. I especially love using this in combination with my Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder in Radiant Light.

Up & Up Complexion brush set: blush

I also bought a set of brushes from Up & Up of which this blush brush is the first one. This angled brush is a good brush if you like to apply blush, but can also be used for highlight and contour if you wish. It is still soft and fluffy, but this brush is a tad more dense than the powder brush. It is fairly flat and like the powder brush this holds up nicely after continuous washing. This isn’t my favorite brush in the kit and I prefer my Zoeva Luxe Sheer Cheek brush for blush application over this one, but only just.

Up & Up Complexion brush set: foundation

Why oh why? Flat foundation brushes are not my thing. This one in particular I do not like. It applies the product quite streaky as the brush is too thickly packed. As you can see in the picture where I run my finger through the hairs, there are little clusters of hairs that separate and this type of brush is just not my thing. What I do like to use a brush like this for is for applying face masks. So I chucked this where I keep my face masks as then I will make sure to get some use out of it.

Up & Up Complexion brush set: finishing

The reason I bought the set? Because it contained miniature version of that powder brush. This finishing brush is ideal for applying powder to the under eye area, which is what I have been using this for and it works an absolute charm. This one brush was well worth buying the entire set for. It is small enough to fit into my under eye area, fluffy and soft and picks up just the right amount of product for setting the under eye. Yes this brush gets not one, not two, but three thumbs up!

Up & Up Complexion brush set: concealer

This brush looks like a miniature version of the foundation brush, however, I found this to feel a lot nicer than the foundation one did. Still, these type of brushes are not my favorite, but I am hanging on to it as I think it might still be useful in the future. It is a tad bigger and more bendy than the one I own by Sigma and I prefer this one over the Sigma version of this brush, so I decided to hang on to it for now.

ELF Studio Small Stipple brush

A brush I had very high hopes for was this Small Stipple Brush from ELF (Eyes Lips Face). I already knew ELF brushes as my first forays into makeup meant I purchased a few of their brushes way back in the day and absolutely loved them. So I knew I would like it, but that it would become an instant hit? Who’d have thought! I love this brush for applying contour. It is very small, but therefore perfect for fitting into the hollow of my cheek and since this is a stipple brush you will never pick up too much product.

ELF Blending Eye brush

One can never have too many blending brushes and when I spotted this brush from ELF’s 1 dollar line, I just thought I’d give it a whirl. This isn’t the best brush ever but I do really like it, especially when you consider the price. I find it a bit too small for blending out shadow. It is more like a more stubby sized pencil brush than an actual blending brush for my tastes, but what I found this works for tremendously well is applying a smokey color on the lower lash line. And that’s what I’ve been using this for.

Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Small eye shadow brush no. 106

THE brush I wanted to pick up because of EmilyNoel83 was this small eye shadow brush. And this brush again has been a game changer. Whenever I feel like packing on some darker color in my outer corner/ outer V area I pull out this and it gives a flawless look every time. It’s tiny, which suits my eye shape. It packs on color just fine and I like using a Real Techniques base shadow brush for blending that out. So yes, this is a total winner.

Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Large Shader brush no. 203

Last but not least, I decided to buy the large shader brush. And what a gamechanger that has been. I even put it in my 2015 favorites and it defeated my trusty, but old and tired fluffy HEMA brush. Finally I found a worthy successor! This brush is fairly large, but it makes for THE BEST application for highlights on the brow bone are. The shape just works for underneath the brows. The brush is dense which packs on color, but not too much and because of the larger area you are done with one swipe. If you can get your hands on one of these brushes then I would highly recommend you pick up this one.

Do you have any affordable brush recommendations?

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