Saturday, December 19, 2009

Beauty Abroad: Brushes for Travelling

Like many of you, I'm travelling home to spend my holiday break. Anytime I pack for a trip, I have to be selective about what beauty products I'm going to bring with me - I'd love to take everything, but given my stash, that would be at least 3-4 extra large traincases worth!

A very important part of your beauty arsenal are your brushes - so I decided to let you in on what brushes I pack when travelling.

Top to bottom: MAC 129SE, Shu Uemura 20H, MAC 194SE, disposable mascara wand


For powder I pack this MAC travel sized powder brush - MAC's travel sets are available twice a year (usually fall & holiday) and are good sets for very basic travel brushes ($58.00 CA/49.50 US for 5 brushes). Sure the 129SE is kind of scratchy and sheds a bit, but it works decently - plus because of its short handle it fits into small bags nicely. 

Shu Uemura 20H ($50.00 US)

I like this brush because I can use it for blush and contouring. As you can tell by the price, it is not a travel brush but a premium, professional quality makeup artist brush. Shu Uemura's brushes are expensive but are superior in terms of materials and fabrication (superior to MAC in my opnion).  Again, the short handle fits well into small cases.


This travel concealer brush  has synthetic bristles, and it is one of the few MAC travel brushes which is NOT inferior to the full sized version. The majority of MAC travel brushes are mixes of synthetic and natural fibres whereas the full sized versions are usually 100% natural fibre (depending on the brush).  Therefore, this brush is pretty much the same as the full sized (the brush head may be a bit smaller).  Because of it's small size and pointy tip, it's good for under the eye and spot concealing. Again, this brush is available in the travel brush kits ($58.00 CA/49.50 US for 5 brushes).

Disposable Mascara Wand

Do yourself a favour - go to Sephora or any department store counter and help yourself to one (or a number) of their disposable mascara wands. Keep this for travelling to brush out your eye brows or de-clump your mascara.

Top to bottom: Lise Watier Definiton Eye Brush, MAC 226, Kevyn Aucoin Small Eye Shadow/Eyebrow, MAC 242, MAC 231, MAC 266

Lise Watier Definition Eye Brush

I got this brush on sale for $7 - 8 dollars, it turns out they were discontinuing this brush! It is a full, fluffy brush which can be used for crease defintiion or overall blending. Because I have very shallow creases I use this brush to blend out shadows only. A comparable (though more expensive) brush is MAC 224 ($33.50 CA/28.00 US).

MAC 226

This is a smaller, pointy version of the MAC 224 brush. It was a limited edition release with MAC's Blond Brunette Redhead collection and later came back with Colour Craft. Why MAC does not add this to their permanent line up astounds me. Because of its small head and pointy tip "cutting the crease" has never been easier or more precise. If you wish to sign a digital petition to bring this brush back permanently go here: .  Yes, such things exist!

Kevyn Aucoin Small Eye Shadow/Eyebrow ($25.00 US)

A small brush with a "pencil tip" head that is excellent for smoking out eyeliner, or packing on colour to small areas. I bring this with me because smokey eyes are part of my staple looks. Although it indicates it can be used on eyebrows, I wouldn't recommend it - it seems to full to be good for brows. A similar brush is MAC 219 ($27.50 CA/23.00 US). In my opinion, the Kevyn Aucoin brush is softer, smaller and therefore more precise.

MAC 242 ($27.50 CA/23.00 US)

I have a confession - the brush photographed is not really the 242, it is it's ancient ancestor the #16. A little under two decades ago I started buying MAC when they were still relatively unknown (and 100% Canadian owned!). This brush, which is pure sable, is a flat, round tip brush which is good for applying shadows densely. A comparable brush is the 242, which is good for both shadows and concealer.

MAC 231 ($21.00 CA/17.50 US)

In my opinion, this is one of the most underrated eye brushes MAC makes. It has a small, synthetic oval shaped head which is fantastic for laying down intense colour in small areas. Perfect for highlighting the tear duct, applying shadow to the lower lash line and also for packing on metallic, mineral or frost shadows. If you're one of those people who wear more than 3 shadows at a time I highly recommend this brush to you. Also, for people with shallow or non-existent creases, this is a wonderful brush to define or draw in your crease with. I can also see using this brush for concealer, gel liner or lipstick in a pinch. One of my favourite brushes ever.

MAC 266 ($23.50 CA/19.50 US)

This is a small angled brush I use for filling in my brows. It can also be used for lining the eyes with shadow, gel or even pencil liner.  Also good for lining the lower lash line.

General Comments

Although MAC's travel brush kits are significantly lower in quality than their full sized brushes, they are a great deal and practical. The nice thing about owning some travel brushes is if they happen to get lost or stolen while you're travelling, is not too big of a deal to replace them.


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