Wayne Goss The Anniversary Set brushes #1- #5 (bottom to top)I've now had over a week to use and collect my thoughts about the Wayne Goss Anniversary Set. The Anniversary Set, which as the name suggests, celebrates two years of Wayne Goss's brushes. This limited edition set ($225.00 US), which is hand crafted by artisans in Japan, is identical to the original Collection with two exceptions. The first being that Goss enlarged brush #1 a slanted, duo fibre foundation brush by 4x. The second being that The Anniversary Set includes an updated (and now permanent) version of brush #5, a pencil tipped eye brush. Since I don't own the original Collection, this review will not address the differences between the new #1 & #5 and the original versions.
Overall my impression is that the natural hairs used in the brushes are of an exceptionally fine and soft quality (goat and squirrel) and the shapes are very well formed and symmetrical. Wayne Goss states that it takes over 20 people to complete one brush and you can see that care in the product - there are no wayward hairs or loose ferrules here. The handles are also of a good length and diameter (medium) and fit well in the hand. The all black ferrules and handles with Goss's name lazered on in fuschia add a stylish touch.
As I stated in my first impressions post, the Anniversary version of the #1 is 4x bigger than the original #1. Even at 4x the size, the #1 seems average size for a foundation brush. It's a great brush to buff out and stipple on foundation, though I would recommend you begin your application by using your fingers to loosely spread your foundation out (to save on product, as a dense brush like this will soak up product.) As an aside, I tried this brush to apply loose powder and it does it like a dream, giving good coverage and buffing it into the skin. The slanted shape also makes this great for getting into corners like the side of the nose. Grade: A
Brush #2 is a small domed, tear drop shaped brush which is good for precision powdering, highlighting or contouring. Out of all the pointed/tear drop brushes I own (including Hakuhodo J5521, Hakuhodo + Sephora Pro and Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt), this is my favourite powder brush for the under eye area. Super soft and just the right size to make spot powdering easy, fast and fool proof. My favourite brush of the set. Grade: A+
Brush #3 and #4 are pointed creases brushes, #3 is larger and thicker and both brushes are for applying washes and blending. Both of these brushes are of excellent quality, and both do their intended job well, though I find the inclusion of both to be redundant (more on that later.) In terms of quality though, both are excellent. Grade: A.
Brush #5 is the other new addition to the set and will be a permanent replacement for the old #5. It is a small, finely pointed pencil brush which can be used to cut a crease or line the eyes. This brush is finely pointed but not scratchy and versatile. Grade: A
Brush #6 is Goss's version of the MAC 217, made for applying washes and blending. It has a longer cat's tongue shape and is relatively floppy. I like this brush but I don't love it - it is a great brush for blending, but I prefer the crease brushes for applying washes of colour. I find that the #6 is less precise than I want (even for soft washes), and I have a harder time controlling the placement of shadow. Part of this is related to my eye shape - with my very shallow creases, I need to be very precise where shadow goes or it ends up taking up too much real estate on my lids. People with larger lids and deeper sockets may not experience this problem with this brush. Grade: B+
Brush #7 is a minuscule flat shader which is excellent for highlighting around your tear ducts. Goss also maintains this brush is good for brows and for applying lipstick but I did not try either. If you do a lot of precision eye shadow application, this would be a great tool to help you fit multiple colours on your lid. Grade: A
I have to admit when I saw this tiny push liner I wasn't convinced it would be all that useful. Like Goss suggested in his video, I used this brush to tight line my eyes with powder and I'm happy to report it does this job exceptionally well without scratching or poking your eyes. Definitely a unique brush and a great addition to my kit. Grade: A
There is no doubt in my mind that Wayne Goss has created brushes of an exceptionally high quality in The Anniversary Set. Because of the high quality, I believe that the exceptional price can be justified because if cared for correctly, this set will last a life time.
My only criticisms about this set is the inclusion of two crease brushes (#3 and #4). As someone who has very shallow creases and prefers to apply shadows with flat shaders, I find two crease brushes redundant, particularly when there are other brushes included that can do aspects of what the crease brushes are designed to do (deposit colour in the crease and blend). Brush #5 can be used to cut a crease beautifully and #6 is described by Goss as primarily a blending brush. Another argument for including a flat shader is that none of the shadow brushes (beside the #5 and #7) can really densely pack colour on. To further this argument, brushes #5 and #7 are so small that they really aren't practical to use for that purpose. If I were given the chance to redesign the set I would trade brush #4 for a flat shader.
My final thoughts are that this set is an excellent investment. The quality. luxury and functionality is there, the only thing that holds this set back from being perfect in my eyes is the choice of brushes. for versatility I would have liked to see a flat shader.
Overall Grade (as a set): A-