The older I get, the more I like to ‘invest’ in my beauty products. Gone are the days of me traipsing down to Boots and Superdrug with my pocket money and using it to buy as many makeup items as possible. I now spend a lot longer researching the products I buy, to make sure my money isn’t going to waste. An investment I’ve been thinking about for a while concerns makeup brushes; I’ve been loyal to RealTechniques and EcoTools since my makeup obsession began but lately I have been needing more from them. While RealTechniques brushes have always been pretty, they didn’t have the brushes I needed – I want to experiment more with my eye makeup and honestly, they don’t have many eye brushes to choose from. This is where Spectrum Collections come in, and the Spectrum Millennial Pink set in particular.
If you haven’t realised by the intro already, you might want to grab a cuppa as we’re here for the long haul. I’ve been a long time admirer of Spectrum Collections brushes; the ladies who run Spectrum are what you would call ‘Girl Bosses’. In fact, if you google ‘girl boss’ the picture of the two of them should be one of the top results as they began Spectrum in their garage in Wales and now have a shop in Carnaby (which you 100% need to visit!) They even managed to pick themselves up after a disastrous warehouse fire last year and keep the amazing releases flowing. Not only did I want to invest in Spectrum for the brushes, but also so I could support a British business.
Initially I was only looking for eye brushes, but then the bank holiday sale hit, and it got me good. The set I was going for was reduced to £20 and had 8 eye brushes in, but there was a Millennial Pink set, the Ultimate 30 Piece Set which had 20% off, and then a further 15% off with student discount. This set is usually £99, which as you can imagine for a student returning to uni is hard to justify. With all the discounts applied the set came down to £68, which takes each brush to around £2 each, see: a much more justifiable purchase. (These deals aren’t on all year round, which my bank account is thankful for, but with BlackFriday on the way I’m going to start saving up in the hope I can nab some Ariel and Minnie goodies!) It was still quite a lot of money to drop on brushes, but after the week from hell I was glad to have a pretty pink box arrive fulled to the brim with Spectrum goodness.
Most beauty deliveries have aesthetically pleasing packaging, however Spectrum take packaging to a whole other level. My new brushes came with their own dust bag, like an expensive handbag would; the attention to detail is impeccable. Inside the dust bag was a cute pink pouch with enough space to fit all my new brushes, meaning I needn’t worry about finding some way to transport them all to uni. It feels like such a luxurious purchase without the MAC price tag.
Spectrum split their brushes into three sections: A for Application, B for Blending and C for Contouring. To make life easier I’ve decided to split this review into eyes and face, and from there eyes, ABC and face ABC – it will make sense as I go along. Most of the photos work L-R in terms of which brush I’m talking about, while for the flatlays I will describe each one to help!
For the application of eye makeup, Spectrum offer a large selection of brushes – I mean almost so many that it can be quite overwhelming to work out which one you really want. The A09 brush is an angled eyeliner brush, you can’t really see it above but it has a slight angle on it. While I usually opt for a felt tip eyeliner such as the Pixi Weylie liner, I have given this a try and I can’t get along with it. For me the bristles are not compact, nor thin enough for me to get it to work with my gel liners to create a thin line and wing. The A16 is a precision crease brush; I very rarely try a cut crease look, but this is the brush I prefer to ‘cheat’ and cover the eye with concealer. The bristles are stiff enough to hold their shape and apply precisely, you can also apply highly pigmented shades with this as it can really pack colour on. For a small fluffy pencil brush the A12 brush is one of the best. Whenever I blend out my crease, I usually end up with product a lot higher than I want, however this brush means you can keep colour exactly where you placed it. It’s also perfect for an inner corner highlight.
The A19 is a fine detailing brush, I tend to use this in my inner corner for glitter or highlight, though I can see it being useful to place product under the bottom lash line. While the A14 is meant to be a brow definer, it is a little large for filling in my brows, so I use it to conceal around my brows if I’m going for an ‘instaglam’ look. At the moment I live for smudging colour under my lower lash line, I’ll be transitioning from blues and purples to burgundy (MAC Cranberry in particular,) in time for autumn. The brush I’ve been using for this is the A13 short smudge brush, the bristles move just enough for you to diffuse the colour seamlessly. The brush I actually use for my brows is the A17 angled brow brush, this will most likely become the most used brush from this set and I’m already thinking about buying a second one!
Continuing on with the application brushes we have the A07, the colour application brush. While this won’t pack on the colour the same way a flat brush would it gives a nice wash, which is more my day to day go to. I also think this brush is a great blending brush too, it’s fluffy enough and saves space if you’re travelling. The A06 large fluffy shader is another that can be for application or blending. It’s certainly large, especially for my eyes which are rather small, but it gets the job done easily. A different use for this is highlight, if you like a cream or liquid highlight this is large enough to blend it in naturally. The A08 is a medium fluffy shader, the younger sister of the A06 for sure, it’s more an application brush than a blending brush though because of it’s smaller stature. The final in application, though I wouldn’t say it’s really used for application (or any of the other categories,) is the A11 spooly. There isn’t too much to say about this as it really is just your generic brow and lash comb.
There last four brushes are a mix of blending and contouring brushes. I actually already owned a C06 tulip eye contour brush as I got one in a Birchbox last year. This is brush I imagine I will purchase another couple of because they’re so good at blending everything out, which is something I often struggle with. The B06 is a tall tapered blender brush, these are what I would call your typical blending brush, the only issue I have with it is that it’s not as soft as the others on my sensitive eyes. The C05 small domed contour, and has super soft bristles. As I am no eye contouring pro, it’s more of a blending brush for me. The final eye brush is the B04 small angled shader, I used to love these brushes (back when I was adventurous with makeup!) for blending out the crease at an angle, hopefully I’ll start doing this more often.
Now we’ve finished going through the eye brushes we can move onto the face brushes, I’d suggest going to get a second cuppa and perhaps a snack as there’s fifteen of these to go through!
Back again to the application brushes, I’m starting with the A10 small fan brush, I have another already thanks to its inclusion in a beauty box. These are perfect for applying a light dusting of highlighter to the tops of my cheekbones and down the centre of my nose. Now I have two I’m going to use this one for precision powder, as my dry skin doesn’t need much or it cakes up! For concealer I’ve been using the A18 oval concealer brush, it is flat which means you can get underneath the eyes and around the nose. It’s also quite good for cream contouring; the thin top means you can draw thin lines on the nose and use the rest of the brush to stripe product down the hollows of your cheeks.
The A01 brush is your large domed powder brush, the one I use to dust finishing powders over my face, my old RealTechniques one was nowhere near this soft and often left me with areas more powdered than others. The A15 is apparently a lip liner brush, while I would usually use this brush for lipstick application instead. I have also used it for concealing around my lips, recently the darker more autumnal shades have been bleeding. The A03 oval foundation brush is your typical foundation brush, the kind I thought I’d use forever – that was until I found buffing brushes.
More application brushes: the A05 is classed as a precision blush brush, but I love these angled brushes for contour as I am somewhat of a novice. I just find they have the perfect shape for getting into the hollows of my cheeks. The A04 tapered finishing brush, another duplicate that I’m very happy to have for my under eye powder needs. This is also a brush I might use for contouring as again, its shape fits the hollows of my cheeks nicely. The A02 angled foundation brush is my current go to product for base product application. I find this sort of brush shape gives you a slightly lighter coverage than a traditional foundation brush, which is what I’m going for until the wintery skin kicks in.
Onto blending brushes we have the B02 domed buffer, another for my foundation needs; a super soft buffing brush for a seamless base. The B03 baby buffer is the only brush I’ve been using to blend in my concealer as it leaves no trace and the flat top allows you to get under the eyes. The last blending brush is the B01 flat top buffer, creates an airbrushed look in double quick time – I’m not sure it’s overtaken the speed of my BeautyBlender yet but it gives a nice finish nonetheless.
We’re into the home stretch with the contour brushes, the first being the C03 tulip powder brush. As this is domed at the top you can be precise with your product placement so it’s a versatile brush – I like it for contour, blush and powder, it really depends which other brushes are clean. The C01 large fan brush sadly arrived slightly crushed but still usable. I’m really unsure how to use this, I’ve thought about contouring but it just seems so thick, perhaps for contouring the chin and body though; this could be a winner. The C02 flat top contour brush is a new type of brush to me, but I already love it! The dense bristles and flat top make it great to cream contour with and then blend out. Last but certainly not least is the C04 angled powder brush, probably the brush with the biggest surface area for powder, if you powder your whole face this is the brush you need.
I’d like to give you a big congratulations if you made it to the end of this post as it was one of my longer ones. The Spectrum Millennial Pink set was definitely a good investment, and if you need some new brushes you need to check out their collections. I have my eye on the Minnie Mouse camera bag and brush set because firstly, the bag is amazing and secondly, have you seen those brushes? (It’s out of stock at the moment but I would really like it to come back soon!) I know they’re not particularly cheap but in the grand scheme of things these brushes will last me years and they’re vegan and cruelty free which was of great importance to me.
I thought I would end this post with the five out of this set I would recommend to you to get first, if you can only get a few at a time. The five you need are: A02 angled foundation brush, A07 colour application brush, A13 short smudge brush, C03 tulip powder brush and C06 tulip eye contour brush. These are my current ride or die brushes – the ones I rely on to help me look acceptable on a day to day basis.
You can buy the Spectrum Millennial Pink set from the Spectrum Collections website for £99. If you use this link you get 15% off and I will get 300 points to use towards a future purchase – this is a referral code, NOT an affiliate code. I make no money from this purchase.