A makeup artist reviews the Anne Clutz's brush sets: Are they worth it?
I love brush sets. I’m addicted to them, and the bigger, the better. I’m very maarte with my personal makeup routine, and I like to believe that the brush I use affects my final face.
As with any brush set, I have three basic review guidelines; form, fiber, and function. With form, I look at the shape of the brush heads. These must be a good size to work on my face, and a good shape to apply the makeup it’s meant to apply. With fiber, I touch the actual brush heads and check if they’re dense or loose enough. I actually prefer synthetic fibers, as well-designed synthetic fibers can mimic the feel of natural fibers, minus the staining and the cruelty. Lastly, I look at the function. Does it blend if it’s meant to blend, or line as it’s meant to line? I look at a set cohesively and determine what it’s meant for. Is it meant for a full face? A basic face? Or was it just meant to supplement existing brush collections?
I’ve been using two of the Anne Clutz Brush sets for about a week now, and here’s what I think!
The Ultimate Beginner Brush Set by Anne Clutz (P700 at Kalm Cosmetics) has 10 hand-picked makeup brushes by Anne herself. It features grey-white brush heads, rose gold ferrules, and solid white handles. The wooden handles are weighty, and were a pleasant surprise for the price range. It comes with a free black cotton “Blend now, Awra later” pouch, which handily houses all 10 brushes.
The Flat Angled Kabuki Brush is what I use for foundation. I hate kabukis for liquid foundation because they tend to eat up so much product, and this one in particular is a little worse than normal. The brush head isn’t dense enough to keep the product strictly to the surface, so I find more product seeping to the center of the brush, and my wrists having to do more work in pushing foundation onto my face. I use the Powder Brush to set my foundation. It’s big enough to quickly go over my whole face, and the slight pointed shape helps me work on the cracks and contours of my face. The Blush Brush is not one of my favorites. I find it too big for my face, and the density of the fibers give me anxiety about ripping a hole in my foundation work. The Contour Brush is not my usual but was surprisingly good for blending out shadows. The shape, angle, and overall density of the brush head were perfect for contouring! I also liked the Fan Brush. The hairs were lush and soft enough to gently pick up fallout without pushing bits of pigment further into my skin.
The eye brushes of the Ultimate set were frustratingly large for me. I may have chinita eyes but I do have bigger than normal eye space, and these brushes simply overwhelmed my features. The Concealer Brush, I didn’t mind being bigger as my dark circles would have welcomed it. But the Big Blending Brush, Small Eye Shadow Blender Brush, and Eye Shadow Shader Brush were a little bit too much for me. The sizes aren’t all that bad, but having all eye shadow brushes this huge in one set limits me. I sometimes used the Blending Brush for point-highlighting, and it was pretty good for that purpose! The Small Eye Shadow Blender Brush could also double as a noseline brush. Lastly, the Small Angled Brush was pretty firm and worked well on my crepey eye skin. It was, however, a little bit too thick and difficult to use for the flick at the tail of my cat eyeliner.
I honestly have pretty mixed feelings about the Ultimate set. The uniform texture of fibers and the similar diameters of the ferrules among four face brushes, two blending brushes, the shader brush, and the concealer brush make them all feel pretty similar. They also shed on first wash, and tend not to ‘bounce back’ to their desired shape. They aren’t exactly deformed, but they do tend to look disarranged. That said, the fibers are super soft and comfy, and there are enough pieces to do a full face. I purchased the set at Kalm Cosmetics, which had a P200 markup, but this sells originally for P500 - a really sweet deal for a 10-piece beginner kit!
The Eye Essentials by Anne Clutz (P1,000 at Kalm Cosmetics) is a great supplement to the generally too-large eye brushes of the Ultimate set. It has 10 eye brushes of mixed synthetic and natural fibers, and metallic gray, wooden handles. Unlike the previous set, the brush handles are stamped with both the Anne Clutz branding as well as the brush names, which I think is a nifty guide especially for beginners. The Eye Essentials set also comes in a gold, faux leather pouch for easy storage.
Two sets of three pieces come in very similar shapes, and only differ in size. The E02 Flat Blender, E06 Shader, and E07 Flat Shader all come in the same general shape. All three have natural fibers, and give me the flexibility I was missing from the Ultimate set. These can pack on or buff out shadows pretty well! The E03 Tapered Blender, E04 Rounded Blender, and E05 Crease Brush are also all very similar, and the multiples are much appreciated for more complicated eye looks. The E05 Crease stands out as my absolute favorite, because I haven’t seen this shape in this size. With eye brushes, smaller is definitely better, and this helps me with super precise shading. I can imagine it being super useful with cut-crease looks.
The E08 Angled Shader is a shape I haven’t seen in forever, and honestly I don’t quite know how to use it. I think it’s good for transition shades, but I just use one of the blenders for that. I like the size and density of E10 Smudger - it’s good for either dark shadow or eyeliner. The E01 Liner/Brow Duo is a spoolie-angled brush duo. The spoolie doesn’t scratch, which is nice, but the angled liner lacks stiffness so I find it difficult to stamp a straight line with this. My least liked brush in the kit is the E09 Pencil. The fibers on this one (and the first six natural fiber brushes) fray out very easily, so I don’t really get a pointy pencil shape.
This kit is a little pricier at P800, but it is way more flexible and varied than the eye brushes in the limited beginner set. The mix of fibers and sizes give you way more freedom in eye looks, which is great for an eye brush kit. I think the nicer pouch also aims to justify the price difference. That said, I personally think that P800 for 10 eye brushes is a little less worth it, especially because of how quickly the hairs have frayed on my favorite pieces (E02-08).
As with the Ultimate set, I purchased this from Kalm Cosmetics so they’re more expensive than purchasing directly from Anne Clutz Brushes on Shopee. The brushes are almost always out of stock at her store though, so you may want to check out her list of accredited resellers.