I’ve been debating with myself whether to write a blog post about something that has really been grinding on me over the past week or so. After much toying with my ‘should I, shouldn’t I?’ debate, I’ve made the choice to set this post to public in the hope of inspiring better judgement calls for you than my own proved to be.
If you aren’t a regular reader of my blog or don’t know me from social media, allow me to tell you a little about myself: I’m a professional makeup artist by trade and a beauty writer in my spare time, I also teach makeup to aspiring makeup artists and seasoned professionals alike. I have worked for the likes of Illamasqua, and I currently work as the in-house makeup artist at my family-run photography studio alongside my own personal undertakings. I specialise in beauty shoots and I’m self-taught in the art of prosthetic and special effects makeup. I’m very much enthralled by the world of makeup and take my profession extremely seriously right down to the fine print on my makeup artist insurance certificates.
I recently placed an order with the popular makeup brush company, Crownbrush, for an eye shadow palette, a blusher palette and a lipstick palette along with a serious helping of brushes for my makeup kit. As I’ve ordered brushes from Crownbrush before, I knew the quality could be hit and miss depending on the style of brush but thought I’d nailed my preferences with the brushes that I chose.
The palettes and brushes arrived and all looked very well – the palettes looked highly pigmented and the makeup brushes felt luxuriously soft, I was sure my clients would enjoy being pampered with them.
Imagine my utter disappointment when upon using the palettes, I found that the pigments were less than desirable and the brushes were losing hairs here, there and everywhere. I was left with uneven application of product and a client full of hairs on their face.
Let me break it down and explain the issues I have with each product.
The Professional 88 Palette 01 £22.99
This palette may look pretty impressive to the naked eye, but upon use, you will surely find that some of the colours are so sheer that they don’t even offer the slightest hint of colour when swept over the lids. From crumbly textures to uneven application, this palette disappointed me from the get go. This palette is also marketed as a ‘matte’ palette despite the majority of the colours having a frosted finish. Upon further inspection into this palette, I was horrified to find that this isn’t actually a product made by Crownbrush, but a product mass produced and sold out to several companies from a different source. Notice the lack of branding on the packaging? I actually came across this pretty damning article over on Kevin James Bennett’s blog that explains the whole debacle really well and delves into the safety of the makeup too.
The Blusher Palette £10.99
Marketed as a “10 matte and shimmer blush palette can be used as contour, bronze and blush in colours from light pink to deep dark pink as well as a couple of neutral shades perfect for adding depth and giving a polished finish to any make-up look. This palette is presented in a matte black case ideal for travelling and easy storage and cleaning.” Looks great in the palette, but doesn’t transcribe well onto the face at all. See the dark contour colour that looks a little like MAC’s Harmony blush that you think will look amazing and is a fraction of the price? It doesn’t. It’s shoddy quality and can hardly be seen on the skin without a laborious session of building, building and more building.
The 32 Lip Colour Palette £19.99
“The Crownbrush 32 Colour Lipstick Black Matte Palette is designed for professional make-up artists and the amateur which contains both lip stick and lip gloss texture either blend together or wear alone with long-lasting lip effects. Shades range from opalescent natural glossy colours, bright pinks, beautiful berry shades, a highlighter and more!” This palette certainly isn’t designed for professional makeup artists. The lovely looking nude shades to the left are in fact so nude that they cannot even be seen. Not unless you want to gouge half the pan out trying to achieve the colour on the palette.
The brushes that I ordered were:
- BK38 Deluxe Crease
- SS025 Syntho Brow Duo
- SS021 Syntho Blending Fluff
- SS027 Syntho DLX Blending Crease
- SS011 Deluxe Oval Shadow
- SS004 Deluxe Oval Concealer
- SS013 Deluxe Angle Brush
- C139 Stiff Tapered Crease
- SS020 Syntho Precision Crease
- BK26 Badger Powder Dome
- BK09 Deluxe Oval Foundation
- C250-1 Taklon Liner
Now, some of the brushes I like and I have used before, such as the Syntho Brow Duo which I find fabulous for brows on the go. But some of the brushes have been a catastrophic let down and left more than just a dent in my bank account. I’ll break down the problem brushes below.
The BK26 Badger Powder Dome £15.79
Crown says: “Power dome brush which is perfect for applying mineral, loose powder. If you used a puff to apply your powder, use this brush to sweep away any excess.”
Rachael says: Terribly rough brush that feels less luxurious and more like bramble. Sheds excessively and causes clients to appear like they’ve sprouted a spontaneous beard.
The C139 Stiff Tapered Crease £3.09
Crown says: “Stiff Tapered Crease.”
Rachael says: Stubblin’ ‘ell. Sheds horribly with the tiniest black hairs which are horrendous to try get off. The brush splays quickly and feels like terrible quality. Cheap price, cheap quality.
The SS013 Deluxe Angle Brush £9.69
Crown says: “Angled blusher brush to accentuate bone structures. Apply a sweep of powdered blush or bronzer on the natural contours on the cheeks.”
Rachael says: Deluxe Schmeluxe. Another terribly scratchy brush which frays horrendously and loses more hair than my long-haired chihuahua before summer.
My total order came to just over £200 as I doubled up on each brush and added the largest brush cleaner to my order (which I don’t really care for either but there isn’t enough room for more negativity in this post). After complaining to Crownbrush and receiving a response, I was told I could return the faulty brushes and if Crownbrush deemed them to be faulty, I’d be offered a refund. Unfortunately, as a busy artist with no alternative brushes, this wasn’t an option for me – it was do or die. I’m not sure which of those I’m currently achieving. Here is the response I received:
“Thank you so much for your email and I’m sorry to hear that you were not happy with your recent order. Here at Crownbrush we pride ourselves on the quality of our products and we have never received such complaint before about our makeup palettes. Our palettes are used worldwide by TV Studios, Makeup Artists, Beauty Bloggers and the Royal Opera House and we have never received anything but positive feedback. Customer reviews can be read by following this link: - https://www.trustpilot.co.uk/review/crownbrush.co.uk.”
To be honest, being made out to be a liar from the first response kind of grated on me and I’m a little confused as to how Crownbrush haven’t come across the negative complaints and feedback which I encountered on their own link and also through my leisurely browse through social media. After a couple more email exchanges, I was pretty much told hard luck and that Crownbrush couldn’t help me any further. I also brought up the points that Kevin makes on his blog of which Crownbrush skimmed over.
I am absolutely disappointed with both the products and the service that I have received from Crownbrush – a company that is trying to be at the top of the ladder in the makeup industry. Unfortunately, it would seem like they’re heading more towards the slippery snakes than the climbing ladders with the response to this particular issue. Fellow makeup artists, please consider your options before investing your time and money in a cheaper product. In my professional opinion, and the opinion of many other bloggers, Crownbrush palettes have no place in a professional, quality kit. But don’t just take my opinion for it, check out these links for more information:
© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2014. All images excluding header courtesy of Crownbrush.