Monday, October 5, 2015

MUA / MAKEUP ACADEMY ANGLED SHADOW BRUSH

          Oh boy. What can I say about this product? I think that in my twenty or so posts so far, I have generally had something positive to say about the products I've reviewed, even if I ultimately didn't like them. Not to spoil the ending, but this product doesn't fall into that category.
          Let's take a look at the packaging. Packaging is important to a lot of people. I'm not so hung up on packaging unless it is a function of the product itself. For example, those fat cylindrical containers containing some sort of powder that comes out through a brush when you twist it. In this sort of packaging you will frequently find a powder that is supposed to provide some sort of sun protection. This is a load of nonsense. No powder can substitute for a cream sunscreen. But I digress.



          The packaging of MUA/Makeup Academy's Professional Angled Shadow brush is attractive enough. It comes in a sleek black box which on one side has the picture of a rainbow of crushed eyeshadows (whoops, forgot to shoot that). On the back of the box you will find both the philosophy of Makeup Academy and instructions for use of the brush.

          From the box:
“Makeup Academy has been developed by makeup professionals and beauty experts to bring premium quality cosmetics and beauty accessories to makeup lovers everywhere.” It goes on to boast about its “expertly crafted brushes and tools.” The box also claims that the brush is made of “natural bristles” and that it's “perfect for applying a wash of color.”


         I bought this brush because I've never actually had or used an angled brush for eyeshadow. I have several all-over eyeshadow brushes and a couple of crease brushes, but I wanted to experiment with this new shape. I was trying to do my makeup for an upcoming review of a Rimmel lip gloss, but when I attempted to rub the brush into my eyeshadow, it stubbornly refused to pick up much color. I had to dip and apply several times to get any kind of wash of color. The feeling of the bristles was very scratchy and unpleasant. I don't know what kind of “natural bristles” the manufacturer used when assembling this brush but I can only imagine that it was some kind of plastic polymer derived from a natural source, like a porcupine.


         I really should have known better when I was purchasing this product. While at CVS (which is the only place I have ever seen MUA sold) I looked through the box and noticed that not only did the bristles look plastic-y and cheap, but that many of them where fraying out. But, hell. I had a $2 off coupon and the eyeshadow brushes are cheaper than the face brushes. Thank goodness I didn't get one of those.  

      
                 
        This brush reminded me of the time a few years ago when Groupon had an offer of twenty-four “professional” brushes at the discounted price of $24.99. I bought them for my mother, who is a professional makeup artist. Their original price was supposedly somewhere around $130, and I thought I was getting a great bargain. When they arrived I was really disappointed. The bristles were not very full, the bristles were of terrible quality and the handles were flimsy and cheap. I'm not totally against inexpensive brushes made in China, in fact I have finally heard about a phenomenon that has been going on for several years: Royal Care Cosmetics brushes. Several of the sets contain angled shadow brushes in the same shape as this one. I'm not certain that Royal Care Cosmetic brushes are made in China but I'm assuming they are since they are so inexpensive. These are brushes that have been compared to Sigma and have been generally very positively reviewed.

        I'd really like to know who exactly these “makeup professionals and beauty experts” are. I think they might be the same people that are trying to sell us 24 brushes worth $130 for $24.99. I'm kind of outraged that I paid $11 (with coupon) on a brush that rivals any brush you could buy at the .99¢ store in its total and complete uselessness.

         After trying this brush one time I decided to throw in the towel. The day after I used it, I needed to do my makeup again for a post, and I found myself without an all-over shadow brush for my lids since much of my makeup has been packed up, since I am moving. I made a quick trip to Riteaid since they now sell Real Techniques brushes. When I got to Riteaid I was reminded that before the Bold Metals Collection was released, Real Techniques didn't actually make an individual brush for a wash of color on lids. They have the shading brush, which I find to be a bit too short and dense for my purposes, and although now there is an oval shadow brush in the Bold Metals Collection, this Riteaid didn't sell Bold Metals. I was forced to resort to the beauty tools section, and reluctantly grabbed the Riteaid Renewal brand eyeshadow brush for a mere $3.99.



         Let me tell you, that Riteaid Renewal brush far exceeded my expectations and kicked the pants out of the MUA Angled Shadow Brush. It picked up color and dispersed it onto my lids in a smooth and uniform fashion. Its bristles are that soft synthetic fiber that bends easily. It has a slightly rubbery grip and a slightly contoured handle. While it may not be as soft as some of the fancier brushes I've run across,  I daresay it isn't too far behind my Sephora eyeshadow brush, which cost me $18. (I wanted to link you to the Riteaid website but I can't find the brush on it. However, it is most likely in your local store.)


Sorry it's dirty! I had to use it before I even thought of photographing it for a post!

         So, to sum up, while I prefer not to use crass language when describing a product, the MUA Angled Eyeshadow Brush is a steaming pile of excrement. When I experience a product this bad, it makes me distrustful of and disinterested in the entire brand. I will not be likely to try their eyeshadow palettes or lipsticks. I will never buy any of their other brushes.


         I am actually inspired to try more Riteaid Renewal brushes, and I am very much looking forward to ordering both the face kabuki set and the eye set over at Royal Care Cosmetics.

         Do you have any experience with the MUA Angled Shadow Brush? With any of their other brushes? With any of their makeup products? I'm very curious to know if anyone disagrees with me about these brushes or can actually put in a good word for MUA's eyeshadows, lipsticks, or blushes. Speaketh your mind!
        Oh, and if you have any experience using the brushes from Royal Care Cosmetics, do share! I haven't pulled the trigger on my order yet but it's practically a foregone conclusion. If you want to know what I'm talking about, watch these review videos by Amy Macedo and Miss Tiffany Kaee.

Thank you for reading!

All products in the post were purchased by me. The links I've provided are not affiliate links.

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