Current Favorites, pt 1: Ellana Cosmetics Iris Face Brushes!

It’s 2018. For the last few years since I learned putting makeup, I had been on the hunt for Philippine-made, or Philippine-based makeup, because I want to spend on affordable and locally-made products. As if that isn’t enough, I am transitioning to a cruelty-free and ethical-based mindset.

Before 2016, all I can gawk and invest at are expensive, foreign cruelty-free brands. Now, they’re great and all, but I was hoping for the availability of rising cruelty-free, vegan and ethical star brands here in the Philippines, who had been enjoying underground online cult statuses through Facebook, Instagram, or whatever social platform they’re in. Through social media, some of these brands went on to get physical–kiosks, stands, counters, stores! Even so, many physical store brands still enjoy online status and raves, as is the norm these days.

I’ll admit, I’m no online shopper, I don’t always trust pictures and have yet to dabble on it. With that out of the way, I’m glad Ellana Cosmetics, a 100% vegan, talc-free, cruelty-free and fragrance-free brand, and the Philippines’ No. 1 mineral makeup brand, as it proudly claims, is now widely available in major cities here, especially Metro Manila!

I have yet to try their actual mineral makeup range, from complexion products to color pigments, but I had been eyeing these bad girls for a while now and I am in need of new makeup brushes, as I had long overused two powder and blush brushes.

Iris Brushes

The Ellana Cosmetics brushes I got are called Iris Brush Duos. They have light-gold handled ones called Kallista Brush Duos, and both Iris and Kallista offer the same duo brush sets, the only difference are their handle colors.

They’re ‘duos’ because each large complexion brush is paired with one eye or lip brush. Each duo are already predetermined, with specific complexion brush paired with another eye/lip brush upon picking.

That’s a con already, as I can see that some purchasers would rather only want one specific brush instead of having two. Luckily, I’m easily grateful to have two more eye/multitasking brushes, so this kind of dual set is up to you.

Each Iris and Kallista duo brushes cost Php 499.00.

Ellana Cosmetics are also offering the Galatea Paddle Brush Duos and Quad (four-piece brush set), as well as a Stay Gorgeous Retractable Dual Head Brush, which is great for traveling and multi-use.

Now, presenting the duos I picked:

Iris Brush Duos.jpg

From top to bottom, with specifications:

  • Iris Flat-Top Kabuki Brush 104 – 2.5cm x 2cm, 12cm handle
  • Iris Blending Brush 105 – 1cm x 1.3cm, 13.3cm handle
  • Iris Eyeshadow Brush 106 – 1.1cm x 1.5cm, 12.3cm handle
  • Iris Angled Blush Brush 102 – 3.5cm x 3cm, 12cm handle

The BIGGEST boon on all of these brushes is that they’re synthetic and absolutely soft and fluffy to the touch, perhaps big contenders to high-end soft brushes, say like the Real Techniques Bold Metals. I don’t have other expensive brushes to compare them to, but why would I have need to expend money when these ones from Ellana are clouds packed into a makeup handle!?

They’re also not too long or big, not even the blush brush! So, perfect for traveling!

For this post, I’ll just focus on the Face Brushes, then move on to the two eyeshadow/blending brushes on the next post!

Iris Kabuki 104:

Iris Kabuki Brush 104

This was immediately the first brush I tried and found it best used for what it was intended: mineral powder makeup.

I used it on several liquid foundations and BB creams I have. I liked the soft, smooth, almost airbrushed effect it gave, but the bristles are not too densely packed, as is usually expected of most kabuki or flat-top brushes. Because of that, it predictably absorbed the product than it should be laid across my face. Consequently, even long-wearing foundations/BB creams that usually survive Philippine humidity won’t take effect, as some of it are absorbed into the brush.

Iris Kabuki Brush Toe and head shape

Don’t get me wrong, I still personally like it for complexion makeup, especially concealer work. With the tacky, under eye concealers I have, they do manage to stay longer. Unfortunately, foundations aren’t long-lasting with this Kabuki brush. I have combination-to-dry skin, with textures, so dabbing or stippling product, instead of circling and swiping across my face, results in a smooth, long-lasting finish.

(Anyone suffering with textures, bumps, dryness, etc., dab or stipple, so you don’t disturb the applied foundation!)

But as revealed, powder or pressed products are highly more effective with the Iris Kabuki Brush. So with that in mind, I use the Kabuki for blush, setting powder and, since the head shape is smaller than traditional Kabuki brushes, it’s even good for powder highlight or contour!

And since it’s so soft and fluffy, whether they’re fluid or powder products, I have recently been gravitating to the Kabuki brush to smoothen, set, blush and highlight my face makeup, all in one use! It’s almost therapeutic

Pros:

  • Soft, fluffy, synthetic
  • Best for powder or pressed products. If you have mineral powders with you, use it to literally fluff your face
  • It’s still good for fluid products, especially for smooth, airbrushed finishes
  • Affordable and travel-friendly

Cons:

  • Truly intended for powder or pressed products.
  • Not as densely-packed

Iris Blush Brush 102

Iris Blush Brush 102

The blush brush was the last Iris brush I tried. Unlike the Kabuki, though, the Angled Blush Brush proved to be more versatile and effective!

More densely-packed and firmer, but still retaining its flexibility, the Angled Blush Brush can pack color or product on the skin, so it’s best to use a light hand, or tap off excess!

And since it’s denser, I experimented on using this brush for fluid complexion products and it works just as well! However, since it’s angled and flexible, it’s prone to slide across my textured face, so I still do the dab or stipple motions all over my face. And since it’s denser than her Kabuki sister, this Blush Brush not only does give me a smoother canvas, it’s more effective in laying down the fluid product, hence making sure that product’s actual longevity takes effect!

Iris Blush Brush with protector

As a blush brush, and possibly a contour and bronzer brush, it is too dense and will have a tendency to pack too much color, if not careful. However, the best way to curb that con is to simply blend the product as much as possible with the brush! Since it’s so fluffy, you can blend the product in, or fluff the powder product away if it’s too much!

Iris Blush Brush Toe and head shape

See those densely-packed bristles? This Angled Blush Brush means business! I use the Kabuki and the Blush Brush in different occasions, or for different purposes. If I needed to pack a long-wearing foundation for long a occasion or party, it’s the Angled Blush Brush. If I just need light coverage, running errands, or need to stipple concealers, it’s the Kabuki.

Pros:

  • Soft, fluffy, synthetic
  • Has a protector
  • Denser, versatile and can pack product! Use it on powder, pressed, or fluid, it will just pack and blend it right in!
  • Affordable and travel-friendly

Cons:

  • It is still made with using it as it was intended, so over-layering fluid makeup is likely, leading to cakiness

Before concluding on their positives, another possible bane with these brushes are their white bristles. Personally, I like that they’re white so I can see how much product is on the top and it psychologically helps me ensure their clean. But that could be a negative for someone who might feel they’re dirtying their white brushes. What do you personally think of white makeup bristles?

Overall, I love the brushes for being so soft and fluffy, as I have brushes that, even at initial try, is a bit scratchy and actually irritates my skin. They’re travel-friendly and both so versatile and interchangeable! True, they performed differently than what is intended, but after getting the results from experimenting, these two Iris Face Brushes are a great team together in ensuring a smooth complexion makeup!

Interested? Look into their FAQS page!

Part 2 coming soon!

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