Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Gilded Eight

It was on my wishlist in December. Come March, I cracked. Yep, we're talking about the Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set. I was doing well resisting it, telling myself I had more than enough brushes, but one random night (no doubt watching YouTube tutorials or reading beauty reviews), I came this close to purchasing the Louise Young Super Foundation Brush LY34 from Beauty Bay. Considering it was about $48, I thought to myself ... why not pay an extra $50 and have a whole set of brushes? The same set that I'd been coveting for months? The rest, as they say, is history ...

l-r: 317 Wing Liner, 231 Luxe Petit Crease, 227 Luxe Soft Definer, 142 Concealer Buffer, 110 Face Shape, 127 Luxe Sheer Cheek, 102 Silk Finish, 106 Powder

Top to bottom: 142 Concealer Buffer, 227 Luxe Soft Definer, 231 Luxe Petit Crease, 317 Wing Liner

l-r: 110 Face Shape, 127 Luxe Sheer Cheek, 102 Silk Finish, 106 Powder


The Rose Golden Luxury Set consists of 8 brushes housed in a dark brown faux leather makeup bag:

  • 106 Powder (Taklon)
  • 102 Silk Finish (Taklon)
  • 127 Luxe Sheer Cheek (Goat)
  • 110 Face Shape (Taklon)
  • 142 Concealer Buffer (Taklon)
  • 227 Luxe Soft Definer (natural-synthetic hair mix)
  • 231 Luxe Petit Crease (natural-synthetic hair mix)
  • 317 Wing Liner (Nylon)

It wasn't until I saw the brushes in person that I understood they weren't all synthetic as I originally thought. The ones with white hairs (labelled "Luxe") are either made entirely of natural hairs (i.e. Luxe Sheer Cheek) or a mix of natural and synthetic bristles (Luxe Soft Definer and Luxe Petit Crease). The rest are made of synthetic taklon bristles (same as Real Techniques), except the Wing Liner which is made of nylon. I don't think there's a significant difference in softness between the brushes with synthetic bristles and natural hairs, though I do prefer the look of the white-haired Luxe brushes. Natural hairs are usually better for powders, while synthetic brushes perform well for both powders and creams.

Overall, this brush set is great value, especially for makeup beginners looking to build a brush collection from scratch but not wanting to stretch the budget. I paid just under $94 for this set, which works out to be $11.75 per brush, not including the makeup bag which may or may not be added incentive to purchase.

The quality seems comparable to Sigma (at least compared with the two Sigma brushes I own, the F82 Round Top Kabuki and F84 Angled Top Kabuki), though the feel and performance of the bristles remind me a lot of Real Techniques. The closest thing Sigma offers in terms of a whole set is probably something like the 7-piece Mrs. Bunny Travel Kit, though that's more expensive, with all synthetic brushes and shorter handles. The Zoeva brushes feel sturdier, better made and more expensive than Real Techniques, with the smooth rounded black handles, engraved rose gold lettering and rose gold ferrules. For the price, I'm not sure if your money could buy you anything better. Sure, Real Techniques might still be cheaper, but they're not as aesthetically pleasing as the Zoeva brushes, you're not getting any brushes with natural hairs (whether or not that's a good thing, depending on your preferences), and you'd have to buy at least two separate sets to achieve the mix of face and eye brushes in the Rose Golden Luxury Set.

Having said that, if you already have a load of Real Techniques brushes like me, you may find a lot of the brushes in the Rose Golden Luxury Set superfluous. I've included some comparisons in this post so those that have yet to bite the bullet with the Zoeva set can see if it's worth the splurge.

l-r: Real Techniques Multi Task Brush, Real Techniques Blush Brush, Zoeva Luxe Sheer Cheek

l-r: Real Techniques Multi Task Brush, Real Techniques Blush Brush, Zoeva Luxe Sheer Cheek

There isn't anything like the Luxe Sheer Cheek from Real Techniques that I own, but the Multi Task Brush and the Blush Brush are similar in function. Real Techniques did recently release the Sculpting Brush which has a similar angled shape, though it looks like a diagonally shaved Expert Face Brush, rather than a brush designed to give a sheer finish for powder products. Despite its name, the Luxe Sheer Cheek can still pack a punch in terms of distributing pigment, especially for products with stronger colour payoff. SUQQU Cheek Brush this ain't. This brush was the one I was most excited about and its inclusion was the strongest incentive for me to purchase the set. It's been my favoured tool to apply blush since the set arrived, as you might be able to tell with how dirty it is. It's excellent at simultaneously sculpting the face while giving it some colour.

Top to bottom: Real Techniques Buffing Brush, Zoeva Silk Finish

l-r: Zoeva Silk Finish, Real Techniques Buffing Brush

l-r: Zoeva Silk Finish Brush, Real Techniques Buffing Brush

These two for me are pretty much indistinguishable. They are extremely similar in appearance, cut and function. The Zoeva is slightly more rounded in shape and firmer to the touch, but in terms of how they apply liquid foundation, there's not much difference. Considering the Buffing Brush was a favourite of mine for years, I'm glad I now have a very close alternative without having to buy a backup Core Collection.

Top to bottom: Real Techniques Powder Brush, Zoeva Powder

l-r: Zoeva Powder, Real Techniques Powder Brush

l-r: Zoeva Powder, Real Techniques Powder Brush

The Real Techniques Powder Brush is quite a bit bigger than the Zoeva version. The density of bristles is about the same. The Zoeva is maybe slightly floppier. I've traditionally neglected the Real Techniques Powder Brush since I don't powder that often and I've always found it to be intimidatingly large, but this past month I've rediscovered it and have found myself loving it. It's its very largeness that makes it enjoyable to use. The Zoeva version is better for more targeted application and closer to the Real Techniques Multi Task or Blush Brush, both of which can be used for all-over face powders, though I prefer to use them for liquid foundation and powder blush respectively.

Top to bottom: Real Techniques Contour Brush, Zoeva Face Shape

l-r: Zoeva Face Shape, Real Techniques Contour Brush

l-r: Real Techniques Contour Brush, Zoeva Face Shape

Zoeva Face Shape is one of the more unique and specific brushes in the set, though the Real Techniques Contour Brush is basically a larger, slightly tapered version of it. The Face Shape is essentially a smaller version of the Zoeva Silk Finish, with the same rounded kabuki shape. My favourite contouring brush is the Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt, though I use it only for powders. I don't often attempt to contour with cream products (likely because I don't have many cream contouring products to begin with), but I feel the Zoeva Face Shape would be ideal. Its smaller size and relative firmness allows for more precise placement and ensures that product is well blended but not buffed away to near nothingness.

Top to bottom: Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush, Zoeva Concealer Buffer

l-r: Zoeva Concealer Buffer, Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush

These two are another close match like the Real Techniques Buffing Brush and Zoeva Silk Finish. The Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush is slightly larger than the Zoeva Concealer Buffer. It's also softer and the bristles aren't as densely packed as the Concealer Buffer. Both function similarly in terms of applying and blending out concealer to brighten under the eyes, diminish the appearance of blemishes and neutralise areas of redness. I prefer the Real Techniques as it's not as firm as the Zoeva and performs better on the face, but the Zoeva is still a very close alternative.

l-r: Zoeva 227 Luxe Soft Definer, Sigma E25, MAC 217, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush

l-r: Zoeva 227 Luxe Soft Definer, Sigma E25, MAC 217, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush

l-r: Zoeva 227 Luxe Soft Definer, Sigma E25, MAC 217, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush

The Zoeva 227 Luxe Soft Definer seems to be one of the brand's best known and celebrated brushes. Said to be a dupe of the MAC 217 Blending Brush (or at least a good, affordable alternative), it's made of a mix between natural and synthetic hairs. I believe the MAC 217 is made of goat hair, though surprisingly it was hard to find confirmation from an official source online.

I have several brushes that have a similar shape and functionality to the MAC 217, with a couple of them touted to be dupes. The Sigma E25 is another popular pick, also made out of goat hair. The closest thing Real Techniques offers is the Base Shadow Brush, which is entirely synthetic. I still rate the MAC 217 as the best and despite three similar brushes, there's no competition. The Sigma is probably the closest, but I still prefer the MAC as it's slightly larger, fluffier but still very soft, packs on more pigment and blends better. The Zoeva was at times a little scratchy on my eyelids, but nothing unbearable. Since it's partially comprised of natural hairs, I'm hoping it will get better with continued use and washes.

l-r: Zoeva Wing Liner, Zoeva Luxe Petit Crease, Zoeva Luxe Soft Definer, Zoeva Concealer Buffer

Along with the Face Shape, the Luxe Petit Crease is one of the more specialised brushes in the set. I honestly don't have a brush like it. The most similar would probably be e.l.f. Essential Blending Eye Brush, though the Zoeva is thinner and longer. It's designed to be used in the crease to softly define the socket and blend any shade transitions. As I have monolids and therefore no crease/socket, I can't use it for that sole purpose. Sure, I could always experiment with "cheating" a crease and literally drawing one on, but I've never found a way to do that without it being unflattering or bizarre-looking. Certainly not without resorting to false eyelashes to tie it all together. I subscribe to the Asian eyeshadow technique of putting the "crease" colour (usually a medium neutral) all over the lid and up higher in a rounded shape across the eye so that it's visible when the eyes are opened, then placing and blending the "lid" colour (a deeper shade) from the upper lash line upwards so that it just peeks through when the eyes are opened. Despite not having a crease, I can see the Luxe Petit Crease being useful for more precision work with eyeshadow, especially darkening the outer-V of the eye and blending away any harsh lines.

l-r: Real Techniques Brow Brush, Zoeva Wing Liner

Finally, we have the Wing Liner brush, which is most comparable to the Real Techniques Brow Brush. The Brow Brush is considerably longer and thicker, with the Zoeva being shorter, thinner and more fine. I tried the Wing Liner once and it was fine, but I rarely (i.e. never) use angled eyeliner brushes. I can't be bothered. Most days, I just freehand with a liquid eyeliner pen like my Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner and hope for the best. If there's a super special occasion that calls for more symmetry (we're talking weddings and up), I might use sticky tape as a guide and a proper liner brush. In any event, the Zoeva version gives a lot more precision and control than Real Techniques. Maybe because the Real Techniques, as its name suggests, isn't designed for eyeliner. They have a Pixel Point Eyeliner Brush supposedly for that purpose, which is shaped in a thin straight line and is about the last brush I'd reach for to draw my eyeliner.


l-r: 317 Wing Liner, 231 Luxe Petit Crease, 227 Luxe Soft Definer, 142 Concealer Buffer, 110 Face Shape, 127 Luxe Sheer Cheek, 102 Silk Finish, 106 Powder

So there we have it. My brush collection is now bursting at the seams with the addition of the Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set. Time to start burning my larger candles fast so I can empty them and transform them into more spacious makeup brush holders. Overall, I'd say my favourites and most used of the set are the Silk Finish, Luxe Sheer Cheek and Luxe Soft Definer. I like that there are a couple more specialised brushes included, like the Face Shape for contouring and the Luxe Petit Crease for more intricate eyeshadow work. I probably won't use the Wing Liner though it's a perfectly functional brush, and I prefer my Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush to the very similar Concealer Buffer. The Zoeva Powder Brush is fine, but there are at least three brushes made by Real Techniques (Multi Task, Blush and Powder) that are worthy substitutes. Still, this is a reasonably priced, thoughtfully assembled starter set with well made, high quality, beautiful-looking brushes. Rose gold continues to have its moment.

As a side note, I recently just hit 5000 followers on Bloglovin'. To everyone who reads, comments, "saves", and otherwise supports and engages with my blog, thank you for helping me reach this blogging milestone!

29 comments:

  1. So jealous, I need these brushes in my life! They are gorge!
    Rachel Coco

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    1. They're definitely experiencing significant popularity in the 'beauty world' right now and are very pleasing to look at! :)

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  2. I've been lusting after these as well and really love them especially that I'm in need of new brushes but I also want some real techniques as I don't have any either. I'm not sure but I'll keep both in mind when I do decide to buy.

    Jackie | fashionxfairytale |

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    1. Real Techniques is cheaper but not as aesthetically pleasing. Their brushes however are amazing and they wash very well. I've had mine for years and they don't shed.

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  3. Wow what a review!! Its nice to see a comparison between both brands and the brushes one can offer I still need to expand my RT brush collection as I only own the Expert Face brush. As for Zoeva I own the complete eye set and can't find a substitute! I definitely will purchase both RT and Zoeva face brushes to try them out as they seem to be both great quality (and I want more face brushes) haha.
    Congrats on your 5000! Well deserved :)

    Mary Bloomy

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    1. Thank you so much! :)

      Yes, definitely check out more face brushes from Real Techniques. Some of my absolute favourites are the Buffing Brush (from the Core Collection), Multi Task Brush (from the Travel Essentials set) and the Deluxe Crease Brush (from the Starter Set). The powder brush is fantastic as well!

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  4. Oh they all look so pretty!! thank you for the in-depth review!
    I have two of the 227 Zoeva brush which I use daily to apply and blend eye shadow, they are great for the price.. I have yet to try their face brushes though, I've been eyeing the 127 and 102 for a long time..
    On the other hand, I have the Louise Young LY34 ( mainly because of Vivianna from Viviannadoesmakeup , lol ) but don't like it at all. The brush is no doubt well made and very sturdy, but it doesn't wash very well imo and it makes foundation looking streaky :/ A friend of mine also dislikes the Louise Young one for the same reason.. For your future consideration ( just in case.. :p ) If you like to buff in your foundation, then I think LY34 might not be for you.

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    1. You probably don't need the Silk Finish (102) if you have the RT Buffing Brush. I think you have a similar buffing brush from Ecotools as well from memory. The Luxe Sheer Cheek however (127) I do recommend, especially if you don't have many angled brushes. I've been enjoying the 227 - it performs pretty well and is close to the MAC 217 though not quite there :p

      I did recall your review on the Louise Young brush and how you weren't all that enthused. Makes me feel better for not purchasing it! The shape seems pretty unusual and I can see how it might result in some streaking. Guess I'll stick with my Real Techniques Multi Task Brush (still loving that one for liquid foundation!).

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  5. These brushes look gorgeous!!! I also use my candles from Bath & Body Works as well for brush holders when they are all done being used :)

    Kayla
    Sheer Beauty Blog

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    Replies
    1. Haha good recycling idea! I wish we would get Bath & Body Works here in Australia!

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  6. YAY! So glad to see that you've jumped on the Zoeva brush band wagon! I've order now many single eye brushes and a few face brushes and they're all fantastic! I would love to have the petit crease and cheek brush you got in the set. I personally don't own any sigma and like 2 mac eye brushes so these are really been on par to Real techniques in terms of what I've used. My favorite thing about these brushes are the size, I find that too many of the face brushes from sigma/mac are really large for my face/features and zoeva's are just nice. Great in depth review and comparison! Loved reading this post (although I have to tell you that I cringed a bit when I saw that your brushes are dirty in your photo! I wash my eye brushes after every use so I'm not used to seeing dirty eye brushes :p)

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    1. Haha sorry Sharlynn! Probably should have given these brushes a wash before photographing them and permanently cementing their dirtiness on the interwebs :p I agree that Zoeva's face brushes can be better suited for those not wanting overly large brushes. For example the RT Blush Brush is huuuggeee. The Luxe Sheer Cheek is much more manageable for blush :)

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  7. Congrats on 5000, you deserve it!
    I love the comparisons in your photos, making me see I really do not NEED the Zoeva brushes, I merely WANT them. Badly.... :)

    RachelShuchatMakeup

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    1. Thank you Rachel! :)

      Haha, I know the feeling. Who *needs* makeup brushes anyway, right? ;)

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  8. I absolutely love this set :) and the other Zoeva brushes I have - they're the ones I reach for every day and they don't look too shabby on the dressing table either ;) xx

    Magpie Jasmine | Zoeva Brush Set Giveaway

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    1. It's a gorgeous looking set for sure! I really love the contrast of the shiny rose gold ferrules (but thankfully not overly shiny that they look cheap) and the matte black handles. Really well done on Zoeva's part!

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  9. Congrats on 5k - you definitely deserve it because it's clear to see that your posts all have a lot of thought behind them! xo

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    1. Thank you Jennie for your kind words! <3

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  10. I love Zoeva Brushes and think the price is great regarding the quality and the beautiful design. The Rose Golden Luxury Set has been on my wishlist for a very long time and I think I will buy it soon :)

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    1. I agree, though I haven't had them for all that long, the quality definitely seems to be there and it's great value in comparison to competitors. Gotta trust German-made haha :)

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  11. I got this set at the beginning of this month and I really like them :3
    I obviously haven't got any MAC to compare but, so far I'm quite happy with their quality and I am thinking about getting more of their eye brushes ( mostly because I don't have that many eye brushes...spares are always welcome!) And so far I think they win Sigma - I have a F82 and the poor guys...also they've been increasing their prices like crazy and many of people that own brushes from them complain quite often about how misshaped they've become with time :/

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    1. Oh really, I didn't know that about Sigma. I don't really use my 2 brushes that often, so I can't really comment on how well they hold up over time. I know that my RT ones are really resilient though. I religiously used my Buffing Brush for a couple of years and after it's washed, the bristles almost look new! Zoeva's eye brushes are probably the most affordable you can get while not compromising quality. No wonder they're experiencing such popularity among beauty lovers right now :)

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  12. Hopefully I'll get my hands on this set soon (what with my birthday coming up haha :P ), I've wanted it for foreverrrr. They just sound like amazing brushes, and while I have most of the RT substitutes, my collection could do with an angled blush brush, and an eye blendy one! Plus, they just damn gorgeous. The makeup bag actually is an incentive for me too haha :P Could make a great clutch?!??

    Tasha // shiwashiful.

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  13. Stunning brushes. I'd mainly want these for aesthetics. No other reason really!

    www.lacy-rose.blogspot.com

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  14. Awesome detailed post. I have to admit that I have been wanting this forever for no other reason but because these are rose gold. I have a lot of brushes so no I cannot justify to buy this ..Love love how they look though.
    Congrats on 5000 followers !!

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  15. Congratulations on your 5K followers :) Your blog is lovely to read all the time so you deserve it! This review is the best I've read so far comparing the brushes to the Real technique ones. I have been wanting to splash out of these Zoeva brushes just for the rose gold packaging and the pouch it comes with, but it seems like they are quite good quality too. I invested in the Louise Young LY34 and although it is a great brush overall, I find it too bulky to take on the go therefore I haven't been using it as much as I would like.

    Should get this Zoeva set soon :D
    Hope you have a lovely day ♥

    Ying | * Y i n g c b e a u t y *

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  16. Yay I have this set too! Omg congrats of the 5K, that's amazing and truly deserving on your part!
    I love the Luxe Sheer Cheek brush for contour actually! I love the Luxe Petit Crease brush and the Luxe Soft Definer. I actually get a lot of use out of all the brushes in the set so I'm really happy with it. Have you seen some of the new sets Zoeva has come out with lately though!! The new Rose Gold set and the Bamboo set are both so stunning.

    Chloé⎪ status.chlo

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  17. I would love to have this brush set. Thank you for sharing!

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