Where To Buy Big Brands, Mid Brands, No Brands and Artist Supply Makeup Brushes if you live in Singapore
The biggest frustration I experienced in my quest was how there was no comprehensive list out there on where and how I could buy some of these brushes if I was living in Singapore. Sure, lots of people in the US, Europe, Korea and Japan have plenty of options with sites shipping away within their countries but the last time I looked when I googled “makeup artist supplies Singapore”, all I got were good recommendations on makeup artists in Singapore. Augh.
***I have listed available sites online that ship to Singapore. However, I did not make a purchase on every single site here. That would be quite impossible! So before you purchase, please check and double check that the site is legit first.
The brand giants in the field of makeup brushes are amongst a few:
- Hakuhodo: Hakuhodo ships to Singapore via their US website here: www.hakuhodousa.com. But their US site doesn’t have the black/plain equivalent series of the vermillion handle brushes. Shipping fees from the US site are very reasonable and provide tracking while there are reviews stating that their customer service is excellent. I have not yet bought directly from the site. After you sign up for an account with them, they give you a permanent cart where the brush sits staring at you from the cart until you buy it or remove it yourself. It is one of the suppliers which claim that their techniques of harvesting hair are cruelty-free. Many people have claimed that Hakuhodo brushes are unrivalled yet I don’t hear of makeup artists buying up loads of their brushes.
- Chikuhodo: Another supplier which claims that their techniques are cruelty-free. They do not ship to Singapore. You have to fly there to buy them or use the Rakuten website with Vpost. Chikuhodo is so expensive I sometimes think I can buy a new laptop with the price of some of them sets. Chikuhodo supplies brushes to other brands such as Lunasol, RMK, etc.
- Artist &Artisan (under Chikuhodo): These are sold in Singapore Ngee Ann City Tower A Takashimaya Level 5 under Schmidt Marketing. They have two different series. After trying out the brushes, I find them of good quality but I don’t know if they are worth that kind of asking price (they are even more expensive than MAC and Bobbi Brown but their quality seems better too). They also have limited range for the NN premium brushes within their store.
- M.A.C.: These are sold in the MAC stores everywhere all over Singapore. MAC staff at Takashimaya are generally friendly even if you’re wearing no makeup and look like you’re only browsing. It’s very hard not to bump into a MAC store at major shopping malls. Please don’t buy from dodgey websites that claim to have MAC sets at $6.99. MAC doesn’t sell their brushes in large sets. I don’t find MAC brushes particularly soft or particular amazing. But they do what they’re supposed to do and believe it or not, my synthetic MAC brushes are more than 10 years old, have not shed a hair and are holding their shape. These won’t let me get rid of them!
- Bobbi Brown: Again, these are sold everywhere all over Singapore. Bobbi’s staff at Raffles City are so friendly I’m sometimes afraid to talk to them cos then I may be siren-songed into buying another brush. Bobbi’s brushes are not the softest, they are very pricey but again, they are functional, do what they’re supposed to do and they last a long time. My foundation brush is a few years old and looks as good as new. My poor liner brush has been abused so many times with so many different media and chucked and stuffed and yet it’s still holding its shape and performing perfectly. It’s hard not to love them.
- Sigma Beauty: The much marketed and fawned over brand by many sponsored gurus out there. I emailed them to ask about the material of some of their brushes and they didn’t reply me. I never tried any of their brushes and so I can’t comment. There are mixed reviews online from non-sponsored users claiming it to be perfect! Everything they need! as well as shedding and chemical smell. You can buy Sigma brushes directly from their US website (www.sigmabeauty.com) but shipping is a little prohibitive or from the Singapore beauty website www.luxola.com (the site has limited selection and not the full range of Sigma brush and brush sets as on the official site). Luxola’s customer service is excellent and you can also get in touch with them via their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Luxola
The mid-brand (but not necessarily cheaper) brushes in no particular order are:
- Sam Chapman’s Real Techniques: You can get these brushes direct from www.realtechniques.com.sg . Real Techniques have enjoyed pretty good reviews plus the prices of the brushes here are more than reasonable.
- Eyes Lips Face: ELF does not ship to Singapore. However, you can find many of their brush sets on www.qoo10.com which tends to run out of stock. I’m not a fan of ELF products. But lots of people have said that ELF brushes are such great value for money. ELF brush sets are one of the cheapest I’ve come across. There are mixed reviews about their brushes.
- Eco tools: You can buy these on a number of sites as they are so popular such as www.under-twenty20.com and www.zalora.sg . Eco tools are much raved about for their value for money.
- I nuovi: There is a store at Far East Plaza on Level 2 (#02-89). There are rave reviews about I nuovi’s brush cleaner instead of their brushes. Their brushes are limited in range. Around the middle of 2012, however, they were selling a ten piece brush set for $88. This end of 2012 they are having 50% off storewide until December 25th. According to their SA, their brushes are mostly made from pony hair. I tried their brushes and they are soft and well made. The price range is reasonable, going from about $20 to about $60. They sell mini brushes in a set. You can visit their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/inuovipro
- Etude House: There are branches almost everywhere. The one at Wisma Atria on the same level as The Face Shop sells quite a wide variety of brushes. But they are mostly quite small and useless for large faces. As far as quality goes, all of the Korean brand brushes feel the same to me. They are mostly synthetic bristles and have the same texture. I can’t tell the difference. If somebody can, please enlighten me.
- The Face Shop: The branch at Wisma Atria sells brushes but the range is limited and the brushes are packed into little baggies. You could test out the ones on display next to their makeup but these were stained and I just didn’t want to touch them.
- Becca: Becca brushes have received good reviews. I tried some of these out myself and find them to be off good quality. You can get them at Escentials which can be found at Paragon Level 3, CK Tangs or Marina Bay Sands shopping mall. The price range is from around $30 to over $100 for the largest brush.
- Suqu (not cheap but mid branded nonetheless): These can be found on www.selfridges.com . The site ships internationally. The brushes are pricey.
- Japonesque: These can be found on www.camerareadycosmetics.com . The site ships to Singapore. You can forget about Ulta.com cos it doesn’t ship here. Japonesque enjoys some pretty good reviews.
- Kent: Kent brushes are loved by some and are sold at Watsons Ion Orchard and also at Bugis Junction. Their price range is from around $20 to around $80.
- Missha: Missha at the linkway between Bugis Junction and Iluma sells some brushes as well. Again, these are a little too small for my face but maybe they might work for yours.
- Sephora: There are branches in Takashimaya and Ion. Staff are always friendly and will introduce you to different products or brushes. Sephora had a 2012 Christmas set with its premium brushes but it’s sold out. I have the flat top Kabuki and it’s working great. Sephora’s US site does not ship here.
- Da Vinci: This brand produces artist brushes besides cosmetic ones. Nothing on their site indicates they ship internationally or even if there is any online shop. There is a site www.alconeco.com which has a pictureless, descriptionless catalogue. I do not know if this is legit and can’t find a review online from someone who’s said that they’ve bought from this site before. So please beware.
- A’Squirrel: www.a-squirrel.com provides international shipping. There have been some terrifying reviews about the customer service for this brand as well as shipping issues. Their website is terribly done that I didn’t even think they were legit until I read a review on them here: delicatehummingbird.blogspot.com. Several members of makeup alley have rated them 5 out of 5 for quality.
- Illamasqua: www.illamasqua.com provides international shipping. There have been some good reviews on this brand’s brushes.
- Muji: Yes Muji at Ion Orchard sells brushes too. These are made in China and are in their accessory section.
Brands which supply to other brands:
- Crown Brush: A much loved and hated brand. Loved by many and hated equally by many it seems. Crown is the brand that makes brushes for other brands. It seems their brushes are of average quality and nothing much to rave about. However, their Italian badger portable set has enjoyed good reviews. It’s also been said that their premium lines are of better quality and to choose these over their generic lines or large sets. Crown UK does not ship to Singapore but the US site at www.crownbrush.com does ship internationally.
- Chikuhodo (to Lunasol, Shu Eumura and other Japanese cosmetic brands). Since you can’t get Chikuhodo by any easy means, you can try the brands that use their brushes such as Shiseido or Tesshyu. Some of these are on www.adambeauty.com
- Hakuhodo: There is a rumour that it is supplying MAC with brushes. If it is, excellent!
The set trap: I need to say one thing about large brush sets. Unless the seller is willing to provide you with a detailed listing of the brushes within the set and the materials with which they are made, there really is no point getting them. Better to invest in a few quality ones than a whole bunch that you don’t even know anything about. Also, some sets tend to put in duplicate brushes such as four of the same flat eyeshadow brush.
Brands with large brush sets:
- Sedona lace: Sedona Lace is a US based site that ships internationally. Their website is: www.sedonalace.com . They have both natural and synthetic brush sets. One of their more popular sets is the Vortex Professional 13 piece brush set with Zipper belt costing about USD $89 as well as their Midnight Lace Synthetic Brush set. I had a pretty bad experience with them although I could tell that their Customer Service Suzanne was trying her best. They were oversold on Black Friday and Cyber Monday but continued selling or were somehow unaware that they were oversold. After that they sent me a bunch of mixed messages, first telling me my brushes were damaged, they were out of stock, then no, they were going to be shipped next week and then soon after, sorry they were out of stock please wait till January. There were little to none non-sponsored reviews on the Vortex brushes I could find but there are some who say that their brushes come from Crown. I don’t have any comments on the quality as I didn’t have a chance to try them. And after this experience with them, it is unlikely I will do so. It’s a pity.
- Coastal Scents: Coastal Scents also has large brush sets that ship internationally. I’ve read that their brushes are also from Crown and are of similar quality to Sedona Lace. Their website is www.coastalscents.com .
- Suesh: Suesh used to be pretty hyped up about the past few years and then they somehow disappeared back into the shadows. Their website in Singapore is www.suesh.com.sg . Their sparkling reviews dated back a couple of years and their website based in Philippines seems to be enjoying more support than locally. The Philippines website is at www.suesh.com and it ships internationally. Suesh’s customer service is highly commendable. Sheryll who manages the correspondences at Philippines always answers queries in record time and always tries to help. Che at the Singapore retail site is also very helpful. As the Philippines site has more goodies, you might wish to buy from that site instead. But the shipping cost for say the 21 piece Ultra Luxe brush set and two VOV lip tints is SGD 43.
- VAU beauty: This is an Australian brand that was selling a 30 piece brush set on www.singsale.com . This was for a limited time only. Their Australian website does not ship to Singapore. I could not find much information about VAU’s brushes.
- A’squirrel: As above. www.a-squirrel.com .
- Crown: As above. www.crownbrush.com .
- Sigma Beauty: Sigma has the pricey Extravaganza set and the Premium set which in my opinion contains more useful and valued brushes than some of the above sets.
- ELF: As above.
Next up are makeup artist supply stores:
- Cinema Secrets: These individually sold brushes can be found on www.camerareadycosmetics.com . The site ships internationally and I read that their customer service is excellent. These are averagely priced and are manufactured with very specific use. You can also find some very interesting brushes here such as the crescent brush. Unfortunately, there aren’t very many reviews about them online. Their brush cleanser on the other hand, is much raved about. This is also one of the sites which offers OCC and Ben Nye. Ben Nye’s artist tools and palettes are much raved about and are of excellent quality. If you’re looking for makeup for fancy dress parties this is also the place to go to.
- Makeup Mania brushes: This is another makeup artist supply store. Their website is www.makeupmania.com . They also ship internationally. Reviews on their customer service are mixed, giving the impression that it’s kind of spotty (when they do pay attention to you, it’s excellent. When they’re too busy it may make customers a bit worried. Haha.). Nonetheless, they have an excellent array of brushes. Information online about the brushes is lacking so you may want to write in to ask more about them.
- Artfriend: Surprisingly, Artfriend at Takashimaya carries some sable brushes which are meant for artwork that work similar to makeup brushes. These look like pretty good quality except they are limited in use if you’re really considering them for makeup application.
- Palz and others at Far East Plaza: There are a few shops at Far East Plaza catering for students enrolled in makeup art classes. You can walk around and check out some of these. They sell mostly generic brand makeup brushes. One of the shops selling makeup artist brushes in Palz (#04-124B) at Far East Plaza. Palz also sells disposable mascara wands and bump-its.
Last but not least are the no brand generic synthetic brush sets that can be found on qoo10, amazon and ebay. Costing as little as $10 for 12 piece brush sets, lots of these are either made in China or Korea. Although the synthetic set I bought is completely useless when it comes to powder makeup, it works well for liquid foundation, as lip brushes and as concealor brushes. The bristles are not hard either and are easy to clean. Spoolies, brow combs, foam applicators and fan brushes used to swipe excess powder off need not be high quality as long as they fulfill their purpose. I would not advise buying no brand natural bristle brushes from these sites though, as there is no assurance that these are cruelty free, where the hairs come from or how they were manufactured.