Chanel is the latest luxury house to drop fur from its forward collections – and recently became the first to scrap using exotic skins. A cruelty-free mindset is something the beauty industry is already well ahead on, with very few brands still producing animal-hair brushes. New technologies give synthetic-hair strands the feel and efficacy of traditional materials, with better longevity and product dispersal. On my blog, I no longer even feature animal-hair brushes – readers make their preference for synthetics loud and clear.
The gold standard of synthetic cosmetic brushes is set by Artis (Elite Gold 10 set with 24ct-gold finish, £486 at Harrods), co-founded by Jeremy Adelman and Matthew Waitesmith, ex-senior VP at MAC Cosmetics. A former make-up artist, Waitesmith has re-engineered the traditional shape of beauty brushes to mimic the feel of finger strokes for a more natural and intuitive application. They take a little getting used to, particularly the eye brushes; a certain level of relearning is required. Each oval-shaped brush has between three and 10 times more fibres than their nearest counterparts, with the largest brush, the Oval 10, containing more than 250,000 individual fibres. They’re cushiony, cashmere soft and deliver a seamless finish for base, eyeshadow, blush or bronzer.
Synthetic filaments help the brushes to hold their shape far longer than you’d expect from natural hair. The hand-feel is all about comfort, with thermo-formed resin handles yielding with movement, which makes foundation application a particularly satisfactory experience. I’m very much a convert and not just on an ethical level.
Jane Cunningham is a beauty journalist and blogger. An early adopter of beauty blogging, she has been posting on her website britishbeautyblogger.com for 10 years, providing (sometimes brutally) honest product reviews and beauty news. Cunningham collaborated with Marks & Spencer to produce a limited edition make-up range and is currently working with Makeup Revolution on an eyeshadow palette. She is also a creative consultant to beauty brands. @britbeautyblog.