Sunday, 6 April 2014

Zoeva Face Brush Set review & dupes

Zoeva Face Set

I needed more face brushes like a hole in my head. But the set seemed such a good value for money and I really believe Zoeva brushes are some of the best brushes on the market so I picked this up. And I don't regret my decision. As you will see in a moment, I had a number of similar brushes before, but they cannot be called exact dupes and I use them for different purposes.

The set consists of 6 brushes, most of which are synthetic duo fibres, and one natural hair brush which definitely is out of context here. I think it was thrown in the set simply because no face set is complete without a blush brush and the brand doesn't seem to have any black and white blush brushes in their offer.

I bought my set last year and I can  see that the contents have slightly changed and now the brushes come in a make-up bag. Nonetheless, each brush from my set can be bought individually, so I guess many people will find this review useful in spite of the changes.
 The brushes are:
Zoeva #127 Luxe Sheer Cheek Brush
#127 Luxe Sheer Cheek Brush is the odd one here. Unlike all others, this brush is made entirely of one kind of bristles, which I'm sure is bleached goat.
Although this brush doesn't look as high quality as the other five, there are straiy hairs sticking out here and there and it's very small and lightweight which makes me feel I'm holding something cheap in my hand, I must say this is one of my favourites in the collection. 
First of all, true to its name, this brush somehow magically allows for sheerer, lighter application of pigmented blushes, which is a feature of great importance for someone as fair-skinned as me.
This brush is very soft when you glide it along its bristles, but can be a bit prickly when you move it against the grain. This is a very practical feature when using blushes or other powder products of stone hard texture. The bristles of this brush dig into the surface of such products and pick powders beautifully.
#127 is fairly small, which is good as it fits in my rather small cheeks perfectly well. It can also be used for contouring, though I personally like it in combination with highly pigmented blushes.  

Zoeva #104 Buffer Brush
#104 Buffer brush is the first flat top brush I really like! It looks like it's made of  duo fibre bristles but in fact they are the same length and texture taklon fibres, just dyed white at the tips. These silky smooth synthetic hairs are all very densely packed and do not bend during the product application. I use it for liquid foundation as it allows me to distribute it nicely in circular motions or patting my skin similarly to a sponge, without absorbing much of the product. The manufacturer recommends #104 for powders and mineral make-up as well. 

Zoeva #106 Powder brush
#106 Powder brush is my least favourite brush in this collection.
This brush has the most peculiar shape. The bristles are unnecessarily and unproportionally long, therefore feeble and bend at weird angles. The dome looks fluffy, but in fact it is not, the duo fibres are dyed-tip fibres of the same kind,  taklon bristles of such enormous length reveal their synthetic feel, making the brush feel plastic, they're also too slippery to pick powder which refuses to cling to them. It's very pointed and only the tip of the brush touches your face, therefore you're able to dust with powder only one or two square centimetres of your face at a time. I would use it to contour, since the shape seems right, but the bristles bend, making precise application or buffing virtually impossible. The only use I sometimes make of this brush is to apply cream blush, though there are better tools for that also.


Zoeva #102Silk Finish, #110 Face Shape, #142 Concealer Buffer

The next three brushes are almost identical, the only difference between them being the size and how the bristles are gripped by the ferrule. All these three brushes are made of the same taklon bristles with white tips as the brush above, but size matters, dear ladies and in this case moderation is the key! 

#102 Silk Finish is a densely packed, round-topped foundation brush. It offers the most amazing streak-free finish. I love to use it with cream products like foundations and blushes, but the manufacturer recommends it also for mineral and powder foundations, for which I believe it's a bit too small.

#110 Face Shape is a very unique brush. It's perfect for contouring as it fits in the hollows of my cheeks and does the blending job really well. I love to use it with cream products like Illamasqua Hollow, but it also does a great job applying powders.

#142 Concealer Buffer brush is obviously meant for blending concealer, but I prefer my fingers to do that job. I use this brush to apply cream eyeshadows or tinted primers all over my lid. This brush is dense and silky soft and blends cream products perfectly. I don't contour my nose, but I believe this brush would be more than suitable for that purpose.  

And now it's DUPE TIME! 
The brushes contained in this set aren't all terribly unique and there are many similar brushes on the market, so read on to see the comparison of Zoeva and other brushes in my collection. I hope you don't mind not all of them are sqeaky clean, they're in constant use, you know.

Top to bottom: Kozlowski R-CB635, Kozlowski E-CB635-22, Zoeva #127, Elite Professional Beleveled Blush Brush

As you can see I couldn't come up with any proper dupes for #127 Luxe Sheer Cheek brush. Other angked cheek brushes in my collection were either much bigger and more fanned out like the Kozlowski R-CB635 or Kozlowski E-CB635-22 or flatter and synthetic like the Elite Professional Beleveled Blush Brush (available in Rossmann). My heart definitely belongs to the Zoeva one. Others are too large, stiff and prickly with ridiculously long handles (like the Kozlowski ones) or too flat and feeble (Elite).

And now time for my round-topped brushes.

L to R: Zoeva #110, Zoeva #102, Sephora Mineral Powder, Hakuro H54, Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

I've placed Zoeva #110 among these brushes to give you the idea of its size, but you can clearly see this brush cannot be called a dupe of any other brush in my collection as far as size, shape and function are concerned.
Zoeva #102, however, has a number of very close dupes.
It's very similar to Sephora mineral powder brush. The Sephora one is a bit more fanned out and less densely packed so I think it's a bit better suited for powder foundations than Zoeva #102, but they are very close dupes anyway.
Hakuro H54 also looks very similar at first glance, but its bristles are longer and less densely packed, which means that they're more feeble and less precise. When the brush is wet with foundation the hairs tend to stick together and part leaving bald patches at the centre of the brush. This is not a major issue, but this brush is the worst performer out of the four.
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush is slightly different than the other three. Apart from the obvious difference in the handle desigh and colour this brush is flattened, while all other brushes are round. This brush also has the shortest, the most densely packed bristles and the roundest shape

If I were to recommend any of them I'd say the ones by Zoeva, Sephora and Real Techniques are equally good. They're all made of taklon, cruelty free vegan foundation brushes. Zoeva is good for liquid foundation and cream blush, Sephora for liquid and powder foundation, while I like RT for foundation only. So your choice depends very  much on the purpose of the brush, price and local availability.  

The two brushes below are obviously not dupes, I just wanted to give you the idea what size Zoeva #110 is.
Zoeva #110, Zoeva #122
I paired it here with Zoeva #122 Petit Stippling brush. They're approximately the same size, but their shape and designation differ.

top to bottom: ELF Stipple Brush, ELF Powder Brush, Zoeva #104, Zoeva #122

And here is Zoeva #104 Buffer Brush compared to other flat top brushes in my collection. 
ELF Powder Brush and Zoeva #104 (the two in the centre) are very similar . ELF has a longer handle and longer and more fanned out bristles but the Zoeva ones are more densely packed. Both brushes are made of taklon and are equally soft. Yet, although they are so alike, somehow Zoeva Buffer brush is a perfect foundation brush and I like to use my ELF Powder brush according to its function, with loose powders. 
The other two brushes in the picture are flat top brushes that differ substantially from Zoeva #104 as they're stippling brushes that allow for sheerer application of foundation (ELF Stipple Brush), or, due to its size, sheer application of other cream products like bronzers and blushes (Zoeva #122).

My recommendation for liquid foundation is Zoeva #104, others are very good brushes for a number of other purposes.

I didn't come up with any exact dupe of Zoeva #106, but I find ELF Complexion Brush and Real Techniques Duo-Fiber Face Brush pretty similar.  

top to bottom: ELF Complexion Brush, Zoeva #106, Real Techniques Duo-fiber Face Brush

Zoeva #106 has the shortest handle and it's a round brush while the other two are flat. Theoretically all three of them are made of taklon, yet the bristles seem very different to me. The ones on ELF Complexion Brush are soft and kind of ruffled, which gives them amazing fluffiness at the top. Powders cling well to such textures and this makes it a great face brush - I use it with loose powders, blushes and bronzers.

Like I said before, Zoeva #106 is made of plasticky bristles that are too slippery to pick enough powder. 

RT Duo Fiber Face Brush is made of shorter black bristles that I gather are the same as the ones of ELF Complexion Brush and much sturdier, prickler white fibres. This brush is not my favourite powder brush, but it comes in handy when sheering out highly pigmented products.

My pick is ELF Complexion Brush which is the most versatile of these three and can be put to a countless variety of uses.

And finally, time for the concealer buffer brush.

Hakuro H67, Zoeva #142
At first I'd like to compare it with Hakuro H67. Although Hakuro H67 is marketed as a crease brush rather than a concealer one, yet I believe both brushes can be used for both purpopses. They're both made of exactly the same bristles, but Zoeva is fuller and much more densely packed, which means it's also stiffer and sturdier. Hakuro has longer and more fanned out head which makes it more bendable. 

I feel Hakuro H67 is a better multi-tasker. It's a good concealer, crease and cream eyeshadow blending brush.

Zoeva #142, Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush
Zoeva #142 and Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush are almost identical (apart from the obvious difference in handle design).

I think all these three brushes are very similar, they're within the same price range and I had to order all of them online. If I were to pick one, I'd choose Hakuro H67 as it does the job of applying cream eyeshadows slightly better than the remaining two.

And that completes this lengthy post. I hope you find it useful and it helps you make the right choices.

Disclaimer: I bought the product myself for my personal use and I am not affiliated with any company. I am not paid to do this review and everything I said here is my genuine opinion.


  1. I'm a huge Zoeva fan having discovered them by chance last year. I have the 102, 104, 106 and 142, as well as a selection of eyeshadow brushes, and they have all but replaced by way more expensive MAC brushes in terms of use! Probably because they are much easier to clean and don't shed!
    I love the 106 for powder, for me it delivers the perfect amount of finishing powder - enough to set make up but the application is whisker soft and doesn't disturb what is underneath, which is perfect! This is definitely a brush for loose powders, I really don't think it would work with pressed ones at all. I find it picks up the right amount of product, and the angle of application changes the way it works dramatically! I like how mine is firm enough to sort of stipple the powder but floppy enough to gently add powder.

    1. You're absolutely right, since I got my Zoevas I see no point in buying MAC brushes any more!
      As for the 106 one, I'll need to give it another go with loose powders. I tried using its pointed tip with a powder highlighter and it actually worked. Picked small amount of product and distributed it nicely exactly where needed. Thanks for the tip and the comment!

  2. Which is softest brush?(elf complexion brush, zoeva synthetic powder brush)

    1. ELF is softer and kind of fluffier, ELF would definitely be my choice out of these two, even though Zoeva's very soft too