Makeup Brushes – Animal Hair vs Vegan – What is better?

Choosing the perfect makeup brushes is no easy task especially if you are trying to live your most environmentally conscious life.

New technologies in manufacturing mean that synthetics are higher quality than ever before but what about the environment?

For a long time, animal hair or natural makeup brushes were seen as the highest quality by many professionals in the beauty industry for many years. And now, with social awareness growing, society has become interested in making ethical decisions based on minimising impact to the environment, human health and wellbeing and our fellow creatures on earth.

Here at Earth and Skin, we love everything natural and we want to make sure our choices are not only better for animals and the environment but the highest quality for our toxin free makeup application also.

As all eco warriors will understand, there can be a decision dilemma when it comes to makeup brushes, do you choose synthetic or natural?

So we’ve done the research into the difference between synthetic and natural brushes.

What’s the difference between synthetic and natural?

For a long time, natural makeup brushes have been seen as the superior choice by many makeup artists due to the quality of application and brush longevity.

Natural makeup brushes are often made from animal hair including squirrel, horse or goat.

The natural brushes, due to being made from real hair, have what is known as a cuticle and why is this good you ask?

The cuticle has the ability to pick up the product pigment and powder easily which results in using less product whilst providing a high quality finish.

This was incredibly important for makeup professionals prior to advancements in technology that allowed synthetic brushes to provide the same effects.

This led to beauty companies seeking technology to design high quality makeup brushes with minimal environmental impact.

Synthetic brushes are made of tiny nylon or other synthetic fibre bristles. Unlike natural brushes, synthetic makeup brushes don’t have a cuticle. So unlike their natural alternatives, they won’t trap makeup. This makes them great to use with liquid or cream products such as foundation and concealer, because all the product goes on the skin instead of being trapped in the bristles.
Synthetic bristles also hold together nicely and don’t flare as easily as natural bristles, making them perfect for precision application.

Great news for animal lovers as synthetic fibres provide a real competitor when looking at vegan, cruelty free options in makeup brushes.

Benefits of Synthetic vs Natural

Animal cruelty free – simply the safest choice if you are vegan or concerned about animal welfare.

Affordability – synthetic brushes are generally a more affordable option.

Allergy free – many people are sensitive to animal hair and can often react to natural brushes.

Cleaning – synthetic brushes are much simpler to clean ensuring minimal bacteria build up and skin reactions. Synthetic dries faster than natural fibres.

Cream based product – synthetic brushes are fantastic for cream based product, such as highlighters, foundation and cream blush. This is due to the lack of pore or cuticle on the fibres.

No loose hair/fibres – on your skin post application.


Why so many brushes?

Thin, angled, large, soft, curved, straight…we understand if you are confused. Do I need them all? Will one brush do the job?

It would be fantastic if one brush was such an amazing multi-tasker that it could skip from flawless foundation to a detailed smokey eye, however we aren’t quite there yet.

Brushes are experts at different roles in makeup application, the beautiful kabuki brush is an expert at powder application however your attention will want to turn to an angled brush for eye perfection.

If you are limited and it is a must choose we would recommend a kabuki brush for powder application and a blush brush due to its ability to work on both cheeks and eyes.

Select a brush with a sturdy handle and bristles that feel soft to touch maximising the chance of purchasing a quality product.

Makeup Brush Cleaning and Care

The cleaning of makeup brushes is a step that is often forgotten and can lead to bacteria build up on the brush resulting in skin irritations. Dirty brushes can also result in excess product being used and a less than perfect makeup result.

We recommend using eco friendly brush cleaners and cleaning your brushes every seven to fourteen days for personal use. Our favourite eco friendly cleaner is sphagnum moss, a plant based hospital grade disinfectant, to clean all of our makeup brushes in the spa.

Frequent cleaning of synthetic brushes is recommended due to the product oils remaining on the surface of the fibres which can lead to skin irritation whilst also cleaning reduces the fibres shedding and improving brush longevity.

We recommend storing your brushes with care, leaving them bouncing around in makeup drawers or toiletry bags will rapidly decrease the longevity of the brush. Storing the brushes in a protected brush bag will help maintain brush quality and life.

Steps for Cleaning Makeup Brushes
  1. Gently massage eco friendly brush cleaner and water into the brush bristles
  2. Reshape the brush to the original shape
  3. Dry flat on a clean towel or hang with bristles facing down. Avoid facing the bristles up as the water can seep into the seams of the handle reducing brush quality
  4. Repeat these steps every seven to fourteen days for personal use
  5. If the brushes are being use on clients, brush washing is essential in between each client to avoid bacteria transfer

Earth and Skin Favourites

Kylie’s Professional – “Fit for a Goddess”
Kylie proudly has over twenty years experience in the hair and beauty industry being a salon owner and multiple finalist nominations in the Australian Beauty Industry Awards. Kylie’s brushes use plantation grown timber and are vegan friendly. Kylie’s brushes are our inhouse makeup artist Georga’s, favourite. We also stock the popular travellers set at Earth and Skin. Kylie’s brushes are the ultimate in luxury makeup brushes.

Lily Lolo
Lily Lolo are a UK brand that started with the founder mixing her personal mineral creations at home a decade ago. Lily Lolo is now a global company who are proudly chemical and animal-cruelty free. Our favourite Lily Lolo brush is the Kabuki brush, it feels like an angel touching your skin and provides a flawless loose powder finish.

INIKA Organic
Inika are a certified organic Australian owned and 100% vegan and cruelty free makeup brand, so why wouldn’t we love them? The wood in the brushes is sourced from sustainable forestry with incredibly soft synthetic fibres. Their vegan kabuki brush won the Gold award in the The Green Parent Natural Beauty Awards in 2018.

Ere Perez – “For a good skin day”
Ere Perez is an Australian owned natural cosmetic company who are passionate about providing effective beautiful products. They ensure all of their products are animal testing free and child labour is not a part of the manufacturing process. The brushes are made with corn resin or wood in the handle with vegan friendly synthetic brushes. The Ere Perez Line and Blend brush is one of our inhouse favourites.

“Makeup application without a quality brush is like yoga without savasana”

Earth and Skin is a Gold Coast Day Spa passionate about partnering with businesses that align with our belief in providing luxury beauty whilst minimising any impact on mother earth or your health and wellbeing.

This involves selecting product that are chemical, toxin and animal cruelty free and made on natural ingredients.

In our bid to maintain an animal cruelty free business and not align with companies that were associated with animal testing, synthetic was the best selection in our treatments and in the retail store.

Synthetic brushes allowed us to continue offering a complete vegan product and service.

Earth + Skin

Earth and Skin, Gold Coast is a Day Spa and Beauty Shop with a difference. Situated in our gorgeous Queenslander building, iconic to the heritage village of Mudgeeraba. Our light filled space is decorated with natural decor, living greenery and soothing music which helps to create a relaxing atmosphere where our clients enjoy mindful spa treatments without negative impact to their health or the environment. Enjoy a full range of facials, body therapy and beauty treatments. Everything we do at Earth and Skin is done with care for you, planet Earth and your skin. Because beauty does not have to compromise your health.

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