Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Bitter Brush Debacle of 2012

This is not a brush review- I will be addressing these makeup brushes in their own right in a separate post.  This is instead, a little story about brushes, claims and what I learnt...

UPDATE: Please read on, but find what happened next here.
It starts out with me reading reviews of Rae Morris brushes everywhere, and every one of them raving. 
I own every one of Rae Morris's books; I follow her on Twitter and Facebook.  I am a fan.  So I decided that a product which seemed SO well loved by SO many bloggers I follow, admire AND trust.  These brushes would be an investment.  A gift to myself to finishing my MUA training.  A celebration that I had arrived in this crazy world of cosmetics as more than just a consumer.  I was a professional, and I deserve professional quality tools!

Having read all the reviews, I slowly put together a list of the 'must haves'.  I already have 27 brow brushes, I don't need one of those, I'll get the Deluxe Kabuki, because then I can use it for the same jobs as the mini kabuki, and other such reasoning a girl makes when purchasing, well, anything. 

I did my maths, did I want that whole set? YES! I did, but I did the maths and from my perspective it made most sense to get the personal kit and subsidise it with my other must haves.  All in all it came to just over $500 (GULP, I know, but I'll only buy them once, and they ARE worth it...)

$500 for 18 of the finest quality, PETA approved, dye free, ethical (Rae herself has travelled to China to ensure these were manufactured to her strict instructions- no child labour here) professional makeup brushes with fantastic features, like magnets in the handles! SO clever! 
Plus, that's not actually that much, I'd easily spend the same or more on fewer brushes from MAC or another equivalent.  So I bit the bullet...

Under a week of waiting by the mail box, my brushes arrived, I was so excited.
I opened the packaging, whilst explaining to my sister about how brilliant these brushes were, how everyone loved them, how they were definitely worth the money...

Once I had them out of the packaging to do my first wash (yes, I always wash my brushes before use) I noticed a few things.  Two of my brushes had glue through the bristles...yuck, oh well, it will wash off. 
Then I noticed that my deluxe eyeliner brush was bent at the tip, not so great for the 'accurate application' of eyeliner....miserable.

Before I washed my brushes I sent a twitter message to another blogger, to ask for advice on cleaning the brushes with no ferrule, was it the same as usual? Yes, but be careful because of the wood.  So off I went to wash my brushes to get the glue off and reshape that eyeliner brush taking the utmost care in doing so. 

Meanwhile, I had had another response to ask how I found the brushes- I mentioned the glue- I was told it wasn't good enough.  I don't like to make a fuss, so I had washed them, but I thought, as a courtesy I would let the company know.

I did this while I waited for my brushes to dry, they agreed it wasn't good enough but that they would replace ANY brushes wasn't happy with, even though I had washed them. (+1 for customer service)

When I went back to my brushes, I found this:




IS...is that dye? I believe so. When I dry my brushes I place them on paper towel so that the water is drawn down and they dry faster. 
What I believed this to be was a very basic form of Paper Chromatography, where dye separates as it travels through paper- you can see the initial black- to brown then pink.

I also e-mailed the company about this, they maintain they are meant to be dye free but would check with the manufacturer.

Now, not many beauty bloggers have access to the same resources as me, so I consulted a qualified chemist.  He confirmed this is what I thought.  Its dye.

I work within a manufacturing environment, I know accidents can happen, perhaps this brush was contaminated through the air with dye, and maybe something odd happened during manufacturing.  As suggested by my (at this point, 2) chemists, I recreated the experiment.

I washed my brush again.  The second time, I didn't think I'd find much, you know, like when you buy jeans and the first wash brings out the dye, but from then on, they're pretty good to go in a mixed wash?

This is what happened the second time...





You can clearly see it’s the same outcome, there is a perfect line around where the bristles end.  I'm going to go ahead and say; this is not a dye free brush.


Another of the calims I was always a little uneasy about the claim these brushes were PETA Approved. I was always under the impression, that PETA believe an animal needs its fur and there is no way to remove said fur without cruelty or potential cruelty.  This is what I thought, but hell, all those bloggers can't be wrong can they? 
In my annoyance at the dye issue, I went searching the Rae Morris website for confirmation of this.  NOTHING.

I didn't stop there, I contacted PETA, and their statement on these brushes is:

"We have not and would never approve these brushes"


Oh. OUCH! So who's lying here?  I'm not going to link the blogs who made these claims as I don't think that’s fair, I suspect that at the brush launch a room full of bloggers were told these brushes were 'PETA Approved' in a verbal declaration, and they ran with it.  They can now make the coice to amend past articles.

I have contacted one of the bloggers, and she agreed this is pretty much what happened, she has since amended her post.

So did Rae Morris lie to the bloggers, or had she been misled herself? Are all the brushes full of dye, or did I get a dodgy one (what a set of hands for a dodgy brush to fall into) I'll probably never know, I asked the company to keep me informed about the dye in the brushes, but I suspect I will never hear back.

What I have heard is that my new replacement brushes are in the mail, I only decided to have the 2 gluey brushes and the liner brush exchanged.  Perhaps I should have also chosen to replace the (dyed) Flawless Shader Brush, now I know its quality will degrade with the washing out of the dye, like Rae says happens- that’s why she wanted her brushes dye free; to maintain softness...

What do you think? do you think bloggers were deliberately used in a ploy to spread the false word?  Do you think the PETA comments came out of nowhere, that one blogger said it and the others copied?  Either way, I think it’s safe to say that most of the reasons I stated for buying these brushes in the first place are now defunct!
I'm disapointed.  I was utterly thrilled to have saved to buy these, I had wanted them for ages, even with the new brushes, I can't help but feel a little let down by the whole thing.  All that is left for me to do now, is use the brushes and review them in their own right and hope they at least, live up to that hype.

24 comments:

  1. I have watched a few of raes videos and she says that they are peta approved herself I thought it was a little strange that they were made out of animal hair and not synthetic bristles yet still be approved by peta?

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    1. Really? That's very interesting. The plot thickens!

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  2. Sounds very depressing, I'm sorry about your brushes. That's alot of money and lots of dashed hopes :(

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    1. Yeah, it is, but I'm more furious about the lies.

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  3. Woah. This is intense.
    Fucking lies. :/

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    1. I know. I hate lying at the best of times...but dragging others into your lies.... not cool at all.

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  4. Boo. Glad you wrote the article.

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    1. Thanks, so am I, I feel a lot better for doing so.

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  5. Hi Lizzi, I was one of the bloggers at the brush launch event, It was a while ago so my recollection is hazy but we were given a dvd. I will dig it up and am happy to post it to you if it helps. I am glad you have investigated it and I am not very happy if we were use as pawns. If you need any more info im happy to help

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    1. Hi,
      That would be awsome, I couldn't believet that so many bloggers would have their facts wrong. It has to have come from somewhere, but its such a bit lie to tell and it was easily defunct!
      If you find the DVD I'd love to see it!

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    2. happy to send it to you, I did a post on the event and the brushes and all the info was from the press info we were given and from what Rae told us on the night

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    3. I had already decided that, I was really just leaving an open for RM to have a way out with dignity... not sure they deserve it!

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  6. How disappointing! I think I'd be asking for a refund, not replacement! Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

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    1. I'm not a fuss maker, maybe I should have, but I've heard so many good things about the brushes themselves, and I tried them last night and a few of them are brilliant...but the ethics behind it all is sketchy and I hate that.

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  7. with that much amount spent, i'd expect so much more. this is so disappointing, the quality of the brushes and the lies.

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    1. Yeah, it all left a very bitter taste. Hopefully now the bruhes are at leaste as good as I've heard!

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  8. It's such a shame you had a terrible experience with the brushes because the ones I have are gorgeous! I hope your replacements are of a better quality.

    I know the manufacturer is Crown Brushes and I saw the US PETA approved information on their website before the brushes were released, it's been taken down of course. I guess RM company were told they were approved and went with it, it's a silly thing to lie outright about since you can easily contact PETA. Or if you knew anything about the militant animal rights group, you'd know the use of any animal by-product is lobbied against. While I understand bloggers often post as a hobby, someone should have checked the information before publishing.

    Lizzi, I'm looking forward to an update to this post. I really think you should ask for a replacement flawless shader brush.

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    1. I hope they were misled and that this is all just a big misunderstanding on everyone's behalf, sadly, I doubt it. I probably should have asked for a replacement shader, ans as far as I'm concerned I probably still can, there is dye in that brush, I have photographic proof there is dye in that brush. That means it was sold to me under false pretences, and as such I'm sure they would replace it.

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  9. I was thinking about getting the 10 piece brush set for my birthday next month, but am hesitant now. After your review and 2 others I've seen, there has been a lot of quality control issues. All the blogging reviews from the brush launch was fantastic, which makes me question if the originals were made by a different company, and now they've changed to a cheaper, less regulated manufacturer.

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    1. From my experience and from reviews I've read, it seems it's the brushes in the sets that are letting the side down. Part of it I think is the way they are packaged, I'll cover that when I write my post, its tricky to explain but easy to photograph. Looking back on the whole saga, I kind of wish I'd spent $500 on real Techniques brushes, I would have had far far too many, but they are my front runner for price + quality.

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  10. Hi I just want to let you know how dissappointed I am with this Rae Morris claims. Woman is a total fraud. She claims she makes this brushes herself and blah blah blah (which I didn't believe anyway). And today I came across (by coincidence) Crown brushes sale and they have her 12 piece brush set selling for 25 USD. The exact same set costs 200 AUD on her web page. Here you have the link to the page and you can look at yourself.... http://www.hautelook.com/product/5066678

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    1. I've seen the video where RM admits she made a mistake when assembling the ferrules, why would wouldn't you believe that?
      The link you posted is pretty dodgy, did you notice Crown listed the brushes as 100% cruelty free and made in the USA? Those brushes were made in China!

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  11. Wow, I hope these claims are unfounded..as a fellow MUA I know that many ppl in our industry lie, they lie like there is no tomorrow. I was considering by some of the RM brushes as I would like a few extras and the blush brush reviews suggest I couldn't be a legit MUA without it in my kit. I would be devastated to learn that my idol would knowingly try to fraud ppl about her products. Surely she was misinformed, perhaps the manufacturer has substituted a poorer quality version after the deal was done? I hope so :c

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    1. I am in no way claiming that Rae Morris knows any of this, I certainly hope not.
      I suspect that the original brishes were to her high standards and having got the long term contract, the manufacturer let things slip a little. I really don't know and I doubt I ever will.

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