Brush Envy #5: Ellana Minerals Kallista Brush Set
One thing I'm so happy to say, as a makeup enthusiast wanting the most out of my money and having the best quality tools, is that synthetic brushes have come a long way. I remember when I was in high school (fifteen years ago, YAK!) that synthetic brushes were priced cheap because they felt cheap. Animal hair was the way to go. Older generation synthetic bristles didn't take any kind of powder well, and they often felt bare or bald, as if the manufacturer felt greedy and didn't want to give you enough hair.
I credit two things that changed this: the rise of kabuki brushes and then the rise of paddle brushes. When Kabuki brushes started to get famous about fifteen years ago, interestingly due to mineral makeup, there was pressure on established beauty brands to create good quality synthetic kabuki brushes. As I have observed, that's when synthetics first started getting decent. I started to see fuller synthetic brush heads, and synthetic pieces that could actually work with powder.
When Artis Paddle Brushes exploded on the beauty scene about 5-10 years ago, I think that's when I started to give some legitimate cred to synthetic brushes. Artis claims that synthetics are superior to animal hair, because you can engineer each and every strand according to specification, whereas you work with what you farm when it comes to natural bristles. Surely they're on to something? The brand's paddle brushes are fucking famous!
Add the fact that I am hearing about working MUAs who actually prefer all-synthetic brush kits, and me personally picking up impressive pieces of synthetics here and there - particularly from Zoeva, makes me really excited about the future of synthetics!
We go back to today, and I'm reviewing a bunch of synthetics from Ellana Minerals. Ellana has two sets of standard brushes Iris (metallic orchid) and Kallista (metallic whitish gold). These are sold as duos for PHP 499, and will cost you 1996 to get all eight pieces on ellanacosmetics.com. They also sell the Galatea (Paddle) Brush Duos (PHP 499) - same price as the Kallista and Iris duos, or the Galatea Set (PHP 799, 4pcs), whose pieces are not the same as the duos.
I think overall, people are more into standard than paddle brushes, and I really wish they made the Kallistas and Irises available in bundle packs.
The Look - The whitish-gold handles plus white brush heads are so my jam! They look great to me, though the handles are a little lightweight. That kills my buzz a little bit, but the important part, the brush heads, more than make up for it.
A cool feature with these brushes is that they have flat bottoms. In the middle of makeup, when I need to set my brush down, I actually leave them standing to avoid wet makeup or messy powder from rolling over my desk! The face brushes all stand, the rest, however, do not.
The Brush Heads - are definitely new generation synthetics. Unlike the old, cheapy-feeling synthetic brushes, these are full and do work amazingly with powder. What a coincidence that Ellana sells so much powder makeup, haha.
These brush heads are dense, full, smooth and comfortable, yet still have enough texture to pick up and work with powder. It may be the white making them look like clouds, but these do feel like clouds. They're so soft and non-pokey, AS IN! As in talaga!!! They all feel like clouds.
Kallista Flat Top Kabuki Brush 104 is similar to the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush (featured in a haul here). They are long-handled, small kabukis meant to pack or sheer out coverage throughout the whole face. This is actually the brush I like least. It’s noticeably less full than the three other face brushes, and in general I’ve just outgrown the idea of small kabukis. They take forever to apply foundation.
Kallista Eyeshadow Brush 106 is fucking interchangeable with the Kallista Blending Brush 105. They have a similar brush size, density and shape. The smaller shape and tense bristles let me blend or pack on my smaller eyes. I use them interchangeably.
Kallista Angled Brush 102 is a cheek brush. This is super soft, I don’t even care about the pink stains anymore. It has the perfect tension and length to control blush application whether sheer or intense.
Kallista Powder Brush 101 is another cloud. I like how this is much bigger than the rest, and it’s been great for quickly setting my face. The smoothness of the head and softness of the bristles help deposit setting powder without damaging the foundation. May also be good for blotting powder.
Kallista Lip Brush 107 is a pretty standard lip brush. It has the most premium-compared-to-market feel just because standard lip brushes are not this full. I like that it’s also tense enough to hold its shape, and helps me draw a straight and precise lip line.
Kallista Rounded Flat Powder Brush 103 is my favorite! I love it for both powder and liquid foundation. The perfect dome ensures minimal streaks and the stiffness helps me stamp down any of the minimal creases. The stiffness means I can press for coverage, but the rounded head lets me pull and thin out coverage. It’s my absolute go-to these days.
Kallista Mini Smudge Brush 108 The good thing about the Ellana Kallista eye brushes is that they’re pretty small. We Pinays generally have small lid space and I love how these brushes were chosen. The lip brush was fuller, and that made it feel more luxe. The smudge brush is similarly fuller. Coupled with the stiffness and cloud-like feel of the bristles, it’s been one of the better smudge brushes I’ve tried!
A few bristles fell off in the first wash from the Angled, Powder and Kabuki brushes, but not much beyond that initial batch. Blush has stained my Angled brush, but weirdly not the lip nor eye brushes, which all handle red pigments. I don't know if I'm washing it wrong, or if these are stain-prone to certain pigments. If that bothers you I feel you just can't ever enjoy white brushes.
These are great brushes to have! The price point is pretty fair, and you can't even try to compare them to those baldy P100 brushes. These are very full and cloud-like in softness. They are synthetic, yes, but they do work very well with powders.
I think the 103-108 (Rounded Flat Powder and Mini Smudge) duo is a must. If I could get only one, I would get that, no questions asked. I would supplement that with a 102-105 (Angled and Eye Blending) duo, for a very minimal set, but I would be most comfortable with three duos, at the least. I guess your picks would depend on the kinds of looks that you do, and I chose based on the face brushes because 1, base is the most important to me and 2, it's the bigger item in the duo.
*These brushes were sent by the brand. I was not otherwise paid to feature this post.