Royalty Cosmetics Brushes
I bought brushes because of an Instagram post. Let's see if it was money well spent.
Royalty Cosmetics is a new brush company founded by Australians with a base in Hong Kong. For a new company, they've got a large range of brushes on offer with nine face brushes and fourteen eyeshadow or miscellaneous brushes. Currently, they sell from their website and ship to the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom with a few other countries in the mix. I believe the company have expanded shipping options since I made my enquiries. Prices are listed and charged in USD on the Royalty Cosmetics website.
I'm not the type of person who is easily swayed by online advertising. I'm quite picky about my brushes and although I run a blog which primarily reviews brushes, I tend to wait for someone else to buy a new release before going in. I almost always avoid releases by a new company to avoid teething issues. I saw a few sneak peek photos on the Royalty Cosmetics page and watched as they launched their company in late September 2020. I sat on the fence for a fortnight then jumped in with an order in early October. I should have waited a bit and listened to my gut instincts. My initial thoughts upon ordering were that the brushes were a bit steep in pricing for a new company. The company has since reduced the retail pricing of the brushes. On top of that, they've run holiday promotions and discounts. The company reached out via email to offer me a complimentary eyeshadow brush after they lowered their retail prices. Consequently, I've ended up with two face brushes and two eyeshadow brushes. My post will list the brushes at its current retail price and not the price I paid for them.
"Our goat hairs are actually a higher grade than most Japanese brushes... they are made in PRC"
I reached out to Royalty Cosmetics before writing this review to obtain more information about their brushes. Their listings have been updated since I first purchased my brushes to include information about the hair grading. They use the Japanese classifications of saikoho and hakutotsuho however their brushes are made in China. I've mentioned an obvious scent to the hairs from Chinese-made brushes in my previous reviews and these ones are no different. There is a clear and noticeable animal farm-like smell from the face brushes that hasn't really dissipated in time I've owned them. In my experience the smell is highly noticeable during and after washing but it will most likely fade after six to eight months. That being said, some of my Chinese-made brushes still retain a smell a year on. Scent aside, I'd rate the hair quality on these Royalty Cosmetics brushes as superb. The goat hairs all have the softness one would expect or the right amount of snap back to the fibre.
The thing that jumps out most for anyone with a fude collection is how long the Royalty Cosmetic handles are. Japanese made fude is notorious for having short handles in comparison to brushes made by Western companies but these ones really take long handles to a new level. The brushes have a distinct royal purple handle made of birch wood with brass ferrules which have a thin layer of gold lacquer which protects against metal oxidisation. They feel solid in the hand and are nicely weighted despite being extremely lengthy.
Here's a very simple quick makeup look which I created using the brushes. I call this kind of look a 'pretty everyday look' because it's not exactly revolutionary but it took only a few minutes to do on a not-so-great skin day. I used the Royalty Cosmetics 619 for a quick bronzer/contour with the Charlotte Tilbury Bronze and Glow, the Royalty Cosmetics 610 for blush using the Tom Ford Sheer Cheek Duo in Lavender Lure and the Royalty Cosmetics 355 to apply the Australis Cosmetics Metallix Eyeshadow in Gold Gaga and the Royalty Cosmetics 226 with the Charlotte Tilbury Vintage Vamp quad.
Deluxe Natural Sculptor 619
"Perfect width for a precise and blended contour. The rounded shape of the brush head allows it to hug the contours of the face to create dimension."
We begin with the Deluxe Natural Sculptor 619 (USD$55) which is a contour or sculpting brush. Made with a blend of saikoho and hakutotsuho hair, it features the classic yellow hue of hakutotsuho goat hair while being a very soft brush. It reaches a height of 35mm (which is true to the listing information) and reaches 46mm wide after washing. I use a brush guard after washing but this brush blooms very little.
L to R: Koyudo BP014, Chikuhodo GSN-05, Wayne Goss 12, Rephr 24, Koyudo fu-pa 02, Royalty Cosmetics 619, Koyudo BP013, Rephr 22.
The company states that the #619 works best with powder products but it can still be used to apply creams. I fully concur. It's a brush that is far better for applying powders because it's just a bit too soft to be be blending out cream products without causing a bit of drag or stick to the skin.
I have a really rounded face so I typically prefer to use a small brush such as the Koyudo BP014 to pair with the Westman Atelier Face Trace Stick in Biscuit or the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand. The Royalty Cosmetics #619 is like if the Koyudo BP014 had a monster love-child with the Chikuhodo GSN-05. I own nothing quite like this brush. Personally, I feel it's too large to be giving me a precise sculpt but the shape is quite suited for doing so. If I could make changes to it, I'd keep the shape but slim it down proportionally to three-quarters its width.
If you have a bigger cheek area than I do and you also have an obvious cheekbone to sculpt under, then you would easily be able to use this to apply powder contour. It works with my jawline but it's just too big for me to avoid muddying up a shadow on my cheek. I prefer to use the 619 for bronzer or for a lazy brontour.
L to R (side profile): Koyudo BP014, Chikuhodo GSN-05, Wayne Goss 12, Rephr 24, Koyudo fu-pa 02, Royalty Cosmetics 619, Koyudo BP013, Rephr 22.
Luxe Natural Precision Powder Brush 610
The Luxe Natural Precision Powder Brush (USD$38) is a multi-purpose face brush made of saikoho hair. The small brush head allows for precise application of powder products from loose powder to blush, bronzer and highlighter. Application is best with a 45° angle of approach or a paddling motion since the centre of the brush has a rigid structure and quite springy resistance.
L to R: Wayne Goss 10, Rephr 18, Rephr 19, Shou Shou Lang 03, Shou Shou Lang 02, Royalty Cosmetics 610, Hakuhodo J110, Rephr 05
If you like to selectively powder your face in the T-zone area then this is a good candidate. The top half of the brush head is quite airy but there is a medium to firm resistance if you pat the brush down with strong pressure. It's not one that will splay everywhere unless you intentionally do so, making it very easy to control where you want to apply powder.
The Royalty Cosmetics 610 brush is also a nice candidate for blush if you like a targeted application either on the apples of the cheeks or draped along the cheekbone. For me, it's a quick dab and go kind of brush. Pictured here on the right, I've mixed the two shades of the Tom Ford Sheer Cheek Duo in Lavender Lure for a sheer but sheeny blush application.
I instinctively use this brush for blush but I also don't mind using this for bronzer application on my small face. I have a short forehead, especially around my temples so I need a small brush if I want to warm up the area.
Finally, the company suggests using the 610 to apply highlight to the high points of the cheek bones. They used the word 'glide' in their application suggestion and I agree. The tips of the hairs in the centre of the brush have a lot of structure to them so they will cause drag if you aren't very light handed and quick. You need to use a downwards flicking motion if you want to apply highlight.
Deluxe Natural Seamless Pro Blender 355
The Deluxe Natural Seamless Pro Blender (USD$24.00) is a typical blending brush. These types of brushes are great for laying down product using the flat side before blending with the tips. I use this type of brush in the first step of my eyeshadow application to apply a wash of colour over the entire lid. I'm a big fan of the one and done eyeshadows be they cream products or single eyeshadows so it makes a lot of sense for me to use one brush.
L to R: Royalty Cosmetics 355, Hakuhodo J5523, Rephr 01, Sonia G Worker Three, Sonia G Worker Pro, Chikuhodo T-7, Bisyodo Alba Eyeshadow-B
The Royalty Cosmetics 355 is made of saikoho graded hair and I'd say that's quite apt. Most fude owners will already own a brush which is similar in size and shape. The closest matches I have to the Royalty Cosmetics 355 are the Hakuhodo J5523 and Rephr 01. The 355 brush is only 1mm shorter than the other two so the lay-down doesn't feel any different however it doesn't splay or dome out as much as the Hakuhodo and Rephr brushes you won't get as diffused as a blend by comparison. The differences are minimal. I think these brushes are a great utilitarian brush to own.
L to R (side profile): Royalty Cosmetics 355, Hakuhodo J5523, Rephr 01
Luxe Natural Slender Blender Brush 226
The Luxe Natural Slender Blender (USD$24) is a small rounded crease brush. This type of brush is a must-have for anyone with limited lid space or hooded eyes. You can easily apply eyeshadow and blend using either windshield wiper motions or in a circular direction to diffuse product.
Pictured above, you can see how long the Royalty Cosmetics handles are compared to the brushes from other brands. The Royalty Cosmetics 226 is very similar to the Hakuhodo J146 and the Rephr 14. The only difference between them is that the Royalty Cosmetics 226 has the most rounded shape so it can blow out the shadow a fraction more, however this may be due to the way this individual brush was bundled. I'm splitting hairs here. The feeling on the eyelid is almost exactly the same between the three.
L to R: Hakuhodo J5529, Sonia G Mini Booster, Royalty Cosmetics 226, Hakuhodo J146, Rephr 14, Sonia G Crease Pro, Hakuhodo B142, Sonia G Classic Crease
I think these are nice quality brushes. The hair quality is good and the bundling is up to standard. The main thing I don't like about the Royalty Cosmetics brushes is the length of the handles. It makes self application a bit cumbersome and I'm short-sighted so I sometimes need to get my face up close to a mirror. I'm also having a hard time storing these in my short acrylic containers so they live in a tall mug on my desk. I also feel that the retail price is a bit on the high side to be competitive with Japanese fude and is vastly more expensive than Chinese-made brands.
Would I buy more brushes from Royalty Cosmetics? Yes, but this would be contingent on two things. The first is that they offer AUD pricing as well as USD given that they're basically an Australian company and I am Australian. The exchange rate is something I don't like dealing with. This is something the company has said they are seeking to do in the future. My second condition is on the pricing. I think they need to drop by at least another 20% on their regular retail price to be competitive to people who either can't access Chinese brushes or are turned off by using Taobao. However, Royalty Cosmetics have hinted to me that they have Japanese-made brushes in the pipeline and that an announcement on those will be forthcoming in the next few months.