Good quality, affordable makeup brushes are a scarce commodity in South Africa. There are a lot of cheap makeup brushes available here, but that’s just my point – they’re cheap and nasty. I couple of years ago when I really started getting into makeup, I was faced with a big decision: MAC or Sigma? As you may very well know, MAC makeup brushes are very expensive and sometimes the quality is average. I wanted to invest in amazing quality makeup brushes, and saved up my pennies to buy my very first MAC brush (which was a MAC 217). I was happy with the brush and then decided to add the MAC 150 to my Christmas wish list. Bad idea, because after a couple of months using (and washing) the brush, I was very disappointed in the amount of brush shedding, plus the bristles started to get rough and scratchy. It still pains me thinking about it to this day, because that brush had a hefty price tag! It definitely wasn’t due to the brush cleanser I was using because I was using the MAC Brush Cleanser, plus the Beautyblender cleanser. I then decided to place an order online for a couple of Sigma Beauty brushes (it was a good couple of years ago, so I had to place my order online and had to have it shipped to SA). I was a lot happier with my Sigma brushes and slowly but surely started building up a makeup brush collection.
My point of that long intro is the following: Expensive doesn’t always mean quality. Afrikaners have a saying: “Goedkoop is partykeer duur koop.” It basically means sometimes you get what you pay for, you could spend a smaller amount of money on something that is bad quality, and you’ll end up having to spend even more money purchasing an item that is a bit more expensive but will last you for a longer period of time.
The operative word there, though, is ‘sometimes’. In this case, CALA brushes are super affordable (I bought mine at Dis-Chem) AND the quality is great! I bought my first CALA brushes (2 of them) a few months ago and enjoyed using them so much, I decided to go back and purchase a couple more (I picked up 3 additional eye brushes and 2 face brushes).
I’ll start off by saying every single one of these brushes are extremely soft on the face and eyes, even after a couple of ‘brush baths’ using combinations of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, the blendercleanser or the MAC Brush Cleanser. I actually can’t get over how soft the bristles of these brushes are (I’m typing this while stroking my cheek with the Deluxe Powder 301 brush). The ferrules on all of the brushes I own hug the brush handle very tightly and I can’t image them loosening or detaching at all (unless you leave your brushes lying in water, which by the way, you should never EVER do).
I’ll give you a run-down of all the brushes currently in my CALA brush collection. The two-tone brushes (called the Studio Master range) are synthetic and cruelty-free brushes, and the brushes from the CALA Lily collection are natural hair makeup brushes. Synthetic brushes can be used for liquid, cream or powder makeup as they do not tend to absorb liquid / cream products. Natural hair makeup brushes, should only be used with powder products as they do tend to absorb a certain amount of liquid. However, there are no ‘rules’ when it comes to makeup…only guidelines, so do what makes you happy!
CALA Deluxe Powder Brush (301) – R 99,95 – This soft and fluffy brush is perfect for applying powder all over the face, or bronzing up the perimeters of the face. I find it’s big enough to apply a face powder over the entirety of the face in a couple of swoops, but is small enough to function really well as a bronzing brush too.
CALA Angled Contour (302) – R 69,95 – The PERFECT contour brush in my opinion! It is soft, fluffy, angled and flattened so you can use this one brush to lay down the initial contour shade, plus use it to blend it out as well. Seriously, guys, if there’s 1 brush I suggest you check out – it’s this one. If you feel the bristles are a bit too fluffy to create a sharp contour, then just pinch the brush between your thumb & index finger to make it a little more dense. I’ve used this brush to contour with both cream and powder products and it works great with both.
Some of you guys have asked me to do a ‘How I Contour & Highlight’ video, and I’ll hopefully have that video up for you soon. In the meantime, I loaded a new video up on my YouTube channel just last night, you can check it out here.
CALA Blending Brush (311) – R 29,95 – I really love how all the synthetic eye brushes are the same price, I know it sounds very arb…but I just thought I’d mention it nonetheless. Perfect for blending out powder eyeshadows in the crease or even my under eye concealer, this brush is so soft and fluffy it might make you over blend because it feels SO nice on the eye area.
I’m at it again…stroking my face with these brushes whilst typing my blog post.
CALA Large Shading Brush (312) – R 29,95 – I have applied cream and liquid eyeshadow primers, powder eyeshadows and even my under eye concealer using this nifty little brush and have found it works really well with all of them, thanks to the synthetic bristles. The size of this brush is probably the size of my index finger nail, so it makes applying an eyeshadow to the lid really quick and easy.
CALA Eyeshadow Brush (313) – R 29,95 – A little smaller than the above mentioned eyeshadow brush, which makes it perfect for packing on a darker eyeshadow colour in the outer V-area of the lid. I also use this brush to run (and blend) an eyeshadow on the lower lash line. I imagine it will also make for a brilliant brow and inner corner highlight brush as it is nice and small. Because it is smaller than the ‘Large Shading Brush’ it is also denser.
CALA Shading Brush (505) – R 39,95 – This brush is very dense and I use it to apply eyeshadows that tend to have a bit of fall-out because it holds onto the shadows really, really well. Also, because it is so dense, it really packs on the colour – so if you are looking for a brush that will make your eyeshadows pop (without having to reapply layer after layer), this is it! See this brush in action here.
CALA Eyeshadow Brush (506) – R 49,95 – Probably the softest natural bristle eyeshadow brush in my whole brush collection! I love that this brush is so multi-functional – I can use it as a shader brush to apply a wash of colour on the lids, or I can softly blend out any eyeshadow in the crease, outer V-area or even lower lash line. It’s fluffy (but not as fluffy as a normal blending brush), so it softens the edges of any eye look really nicely.
So, those are all the CALA brushes I own at the moment. These brushes are available at Dis-Chem stores but I have noticed that not all Dis-Chem stores stock all of the brushes.
Also, I am not saying these brushes will not shed at some stage of their little brush lives (all brushes get old and start to shed) but for the price, these brushes really are amazing quality.
Unfortunately the CALA brush collection is quite small (I think Dis-Chem sells 12 – 15 different brushes), some of you might think that it is a decent amount of makeup brushes but for someone like me (who obviously has a hoarding problem), I’d like to see a wider variety. I will still keep purchasing Sigma brushes here as well because they are always coming out with new & innovative brushes. It’s a vicious circle, ladies, the more makeup brushes you have…the more you want to own!
If you have tried any of the other CALA brushes, and there has been 1 or 2 that you really loved, let me know in the comments section below – I’d love to check them out.