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Luxury Redefined

You really can have it all. You can be friendly to animals and to your skin while still enjoying a luxury line of professional quality makeup brushes. If you happen to be one of the 30 million Americans allergic or sensitive to animal hair, these brushes are the solution you’ve been looking for all these years. ABT delivers 100% animal-free makeup brushes. It may surprise you that cosmetic companies that display cruelty-free ogos on their product label may actually be using animal parts and animal by-products in their formulas. In fact, in the cosmetic industry, the term “cruelty-free” refers only to testing procedures. Even though there’s no uniform standard for the ethical treatment of animals used in the cosmetic brush industry, Advanced Beauty Tools (ABT) does not use animals in any part of the brush-making process. Best of all, ABT is animal-free without sacrificing performance. The NuFibre™ monofilaments in these brushes perform better than animal hair since they have a more consistent surface, are more durable, and offer greater versatility. These brushes work well with makeup powders, liquids, and emollient-based products. Plus, the NuFibre brushes help deter microbial growth. ABT founder Matthew Waitesmith, a former M•A•C executive, has created a set to suit every need. He recommends cleaning your brushes every day or at least every few days to keep them in tip-top shape. With proper care, these brushes will last you many years. This is guilt-free beauty that makes us feel as good as we look!

Advanced Beauty Tools

Animal-Free Beauty

Luxury Redefined

You really can have it all. You can be friendly to animals and to your skin while still enjoying a luxury line of professional quality makeup brushes. If you happen to be one of the 30 million Americans allergic or sensitive to animal hair, these brushes are the solution you’ve been looking for all these years. ABT delivers 100% animal-free makeup brushes. It may surprise you that cosmetic companies that display cruelty-free ogos on their product label may actually be using animal parts and animal by-products in their formulas. In fact, in the cosmetic industry, the term “cruelty-free” refers only to testing procedures. Even though there’s no uniform standard for the ethical treatment of animals used in the cosmetic brush industry, Advanced Beauty Tools (ABT) does not use animals in any part of the brush-making process. Best of all, ABT is animal-free without sacrificing performance. The NuFibre™ monofilaments in these brushes perform better than animal hair since they have a more consistent surface, are more durable, and offer greater versatility. These brushes work well with makeup powders, liquids, and emollient-based products. Plus, the NuFibre brushes help deter microbial growth. ABT founder Matthew Waitesmith, a former M•A•C executive, has created a set to suit every need. He recommends cleaning your brushes every day or at least every few days to keep them in tip-top shape. With proper care, these brushes will last you many years. This is guilt-free beauty that makes us feel as good as we look!

Grommet Launch Conversation

Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Matthew
    Matthew

    Hello all. I am very happy that you are joining us today to learn about the ABT [Advanced Beauty Tools] makeup brushes.

    I have been in the beauty and fashion industry for over 30 years, and until recently was a major cosmetic company executive responsible for the training of thousands of makeup artists worldwide.

    I respect the empowerment that beautiful makeup gives people, and I have seen makeup products get better and better every year. But, I have always been perplexed by the fact that the tools that apply makeup never seem to change or evolve. You need great makeup brushes to achieve great makeup application.

    So, I have made it my mission to bring makeup brushes into the 21st century by redesigning makeup brushes, and finding ways to evolve and perfect makeup brushes; so that they are more beautiful, functional, and healthy.

    I am available to answer any questions you might have about makeup brushes, and am happy to share my knowledge and expertise with you.

  • Jane
    Jane
    4/13/2011 12:26 PM

    I can't find anywhere the types of individual brushes in the different sets. What exactly are the brushes in the introductory gift set? The other sets?

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    4/13/2011 12:34 PM

    @Jane: Below each Grommet feature's video and above the story is a tab called 'Details'. This will list the specific details for a Grommet feature.

  • Feisty
    Feisty
    4/13/2011 12:27 PM

    A little pricey for my budget. I'm not saying they aren't worth it, but I think when Grommet's advertising needs adjusting. You're advertising brushes and state that prices start at $22 but you can't purchase any of the brushes for under $73. Technically you haven't done anything wrong and yet I still feel duped. I've found some great products on Grommet and some great deals; this was a little disappointing.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    4/13/2011 12:37 PM

    @Feisty: Thank you for your feedback. We, as well, dislike how that feature of our site works. It displays the lowest price from the full set of items being featured. In this case it's the cleaner for $22. We have this at the top of our list to correct when we next redesign our site.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    4/13/2011 12:40 PM

    Here are the instructions for cleaning these brushes with the foaming brush cleaner:

    To use: Press the cap down to dispense foam onto the fibre bundle of the brush or onto a moist paper towel or micro-fibre cloth. Wipe the fibre bundle back and forth across the paper towel or cloth until the cosmetic residue is released from the fibres. Re-shape the fibre bundle into the desired shape and let dry.

    This superior cleanser dispenses as a foam to help the cleansing ingredients work around each fibre of the brush without over soaking the fibre bundle. The bubble action cleans and helps the brushes dry within minutes. The foam not only cleanses, but also sanitizes while it works. This unique formula leaves your brushes cleansed, sanitized and fresh smelling.

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 1:28 PM

    I have been a makeup artist for many years, and also a cosmetic corporate executive, and once I started researching makeup brushes, I was surprised at how little I actually knew about how traditional makeup brushes came to be, what they are made of, and how they actually perform.

    For example, did you know that the vast majority of makeup brushes are copies of fine art brushes used for watercolour painting? Cosmetic brushes are mostly manufactured by factories that also make artist brushes you would find in an art store. The shapes and types of hair used in watercolour brushes were the softest ones, and so became the ones offered for cosmetic application use for makeup.

    The most-used hairs for making makeup brushes are [in order of first to third] Pony, Goat, and Weasel.

    Most makeup companies representatives don't even know what type of hair is used in their makeup brushes. And even if they do, they suggest that the hair was obtained by clipping the animal. Unfortunately, this is not very truthful. In fact, most hair used to make cosmetic brushes is obtained as a part of the animal rendering process used in the food or fur industry.

  • julie
    julie
    4/13/2011 1:37 PM

    @Matthew Waitesmith: These look great, but I already have a ton of high priced brushes that are still in decent shape. My question is, will your cleanser work on my synthetic and animal fiber brushes, or only on the NuFiber?

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 1:41 PM

    @julie: Great question. The Foaming Brush Cleanser works great for traditional makeup brushes with animal hair, as well as ABT makeup brushes made with NuFibre.

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 1:36 PM

    I was also surprised to find out that approximately 10% of the population are sensitive or allergic to animals and their hair. In the US, that is over 30 million people. Of course, not everyone may have a violent allergic reaction to animals, but even if you have a very mild sensitivity to them, why would you want to use a makeup applicator that rubs that potentially allergic substance around your eyes, lips and skin every day? It seems safer just to eliminate that possible allergic potential by choosing makeup brushes that are animal-free. I wouldn't choose a makeup brush just because it was animal-free unless it also performed as well or better than a traditional makeup brush. Which is why I worked for years to develop the NuFibre, which independent laboratory testing proves out-performs traditional animal hair.

  • teariana
    teariana
    4/13/2011 5:29 PM

    @Matthew Waitesmith: A common misconception is that people are allergic to the hair of the animal, when it really is the saliva from the animal cleaning itself. That is why when you see allergy commercials they refer to pet "dander" not pet "hair." I know many people who are extremely allergic to pet dander, yet they use animal hair cosmetic brushes daily with no ill effects. So many people want on the eco-friendly band-wagon that they don't realize the so-called "animal-friendly" and "Vegan" options are far more harmful to the environment. For centuries, people have been using all of an animal they have taken for food purposes, people should ask themselves would they prefer the rest of the animal reside in a garbage dump?

    I know man was designed to be vegetarian, but that ended with the flood and until such time as things are back the way they were originally intended, we should think first, and analyze whether we are truly contributing to the health or the detriment of this planet.

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 6:39 PM

    @teariana: You make a very good point about what many consider to be the primary causes of animal allergies. Many experts believe that the key factor is the dander which are the sloughed-off skin cells of the animal, because the dander has a high concentration of unique proteins which some believe are the triggers for allergic reaction and is easily airborn and inhaled into the body. There are some additional things to consider....for example, the few studies that exist regarding common animal allergies have mostly been conducted using household pets [cats and dogs], and not with the hairs that are used to make makeup brushes [mostly pony, goat and weasel]. And there is some real disagreement amoung experts on what exactly causes allergies and sensitivities. Most do include animal hair as a factor. Also, the same proteins that are present in the dander are present in the hair shaft itself, but the dander is much easier to inhale due to it's small size. Allergy experts agree that different animals can cause allergies and sensitivities through exposure to different parts of their bodies [as you mentioned: saliva or other bodily fluids]. For people who have skin sensitivities or full blown allergies, this is an important issue. And it is helpful to have alternatives to animal hair makeup brushes for those people. You are right that people have certainly been using animal hair tools for centuries. For example, up until World War II most people brushed their teeth with toothbrushes made of boar hair. But, these days it would be hard to find anyone who doesn't think that using a nylon toothbrush is more hygienic. So, sometimes tools can change for the better, even after hundreds of years of use.

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 2:24 PM

    Historically, traditional artist brushes were made with animal hair that was sourced to be "virgin", which meant that the hair had never previously been cut, resulting in a naturally tapered tip at the end of the hair shaft. This tapered tip was helpful at blending pigments and providing a less-abrasive effect on the surface to be painted. When artist brushes were transformed into makeup brushes, the tapered/virgin tips of the hair shafts were very soft and gentle on the skin of the face. But, due to the increased demand for makeup brushes in the past 50 years, manufacturers are taking short cuts when and how they obtain hair to make the brushes. They can't source many "virgin" tip hairs as they need to meet demand, and so they now shape the makeup brush hair bundles by cutting the hair shafts to shape, which means the hair shaft no longer ends in a natural tip [if it even had a suitable one to begin with]. This current method allows makeup brush manufacturers to use more types of hairs and to shape hair bundles easier, but loses the benefits of the naturally tapered hair tips. ABT NuFibre is man-made using sophisticated machines and processes so that every single fibre ends in a microscopically fine [2-5 microns] tapered tip. This recreates the virgin tips which brushes used to have, and means that ABT brushes are extremely gentle on the skin. In fact, the large Buffer Brush, featured in several of the sets, contains over 250,000 individual NuFibres to making up the fibre bundle, and each fibre ends with a tapered tip.

  • Kate
    Kate
    4/13/2011 2:46 PM

    I have never thought so much about my makeup brushes as I have today!

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 3:25 PM

    Did you ever wonder why most makeup brushes sold in department stores and speciality stores have solid black hair? It is actually because they are all dyed to a uniform colour. The dying process works the same way as when you dye the hair on your head, but they use more intense dye and pigments. This dying process results in a more uniform visual result from one brush to another, but it also means the hair shafts are "processed" before you even get the brush home. Just as dying your own hair will result in the hair shaft becoming more fragile and prone to breakage, so are the processed hairs in the makeup brushes you have. Dying hair works by introducing a chemical that causes the overlapping protein plates that make up the hair shaft [like overlapping shingles on a roof] to be blown apart creating spaces between the protein plates. Then dyes are introduced to the hair shaft and the pigments find their way into the nooks and crannies created between the protein plates. Finally, another chemical is used to try to fuse the protein plates back together to re-form the hair shaft, and trap the pigment particles in the process. This colour processing weakens the hair shaft, and over time can contribute to splitting or breaking of the hair shafts. This is why your traditional makeup brushes may not last as long as you expect them to. Because they are never as strong when you buy them as they were before processing. ABT NuFibre has the pigment built in as a part of the manufacturing process, and the pigment becomes part of the structure of the monofilament. This means the colour and structure of the NuFibre remains intact far longer than any animal hair would.

  • Sherry
    Sherry
    4/13/2011 3:43 PM

    The lash and brow brush/comb are the brush bristles made of NuFibre? What is the material of the comb - soft or hard plastic, metal?

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 3:49 PM

    @Sherry: The comb part of this brush is made of a hard plastic that has smoothed surfaces so it separates lashes without catching on them.

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 4:05 PM

    Here is something else to think about with makeup brushes.... The key component of a traditional makeup brush is the hair bundle. But most people don't think about the fact that animal hair is a "crop." Just as farmers plant crops of corn or wheat or fruit, some farmers raise animals used to provide the hair that is the key part of a makeup brush. The success of any crop is dependent on the seed used and the environment [sunlight, water, pests, nutrients, weather, etc.]. Some crops might suffer damage due to bad weather conditions or lack of water, and that affects the quality of the harvest. Raising animals is the same. The quality of the animal is dependent on where and how it is raised. Some animals are packed into buildings alongside many others, and this will produce a very different hair harvest than animals who are raised outside and subject to sun and other weather conditions. Just as with food crops, animal crops are subject to constant changes in quality from one crop to another or one season to another. And across the globe there are many different breeds of animals used for harvesting hair. Which is why you might love a particular makeup brush but, when it was time to buy a replacement, you bought the same brand and style of brush, but it just didn't feel or perform the same as the previous one. Hair from one animal to another, or one farm to another will never be consistent, and quality is virtually impossible to maintain with traditional animal hair brushes. No two animals will ever have exactly the same quality of hair, and once animals are harvested for the hair, another different animal has to be used for the next harvest. ABT brushes are animal-free and all made with NuFibre which is machine-made to exacting specifications, which results in consistent, uniform quality and performance from one brush to another, no matter when or where you buy it.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    4/13/2011 4:25 PM

    Matthew, it's been wonderful having you with us today and answering the questions we didn't even realize that we had. You are a wealth of information.

  • teariana
    teariana
    4/13/2011 5:10 PM

    What impact does the manufacture of the synthetic fibers have on the environment? Including the manufacture of the handles, etc.?

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 5:38 PM

    @teariana: All the component materials of ABT brushes are completely recyclable. The manufacturing materials were chosen for their durability and performance, and they also are environmentally sensitive. The handle and NuFibre are manufactured from raw materials that are both plant and hydrocarbon source based.

  • Debbie
    Debbie
    4/13/2011 8:14 PM

    I was really excited about these brushes......until I saw the price. Way too steep for the average budget. They really look soft but I guess I'll never know b/c there's no way I can justify $73 or $150 for brushes. Sorry

  • Sophia
    Sophia
    2/22/2012 5:11 PM

    @Debbie: I recently started actually caring about the brushes I use when I started buying brushes for my daughter who is just getting into makeup. After I bought her a few cheap brushes and tried them out this is what I noticed:

    1) When I wash the brushes, they either bleed color (ick!) or the bristles break off. This encourages my daughter to wash them less frequently, which makes them home to breakout-causing bacteria.

    2) The big face brushes feel rough on the skin.

    3) When I try to apply pigments with the cheap eyeshadow brushes, it is noticeable how uneven they apply. With the trend toward bold color right now, you need it to go on evenly.

    Keeping all of that in mind, I am a new convert to really nice expensive brushes. I'd rather pay more for high quality brushes that are a pleasure to use then deal with the frustration of the 'cheapies'.

  • Chew-Hoong
    Chew-Hoong – Grommet Team
    2/23/2012 1:35 AM

    @Sophia: Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience. I'm going through a similar experimentation of using different quality brushes (& makeup) with my daughter; it's an eye opener.

  • KC
    KC
    4/14/2011 8:46 PM

    I've invested in quality brushes already and would be willing to start replacing them, but I'm not going to just throw away $300 worth of brushes. I'm disappointed that individual brushes aren't for sale - I would enjoy trying one of two of my favorite shapes to see how they compare, but I'd never just buy a whole kit like this. (I completely agree with "Feisty" that the pricing of the products leaves me feeling "duped". Glad you're working on it.)

  • Trela
    Trela
    4/22/2011 12:53 AM

    @KC: I agree, I would be able to replace one or two brushes at a time (depending upon individual price) but due to the economy right now I'd never be able to justify buying all of these at one time. #1 - I don't need all of these brushes, #2 - the price!

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    4/14/2011 11:42 PM

    Great feedback ladies. Thank you.

  • Jules
    Jules – Grommet Team
    4/15/2011 6:31 PM

    Daily Grommet co-founder here. Just want to underscore how much that misleading "starting at" pricing drives us crazy. We have a new software developer at the company. He is an honest guy and I worked with him before in another company, so he knows me too. The first thing he said was "Jules that bait and switch pricing thing on our site has to go. It does not seem at all like something you or Daily Grommet would do. I want to fix that." Of course, it turned to be a little harder than a quick fix but believe me...we will!

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

 

Advanced Beauty Tools

Animal-Free Beauty

Luxury Redefined

You really can have it all. You can be friendly to animals and to your skin while still enjoying a luxury line of professional quality makeup brushes. If you happen to be one of the 30 million Americans allergic or sensitive to animal hair, these brushes are the solution you’ve been looking for all these years.

ABT delivers 100% animal-free makeup brushes. It may surprise you that cosmetic companies that display cruelty-free ogos on their product label may actually be using animal parts and animal by-products in
their formulas. In fact, in the cosmetic industry, the term “cruelty-free” refers only to testing procedures. Even though there’s no uniform standard for the ethical treatment of animals used in the cosmetic brush industry, Advanced Beauty Tools (ABT) does not use animals in any part of the brush-making process.

Best of all, ABT is animal-free without sacrificing performance. The NuFibre™ monofilaments in these brushes perform better than animal hair since they have a more consistent surface, are more durable, and offer greater versatility. These brushes work well with makeup powders, liquids, and emollient-based products. Plus, the NuFibre brushes help deter microbial growth.

ABT founder Matthew Waitesmith, a former M•A•C executive, has created a set to suit every need. He recommends cleaning your brushes every day or at least every few days to keep them in tip-top shape. With proper care, these brushes will last you many years. This is guilt-free beauty that makes us feel as good as we look!
Read More Read Less
Advanced Beauty Tools - Animal-Free Beauty
No longer available

Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Matthew
    Matthew

    Hello all. I am very happy that you are joining us today to learn about the ABT [Advanced Beauty Tools] makeup brushes.

    I have been in the beauty and fashion industry for over 30 years, and until recently was a major cosmetic company executive responsible for the training of thousands of makeup artists worldwide.

    I respect the empowerment that beautiful makeup gives people, and I have seen makeup products get better and better every year. But, I have always been perplexed by the fact that the tools that apply makeup never seem to change or evolve. You need great makeup brushes to achieve great makeup application.

    So, I have made it my mission to bring makeup brushes into the 21st century by redesigning makeup brushes, and finding ways to evolve and perfect makeup brushes; so that they are more beautiful, functional, and healthy.

    I am available to answer any questions you might have about makeup brushes, and am happy to share my knowledge and expertise with you.

  • Jane
    Jane
    4/13/2011 12:26 PM

    I can't find anywhere the types of individual brushes in the different sets. What exactly are the brushes in the introductory gift set? The other sets?

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    4/13/2011 12:34 PM

    @Jane: Below each Grommet feature's video and above the story is a tab called 'Details'. This will list the specific details for a Grommet feature.

  • Feisty
    Feisty
    4/13/2011 12:27 PM

    A little pricey for my budget. I'm not saying they aren't worth it, but I think when Grommet's advertising needs adjusting. You're advertising brushes and state that prices start at $22 but you can't purchase any of the brushes for under $73. Technically you haven't done anything wrong and yet I still feel duped. I've found some great products on Grommet and some great deals; this was a little disappointing.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    4/13/2011 12:37 PM

    @Feisty: Thank you for your feedback. We, as well, dislike how that feature of our site works. It displays the lowest price from the full set of items being featured. In this case it's the cleaner for $22. We have this at the top of our list to correct when we next redesign our site.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    4/13/2011 12:40 PM

    Here are the instructions for cleaning these brushes with the foaming brush cleaner:

    To use: Press the cap down to dispense foam onto the fibre bundle of the brush or onto a moist paper towel or micro-fibre cloth. Wipe the fibre bundle back and forth across the paper towel or cloth until the cosmetic residue is released from the fibres. Re-shape the fibre bundle into the desired shape and let dry.

    This superior cleanser dispenses as a foam to help the cleansing ingredients work around each fibre of the brush without over soaking the fibre bundle. The bubble action cleans and helps the brushes dry within minutes. The foam not only cleanses, but also sanitizes while it works. This unique formula leaves your brushes cleansed, sanitized and fresh smelling.

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 1:28 PM

    I have been a makeup artist for many years, and also a cosmetic corporate executive, and once I started researching makeup brushes, I was surprised at how little I actually knew about how traditional makeup brushes came to be, what they are made of, and how they actually perform.

    For example, did you know that the vast majority of makeup brushes are copies of fine art brushes used for watercolour painting? Cosmetic brushes are mostly manufactured by factories that also make artist brushes you would find in an art store. The shapes and types of hair used in watercolour brushes were the softest ones, and so became the ones offered for cosmetic application use for makeup.

    The most-used hairs for making makeup brushes are [in order of first to third] Pony, Goat, and Weasel.

    Most makeup companies representatives don't even know what type of hair is used in their makeup brushes. And even if they do, they suggest that the hair was obtained by clipping the animal. Unfortunately, this is not very truthful. In fact, most hair used to make cosmetic brushes is obtained as a part of the animal rendering process used in the food or fur industry.

  • julie
    julie
    4/13/2011 1:37 PM

    @Matthew Waitesmith: These look great, but I already have a ton of high priced brushes that are still in decent shape. My question is, will your cleanser work on my synthetic and animal fiber brushes, or only on the NuFiber?

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 1:41 PM

    @julie: Great question. The Foaming Brush Cleanser works great for traditional makeup brushes with animal hair, as well as ABT makeup brushes made with NuFibre.

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 1:36 PM

    I was also surprised to find out that approximately 10% of the population are sensitive or allergic to animals and their hair. In the US, that is over 30 million people. Of course, not everyone may have a violent allergic reaction to animals, but even if you have a very mild sensitivity to them, why would you want to use a makeup applicator that rubs that potentially allergic substance around your eyes, lips and skin every day? It seems safer just to eliminate that possible allergic potential by choosing makeup brushes that are animal-free. I wouldn't choose a makeup brush just because it was animal-free unless it also performed as well or better than a traditional makeup brush. Which is why I worked for years to develop the NuFibre, which independent laboratory testing proves out-performs traditional animal hair.

  • teariana
    teariana
    4/13/2011 5:29 PM

    @Matthew Waitesmith: A common misconception is that people are allergic to the hair of the animal, when it really is the saliva from the animal cleaning itself. That is why when you see allergy commercials they refer to pet "dander" not pet "hair." I know many people who are extremely allergic to pet dander, yet they use animal hair cosmetic brushes daily with no ill effects. So many people want on the eco-friendly band-wagon that they don't realize the so-called "animal-friendly" and "Vegan" options are far more harmful to the environment. For centuries, people have been using all of an animal they have taken for food purposes, people should ask themselves would they prefer the rest of the animal reside in a garbage dump?

    I know man was designed to be vegetarian, but that ended with the flood and until such time as things are back the way they were originally intended, we should think first, and analyze whether we are truly contributing to the health or the detriment of this planet.

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 6:39 PM

    @teariana: You make a very good point about what many consider to be the primary causes of animal allergies. Many experts believe that the key factor is the dander which are the sloughed-off skin cells of the animal, because the dander has a high concentration of unique proteins which some believe are the triggers for allergic reaction and is easily airborn and inhaled into the body. There are some additional things to consider....for example, the few studies that exist regarding common animal allergies have mostly been conducted using household pets [cats and dogs], and not with the hairs that are used to make makeup brushes [mostly pony, goat and weasel]. And there is some real disagreement amoung experts on what exactly causes allergies and sensitivities. Most do include animal hair as a factor. Also, the same proteins that are present in the dander are present in the hair shaft itself, but the dander is much easier to inhale due to it's small size. Allergy experts agree that different animals can cause allergies and sensitivities through exposure to different parts of their bodies [as you mentioned: saliva or other bodily fluids]. For people who have skin sensitivities or full blown allergies, this is an important issue. And it is helpful to have alternatives to animal hair makeup brushes for those people. You are right that people have certainly been using animal hair tools for centuries. For example, up until World War II most people brushed their teeth with toothbrushes made of boar hair. But, these days it would be hard to find anyone who doesn't think that using a nylon toothbrush is more hygienic. So, sometimes tools can change for the better, even after hundreds of years of use.

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 2:24 PM

    Historically, traditional artist brushes were made with animal hair that was sourced to be "virgin", which meant that the hair had never previously been cut, resulting in a naturally tapered tip at the end of the hair shaft. This tapered tip was helpful at blending pigments and providing a less-abrasive effect on the surface to be painted. When artist brushes were transformed into makeup brushes, the tapered/virgin tips of the hair shafts were very soft and gentle on the skin of the face. But, due to the increased demand for makeup brushes in the past 50 years, manufacturers are taking short cuts when and how they obtain hair to make the brushes. They can't source many "virgin" tip hairs as they need to meet demand, and so they now shape the makeup brush hair bundles by cutting the hair shafts to shape, which means the hair shaft no longer ends in a natural tip [if it even had a suitable one to begin with]. This current method allows makeup brush manufacturers to use more types of hairs and to shape hair bundles easier, but loses the benefits of the naturally tapered hair tips. ABT NuFibre is man-made using sophisticated machines and processes so that every single fibre ends in a microscopically fine [2-5 microns] tapered tip. This recreates the virgin tips which brushes used to have, and means that ABT brushes are extremely gentle on the skin. In fact, the large Buffer Brush, featured in several of the sets, contains over 250,000 individual NuFibres to making up the fibre bundle, and each fibre ends with a tapered tip.

  • Kate
    Kate
    4/13/2011 2:46 PM

    I have never thought so much about my makeup brushes as I have today!

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 3:25 PM

    Did you ever wonder why most makeup brushes sold in department stores and speciality stores have solid black hair? It is actually because they are all dyed to a uniform colour. The dying process works the same way as when you dye the hair on your head, but they use more intense dye and pigments. This dying process results in a more uniform visual result from one brush to another, but it also means the hair shafts are "processed" before you even get the brush home. Just as dying your own hair will result in the hair shaft becoming more fragile and prone to breakage, so are the processed hairs in the makeup brushes you have. Dying hair works by introducing a chemical that causes the overlapping protein plates that make up the hair shaft [like overlapping shingles on a roof] to be blown apart creating spaces between the protein plates. Then dyes are introduced to the hair shaft and the pigments find their way into the nooks and crannies created between the protein plates. Finally, another chemical is used to try to fuse the protein plates back together to re-form the hair shaft, and trap the pigment particles in the process. This colour processing weakens the hair shaft, and over time can contribute to splitting or breaking of the hair shafts. This is why your traditional makeup brushes may not last as long as you expect them to. Because they are never as strong when you buy them as they were before processing. ABT NuFibre has the pigment built in as a part of the manufacturing process, and the pigment becomes part of the structure of the monofilament. This means the colour and structure of the NuFibre remains intact far longer than any animal hair would.

  • Sherry
    Sherry
    4/13/2011 3:43 PM

    The lash and brow brush/comb are the brush bristles made of NuFibre? What is the material of the comb - soft or hard plastic, metal?

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 3:49 PM

    @Sherry: The comb part of this brush is made of a hard plastic that has smoothed surfaces so it separates lashes without catching on them.

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 4:05 PM

    Here is something else to think about with makeup brushes.... The key component of a traditional makeup brush is the hair bundle. But most people don't think about the fact that animal hair is a "crop." Just as farmers plant crops of corn or wheat or fruit, some farmers raise animals used to provide the hair that is the key part of a makeup brush. The success of any crop is dependent on the seed used and the environment [sunlight, water, pests, nutrients, weather, etc.]. Some crops might suffer damage due to bad weather conditions or lack of water, and that affects the quality of the harvest. Raising animals is the same. The quality of the animal is dependent on where and how it is raised. Some animals are packed into buildings alongside many others, and this will produce a very different hair harvest than animals who are raised outside and subject to sun and other weather conditions. Just as with food crops, animal crops are subject to constant changes in quality from one crop to another or one season to another. And across the globe there are many different breeds of animals used for harvesting hair. Which is why you might love a particular makeup brush but, when it was time to buy a replacement, you bought the same brand and style of brush, but it just didn't feel or perform the same as the previous one. Hair from one animal to another, or one farm to another will never be consistent, and quality is virtually impossible to maintain with traditional animal hair brushes. No two animals will ever have exactly the same quality of hair, and once animals are harvested for the hair, another different animal has to be used for the next harvest. ABT brushes are animal-free and all made with NuFibre which is machine-made to exacting specifications, which results in consistent, uniform quality and performance from one brush to another, no matter when or where you buy it.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    4/13/2011 4:25 PM

    Matthew, it's been wonderful having you with us today and answering the questions we didn't even realize that we had. You are a wealth of information.

  • teariana
    teariana
    4/13/2011 5:10 PM

    What impact does the manufacture of the synthetic fibers have on the environment? Including the manufacture of the handles, etc.?

  • Matthew
    Matthew – Special Guest
    4/13/2011 5:38 PM

    @teariana: All the component materials of ABT brushes are completely recyclable. The manufacturing materials were chosen for their durability and performance, and they also are environmentally sensitive. The handle and NuFibre are manufactured from raw materials that are both plant and hydrocarbon source based.

  • Debbie
    Debbie
    4/13/2011 8:14 PM

    I was really excited about these brushes......until I saw the price. Way too steep for the average budget. They really look soft but I guess I'll never know b/c there's no way I can justify $73 or $150 for brushes. Sorry

  • Sophia
    Sophia
    2/22/2012 5:11 PM

    @Debbie: I recently started actually caring about the brushes I use when I started buying brushes for my daughter who is just getting into makeup. After I bought her a few cheap brushes and tried them out this is what I noticed:

    1) When I wash the brushes, they either bleed color (ick!) or the bristles break off. This encourages my daughter to wash them less frequently, which makes them home to breakout-causing bacteria.

    2) The big face brushes feel rough on the skin.

    3) When I try to apply pigments with the cheap eyeshadow brushes, it is noticeable how uneven they apply. With the trend toward bold color right now, you need it to go on evenly.

    Keeping all of that in mind, I am a new convert to really nice expensive brushes. I'd rather pay more for high quality brushes that are a pleasure to use then deal with the frustration of the 'cheapies'.

  • Chew-Hoong
    Chew-Hoong – Grommet Team
    2/23/2012 1:35 AM

    @Sophia: Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience. I'm going through a similar experimentation of using different quality brushes (& makeup) with my daughter; it's an eye opener.

  • KC
    KC
    4/14/2011 8:46 PM

    I've invested in quality brushes already and would be willing to start replacing them, but I'm not going to just throw away $300 worth of brushes. I'm disappointed that individual brushes aren't for sale - I would enjoy trying one of two of my favorite shapes to see how they compare, but I'd never just buy a whole kit like this. (I completely agree with "Feisty" that the pricing of the products leaves me feeling "duped". Glad you're working on it.)

  • Trela
    Trela
    4/22/2011 12:53 AM

    @KC: I agree, I would be able to replace one or two brushes at a time (depending upon individual price) but due to the economy right now I'd never be able to justify buying all of these at one time. #1 - I don't need all of these brushes, #2 - the price!

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    4/14/2011 11:42 PM

    Great feedback ladies. Thank you.

  • Jules
    Jules – Grommet Team
    4/15/2011 6:31 PM

    Daily Grommet co-founder here. Just want to underscore how much that misleading "starting at" pricing drives us crazy. We have a new software developer at the company. He is an honest guy and I worked with him before in another company, so he knows me too. The first thing he said was "Jules that bait and switch pricing thing on our site has to go. It does not seem at all like something you or Daily Grommet would do. I want to fix that." Of course, it turned to be a little harder than a quick fix but believe me...we will!

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.