I treated myself to a birthday present last year and purchased the Wayne Goss ‘The Anniversary Set’ of makeup brushes. This makeup brush set is advertised as a limited edition set, but really, it’s been limited for the longest time. I purchased them in 2016 around September, so not sure how limited they really are. Admittedly though, I had to wait for about a month for it to be back in stock at the time.
The Wayne Goss (to be lovingly referred to as WG going forward) ‘Anniversary Set’ consists of 8 brushes that have been curated as an overall ‘basics’ set by Wayne from his extensive brush range. The brushes are sleek, black and fabulous. They are laser embossed with the Wayne Goss Branding in pink (which as you can see in the pics hasn’t worn off at all, even with regular use for about a year). Aesthetically, Wayne has nailed the line.
The brushes are handmade by Japanese Artisans. The bristles are made with natural, uncut hair and very importantly, are made cruelty-free. The black haired brushes have uber-soft bristles that are made from blue squirrel hair. The other small, flat brushes are made from natural hair (undisclosed from which creature).
These are the softest brushes that I have ever used. I was worried about the softness initially thinking that they might be too soft, that they won’t lay down shadows well and provide enough pigment but these deliver on that, no problems. As you’ll see below, I keep banging on about the softness of these brushes, but you will absolutely not feel any skin drag or scratching when using any of WG’s eye brushes. This line is perfect for those with sensitive skin.
The brass ferrules on these brushes (the metal piece that holds the bristles together) is perfectly weighted with the handle to give the right balance in your hand. The handles are shorter than most other makeup brushes allowing you to come close to the mirror to do your makeup without hitting the base of the brush against the mirror. I am personally in huge favour of short-handled makeup brushes and that’s also part of the reason why I like the Real Technique eye brushes so much too.
‘The Anniversary Set’ comes packaged in a canister which I kept and use for storage when travelling. I really love it as it keeps my brushes protected and in pristine shape when travelling and is also handy to have them displayed in the lid of the canister.
There is absolutely no shedding with these brushes – I have owned them for a year now and as you can see they look brand-spanking new.
It goes without saying that all the WG brushes are much softer than anything they are pictured next to below. The pics are solely there for size and function comparison.
Let ‘s now get stuck into my review of the individual brushes in this set.
Brush 01 Duo-Fibre Base/Foundation Brush (available exclusively with this set)
It features short, densely packed bristles that are cut at different lengths. The purpose of this is to allow small amounts of product to be distributed evenly and not waste product. This brush claims to be able to be used for powder and liquid face products. I was hoping this would be a game-changing face brush but I honestly haven’t enjoyed using it as much as I thought I would. I find the bristles so short and densely packed that it’s hard to buff product into the face with a streak-free finish. I also find that you need to use an incredibly light hand, else it does feel a little rough on the face. It’s ok for use with a powder mineral makeup, but I prefer using a kabuki-style brush for that. The No 01. brush that comes in this set is bigger than it’s predecessor (from ‘The Collection’) and since I haven’t used the earlier version, I can’t comment on the redesign of the brush. Sadly, this is my least favourite brush from the set and I wanted to love it so badly.
Brush 02 – Brush 02 Powder Brush
This is a beautifully crafted multi-purpose brush. This brush is great for any powder product of your choice with an abundance of uses – powdering, contouring, bronzing, highlighting and blush too. It picks up just the right amount of product and softly lays it down on the face. It’s great to use with those really pigmented products that you might be scared to use. The tapered head of the brush allows it to form close to the crevices and sculpting of the face, whilst the super soft bristles will just lay down the smallest amount and blend it out to perfection. I use this brush daily and absolutely love it.
I prefer this brush for the sculpting and highlighting of the face, rather than for blush. Whilst it’s great for defined placement of the product, I like a slightly larger, domed head for blush placement, solely for the reason of faster application over a slightly larger surface area.
In the images below, this brush size has been compared with the Nars Yachiyo Brush and the Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush. The WG No. 2 is incredibly soft (as soft as the eye brushes in this set) and much softer than both its contenders below. As you can see, the WG is a much narrower brush, though it does splay nicely when used. To be nit-picking, I prefer the shape of the Charlotte Tilbury slightly more for bronzing and contouring, but I favour the WG one for highlighting as it creates a very blended highlight. The WG No.2 just makes me giddy every time I pick it up because it’s so enjoyable to use and looks so sleek and elegant.
Now onto the eye brushes; my favourites from the whole set – these eye brushes will never drag eyeshadow across your lids, you just experience the lightest touch, softest blending and perfect placement.
03 – Large Eye Shadow Crease Brush
The No. 3 brush has the widest placement of the bristles of the eye brushes in the set and is the most perfect blending brush ever. These super-soft, fluffy, packed bristles will blend anything out and I mean anything! Perfect for blending into the socket. Also great for targeted powdering on the face and even highlighting too.
Below this brush is standing side by side with the Laura Mercier Pony Tail Brush for comparison. Both of these brushes have a circular ferrule, are quite similar in size and fluffiness, but the WG just has the edge over Laura Mercier in sophistication and softness with this one.
04 – Small Eye Shadow Crease Brush
Great as a targeted blending brush and for getting into smaller spaces like detailed placement in the socket, under the lashline and outer-V of the eye. I’ve compared it here to the Zoeva 231 – both have a similar sized, circular ferrule. The head of the brush is longer on the WG No.4 and the bristles are not as stiff as the Zoeva. The Zoeva brush is really good for blending out eyeliner along the lower lashline and holds pigment well. I found that using the WG No.4 for blending out liner isn’t as good as it is less structured and a smidgen too soft. However, if you are using highly pigmented shadows and want a subtle application, this is great. It is also good for precision product placement, crease work and also for buffing out concealer.
05 – Precision Detail Brush
This is a pretty small brush. It can be used for liquid, cream & powder products. Great for smudging liner under the lashline, targeted shadow placement or this works as the most incredible pin-point concealer brush. I personally use this as a dedicated pin-point concealer brush with a cream concealer and it’s great! It is very similar in size to the Gorgeous Cosmetics #032 Lip brush, Ben Nye FDB-71 and the Real Techniques Detailer Brush. The most similar to the WG No. 5 is the Gorgeous Cosmetics lip brush as it has similar density, with the only difference is that the Gorgeous Cosmetics lip brush has an oval ferrule whereas the WG No. 5 is has rounded bristle arrangement.
06 – Eye Shadow Blending Brush
This is a flat shadow brush with a pinched ferrule, not too dissimilar in the design of probably the most purchased makeup brush ever, the MAC 217. In the images below, I have compared it for size to the Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush and the MAC 217. The MAC 217 is slightly more splayed than the WG No. 6 Brush. The RT brush is quite similar in size to the WG, but of course, nowhere near as soft. Also, the WG features a flatter edge than the others
The flat side of the WG brush allows for pigment to be pressed on the eyelid whilst the narrow edge provides ease for more targeted placement. This is my favourite brush from the whole set. What I really love about it is that it’s so soft that even though it’s a flat brush, you can still blend using this brush so your intricate shadow work blends into one another creating, the most seamless, beautiful effect. Love, love, love this brush.
07 – Precision Lip Brush
This brush has short, dense bristles, is a great little tool for smudging eyeliner and softening out edges. Perfect for precise work on both upper and lashlines, filling in brows as well as using it as a lip brush for a perfectly edged lipline.
08 – Eyeliner brush
I was hoping this would be a replacement for my beloved and over-used Laura Mercier Flat Liner Brush. Whilst it is on some levels, it’s isn’t on others. I really like this brush for placing gel liner really close to the lash line & tight-lining the upper lashline. The bristles on this brush are so fine that you can create the thinnest line using it. In terms of ease of use, I think that if the bristles were only slightly longer, I would have preferred that. My heart still lies with the Laura Mercier Flat Liner brush, as I find it easier to create an effortless cat eye with it.
In summary, these brushes aren’t only for the discerning makeup connoisseur but are perfect for anyone wanting to experience a luxurious line of brushes. At $225 USD, these will set you back, no doubt. In my opinion, though, you really get what you pay for. It’s immediately evident that these brushes have been made with care, detail and are of the highest quality. The No. 1 Base Face Brush is the only brush that lets the set down so I would recommend buying the brushes you want separately.
Washing/care & Maintenance
Now, if you’re spending your hard earned $ on makeup brushes, you will most certainly want to take care of them and maintain their bristles. Wayne explains how to look after these brushes in this video. Blue Squirrel hair is not meant to be washed regularly so wiping the brush softly on a microfibre towel is sufficient to clean them.
Wayne has also created super cool short videos for each of his brushes on the multitude of uses of all the brushes on Beautylish. The range is exclusively sold on Beautylish.
Hope you enjoyed the long ramble on the Wayne Goss Brush set.