During the recent problem with the black rubberized handles of Real Techniques brushes liquidizing and becoming unusable, I began researching alternative cosmetics brush and makeup brands and made some interesting discoveries.
First, that there is an ever-growing list of Australia-based beauty companies making cosmetics, haircare and skincare products that are world-class and that are sold not only in this country but around the world.
Second, that a number of Australia-based and expatriate makeup artists have made their mark in the world of fashion around the world, foremost being Val Garland and Rae Morris with a number of others steadily climbing up the ranks here and abroad.
Third, that Rae Morris has not only produced a series of textbook-quality tomes about makeup, with Amazon Australia listing six of them, but she has also designed what might possibly be the very best makeup brushes ever, the Rae Morris™ Magnetic Range aka Jishaku Range that is made by one of the best traditional brush-makers in Japan.
Fourth, British-born and sometime Sydney-resident Val Garland, now based out of London since 1994, released her own book about how she did it and does it, ‘Validated: The Makeup of Val Garland’, in late 2018.
Fifth, that if Rae Morris’ Jishaku Range makeup brushes are beyond your reach then a number of other Australian cosmetics companies have their own more affordable makeup brushes, with Nude by Nature’s brushes and brush sets, for example, easily available in pharmacies, online retailers and chain stores around the country.
Sixth, many if not most Australian cosmetics companies include or exclusively concentrate on making products from ingredients that are cruelty-free, organic or vegan, though there are the odd exceptions.
“Donkey milk” and “snail mucus”, for goodness sakes.
I think I will pass on products containing those.
When attending a somewhat dodgy art school at a rather dodgy university in another state of Australia, the necessity of good brushes quickly became obvious to me and I still have two from that time in my possession, one a Winsor & Newton Series 7 size 4 Kolinsky Sable watercolour brush used for spotting photographic prints, and an Escoda size 12 Chungking Bristle Domed brush that I bought as a reminder of what traditional European artists’ brush making can be.
These two “natural” hair brushes entered my collection many years ago when synthetic brush-making was still in its infancy, and I am pleased that synthetic brushes are rapidly becoming the standard.
I will never buy another “natural” fibre brush again.
As to Australian cosmetics and other beauty products companies, I have been steadily compiling a handwritten list of them as I come across them online and in stores, and may well share that list with links here soon.
One very pleasing thing to note: almost all of these companies have been founded and are run by Australian women and are surely success stories worthy of my basing documentary photography and video projects on them and their achievements.
If Australian women continue to be kept out of the boardrooms of big corporations, subjected to lower pay than Australian men and given far fewer opportunities for learning and advancement, then some Australian women are clearly making their own way in the beauty industry here and abroad, and that is something well worth understanding and celebrating.
- Amazon.com.au – Rae Morris – “Internationally renowned for her flawless work and unique approach to makeup, Makeup Masterclass is the sixth book by this number one bestselling author, and shares all the makeup secrets of her amazing twenty-five year career.”
- Amazon.com.au – Validated: The Makeup of Val Garland
- Crown Brush Australia – “With over 30 years of brush making tradition in the USA and world wide markets, Crown Brush Australia can offer you the largest range of professional makeup brushes with over 700 different styles.”
- culture trip – 10 Australian Cosmetics Brands You Should Know
- Escoda – “In a small town outside of Barcelona in the fall of 1933, Josep Escoda Roig (1902-1982) envisioned and created a brush factory to produce artist brushes for decorative and Fine Art. It would be the first of its kind in Spain and despite a Civil War and difficulty in obtaining raw materials, the company developed and grew. Today, the company has produced nearly 75 million brushes with close to a million brushes being produced each year. Josep Escoda’s vision and passion for producing the best brushes in the world continues to this day with his sons Josep Jr. and Ricard.“
- finder.com – 20 Australian beauty brands you need to know about
- i-D – how val garland became one of fashion’s most requested make-up artists
- Into the Gloss – Val Garland, Makeup Artist
- Nude by Nature – “Nude by Nature is committed to delivering natural, cruelty-free make-up, made with 100% natural ingredients and formulated without unnecessary chemicals, synthetic ingredients or preservatives often found in cosmetics.”
- Nude by Nature – Brushes
- The Memo – THE CALLIGRAPHY-CRAFTED MAKEUP BRUSHES ABOUT TO CHANGE EVERYTHING – “Speak the name Rae Morris to anyone inside the global makeup game and you’ll get a knowing nod. Even if you don’t have instant recall, you’ve definitely seen Morris’s brushstrokes on A-listers like Miranda Kerr, Cate Blanchett, Pink and Jessica Biel. She’s one of the most influential face-makers Australia’s ever produced.”
- Rae Morris – Brushes – “Rae is also the designer behind the Rae Morris Magnetic Brush Range – the first magnetic makeup brush range in the world – which has been acclaimed as not only the most innovative, but one of the best makeup brush ranges in the world.”
- Rae Morris – My Brushes – “Over time I became more passionate about brushes than anything else in my kit – over years I tested different designs and textures and in the process, almost without realising it, I came up with my own range of brushes. My brushes are the secret behind many of my most famous creations.”
- Refinery29 – Val Garland Shares The One Piece Of Kit You Need For Great Makeup
- SHOWstudio – Val Garland
- Streeters – Val Garland
- Winsor & Newton
- YouTube – raemorrismakeup