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Maggie Rants [and Raves]

Just One Good Brush!

by Maggie Franklin | February 23, 2011 | Bookmark +

A few years back I took a hands-on class from Tom Holcomb. Aside from all the obvious awesome that is involved with spending two days in the presence of such legendary talent, I remember him talking about nail techs and our industry and our tools versus hairstylists ... and their industry and their tools. He was talking about shears and how much they can cost, then he made a really good point: When was the last time you heard of a sculpting brush that cost $2,500?

I don't know if it's realistic to expect a single sculpting brush to last a lifetime. I do know that it took me less than a year to figure out how to treat my brushes so that they would last. Not just from month to month and year to year, but from client to client. It can be a challenge to figure out how to avoid getting acrylic clogged up in the bristles long enough to actually be able to use the same brush two times in a row! But once I did, I kept that brush for three years. And the only reason I finally let it go was because my skills and technique evolved so that I was more comfortable with a different size brush. The brush itself was still in pristine condition and went home to become a paint brush.

The problem I find is that you can't even rely on a brand or manufacturer. You get one brush you love, and one day [sad face], it dies. You just come into the salon one morning to find your favorite sculpting brush floating belly up. So you order up another one exactly like it, right?

No way. Because the next brush you get looks the same and costs the same, but as soon as you wash that glue out of the bristles, the truth becomes apparent.

It's that glue! That glue that hides the imperfections and fools you into believing that you have chosen the perfect brush! But once that glue is washed out, you realize that the bristles do not lay neatly against each other (one new brush of mine seriously made me think "I didn't know sables could have curly hair"). They don't come together in a perfect point. Sometimes they aren't even securely fastened into the ferrule!

No two brushes are ever the same. And manufacturers have become so enamored of "gadget" brushes; brushes that collapse inside themselves, brushes that retract like pens (oh God! How I hate that brush!), brushes with fancy handles — I just want a brush that works! One with perfectly sized, trimmed, and arranged bristles so that it makes a perfect point doesn't allow any gaps where product can gunk up and clog my brush. One that isn't too long and pokes me in the boob when I'm trying to lay the perfect bead. One that isn't too short. One that isn't too fat or too thin at the wrong point. One that doesn't collapse while I'm working because of its fancy retractable-ness. One with a handle that doesn't bust off at the ferrule because it's made of acrylic. One that doesn't have a painted handle that becomes a sticky mess if it inadvertently gets doused in acetone or monomer. One that doesn't melt if it comes in contact with the actual products it's supposed to come in contact with.

And if it's going to cost me $2,500 for ONE GOOD BRUSH that will last me a lifetime — emphasis on that "lifetime" part — then I'd like to talk to the finance department about getting set up for that! 

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