Chanel Les Beiges Retractable Kabuki Brush Review
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the Les Beiges Powder when it came out, but I was on the fence about the Chanel Les Beiges Retractable Kabuki Brush. Sure, it was cute as a button, but if I was going to shell out $70 for a brush, this wasn’t at the top of my list. My brush wish list is long, you see, and gets longer by the day. Most of them are Hakuhodo and now, thanks to this blog (my new favorite part of the internet), Koyudo brushes. Then I touched the Chanel Retractable Kabuki Brush, and as I touched it, I was told that it was a limited edition item. The fact that this luxurious little thing would, in the near future, be unavailable to me had the exact effect the marketing geniuses at Chanel were probably hoping for – it sent me into a panic. I actually tried to buy it on the spot, but the store didn’t have one to sell me. I ended up ordering the brush from the Chanel website, and now that it’s mine, I’m still on the fence about it.
It arrived with class, in typical Chanel style. This brush comes with a cute little black drawstring pouch, emblazoned with the Chanel logo. The brush is a perfect combination of elegant and cute. The case is black and shiny, with a top that displays a Chanel logo in the same off-white as the Les Beige Powder cases.
The Chanel Retractable Kabuki Brush has a very densely packed brush head, which is comprised of Taklon (synthetic) hair. It’s insanely soft – like thick, plush, cushiony, velvet. I carry an inexpensive EcoTools Retractable Kabuki Brush ($8) in my purse. I always thought it was a pretty soft brush, but comparatively speaking, the EcoTools feels like burlap! If brushes were judged on softness alone, the Chanel Retractable Kabuki would outrank nearly every brush I own.
The area where the Chanel Retractable Kabuki falls short is surprising – it’s really not ideal for applying Chanel Les Beiges Powder, in my opinion. Bearing in mind that I purchased a darker Les Beiges Powder than my skin tone (N°30 for my Beige 10 complexion) so I could achieve the “healthy glow” effect Chanel says the Les Beiges Powder is intended for, the densely packed Chanel brush picks up far too much product. No matter how light-handed I’ve tried to be with it, when I use the Chanel Kabuki, my Les Beiges application looks streaky at worst, and like a heavy, fake tan at best. A large, loose powder brush used with Les Beiges Powder gives me a perfect, healthy glow, which I am unable to achieve with the Chanel Kabuki despite my best efforts.
The Chanel Retractable Kabuki isn’t useless, however. It does an amazing job applying powder foundation for medium to full coverage. It works beautifully with Kat Von D Lock-it Powder Foundation, as well as my Alima Pure Satin Matte Mineral Foundation. The brush head is the perfect size and texture for swirling into my powder containers and giving me smooth, even coverage. Because the Chanel Kabuki is so soft, it’s easy to blend the powder foundation without accidentally overbuffing, which sometimes happens with my other kabukis.
I imagine that this brush would fare okay with a Les Beiges Powder in my exact skin tone (N°10 for my Beige 10 complexion), although, it also seems like the coverage I’d get would be rather heavy for a product that’s supposed to be a sheer, setting powder.
I like the Chanel Les Beiges Retractable Kabuki brush a lot, but I’m a little bummed that it isn’t cut out for what I believe to be its intended purpose – brushing on a light glow with my Les Beiges Powder. Its performance when it comes to mineral and powder foundation is definitely redeeming, however, and the fact that this luxurious little brush is easy on the eye doesn’t hurt a bit. Additionally, I’ve experienced absolutely no shedding with this brush, not even when I washed it. Oh, and speaking of brush cleaning, prepare to be patient when you wash this brush – because of the density, it takes over 48 hours to dry.
My verdict: Buy the Chanel Les Beiges Retractable Kabuki Brush if you like soft things, use a powder foundation, and possibly for a Les Beiges Powder in your exact skin tone match. Don’t buy this brush if you plan to use it with a darker Les Beiges powder for a sheer, healthy, glow effect.
+ Unfathomably soft
+ Densely packed
+ Doesn’t shed
+ Pretty to look at
+ Works well for applying mineral and powder foundation with medium to full coverage
– Not ideal for Les Beiges powder – the density makes for heavy application
– Takes a long time to dry
Skin & Tonics Rating:
Performance: 4/5 – If this brush wasn’t marketed as part of the Les Beiges collection, it might have scored a 5/5. It’s great for powder foundation, but for a sheer powder, it’s too dense for a light-handed application.
Quality: 5/5 – Extremely well made, absolutely no shedding, case is very sturdy
Value: 3/5 – Definitely a luxury item, and if I’d had different expectations when I bought it, I might have given it a higher score in this area. However, $70 is steep for a brush that doesn’t work well with the product it’s intended for.
Where to Buy
This brush is available on Chanel.com, which is where I bought mine. You can also try your luck at your local Chanel counter, but they were sold out in my area.
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