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I've been wearing a lot of different bronzers lately as here in London we had our week long summer - so it was time to make the most of it! Only problem was I needed the right tools for the job! I had been using the little brushes that usually come with them, but when I'm out, I either forget to bring them or they disappear into my bag and cannot be found until daylight! I then started to use whatever powder brush I had on my dressing table but then I would forget - and when I went to apply my setting powder I'd end up with big streaks of bronzer all over where it was still on there! I decided it was time to buy a bronzing brush, but which one? As you probably know there are hundreds of different brands, types and makes of brushes to choose from - ranging from a few pounds to a few shudders from your bank balance! After sifting through more brushes than a chimney sweep I decided upon the Stila #17 Retractable Bronzing Brush purely because I had used some of the make up from the brand before and I trusted the make. What makes this brush a little different is that it is a retractable - which means you can store this just as you would a mascara or lipstick, with a lid. Now if you tried to put a lid on a brush you would have a hard time trying to get every last bristle in without bending them or making them go out of shape - that's where the retract part comes in! By simply using the mechanism to push the bristles down and then securing the lid it makes it much easier to store, carry around with you and also maintain the cleanliness of it. It has a special 'dome shape' and softness which means it is 'goof-proof' for applying bronzer according to Stila! They tell you to start in the T-Zone and dust the powder outward and on the highlights if your face 'where the sun would hit first.' The packaging is quite simple - presented in a bronzed gold colour casing with the word Stila wrote down the side in bold, black lettering. By taking off the lid you are greeted with the brush itself and the bristles which are a soft brown colour and very soft to the touch. I use this to apply my bronzer and also my blush as I like to mix the two together sometimes. It does a good job and the shape of the bristles makes it easier to blend and get a more natural look. If you want to contour and have a more defined application then just squeeze the bristles together so they form a line or switch to an angled brush. One thing that I personally don't really like and wouldn't have purchased had I have known, is that it is made from the Bian Jeng Feng Goat's coat. I used to be a vegan and then a vegetarian and when I realised what it was made from it turned my stomach slightly. I then realised that sheep's wool makes jumpers and a lot of woolly stuff and the goat would not have been harmed when this was made, so I suppose it was slightly better to know that. However I am not 100% happy with this concept, but that is just a personal preference. I like this brush and think it is great to take out on the go with me as it is easy to find in my bag and doesn't take up too much room or get lost! It is quite expensive at £17, I don't think it was worth that much money as it is just a standard bronzing brush, perhaps it is because of the name? Overall I think this is a great brush that does what it says on the tin. Only slighty put off is what it is made of, but I think that is me being picky!
I am a real fan of Stila make up brushes and many of you who have taken the time to read any of my reviews recently will be aware that I have recently stocked up on a few more Stila brushes. However this is one I already owned and have done a while and use very often indeed. Being paled skinned I find it really hard to find the right bronzer but I did a long time ago and the one I'm using now I repurchase whenever I run out as I know it suits me and my skintone really well. For ages I simply used one of my blusher brushes which was fine but then I'd go to use a blusher with the brush I'd previously used with bronzer and end up with a lot of that on my cheeks opposed to the blusher colour which was why I purchased this brush in the first place and being a smallish brush which is retractable means I can keep it in my bag without it getting it dirty and so on and so can take it out and about with me if I want to. The Brush Itself: Well the casing of this is like an orangy/bronze colour and plastic with a pull off lid to the top of it and down one side of it in brown writing we are told that it is Stila. The brown coloured, thick and soft brush itself is ever so soft indeed and made of natural goat hair (hence its price tag I guess!) and when you pull the lid off the brush it comes out and around the base of the brush head there is a piece of plastic and you pull that up when you've finished using the brush to protect the bristles and keep them safe when you shove the lid back on. This is the perfect bronzer brush for me. Its looks nice, is lightweight yet still robust and powders really cling to this and easily blend making bronzer really easy for me to apply. You can wash this brush out too, which I do often and allow it to dry naturally and it retains it shape and excellent quality. I can use this to define my cheekbones or to add a little colour (or a lot of course lol) to all of my face. Never has one bristle come out of this or anything adverse like that at all even though I use and wash this often. The casing hasn't scratched or looks naff even though I don't exactly look after it as such and shove it in my handbag clunking about and so on. At about £18.00 this brush usually costs (Google it if interested) I personally wouldn't pay that on a brush unless it was diamond encrusted (lol). If I remember rightly I paid about a fiver for it in T.J Hughes before the place closed down ages ago! This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.