Both of these brushes work well for those that like to apply foundation in a buffing motion. They can also be used to stipple for more coverage when needed. I truly feel like I can get the same results from both of these brushes. The biggest application difference is coverage level. The e.l.f. Ultimate Blending Brush has a shorter handle and the closer your hand is to your face, the more pressure you use. This translates to a heavier coverage. If you are aware of that you can be careful to use less product and that will lessen the coverage you get. If you like higher coverage that won’t be an issue. The Smashbox Blurring Foundation Brush gives you more flexibility in coverage simply because you’ll naturally hold the brush further down because the handle is longer. The Smashbox brush also has markings on the handle that indicates where to hold the brush depending on the coverage level you want.
A downside of the Smashbox brush is that the bristles do get stained. In comparison, I don’t get staining on any of my e.l.f. or Sigma brushes.
The downside of e.l.f. brushes, in general, are that they don’t last long. The glue that holds the ferrule and the handle together gets weak long before other brushes I’ve owned. I’ve had my blending brush since about 2016 and it finally came apart in May 2020. I should point out that I tend to be really easy on my things, so your mileage may vary on how long it would take for this to happen.
It is important to keep in mind that this can still happen with other brushes. For the $6.00 that e.l.f. is charging, you could replace the e.l.f. brush 5 times before catching up to the price of the Smashbox brush. For some people that makes it worth going with the e.l.f. Ultimate Blending Brush, while for others the better construction of the Smashbox Blurring Brush is worth the higher price tag.
In terms of function, I truly think both of these brushes do the job of foundation application well. So whether you buy high ($32, Smashbox) or buy low ($6, e.l.f.), I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
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