Surratt Artistique Cheek Brush – Review and Comparison

I mentioned in my Holy Grail Beauty Products post that I haven’t done many brush reviews so it’s time to remedy that. After quite a delayed gratification (I first spied this brush in May of 2016, when Polished and Inspired came to Toronto for a visit and we pawed at this at Sephora), I was thrilled to add this delightful brush to my collection. You’ve seen glamour shots of it already, but here’s more:

I started using this brush as soon as I bought it in late November – after washing it first – and I want to share my impressions of it here.

This is VERY soft!

And that’s all you really need to know about it. 😛  Ok, maybe a bit more…

This Surratt Artistique Cheek Brush is a special creature because it is made in Japan in the tradition of handmade Fude brushes. The hairs are made of uncut grey squirrel – the natural taper of the hairs feel softer against the skin than blunt cut tips.  Most commercial brushes have the tips cut in order to shape the brush head – leaving the hairs uncut means more care is required to place the hairs into the desired shape prior to gluing the hairs to the ferrule base.  If you’re ever curious about how makeup brushes are made by hand in Japan, have a read here or view this video.

The appearance of the brush also matters to me. While the typical black brush handles are sleek looking, the Surratt Artistique Cheek Brush has an added touch: its gradient shimmering metallic teal / purple accent handle against the matte black ferrule make an eye catching pairing.  The presentation of the box that it was housed in also adds to the overall appearance:

(Brush in boxes: it’s not often that brushes come presented in boxes but I realized that I have reviewed a few on the blog: MAC Masterclass Oval 6 BrushBésame Long Hair Finishing Powder Brush, and Hakuhodo Sephora Pro Kusabi Brush.)

The shape of the brush head is a small pom pom (about 3.0cm all around) – the hair tips gently tapers all around the head like a dome, and the base meeting the ferrule is a circle rather than pinched / flattened.  The hairs are soft but not overly airy or floppy. I was pleasantly surprised that the bristles are moderately dense and the hair have a good amount of resistance and firmness.

The hairs of this brush is made of grey squirrel which is one of the softest natural hairs used for makeup brushes; it is softer than other popular hairs like goat or pony.  I’ve been trying to define what makes a brush feel soft – I think it’s a mixture of:
1) individual hair size: thicker hairs = more course
2) airiness: less space between bristles = more firm
3) silkiness: crimped hairs = harsher feeling
What do you think?

I would say that the Surratt Cheek has very fine hairs, isn’t too airy, and has a good amount of silkiness.

Bristles loaded with powder blush (Surratt Artistique Blush in Se Pomponner)

I’ve tested using the Surratt Artistique Cheek Brush against various powder blush formulas and while it performs well with most, I find it excels at finely milled powders or baked mineral powders. Even though the brush head is small, it has a great ability to diffuse powders for a natural blush application. I also find that it buffs blush into the skin well, making the powder meld with skin texture.  I wouldn’t recommend this brush for extremely pigmented blushes due to the density of the hairs.  Also, brushes made of squirrel hairs should only be used for powder products – no gels, creams, or liquids – since the hairs are rather thin and fragile.

Examples of blushes that pairs will with the Surratt Artistique Cheek Brush: Surratt Artistique Blush (but of course!), Shiseido, MAC Mineralize Blush, Shu Uemura, and Laura Gellar.

I’ve washed the brush twice now and I didn’t experience any shedding.  It does puff out slightly from its initial shape after washing and drying.  How the brush holds up with usage and repeat washing over the years – only time will tell.

The Surratt Artistique Cheek Brush retails for $125 CAD ($115 USD) and is available only at Sephora within Canada.

• Softness overload
• Picks up and applies powder well
• Beautiful presentation
• Superior workmanship
• No shedding

• Not as versatile as other brushes
• Expensive

Stash worthiness: 8/10

No review of mine would be complete without a comparison. 😉 Besides eye makeup brushes, I have a weakness for blush brushes. It’s oddly specific but I just like trying out various brands, styles, and shape of blush brushes (according to my tracking, I have 55 blush brushes now. 😮 It’s probably correlated to how many blushes I own). Here’s a look at how the Surratt Artistique Cheek Brush compares to some blush brushes in my collection.

The Japanese contenders part 1:

• Shiseido The Makeup Blush Brush #2
• Shu Uemura Natural Brush 20
• Yojiya Ebony Chikurisu Brush

These are all Japanese brands and Japanese-made brushes.  The Surratt has a domed profile whereas the rest have a pinched / flattened shape. The Surratt, Shiseido, and Yojiya are all made of squirrel hairs. Side by side in a blind test, I find that the Yojiya is softer due to its extreme silkiness, and both Yojiya and Surratt are slightly softer than Shiseido (but when we’re at this level of softness, it’s a difference between super soft and supremely soft!)  The Shu Uemura is made of pony hair and the softness is comparable – this sucker is also very durable; I’ve owned this particular brush for nearly 8 years and it’s still in perfect condition.  The Shu Uemura does have a similar level of density as the Surratt while the Yojiya and Shiseido are more sparse / airy.

Rounded vs pinched / flattened shape

I have a fondness for blush brushes with flattened paddle shape and pinched bases as I find they provide more control for precise blush placement. I like to apply blush onto my cheeks using the sides of the brush head in an upward sweeping and patting motion when I use these paddle brushes, rather than a swirling circular motion using the bristle tips like I would with rounded / dome brushes like the Surratt. Am I making any sense here or is this the ramblings of a mad person? 😆

The Japanese contenders part 2:

• Chouetools Face Color Brush (M) for Cheek
• Chasty Shiny Slide Cheek Brush
• Chasty Teak Blush Brush

These are drugstore Japanese brushes I found during my trip to Japan. Although they’re from the drugstore and don’t have fancy packaging, they were all labelled as made in Japan, and weren’t exactly dirt cheap (Chouetols is a sub-brand of Shiseido and that brush cost ¥3,000 or ~C$36). Their softness and brush hair certainly reflect the elevated quality of Japanese-made brushes.  None have the same softness or pom pom shape of the Surratt but are good options if you’re looking for less expensive Japanese-made makeup brushes.  The Chouetols one is my favourite of these.

The similar size / shape:

• Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush
• Quo Professional Blush Brush

The head size and shape of these brushes are quite similar to the Surratt and I use them interchangeably. I’ve always maintained that the Quo Blush Brush is one of the best blush brushes I own and not surprisingly, it is almost as soft as the Surratt brush, although the hairs on the Quo is not as silky and it is more floppy. Considering Quo is the private label brand of Shoppers Drug Mart, and the brush was made in China – I’m really impressed by it. I have no clue what the hairs are on either the Quo or Charlotte Tilbury but they are definitely natural hairs (likely dyed goat).

The CT is the closest in size and shape, except that it has a more pointed tip. It’s not nearly as soft as the Surratt though (and not as soft as the Quo, even).

The Charlotte Tilbury brush has grown on me – at first I found it scratchy and it shed, but after a few washes it has soften up and stopped shedding. What I like most about the CT brush is actually the handle – the chiseled shape makes for very ergonomic handling. What’s really unusual is that the CT brush is made in Germany. o_O

The not so similar size / shape:

• Anna Sui Cheek Brush
• Sonia Kashuk #29 Dome Brush

I wanted to include these as reference points as to what the Surratt is NOT similar to. My beloved Anna Sui is much larger and fluffier and a paddle shaped – better to use for loosely packed blushes. Both the Anna Sui and Sonia Kashuk are also natural hair bristles – the Anna Sui is pony and I’m guessing the Sonia Kashuk is goat.

The Sonia Kashuk brush has the same shape and density as the Surratt but a much larger size, and although not as soft, it is a very soft brush in its own right. If you’re on a budget, I highly recommend the Sonia Kashuk brushes with the black shapely handles – I own all of the face brushes and they’re all stellar and a steal at less than $20 each.

Against MAC brushes:

• MAC 129SH Powder/Blush Brush
• MAC 137 Long Blending Brush
• MAC 133 Small Cheek Brush

Since I seem to own a number of MAC blush brushes – here’s how Surratt compares to them. The white goat hair of the MAC brushes are typically much softer than the black dyed goat hairs, but neither hold a candle to Surratt’s grey squirrel hair.  I do enjoy the polarizing MAC 129 brush even though many people complain the hairs are rough – since it’s a pinched paddle shape, I do a sweeping motion with it when applying product, so I mainly use the sides of the hairs rather than the bristle tips.  Maybe that’s why I don’t find it too scratchy?  The MAC 137 is unique brush in my collection – it is my go-to for brightly coloured, highly pigmented blushes since it is so airy.  I did a review of it here if you want more details.  The MAC 133 is yet another paddle shape that I prefer but for some reason I don’t reach for it too often – I think it’s slightly too small for my liking.  All of the MAC brushes shown are also made in Japan.

And here’s a comparison chart 😉 :

It’s hard to pick just one favourite but the ones I reach for most are the Shu Uemura, Yojiya, Quo, Surratt, and Anna Sui.

So is the Surratt the absolute most versatile blush brush I own? No.  That distinction I would bestow upon the Shu Uemura (hence why I named it my HG blush brush).  Is it the softest?  I’d say it’s close to the Yojiya but not as soft.  I should note here that being the softest isn’t always the best – sometimes you need a little firmness in a brush to blend products.  The Surratt Artistique Cheek Brush is not an absolute must-have brush but with its combination of softness, shape, appearance, and craftsmanship, I feel it’s a good supplement in my existing blush collection. 😀

What is your favourite blush brush?

Since it’s been asked a few times in the comments about when I’m planning to stop blogging, I’ll answer it here. After this post, I have 2 more planned entries. Then on the 28th, I’ll be announcing the winner to my giveaway. 🙂

60 thoughts on “Surratt Artistique Cheek Brush – Review and Comparison

  1. I love that you review and compare this brush with others in your collection. The only brushes in my collection that I know for sure that are made in Japan are my Wayne Goss ones, and the Anna Sui brush that I won in your “these are a few of my favourite things giveaway”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic Post? My favourite blush brush is actually a Real Techniques one that came as a set…I don’t think you can even purchase it separately. I prefer a wide, paddle shape that is domed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I have the RT blush brush that’s the massive one sold individually. It is good for very pigmented blushers but I don’t find it blends colour as well as the natural hair bristles.


  3. $115 US for a brush?! That’s more than my monthly electric bill! 😱

    My favorite blush brush is my cheap Up & Up from Target that costs maybe $6.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know it’s expensive but I’ll have this brush for many years. I think about all the cheap brushes that have fallen apart in a year or two. But I get it, brushes aren’t a focus for lots of people – it’s just something I enjoy.


      1. I have inexpensive brushes I’ve had for more than a couple years that I use a lot that are still in perfect shape. But I also take care of my shit. 😉


  4. Loved your comparisons. My favourite is actually a old (insert really old – lol!) Merle Norman fluffy blush brush that I splurged on about 10 – 12 years ago when it seemed really expensive to spend $45.00 on brush – but it’s lasted through so many years and cleanings with me – Still a fave!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet you that Merle Norman brush was well-made! If it lasted all these years. $45 is pricey for a brush 10-12 years ago, for sure!
      Cue: “they just don’t make them like they used to” comment! 😉


    1. I just purged a LOT of my cheaper brushes because they don’t perform as well as the better made ones. I think about it this way: these brushes will last me YEARS. Also, I just really like to have a “forest” of brushes in my closet. 😆

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Holy moly, you have a very impressive blush brush collection! I think I own 2 or 3 😜 really enjoyed reading your comparison analysis. I mostly use the Bobbi Brown blush brush, it is just the right size, shape for me. It picks up and deposits just the right amount.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This sounds like a kind of brush I would just stroke my face with and admire how soft it is. I think if I was splashing out on any brushes though it would probably be eyeshadow or bronzer, I haven’t worn any blush in months, I always go in and out of phases with blushes and I’m currently in a completely 100% out phase!
    The only blush brush I do use is the RT one – I’m so heavy handed I find it doesn’t pick up too much product and stops me becoming a clown!
    As always an amazing in depth review – find it odd that CT brushes are made in Germany!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You haven’t worn blush in months?!! I wear blush every single time I wear makeup! It’s just not possible for me to have a fully made-up face without blush… 😮 Bronzers and highlighters, on the other hand, I rarely wear. 😛
      The RT blush brush is MASSIVE. It should be renamed bronzer brush, honestly. It does apply a nice diffused application of blush, I agree. Most of my RT brush handles have gotten all gummy and I’m not sure how to get rid of the stickiness. I’ve set them aside for now – I might have to purge them. :/
      It really is odd the CT brushes are made in Germany – I’ve honestly never come across any brushes made there. Maybe it’s the beginning of a new emerging industry.


      1. I’m one or the other, I rarely wear all three at once though. It’s probably my current status of trying to finish up the Balm Bahama Mama (which is probably the hardest product I’ve ever tried to finish!) after a year of working on it I still have about 40% left!
        Yes my handles went gummy too, I used a kitchen scourer to get rid of it, they now don’t look the nicest, but at least they’re not sticky!
        I am currently using that for bronzers or even powder as I’m not reaching for any blushes at the moment and you’re right it is a bit on the big side for a blush brush!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I always admire your attention to detail when reviewing items! Who else would have thought about defining what makes a brush soft and comparing it to other brushes? 🙂
    This sounds like the brush of all brushes from the way it is made right down to the beautiful way it is presented with the box and the glittery-but-still-chic handle. I have always only used cheap brushes and made them work (I suppose I can attribute my love for brilliant high end foundations to making them work) but this brush makes me want to own a pricey brush. What a masterpiece! Great post, as always. 🙂 I wish there were an infinite amount of posts still coming our way from you! It’s been great getting to know you through blogging and reading your articles. ❤ Two more posts which I look forward to reading. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Nadine! 🙂
      I think you would love the whole experience of acquiring a higher end brush from Japan. I really appreciate the workmanship and presentation – whenever I use them, I have a reverence for the history and heritage of Japanese brushes.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. GUUUUUURL! 50 BLUSH BRUSHES?????? Okay, I can’t even keep up with all 40 brushes that I own. WOOOOAH! I have to say, I’m pretty impressed, Stashy. 😉 And ahh, the box! It’s so sleek and cute!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I do treat it carefully! I’ve read that I’m not supposed to wash this brush too often because the squirrel hairs can break… so lots of care is needed. 😳


    1. It’s like an artist can have the best paint in the world but if she has crappy brushes, the painting isn’t going to look that great… 😛 I know that some inexpensive brushes can perform really well but with a well-made brush, I know that the outcome is going to be great.


  9. I can’t believe you have 55 blush brushes – I have 2, and that’s including the one Smashbox one you sent me! But it makes for a great comparison post, so I can’t give you too much of a hard time 😉 Incredibly detailed review, as always!

    LOL I remember petting this brush with you and being amazed by how soft it was. I can only imagine how soft the Yojiya brush feels if that one is softer! I do like the idea of such a dense brush like this one, though.

    I find brushes a bit overwhelming – there’s just so many different types and shapes, some work better for some products than others, etc. etc. It’s crazy, because I would think a $60 brush is considered expensive. But when you put the Surratt brush into that context, $60 seems positively affordable, haha.

    PS – I’m sad you only have one more post coming up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I tallied up my spreadsheet I was a little surprised too! I really need to cull some that I don’t reach for as much. I just really REALLY like blush brushes and I can’t explain why! 😆 I know there are brush enthusiasts who love large powder brushes because more hairs = more to love. But, I don’t love large fluffy powder brushes, for some reason!

      See, I really thought this was the epitome of brush hair softness until I gathered them all together for a blind trial. I was really floored that the Yojiya was so much silkier. I think part of it is due to the Surratt being quite dense which I wasn’t really expecting. There’s been a lot of trial and error with brushes – I used to just go by the brand name (like Nars! ahem… what crappy brushes they sell ) and realized that it didn’t really matter. I’m looking forward to discovering new to me brands based on word of mouth recommendations.

      Aww… don’t remind me! Although, I just realized that I wanted to answer your 25 questions tag!!! So um… maybe it’s one more then! 😉


  10. I have yet to find my perfect blush brush! The good ones are so expensive for my budget though!
    My current favorite is actually one by eco tools that has a shape almost exactly like this one! I also love one I got from Revlon ages and ages ago that is made of goat hair. It’s excellent for less pigmented blushes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a Revlon brush from ages ago too that was really good! I didn’t take care of it though so it fell apart. 😛 I think EcoTools brush are really good, although I prefer them more for liquid products than powder makeup. I think Elf brushes are really great for the price – especially the black ones – and they’re less than $5 each.


  11. O dear~~ blind test *LOL* wahahaha I was laughing so much. That brush looks like a work of art! I NEED it~~~What have you done, Stashy?!?!?!?!? I definitely understand why you need an excel to handle your collection. What a collection!!!!!

    It’s good that you mention don’t use the natural hair brush for cream products. I swear that it kills me every time when I see people doing that. Soooooo cringe. Why can people not understand that it kills the brush?

    I reach for my MAC129 SH quite often, esp for travel. I just realised that it is made in Japan. I think mine is at least 10 years old. It certainly stood up to tons of washes and abuse. I don’t find it very scratchy though. Weirdly, I find the long handle version of my MAC129 more scratchy haha. No idea that it is a polarising brush. What’s the debate? It’s a very basic / classic blush brush, no?

    My favourite blush brush is a short domed pony hair (dense) brush; handmade by a tiny artisan in Hiroshima. Love it~~~soft shimmer red wooden handle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am serious about testing products! The scientific method! 😆

      Why don’t people bother to learn about technical aspects of brushes…? Then they blame the brush! 😥

      Some people HATE the MAC 129 with a passion. I was so hesitant to buy it for ages because of all the negative reviews saying it’s scratchy and sheds badly. I was pleasantly surprised by it.

      Whaaaat. I want to know more about this Hiroshima brush. PLEASE, I beg you to do a blog post about how it come to be!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, clearly, you’re very serious haha.

        Honestly, my MAC 129 has survived so much (SH did better than the long handle, no idea why). I don’t recall mine shedding at all. Anyways~~ maybe the newer versions shed? who knows

        On the brush, I have no idea what to write about. It’s a brush and I like it very much? I don’t even have the exact address of the brush maker. The brush maker was literally a brush pen maker who also sells makeup brushes…. my post will be extreme non-informative -_-: too much shame to do a post like that haha

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Loved it, please do more! I have three of the brushes you mentioned. I bought the Anna Sui cheek brush at Winners in Montreal three years ago. Paid $15? I picked it up on a whim and it quickly became my favorite for applying loose powder. And it¨s still in perfect shape!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Katherine – thanks for your note! 😀 I agree, the Anna Sui cheek brush is great and you got such a deal on it! I think the quality is great and I like the whimsical design too.
      I don’t blog anymore unfortunately, I did really enjoy putting together these types of posts though. 🙂


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