Artis makeup brushes are known for a few things: They have a unique, Instagram-able design; they are loved by celebrities (including Khloé Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Oprah, who called them the "Rolls-Royce of makeup applicators" on her 2018 list of favorite things); and the brand made headlines for selling a $25,000 bespoke makeup brush (in addition to Artis' somewhat-fairly-priced everyday makeup brushes). But a lesser-known fact about the luxury makeup brush company is that the brushes are all vegan and animal-free. Green Matters recently chatted with Lindsey Jackson, Artistry & Training Lead for Artis, to learn about why Artis brushes are a better choice for the animals, the environment, your skin, and your wallet.
Instead of using animal hair for bristles, Artis brushes are made with a proprietary synthetic fiber called CosmeFibre. Yes, synthetic means the fibers are made of plastic — not the perfect eco-friendly option. Unfortunately, synthetic fibers are the best animal-free option in the industry right now, and that's what pretty much all animal-free makeup brushes are made of (though some companies do use recycled plastic). That said, when comparing the Artis brush to animal hair brushes and non-certified synthetic brushes, Artis actually has less of an ecological footprint than you might think. And, as a bonus, the handles on the brand's Elite Collection are made from metal with a rubber grip pad, which is a step up from the typical plastic handle.
As Jackson explains to Green Matters over the phone, not all brushes labeled synthetic are actually animal-free. "CosmeFibre is a totally synthetic fiber. So with some different brands, sometimes they’ll say a brush is synthetic, but what they mean a lot of the time is it’s animal hair with a synthetic coating on top," Jackson explains. She adds that depending on what a brush's synthetic coating is made of, it can eventually break down, sneakily leaving you with animal bristles. So basically, the only way to ensure no animals were hurt in the making of your brush is by using one that is certified vegan.
Animal hair brushes are typically made from squirrel, horse, goat, mink, or sable hair — the latter two of which come from the fur industry, according to PETA. And on top of animal hair brushes being a less compassionate choice, they are usually not an ideal tool for makeup application.
"The whole purpose of hair is to act as a barrier. So when you’re using a conventional [animal hair] brush, your brush is sucking up all the product, which is why you often have to go back into your product … to pick up more product, and then you have to work really hard to blend the product and get it onto the brush, and onto your skin, because the hair is literally trapping product into it," Jackson tells Green Matters. "So with Artis, the CosmeFibre is a completely synthetic fiber, and we engineer CosmeFibre specifically to be durable. It’s chemically and UV resistant so it’s not going to break down."
Furthermore, Jackson has observed a few ways in which Artis brushes can help save users time, money, and waste. For one thing, because the brushes are hand-assembled and designed to last, Jackson says they can last indefinitely with proper care (which is washing them with any dish soap and water after each use). Jackson herself is still using the same set of Artis brushes she got two and a half years ago.
Additionally, because CosmeFibres do not absorb any product, unlike animal hair brushes, you might find yourself using less product every time you apply. That means there's less product wasted and less money spent. Plus, it also means makeup application may become less time-intensive. "The actual application process takes less time, [and] it takes a lot longer to go through your makeup. And that’s because of the CosmeFibre, because it’s not absorbing your product every time you’re putting your brush into your products or gliding it across your face," Jackson says. "They use so much less product. With conventional brushes … I didn’t know how much product I was using."
Plus, Artis brushes have become a favorite among celebrities and makeup artists over the past few years due to their ergonomic and unique design. They look completely different than standard makeup brushes — instead of the bristles fanning out, they come out of an oval-shaped base. And instead of having to use your entire arm, with the handle angled up toward the sky, Artis allows users to hold the brush upright, which can be more comfortable.
Brushes in Artis' Elite Collection range from $37 to $80. They aren't cheap — but investing in one high-quality brush that lasts for years (and can be used to apply face makeup, lipstick, moisturizer, eye cream, and more) can wind up being more affordable (and certainly less wasteful) than buying a new $5 brush every few months. Bonus: They'll look super pretty sitting next to your vegan and cruelty-free makeup.