Tom Ford Goat versus Other Goats - "Mehhhhhh," It's a Goat Hair Thunderdome

As I started organizing my thoughts about my Tom Ford brushes and the best way to present them, I realize that everything is totally subjective.  After all, the more resources expended in acquiring a product (hard to find or extremely, indulgently pricey), one is more likely to develop a bias towards it.  That being said, there must be some things I can do to justify why a Tom Ford has some extraordinary redeeming qualities.  (Or, I am totally full of crap- which is likely).  I also figure, I don't want to unfairly induce people to want to buy something where they can buy something equally functional in another brand.  However, I know how people like me are seduced by things like aesthetics (ooh, gleaming gold!  shiny handle!), word of mouth (justified or not) and Madison Avenue advertising.  I just want to make an attempt at being a bit more level-headed about these brushes, even though I've already spent my money!

So without further ado, I bring you Goat Hair Thunderdome.

Source

In my novice state as a cosmetics brush user, I've found several factors that seem to impact application effect and my happiness.
  • Brush head density - which allows more pick up of pigment (e.g., more dense = stronger pickup, less dense = diffuse pickup)
  • Shape of brush head - controls precision of pigment placement
  • Quality of the hair - a key driver in user happiness & evenness of pigment pickup
Also, it's not as if I can quantify any of these factors into some sort of a scientific formula and I'm sure there are serious expert users that are able to articulate what drives their satisfaction better.  I'll only address the third factor because I'm a lackluster writer with poor photography techniques.

In these following pictures, I've splayed the brush head in my fingers of a Tom Ford versus a Bobbi Brown brush to show some differences in hair quality.  In these examples, I'm using a Bobbi Brown Face Blender and the Tom Ford Bronzer Brush.  I chose those two because each have relatively long hair length.  It would have been much harder to use an eye shadow brush or my small Shu Uemura 18 Goat.
Bobbi Brown
Tom Ford
The Bobbi Brown brush hairs are slightly wavy with some variation in overall hair texture, while the Tom Ford ones are remarkably even, fine and straight.

Tom Ford

Bobbi Brown
You can see the texture variations in BB a bit closer here as well as an overall coarser texture and thicker hair tip.  By contrast again, the TF is whisper thin with very tapered and fine tips.


(L) Bobbi Brown; (R) Tom Ford
I've smashed the brush heads for you so that you can see the textural differences again.   Color really isn't a factor in my thinking as staining over time is likely to happen.  But all of what you see translate into incredible softness in these brushes.  I also do not have any of the high-quality brushes from Hakuhodo, so I can not compare Tom Fords to those.  So, bear in mind, everything I say should be with a grain of salt.  If anything, I hope the extreme close up shots of the Tom Ford goat hairs are helpful.

Meanwhile, though differences are evident, I would have a tough time telling you exactly how much difference it makes while you apply your makeup.  However, if you are very keen on taking advantage of every nuanced advantage, then certainly many of these brushes are for you.

Detailed brush-specific reviews will be up in the next few days and weeks!

Tom Ford Cheek Brush

Wonky Eye(s) - A Song to Nars Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base