You may remember this post about the brush guards that I use whenever I clean my brushes, it allows them to dry and retain their shape perfectly. In the comments, Ellie told us about the el-cheapo version you could pick up on eBay for just ninety-nine pennies! A couple of my original brush guards were showing some wear on the edges so I picked up a couple of rolls and waited patiently for them to arrive from the far East.
I thought I’d do a quick comparison… this isn’t particularly in-depth but I thought it might be useful to demonstrate the major differences between the available tools.
The most obvious difference is in the rigidity of the material used to construct the brush guards. The eBay equivalent is much softer, more pliable and to be honest, less substantial. The ‘official’ brush guards are firmer and more rigid with a stronger construction. If you imagine a rope… the stronger rope will be weaved of more strands – this is pretty much what’s happening here. Think of it as the ‘official’ version of The Brush Guard being triple-ply loo roll as opposed to the single-ply eBay alternative!
However, this doesn’t make the eBay Brush Guards any less useful when it comes to keeping the brush hairs in shape. Look, same brush…
You can see that both guards encourage the brush to keep its naturally domed taper, thus allowing it to dry retaining a good shape. The biggest drawback to the eBay version is that I simply haven’t been able to use them on any eye brushes with as much success and that includes brushes like the MAC 217 – there’s too much stretch in the mesh to conform to a smaller brush tip and hold the bristles as tightly as I’d like.
As for travel? Well, the official version would be my recommendation. The eBay guards are simply too pliable and don’t afford the rigidity needed to protect the brushes when they’re bumping up against one another. To try and demonstrate what I mean, I pressed my fingertip against the brush tip on a MAC 217… I tried to apply the same amount of pressure to the brush head and you can see the difference between the amount of movement exercised on the delicate hairs.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for something to simply cover, lightly protect and shape your larger brushes after washing and aren’t looking for something to protect your brushes whilst travelling – go for the eBay brush guards. At 99p for a roll of mesh you’ll be sitting pretty with neatly domed powder brushes at the ready! If you need something more substantial or struggle to keep your eye brushes in good shape, you should stump up the extra pennies and go for the official versions of The Brush Guard.
It may look like a super low-tech solution to protecting your brushes, but not all brush guards are built equally!