Fashion Director Clara Meyer resides on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, coming a long way from growing up in the Midwest and Italian roots. You can find Clara at @savento_.

An Interview with the Masterminds Behind Artis Brushes

If you are like me, you know that you should clean your makeup brushes more and know that deep down it makes zero sense to buy cheap brushes to apply your expensive face products with.

When painting a masterpiece (aka your face) why settle for anything less than the best? Artis Brushes set out to provide people the tools for success all while trying to make your beauty routine easier. No need for complicated sponges and silicon pads to get a gorgeous makeup application, just a good old fashioned brush!

I sat down with the masterminds behind Artis Brushes to pick their ingenious brains about their innovations, the future of Artis Brushes and they even gave some very helpful advice to all those people out there who usually apply makeup with their fingers.

Q: So the Artis Brush had an interesting start that most people don’t know about. Could you tell us a little background of the beginning and revolution of the company to where it is today?

Jeremy Adelman, Co-Founder of Artis: When Matthew Waitesmith brought the concept of Artis to me, I saw the potential immediately. The industry and consumers never paid attention to tools, they thought they were the cheap piece of plastic you get with your $60 eyeshadow duo, or a GWP you hide in your dirty makeup junk drawer, so there was a huge opportunity for education and also a big opportunity financially in the rapidly-growing beauty market.

there was a huge opportunity for education

It made total sense to me that something you’re putting on the most sensitive part of your face – near your eyes and lips especially — should be more efficient, more beautiful and deliver product better. For me it was a “duh” moment, so when the industry said you’ll never sell thoughtful brushes, I ignored it and saw the business and branding potential in Artis.

when the industry said you’ll never sell thoughtful brushes, I ignored it

I convinced my wife that we should invest our life savings in this, she kept her corporate job and in 2014 we launched our first collection — the Elite Collection — with one e-commerce storefront and a handful of earned media. The beauty media and influencers had the same “duh” moment I did, and the proof was in the way the brushes delivered. Word spread like wildfire and soon we had a really powerful crew of organic advocates. Flash forward 4 years and now we’re in almost 600 doors globally, and we’ve launched several different collections and cleaning innovations. I still wholeheartedly believe that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Leigh left her corporate job and the timing was perfect, there was no better person I could think of to help us through the next phase. With her as General Manager, we’re focusing on developing more meaningful relationships with our customers and consumers, as well as building out our team and our infrastructure to catch up to the growth we’ve had AND to pace to the innovation we are planning for.

Q: What brushes would you suggest for a non-professional like myself who usually applies makeup with their fingers? Do you have any advice on how to get the most out of the brushes?

Leigh Adelman, General Manager of Artis: These brushes were designed for non-pros like you, and they were actually made to mimic the way you would apply makeup using your fingers.

These brushes were designed for non-pros

The fibre bundle isn’t at the tip of the brush, it’s basically where the pad of your finger is, so that you’re gliding the brush across your face in the same position you would naturally do with your own finger. As far as getting the most out of these brushes, the thing to remember is that they’re made with specially (and painstakingly!) engineered synthetic fiber called CosmeFibre, so you don’t condition the brush like you would with something made with animal hair, you don’t need to – in fact, it makes the brush work less efficiently if you try to. Additionally, the CosmeFibre is very densely packed, some of the larger brushes have hundreds of thousands individuals fibres in each brush head so it’s akin to have hundreds of thousands little tiny paintbrushes uniformly moving across your face at the same time — this means you get a more even disbursement of product in less time because you don’t have to keep dipping into your product and then going back and forth across your face to get the finish you want. It also means, you need less product, so as a reminder: a fraction of what you usually use goes a long way! One of the most important things I remind everyone is to go gently — you do not need to press on your face hard and use lots of short intense strokes to get a good finish. In fact, the lighter pressure you use and the softer, more continuous motions you use to glide the brush across your face, the better payout you’ll get. Rule of thumb is if you can see your brush pressing into the skin you’re pressing to hard, it shouldn’t hurt to be beautiful, it should feel good and look good.

As far as brushes go, it depends on what you do in your own daily beauty ritual. The collections are designed so that there are oval shaped brushes, circle shape brushes, and linear/line shaped brushes, and while you can use all of them in any way that feels most comfortable to you, they were designed with the intention that you match the brush to the shape of the part of your face or the design you are trying to achieve. For example: if you are filling in your brows the Linear 1 is a great choice, it’s the thinnest width fibre bundle of our brushes, and makes line shapes that are super small — about 2mm wide — so it makes it easier to do thin and consistent lines especially when you don’t want your brow to look totally painted on. It’s also my go to for eyeliner. If you love doing a red lip, or any bright, highly pigmented color that you want a finite end to on the rim of your lips — the Elite Circle 1 brush is a must have — the bundle has a flat surface on the top (vs. a dome like its sister the Circle 1R) and it’s about the size and shape of the pupil of your eye. It fits really nicely on most lips and the flat surface gives you a nice crisp line around your lip (vs. a blurred line) when you apply it, plus you use less of the product because you’ve got the Cosmefibre technology that gives you the payout on color, so you don’t have to keep applying.

Our fan favorites you can’t go wrong with either: I’d recommend Oval 7 to apply foundation (powder, cream or liquid), tinted moisturizer, or if you don’t regularly wear foundation at all, your morning face cream. The unique oval shape — about the size/shape of the apple of the cheek — is a great option for many face sizes and shapes and gives you a beautiful, even finished look (or just an evenly applied level of moisturizer so you’re not wasting it!).

Q: Artis Brushes, especially the Next Gen Elite Collection, are made with top of the line materials from hundreds of thousands of fibers to metals used in luxury cars. Why did you choose to use such high grade materials for people to apply makeup with?

Jeremy Adelman, Co-Founder of Artis: We have and we will continue to constantly explore how to elevate the overall beauty experience — and we mean it. Our products’ design, performance and how they look all together are critical. No one of those parts is an afterthought – they all have to work together. The reason it was so hard to start this business is because we demanded that makeup brushes be thought of, not be an afterthought, so the materials we have chosen – the aluminum metal alloy and the engineered trademarked Cosmefibre are not superfluous for us, they’re the center of what allows us to live our philosophy of Better Beauty, by Design.

Q: One of the common associations with Artis is it’s renowned cult-status. Anytime a new brush or collection launches the internet goes wild. What can you attribute to this success?

Leigh Adelman, General Manager of Artis: We really mean it when we say that we stand for Better Beauty, by Design. Artis will not come out with new products just to come out with new products and the intentional design of the first collection — the Elite Collection — was something that no one had seen before. It was also a kind of “duh” moment. When Matthew designed the brushes, he flipped the paradigm — tools should be and are a critical part of the beauty ritual, they’re not the cheap thing you hide at the bottom of your makeup bag. The thought that you would be buying an expensive product like a foundation, and then wasting half of it on your (likely dirty!) makeup brush or your fingers, was no longer acceptable. Tools to apply beauty products needed to be more than that, and brushes are the most critical and most often dismissed piece. The Artis brushes were what a consumer didn’t express she or he really wanted: a brush that gave a beautiful, uniform finish, that didn’t waste product, a way of using an instrument that was more intuitive and comfortable to use, a product that was easy to clean and that you’d be proud to display on your vanity. Having an innovative product that answers a problem someone didn’t know they had was what was critical to our success and continuing to improve and make that beauty experience better is what we’ve continued to do with each launch. Our latest collection, the Next Generation, is just that: we’ve designed the handles with a metal alloy that’s similar to what’s used in a luxury car engine for increased strength and durability. As a brand we are always looking for thoughtful ways to improve the beauty experience, sometimes they come in key component upgrades like this, but you can expect category disruptions, like the launch of our collections, from the brand in the future.

we are always looking for thoughtful ways to improve the beauty experience

Q: One of the other known factors of an Artis Brush is its price point. Last year you partnered with HSN to offer the brushes at a discount to viewers. How has this impacted your business?

Jeremy Adelman, Co-Founder of Artis: I think what people don’t realize is that if you go to most makeup counters our brushes are priced similarly to many luxury beauty brands, the difference is we actually have the technology to back it up, we’re not just re-purposed paintbrushes, we’ve given the consumer a product that will actually improve their product application and distribution experience. HSN was a marketing opportunity for us. For small brands it’s hard to get those kind of eyeballs, so it wasn’t about sales or discounts, it was about introducing Artis into millions of homes nationwide to tell the Artis story. We carefully crafted an Artis bundle offering that further imprinted our brand’s goodwill into the minds of our customers, driving worldwide brand recognition and incremental sales to both online and brick & mortar retailers.

Q: What is next for Artis? And would you ever think to dabble into another area of beauty?

Leigh Adelman, General Manager of Artis: We want to continue to bring better beauty experiences to the world, and in addition to the recent Next Generation launch, we’re also working to constantly upgrade the cleaning experience of products too.

We want to continue to bring better beauty experiences to the world

Actually our cleaning products are some of our top selling skus! We’ve just come out with an addition to our cleaning portfolio: the Artis Brush Cleansing Wipes, which are terrific for travel, especially when you’re flying by air and are limiting the liquids you bring. While I can’t divulge what’s in our pipeline, you can expect that when we do launch new products, and perhaps in areas aside from tools, they will be products, like our brushes, that make you think differently about your beauty ritual, ensure you have a far better experience, and also break some boundaries in technology.

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Learn More

artisbrush.com

With love,

FWO