Makeup products usually come with a free powder puff or brush, but frankly, these are cheap and practically useless. You’ll end up with uneven smears of foundation, thick blotches of blush, and splotchy eyeshadow.
If you want professional-looking makeup, then do what the professionals do: invest in good makeup brushes. These will help you apply light and natural looking layers of makeup, and give you more control over how much you want to put, and where. No wonder it’s one of the best makeup shortcuts for busy women. Here is a simple guide to the brushes you need.
1. Foundation brush
Most people apply foundation with their fingertips or a sponge, and although there is nothing wrong with that, a foundation brush gives a totally flawless finish with no streaks or lines. Also, it actually saves on product because a sponge tends to absorb most of the foundation you put on it. A foundation brush is flat with long bristles that are soft too the touch. If it feels coarse, don’t buy it—it’s not a high quality brush. To apply, simply pour a bit of product on the back of your hand, dip the brush into it, and apply on your face. Gives a smooth, perfect finish.
2. Powder brush
A powder is large and fluffy and is used to apply face powder as a finishing touch to your make up look. It gives a more natural finish then a sponge or powder puff. To use, swirl the brush in your loose powder or compact, tap excess product off, and apply on face. Make sure you invest in one made with natural material such as sable, goat or badger.
3. Concealer brush
This looks like a mini version of the foundation brush. It is used to spot conceal blemishes and discoloration. Dip into your pot of concealer and pat (don’t brush) on to blemished areas. Finish off with powder to set the concealer.
4. Blush brush
Used to apply bronzer and blush, this brush looks like a smaller powder brush. Apply bronzer to your cheekbones first and then blush only to the apples of your cheeks. Blend the bronzer and blush together well for a natural looking glow.
5. Eye shadow brush
An eye shadow brush has short bristles and is used for applying shadow on the eye lid up to the brow bone. For longer lasting eyeshadow, apply a cream eye shadow and top off with a powder version of the same color. (Go here for more tips on applying eyeshadow.)
6. Blending brush
This is used to blend eye shadow to eliminate streaks and division lines between colors. This brush is crucial because the worst you can do is go out with unblended makeup. It has a rounded tip and soft fibers and can be used to blend colors as well as soften eye shadow applied on the crease.
7. Lip brush
Although lipsticks are already designed to glide easily on the lips, a lip brush gives a more precise finish and also saves on product. You can also use this to mix different lip colors.
Taking care of brushes
Wash your brushes with a gentle shampoo at least once a week to avoid getting infections and breakouts. Then, after washing, make sure you lay your brushes flat to dry—don’t leave them standing up. The water will seep into the brush base and loosen the bristles.
The best brushes are those made with natural hair, usually sable, goat or badger. They last longer and don’t shed as much as synthetic brushes do.