Essential Tools for Makeup
Brushes make all the difference in makeup application. Everyone from the most skilled makeup artist to the woman who wears only the basics can benefit from using the right tools. Consider investing in at least a few key brushes. High-quality blush, eyeshadow, eyebrow, and eyeliner brushes are basic. Good brushes are not hard to find. Look at those made by makeup artists’ lines as well as less expensive versions available at beauty and art supply stores. To find out which brushes you need and which ones are good quality, familiarize yourself with a variety of styles, shapes, and bristle types.
Assessing Brush Quality
Before purchasing brushes, you have to know what you are looking for and which brushes are worthwhile investments. Assess the quality of a brush by testing the way the bristles feel against the skin and by running your fingers through the bristles to make sure that they don’t shed. It’s important to test how a brush feels when you hold it in your hand. It needs to feel comfortable and easy to maneuver.
The brushes that come with most makeup compacts are too small and narrow for proper blush application. Toss them and use a brush designed specifically for that purpose instead.
Natural bristles (such as squirrel, goat, pony, or sable) are very soft and offer a more blended, natural application. They’re best for working with powder-based products—blush, powder, and eyeshadow.
Synthetic bristles are the best choice for brushes that will be used with creamy products, such as concealer, gel liners, and lip colors. They are generally stiffer than natural hair, so they give you greater control and a more precise application.
This alphabetized glossary describes the different types of brushes as well as other tools you might want to keep in your kit. It will help you decide what brushes work best for a specific need or technique.
This needs to be wide enough to cover the apple of the cheek. The bristles should be soft, natural hair with beveled and curved edges.
This is thicker and fuller than a blush brush and has a flat profile. It is designed for sweeping and pressing bronzer over cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin to provide natural-looking warmth to the skin.
Wide enough to cover about half the eyelid. This brush has natural, soft, rounded bristles with beveled edges that deposit a sweep of shadow across the lower lid without leaving any harsh lines.
Firm, long bristles come to a slightly pointed tip. This brush allows for the precise placement of lip color. Bristles can be either synthetic or natural.
A natural-hair, large, fluffy brush with soft bristles that bevel to a slight point (for navigating around the nose and under the eyes). Designed for use with both loose and pressed powders.
Using Your Fingers
Nothing beats the warmth of the fingers to blend makeup into the skin. Lipstick can be blotted onto the lips to create a stain effect. Face cream, balm, or oil rubbed between both palms and then gently pressed onto cheeks adds moisture and a youthful glow to the face. I use my hands to warm concealers, blend foundation, and mix lip shades together. I also use my hands to work makeup into the face so that the makeup feels like a part of the skin and not like a mask.