|Tools Of The Trade: Makeup Brushes|
|Written by Julie Brown|
Using good quality makeup products helps create a lasting, flawless face, and using proper brushes for each area of application is paramount. Just as a painter wouldn't use one brush to paint a whole painting, nor should you rely on one brush or bad quality brushes to apply your makeup. Makeup professionals believe that a good makeup brush is a beauty secret akin to a good set of knives for a chef. In addition to using the correct brush for each area of application, the quality of the brush does make a difference. Quality brushes aren't cheap but they are worth every penny.
What Your Brushes are Made Of
There are two types of brushes: natural animal hair brushes, and synthetic brushes. Natural hair brushes are graded by length, evenness of cut and firmness. Some of the best powder brushes are made from badger hair. Sable is often used for smaller, finer brushes because of its silky texture. Squirrel hair is quite expensive, and may even be mixed with cheaper but also very fine pony hair.
Handmade goat hair brushes are also popular, being nearly as fine as squirrel. The best synthetic brushes are made from Taklon, which is made from a polyester fibre designed to mimic the characteristics of natural hair. It is smooth and soft. Synthetic brushes are more hygienic than real hair brushes, as natural hair has an irregular surface which traps powders, dead skin cells, and bacteria, and cleaning may not necessarily remove all of these particles. Taklon lacks these surface irregularities, making it easier to clean properly. Taklon is also vegan and animal cruelty free.
Which Brush For Which Makeup?
Foundation: For a well blended, flawless base, use a brush with good blending ability. One that has thicker, firmer bristles is just right for putting colour where you want it. These are good for applying and blending larger amounts of liquid or powder makeup, and for creating contour. Powder brushes, also called kabuki brushes, are great. My personal favourite brush is the Mineral Powder Foundation brush by LANCOME, which is made of synthetic fibres that are ideal for brushing on either ordinary face powder or ultra-fine mineral makeup. If you can only have one brush in your makeup bag, make it a fluffy powder brush because there is nothing better than a brush that blends the perfect finish. For liquid foundation application, I recommend MAC #188 or #130.
Eyeshadow: For the base shadow (all over the lid) use a brush that is flat, thick and stiff. This will be the largest of the eye makeup brushes as you are covering the entire lid with shadow. I recommend MAC #227, or #252. For the lid colour (on lid up to the crease), use a brush that is firm, flat and compact as you will be placing darker pigmented colour in this area and you want control in placement so you do not have fallout of shadow onto the face. I recommend MAC #239. For the crease colour (outer corner and in natural fold in the lid), use a rounded, tapered, soft brush. This brush will move smoothly back and forth in the crease and blend in shadow beautifully. I recommend MAC #223.
Eyebrow And Eyeliner: You can use the same brush for eyebrow and eyeliner – a slim, firm, angled brush. I prefer the synthetic one as it is stiffer for more precise application. I recommend MAC #263.
Blush: The best brush shape for applying blush is an angled, rounded, medium-firm brush. The angle helps create contour on the cheeks and is also great for application onto the temples and apples of the cheeks. I recommend ADESIGN angled cheek brush or MAC #168.
Concealer: Concealer brushes are about the same size as eye makeup brushes. It should be a soft brush to blend the concealer right into the skin. I recommend MAC #252, #217 or ADESIGN medium concealer brush. If you are looking to purchase good quality brushes, I would recommend brushes from MAC, ADesign, Bobby Brown, Giorgio Armani, and Ve Neill (vesfavoritebrushes.com). You can find professional cosmetic brushes online for a fraction of the price you would spend on brushes found in a traditional beauty supply store. Don't cheat yourself out of quality makeup brushes: the right brush puts makeup on the right way. No finger smudging or messing around with Q-tips or ratty cotton balls! When you use quality makeup brushes, you take your look to the next level. A high-quality professional makeup brush makes a difference in the way your makeup goes on and stays on. It's a difference you can see!