7 essential makeup brushes (and how to use them!)
The makeup brushes everyone should have in their makeup bag. Plus – some life-saving tips on the side!
Ditch that puff that came with your powder and opt for a large, fluffy dome-shaped brush instead. You’ll not only use less product, but it’ll also give a more even, natural-looking finish, whether it’s face powder or bronzer. Natural fibres give the best results. When it comes to setting powder, to avoid a mask-like look, stick to the T-zone and inner cheeks. Swirl the brush in the product, tap the handle on your wrist to remove any access and swirl the brush onto the skin. Move in circular strokes to blend the powder more evenly.
QUICK TIP: Want fuller coverage from your powder? Lightly mist the brush with water and mix with powder to turn light powder into a thicker product.
A smaller version of the powder brush, a blush brush is essential for applying, blending and contouring with precision. Bronzers and highlighters also apply. The smaller head allows you to deposit the colour slowly and build up, so you don’t get major clown vibes. Tap the bristles into the blush of your choice to pick up just a bit of colour, then holding the brush at a 45-degree angle from your face, concentrate the blush on the apples of the cheeks and use circular motions to blend along the cheekbones.
QUICK TIP: If you need to soften the blush colour, go back over your cheeks with rapid, back-and-forth strokes.
A medium blending and shading brush for the eyes is the one you’ll need to apply all-over eyeshadow colour. The paddle shape and denser fibres will give your lids a smooth, even finish and more intense pigment than a fluffier brush would. Sweep shadow (powder or cream) over the lids from the inside of the eye, outwards. You can also use the tip of the brush to smudge colour under the lower lash line or to create a defined line in the crease.
QUICK TIP: For really intense colour, apply eyeshadow in a windshield-wiper motion across the lid.
ANGLED EYE BRUSH
This brush can be used in two different, but amazing ways. First, you can apply gel eyeliner for a crisp, clean line or cat eye. Or dip the brush in water and using eyeshadow, create a really strong eyeliner. Either way, the small, dense brush allows for precision along the lash lines. Second, you can apply brow powder with the brush, filling in your arches (with the pointed-end facing down towards your nose and angling the brush as you work from the arch through to the tail), or even blend and smooth out an eyebrow pen or pencil.
QUICK TIP: Fill in your brows with short strokes, then holding the brush horizontally against your arches, smooth the powder through your brows, flattening the hairs and blending the strokes.
Often overlooked, once you’ve used a spoolie brush, you’ll never look back. You can apply mascara or eyebrow colour with it, as well as comb, separate and define your eyebrows and eyelashes. When it comes to your brows, you should always brush up and out with a spoolie. This will soften the brow, remove any excess product and open up your eyes. Got clumpy mascara? Wield the spoolie to lightly tug at and soften out those pesky clumps.
QUICK TIP: Added bonus! Use a spoolie with a lip scrub. Gently work the wand back and forth over your lips to remove all the dead skin cells and rinse off.
A synthetic concealer brush will allow you to apply and blend the product without wiping it off. The small head and short bristles will get perfectly into all the nooks and crannies around your eye and nose, key areas of concealing. Just don’t press too hard when blending; tapping the concealer onto the skin will work much better. In a pinch, this brush can also be used for cream-based highlighters, eyeshadows and lips colours.
QUICK TIP: For undereye concealer, think liquid and light (slightly lighter than your skin tone). For blemishes and other imperfections, use the same colour as your foundation.
Okay, so technically not a brush, but just as important! This egg-shaped sponge is a true multi-tasker – it can be used to apply primer, foundation, concealer, blush, highlighter, bronzer, you name it. The tapered tip makes it easy to reach small corners, the base wide enough for the rest of the face. The sponge really excels, however, when it comes to blending. It instantly smooths out any hard lines, creating a seamless finish. The secret? Be sure to dab it – no wiping motions – on your face. Think tap, tap, tap.
QUICK TIP: To prevent the sponge from picking up too much product, make it damp before you use it.