Once upon a time, things were simple and the only makeup brush I owned was the Retractable Blusher Brush from The Body Shop. To be fair, the only makeup products I owned were a Nivea soft kohl pencil and a Body Shop blush. Anyway, things obviously took a turn for the worse(better!) over the years, and I am now a proud owner of about two dozen brushes, of which, I probably use about five everyday.
Having said that, with the right tools, you can achieve the intended outcome/look, while cutting down on application time (OK. What I’m trying to say is, your makeup will look good and go on faster. Moving on…)
The way my everyday makeup routine goes, I use my hands to apply my BB cream or foundation. If you want a fuller coverage, or more airbrushed look, you could use a buffing brush or foundation brush.
I then move on to concealer, which I also prefer to blend/press in with my finger tips. However, if I do feel like I need to blend more thoroughly, I like to use something like the Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer brush. This is a synthetic brush, but the little domed head makes it a really handy mini buffing brush, almost.
The next steps are bronzer/contour and blush; for these, I use the Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt brush. People. This brush deserves a moment. This woman (CT) can do no wrong. Although the brush is, uhum, on the higher end of the price spectrum, it is perfection. Made of genuine squirrel and goat hair, this brush has the perfect tapered shape to define your face, but is also soft enough to blend blush. The way it picks up the product is unparalleled, resulting in great colour pay-off from blushes and powders. Using this for both, bronzer and blush, also helps me blend the two together more easily (also, I am super lazy and usually running late so I couldn’t be bothered, ssshhh!). I have also recently fallen back in love with my Real Techniques Blush Brush, which is a huge soft synthetic brush that gives a great finish.
On to my favourite part of my makeup routine – highlighter! I feel like the absolute best brush to use is the Real Techniques Setting Brush. It’s small, wide and flat brush head makes it perfect to pat on cream and powder highlight, and the rounded edges help blend the products.
Lastly, to powder, for an all-over application I use a large powder brush. Pictured above is the sigma F30, but any brush with a similar head would work. Longer bristles help with a softer application. However, as I usually only apply some translucent powder around my nose and on my eyelids, I prefer to use a tapered blending brush for precise application. This also ensures I do not apply too much powder in one go (P.S. Post on setting powders coming up soon!).
In addition to these, I also sometimes use a fan brush to apply highlighter, or just a whisper of blush. This kind of brush can also be used to dust off any excess powder on the skin once the makeup has set. To be honest, there is a plethora of of brushes out there, and I am not going to claim to be an expert on any of these; different types of blending, crease, lip and brow brushes that I do not understand or use currently.
Here are a few takeaways on makeup brushes:
- DO consider the kind of products you will be using, and the intended look, before investing in the brush. For instance, you may want a kabuki brush for mineral makeup, and a stippling brush for cream products or an airbrushed finish.
- DO start small and purchase individual essential brushes, or small sets, that you can multi-task with, like a powder brush (use for: powder, bronzer and blush), angled or contour brush (use for: contour and highlight, depending on size) and two small blending brushes (use for: eye shadow, concealer, highlight and setting powder).
- DO keep your brushes clean; this will not only ensure that the brushes ‘perform’ better, but it will also keep your skin clean and extend the life of the brushes. I will be doing another post on how I spot clean and wash my brushes.
Confession: I recently got the NARS Yachiyo Kabuki brush and it is an absolute dream. More on that later.
Below are some other top picks, based on the brushes I own and use:
Created by Pixiwoo, these brushes are 100% cruelty free, extremely high quality, easy storage, and come in a variety of ranges. Perfect for beginners and advanced users.
Bonus: they feature links to youtube tutorials by the creators on how to use each brush best.
Available in Dubai at Lifestyle, and online at feelunique. In the UK, they are widely available at Boots.
Considering my obsession with the Powder & Sculpt brush (see above), I went ahead and purchased the Blusher Brush. Admittedly, I don’t use it as much as the P&S brush, but it is still a delight. Available at Selfridges (UK), Harrods (UK), Nordstrom (US) and Beautylish (Worldwide).
Sephora has its own range of Pro brushes, and recently introduced limited edition Hakuho-Do brushes. Good quality brushes, priced somewhere in the middle. I love that they come with a protective cap, which keeps them clean and easy to travel with.
Next on the list are Zoeva brushes; they are meant to be luxurious, without the price tag. Who doesn’t want that, right?
What are some of your favourite makeup brushes?