The essential makeup brush kit
Get a professional look with these 7 must-have makeup brushes...

Jun 02, 2013 08:56
by Chloe Morello

Makeup Brushes are an absolute necessity for anyone who loves makeup, and often the difference between professional and amateur looking makeup is simply in the choice of brushes you use!

Makeup Brushes that are to used with powder products (e.g. blush and eyeshadow) work best when made with animal hair e.g. badger, squirrel, goat, pony, kolinsky, weasel or sable. The animal isn't killed for the hair, but shaved, and natural hair works best in picking up, applying and blending powdered product. For cream or liquid products (e.g. foundation), synthetic hair usually works very well as it doesn't soak up the liquid and hold it in the bristles.

In this article I've included animal hair brushes and synthetic brushes; If you do not want to use animal hair brushes you don't have to, as there are many man made options, www.mineralmakeupmarket.com has the best range of synthetic brushes for every purpose that I've tried so far. However I still prefer to use natural hair where possible as they yield the best result for me. Here are my top 7 must-have makeup brushes:

1. Foundation brush

You'll need a foundation brush, but the way you like to wear your foundation will determine the brush! If you want a full and flawless coverage of product, try the ELES foundation brush ($85.75) made of synthetics bristles, this 'paints' the foundation onto the skin so you get the fullest coverage possible. Use small strokes with the flat face of the brush against the skin to apply it, and finish with a patting motion so there aren't any lines of foundation left to dry on your skin!

If you prefer a more natural look, try one of the kabuki brushes by sigma, like this F84 Angled Kabuki ($18) made with synthetic bristles. This is a densely packed brush made of synthetic bristles that really buffs the product into the skin, giving the most natural look, where your skin shines through. Use the tip/face of the brush in circular motions and see how quickly this works!

2. Powder brush

If you like to set your makeup with a powder, you will be needing a powder brush. These are typically large, soft and fluffy brushes that pick up a light amount of product. You then dust it over the face in a few swift swipes, covering a large surface area. I also use this brush to apply bronzer if I'm going for that 'summer goddess' look. One of the softest I've found is Clinique's Powder Brush ($53) made with natural hair bristles, and another favourite is Sigma's F25 Tapered Face brush, also made with natural hair ($25). This one also has a point that can apply powder into the crevices of your face, which give a professional, polished look.

3. Blush brush

A blush brush is very similar to a powder brush but much smaller, and can sometimes be angled in shape. Look for one with soft, flexible animal hair bristles, that is slightly rounded in shape and isn't too big, because if you apply too much blush you might end up looking like a clown! I love this F40 Large Angled Contoured brush by Sigma ($16).

4. Small angled brush

A small angled brush is a great multi purpose brush that features thin, firm bristles which makes it perfect for shading the brows, or creating angles and lines with power eyeshadow and eyeliner. This is a brush that also comes in synthetic or natural hair bristles. When shading the brows use a light hand, but when applying liner feel free to be a bit firmer, my favourite is the E75 Angled Brow Brush by Sigma ($12), this one is made with animal hair.

5. Eyeshadow brush

Any woman that wears eyeshadow should stay away from the sponge tip applicators that come with a lot of eyeshadows these days, you should definitely be using a proper makeup brush as they are more sanitary and can complete more tasks. If the brush is soft you can layer the colour softly, whilst being able to blend out the edges at the same time. If you were to use a stiffer brush the colour would come out very vibrant but with harsher edges - I recommend you have two of these eyeshadow brushes so you don't have to use the same brush when applying different colours - as this muddles the eyeshadows. You could try both or either of these: Mac 275 Medium Angled Shading Brush ($48) or the Sigma E60 Large Shader Brush ($12). I recommend animal hair when applying powder eyeshadow!

6. Blending brush

After applying eyeshadow you can't just leave it there, it has to be blended out! Soften the edges of the eyeshadow with a blending brush. These are finally making their way into the makeup kits of women world wide and it's about time, previously they were difficult to find in many stores that weren't professional makeup stores. Blending brushes are dome headed, so really do a lot of the work for you, use tiny circular motions to blend out shadow and through the crease, or try a windscreen wiper motion! Whatever you do, don't press the brush so hard that the bristles splay out, this defeats the purpose of the whole exercise, which is to create a seamless blending of the eyeshadow colours. Synthetic hair doesn't work very well in blending so always go for natural animal hair, one of my favourites is the Sigma E45 Small Tapered Blending Brush ($10).

7. Lip Brush

Lip Brushes are the key to the perfect lipstick application. If you apply your lipstick straight from the tube it's very difficult to get a nice crisp line around the rim of your lips, especially if the lipstick isn't brand new! Lip Brushes should be very small, smooth and without a hair out of place as you need be very precise! A lot of lip brushes come with a lid these days so you can replace the cap once finished, keeping the bristles safe and covered. I use the Sigma L05 Lip Brush for this ($10), lip brushes will usually be synthetic bristles.

With these brushes you should be able to create every makeup look you ever wanted! Be sure to take good care of your brushes and they will never let you down. Wash them with a gentle hand-soap under running warm water, being very careful not to hold them upright, always facing down, because if any water gets into the ferrule (the metal tube that holds the bristles to the handle) it can cause damage as the brush hairs are held together by glue typically, ao you don't want that glue breaking down and causing the bristles to fall out! Then lie the freshly washed brushes down on a towel to dry naturally for a day.

To store my brushes, I keep them in two glass jars categorised into eye and face, with the handles pointing down into the jar - make sure they are fully dry when you store them upright like this! If you take good care of your brushes, they will last years!

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