Every time I go to work, I get the same question: "Do I have to get these brushes? Or can I use sponge-tipped applicators?" Okay so maybe I inserted the whininess and sponge-tipped applicator comment, but I know that some of you are hanging your head in shame right now because you have a drawer full of those little suckers. Here's the deal, peeps: You gotta buy the brushes. There's no shortcut around it or ifs/ands/buts about it.
I'm not gonna lie: I have an enviable assortment of brushes. They make my life approximately one million times easier. And I will tell you that most of them are MAC. I recommend buying brushes from a professional makeup line (please, no dollar store.) and that they be mostly natural haired bristles (as opposed to synthetic).
Feel free to mix and match brands, but
I've made it easy on you: Here's your condensed list of must-haves (you're welcome.)
1. You always want to use a flat, natural-haired (as opposed to synthetic) brush to put eyeshadow on your lid: i.e. from the base of your lashes to your crease (medium shade) and right under your brow (lightest shade).
2. A dual fiber brush is my absolute favorite go-to for bronzer. But you can also use it for powder and foundation. The dual bristle system buffs product into the skin like no other brush.
3. A Fluffy eyeshadow brush is a must if you are going to put any eyeshadow into the crease of your eyelid. Usually these shadows are a dark color or a mid-tone brown. The brush goes to a point and the bristles around it will blend out the crease color. Always concentrate the color in the deepest part of your crease (where your lash line and crease meet).
4. An Angled blush brush is my favorite blush tool. You cannot (repeat: cannot) use a powder brush for blush. It is too large and in charge and the blush will end up all over your face. Use this angled blush brush to concentrate color on the apples of the cheeks and blend upward.
Here's the dealio with these brushes: you don't need them, but they are really fantastic and helpful to have.
1. An Angled eyeliner or brow brush is great if you are using a gel/cream eyeliner, using eyeshadow for eyeliner, or filling in your brows with a powder product. Be sure to buy a stiff brush that will get the job done.
2. A Synthetic Foundation brush is a source of controversy among many. You don't NEED it, but let me put it this way: your foundation will thank you for throwing away your nasty sponges in lieu of a brush. You will save product, be more hygienic, and your foundation will be more blended.
3. A Synthetic concealer brush is great to have because it is more stiff than traditional eye shadow brushes so it is great to use with concealer, eyeshadow primers, and loose shadows.
A couple rules of thumb:
*When using a synthetic brush (foundation or concealer type), remember that it will deposit liquid products more sheer, but will give powder products more coverage. The opposite is true for natural-haired brushes (powder or fluffy eyeshadow brush), they will deposit liquids more heavily but will blend out powder products.
*You have to clean your brushes. Have some pride in them; after all, you probably dropped a some serious bucks for your set. Use a brush cleanser that you can squirt onto a paper towel, and then run your brush back and forth across the solution until it's clean.
*Deep clean your brushes once a month with a purifying or gentle shampoo. After you rinse them out, re-shape them and lay flat to dry.
*Once brushes are dry, store upright in a cup of some sort (I like buying cute mugs from Anthropologie and putting all my brushes in there).
List of brush numbers (all MAC):