They say that an artist is only as good as their tools.
Makeup brushes are without a doubt an unsung hero of a seamless makeup application — have you ever seen our lord-and-saviour Lisa Eldridge apply makeup with a flimsy, dirty old makeup brush? No. No you haven’t.
However, you don’t need a million brushes to ace your makeup. Hell, you don’t even need ten. What you do need is to give closer consideration to the brushes you actually use for your daily makeup application, and what’s just fluff (pun intended). And, what better time than spring to ‘Marie Kondo’ your brush set, and inch your way closer to living an #edited life.
To give us the lowdown on all things brushes, we spoke to makeup artist Jasmin Lo to find out the essentials that never leave her kit, as well as her personal makeup case. The streamlined life will soon be yours, my friend.
“I recommend quality over quantity always! It’s much better to invest in a select curation of good-quality brushes, rather having a lot of ‘just okay’ brushes. Having a nice little edit of brushes means you can’t get carried away or confused about which to use and how to use it, which will keep your everyday makeup routine simple, glowing and fresh.
“Good brushes will make your makeup application a breeze. Having the correct size and hair density can make all the difference to the way your makeup sits on your face, how much product it picks up and disperses, as well as how long your makeup will last throughout the day. So, it’s safe to say that you should definitely consider your makeup brushes carefully!”
“Another reason to invest in a smaller number of good-quality brushes is that they are built to endure — they can last you a lifetime if you look after them, which will save you money in the long run. Some brush types can also work for multiple purposes — for example, a small concealer brush can also be used as a lip brush (after being cleaned, of course!)”
“Starting with the base, I’d say that a synthetic foundation brush is essential,” says Lo. “You always want synthetic bristles for any liquid or creamy foundations, as they soak up much less product than brushes with natural hair fibres.” Opting for a synthetic brush means less product wastage, which is especially important when you invest money in your foundation, a well as a better application. “My personal go-to is the BareMinerals Smoothing Face Brush, as it diffuses foundation for a soft, natural finish,” shares Lo.
Next up: a bronzer brush. “This can be a medium to large fluffy brush — my favourite being the IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Wand Ball Powder Brush,” says Lo. “You can use this type of brush two ways: one, to dust a sheer, sun-kissed wash of bronzer over the face; and two, to shape underneath the cheekbones for subtle contouring, just gently squeeze the bristles to flatten out the dome and create a more traditionally-shaped contour brush.”
Your blush brush needs to be a second medium-sized round, fluffy brush. “You need one for bronzer, and one for blush,” she explains. “If you use the same brush your cheek colour can appear muddied and much less seamless.” Lo’s personal pick for blush application? The Zoeva Luxe Sheer Cheek Brush.
For eyes, Lo believes that a fluffy eyeshadow crease brush such as the NARS Blending Eye Brush 42 is essential. “The small soft dome shape creates a gorgeous wash of colour on the eyelid, which is the most wearable way to wear eyeshadow,” she says. “Anything too dense or small will deposit too much pigment and make it hard to disperse evenly.”
The final brush that Lo couldn’t go without? A small pointed synthetic brush. “I use this style of brush for spot-concealing little blemishes, which is a more accurate and targeted way to hide pesky pimples,” explains Lo. “My current go-to is the Make Up For Ever Precision Lip Brush, which is the perfect density and size.” If you’re wondering which brush to use for the under-eye area, Lo suggests ditching one altogether. “I find it best to use my ring finger to melt concealer into the skin under the eye,” she says.
Brushes by nature are delicate and need to be treated and stored with care to ensure their longevity. Lo’s recommendation? A case or holder (such as The Daily Edited x Gritty Pretty Makeup Brush Holder), which comfortably holds up to nine makeup brushes.
Lo explains, “Brushes are best stored in a case or holder that allows the bristles to lay smooth and not get crinkled. The tips of the bristles are the most important section of the brush, so you don’t want them pushed out of shape.”
As for the question of cleaning and maintenance? “To clean your brushes, gently wash them once per week with warm water and a gentle soap or shampoo such as Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap — swirling the bristles in the palm of your hand with the soapy water, then rinsing out and gently squeezing out the excess water,” explains Lo.
After shaping the bristles back to its original shape gently with your fingers, lay the brushes flat over edge of a table to dry overnight. “Always dry your brushes like this rather than standing up, as you don’t want the water to leak down into the wooden handle.”
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