Choosing the right brush for the job

Choosing the right brush for expert makeup application.

choosing the right brush

Choosing the right brush for the job is the key to an expert makeup application.  The airbrush tool is the ultimate brush for a super-smooth application on the face, neck and chest.  And while it’s the key to a well-blended contour -which is enjoying the spot light right now- sometimes a fine detail brush is just the ticket for eyeliner, lipstick or concealer.  Here’s a makeup artist’s recommendation for the best brushes and how to care for them.  While many options are available and there’s more than one correct tool this will give you a good starting point.

1. Buy quality when it comes to brushes.  Take good care of them and you’ll only need to purchase them once.  Unless, of course, you lose them.  I tend to splurge for natural-hair on everything except concealer, foundation and lip brushes where synthetic fibers actually grab and blend creamy formulas better.  Natural hair fibers are more costly but will last you a lifetime and tend to perform better with fine powder cosmetics.

2. Keep them clean. If you use your brushes daily you should wash them once a week using a mild soap such as Dr. Woods Shea Vision Pure Castile Soap available here and warm water.  Squeeze excess moisture from the bristles with a clean towel, reshape bristles with your fingers and lay on side to dry.  I let the bristles hang over the edge to insure even drying. Between washings, try a spray-on cleaner.  They do the job with just a spritz and a wipe.  My favorite is Cinema Secrets which kills germs and has a light vanilla scent.  Frequent cleanings prevent bacterial build up (a potential cause of breakouts), ensure even color application and extend brush life.

3. Limit your brush arsenal.  This is coming from a makeup artist who regularly uses over 30 different brushes -sometimes on the same face.  But by limiting the number of brushes you own, a) you have more money to spend on good quality brushes and b) you cut down on the confusion of which one to choose for the job at hand.  Here’s the basics and feel free to add to this, but only by 5 or so.  Your morning routine will be quicker for it. Powder, blush, contour, foundation (unless you’re a lucky airbrush owner), concealer, deluxe fluff eye shader, angle eye shader, feather eye shader, small feather, flat eye shader, precision liner, angle liner, angle brow, brow spooly, lip, and soft fan.  It never hurts to have a spatula for drawing out cream products without dipping your fingers in it.  Your natural oils will break down the product faster and contaminate it.  Okay, so I know this seems overwhelming but having the correct brush for each application means going from amateur to professional looking results with just a few strokes of the brush. My go-to brand for brushes tend to be Senna but there’s many other good ones I’ve never tried.  And they don’t have to be a name brand.  Here’s what to look for…

4. Test before you buy. Before you lay down a bundle for your brushes give it a quick test by gently twisting the handle and the section holding the brush hairs called the ferrule.  If there is the slightest give in the handle, it indicates that the two are not securely fastened. If dry, frizzy hairs poke out from the body of the brush these will not improve with time.  They will have a tendency to collect powder, oil and dust making your application inaccurate and sloppy.  I hope you find this no-fluff guide helpful.

 Brush Anatomy

makeup brush