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Beauty 1 - Brushes

Makeup Secrets of the Pros

What to use, how to use it, and when to use it can all be overwhelming and confusing. Not to mention very expensive if you follow each and every new beauty or skincare product that hits the shelves. But applying the right products in the right way will go far in helping you look awesome.

There are thousands of websites showing the latest tips and techniques.  Hundreds extolling the virtues of their articles talking to the pros. Many of them, totally contradicting others. And few are organized in an easy to follow step by step process so that you can learn how to apply you own makeup and look amazing.

First and foremost, you may not have an unlimited budget for all the great syrups, serums, foundations, moisturizers, mascara, liner, blush, lipstick and whatever else there is; but you need to have good tools. Excellent quality brushes will make the difference from being disappointed every time to being delighted.  They last a long time, when taken care of and are the perfect gift to ask for. Things you need to know.

Synthetic versus Natural

The general rule here is to use a synthetic brush if you intend to use cream or liquid products with it. Natural hair will absorb moisture from the product, hindering the application onto your skin. Natural hair (usually goat, squirrel, sable, or badger) tends to hold and deposit powder better, so it's best for applying blush and bronzer.


The density of a brush means how many bristles are packed into the ferrule (the metallic part that connects the handle to the hairs). The denser the brush is, the more product it will be able to hold and deposit. You'll generally want denser brushes for foundation, powder, and eyeshadow application. Less-dense brushes are good for blush, bronzer, and highlighter application, as well as blending purposes.

Keeping these two qualities in mind, whether you're building your collection, or just want to invest in some key players, here are the eight makeup brushes that will allow you to achieve (almost) any look.

1.   Foundation Brush

The primary function of a foundation brush is to facilitate the smooth application of your base or foundation onto the skin. Using a brush of good quality makes all the difference in the world. Opting for a wrong brush can make you appear cakey and washed over. A high-quality foundation brush will allow you to blend the foundation out smoothly so that you can buff the product into the skin, giving it the most natural look.

Finding a good foundation brush should be so simple, right? But if you’ve ever had difficulty finding a foundation brush that works great for you, take comfort: you’re in good company, and there’s a legitimate, logical explanation for all the frustrating trial and error.

First of all, there are tons of different types of foundation brushes on the market, in terms of toe shapes, fibers, and quality. Then, there’s a mind-numbing number of foundations. Aside from liquids, minerals, clays and creams, there’s different formulations for skin types and finishes. What’s more, all foundations dry off at different speeds, which can also make a big difference in application. (Don’t you hate it when a product starts setting before you’ve finished blending it?!) And there’s different techniques for applying foundation, from stippling and buffing to swiping and patting.

2.   Beauty Blender

Whether you're applying foundation, tinted moisturizer, or cream blush, follow these Silva-approved steps: Wet the sponge until it's completely saturated squeeze out the excess water, and dab it in your makeup. Then, bounce it along the skin, pressing slightly on the surface.

The tool is beloved for its ability to dab on foundation seamlessly, but makeup artists praise it for its versatility on eyes, cheeks, and lips — and manicurists like using it, too.

In an ideal world, “you should replace your Beauty blender every other month,” says Cruz. But at $20 a pop, we understand taking pains to care for your sponge properly, which, according to Cruz, can stretch its life closer to three months.

The sales associate at Nordstrom told me that with daily usage, it should last about four months. I wear makeup about five days a week, and since I don't use a full pump each time, I predict it'll last approximately six months.

3.   Fan Brush

A Fan Brush is a fan-shaped brush used to expertly finish and perfect makeup. a dense, velvety brush for creating a flawless, smooth full coverage finish. Creates a no makeup look without streaking. Also works great with powders to give an effortless highlight on the highest points of the face.

The unassuming fan brush has several key purposes: You can use it to sweep on blush, blend other makeup, clean up excess powder, and brush a light layer of highlighter along the cheekbones

The flat fan shape allows for even and soft definition, making it an ideal tool for gently sweeping bronzing powder, illuminator, or even tinted moisturizer on the face. A must-have for clean-up, this brush can also be used to fan away excess product like eye makeup fallout, without leaving traces in its wake.

4.   Brow Brush

Necessary for filling in your brows with powder—a good brow brush should be angled so that you can tackle even the thin tail-ends.

A dual-sided brow brush featuring high-quality synthetic bristles on one end and a spooley brush for grooming and blending on the other. 

This brush is the essential tool for precision application of brow products. The angled cut brush on one end is perfect to fill-in arches with brow powder or for applying liner. The spooley end distributes and blends products evenly for a natural look. 

The brow brush is the ideal brush for applying eyebrow powder. The nylon bristles on the angle tip side are perfect for applying the powder cleanly and precisely. Flip the brush over and use the other end to blend down the powder to create a natural finish and a beautiful brow. A great two in one tool!

5.   Powder brush

The most universal of all brushes, the powder brush should be in every makeup collection—use it to apply any type of powder product.

With its wide rounded bristles and super soft feel, the kabuki is perfect for applying everything from loose powders to bronzer and highlighter. Its full, round shape allows for even product distribution of powder foundations, setting powders, bronzers, and blush.

6.   Eye blending brush

The name is a dead giveaway: This brush is a must-have for blending eyeshadow into your lids. 

Large, flat, short and brimming with bristles for excellent coverage. The soft bristles have a beveled edge for a smooth application without ‘dragging’ the eyelid. Use to apply all over colour.

Use this light brush to blend eye colours and to highlight the brow bone.

7.   Lip brush

Use the tiny squared-off tip of a lip brush to get a crisp, defined line of color. 

The sculpted tip of a lip brush is perfect for achieving a flawless line. The bristles are short and firm for controlled application. Pictured: Laura Mercier Lip Colour Brush

8.   Kabuki brush

A kabuki brush (sometimes called mushroom brush) is a makeup brush with a short stem and dense bristles. ... Traditionally, the bristles are made of natural materials like animal hair (e.g., goat or horse hair), but most brushes available now on the market have synthetic bristles.

With its wide rounded bristles and super soft feel, the kabuki is perfect for buffing in your foundation or powder into your skin, in order to polish it into the perfect coverage.

9.   Eyeshadow brush

The tapered but soft bristles of this brush make it perfect for precise shadow application. It is a large fluffy brush is great for blending shadows and softening lines at the edges of eyeshadow. This type of brush is great to use on your brow bone to blend in the area between your crease and brow bone. ... A smudger brush is used to smudge out kohl or pencil eyeliner.

10.   Bronzer Brush

This unique three-in-one brush allows for precision application of blush, bronzer, and all other multipurpose dusts and loose powders. The angled bristles perfectly fit the curves of your cheekbone to expertly define, shape and contour your cheek area.

Designed by Blair Deering

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