“WHEN I DIE, PRESS MY ASHES INTO A SMOKEY EYESHADOW PALETTE” – and please pass this on to my future generations. This will do them great good.
My gorgeous girls, if blending is your cardio too, then not just good makeup products, you need to have some really great makeup brushes in your vanity too.
Makeup is an ART and perfect makeup is all about blending well. Blending is all it takes to elevate your makeup from average to chic. And, I wish I had realized this years ago, would have saved me a few makeup faux pas days. I would take that blush on the palette, use the brush provided in the kit and start applying the color to my cheeks. And they would just end up looking just as artificially decorated as possible with the blotch of blush-on sitting on my cheeks completely out of sync with the rest of the makeup. Firstly, the brush that I was using was wrong, second, the product had not been seamlessly blended in with the rest of the makeup. And though I thought I looked pretty; the makeup was doing more injustice to my natural looks rather than enhancing them.
And then I used to closely observe the makeup of the girls on magazine covers, and wonder how everything looked so clean and well blended. Though I do understand that those images are all photoshopped and the makeup air-brushed and the final images far removed from reality, still I knew something was wrong with the way I was doing my makeup. Mind you here, I have never really succumbed to the hard-pressed notions of beauty and makeup and do not ever advocate using too many products on the skin, yet whatever little I wear, I want it to look all natural and flawlessly done. So, I realized, to achieve those levels of perfection, I needed the right set of tools and that meant, getting my hands on some useful makeup brushes available in the market.
Must-have Makeup Brush Types
As someone who likes to talk about fashion and beauty and all that’s trending, most of my days are spent on shoots or attending events or curating content on the subject and creating images and editorials. This requires me to be under layers of makeup on most days. But rather than getting it done by a professional make-up artist, I always like to do it by myself. I really love the whole process of using products and creating those strokes with brushes. It’s a process involving aesthetics and beautifying the face and that’s something I am so passionate about. Most of you would agree, makeup is cathartic. So, though I may not be the best at it, I still love doing it myself.
So, over the years, I have realized, to achieve any makeup look from basic to a little advanced, these are the basic makeup brushes I need to have with me all the time.
1. A Flat Concealer Brush
Though most of the girls rely on their fingers for the most apt dabbing of concealer under their eyes, at times it helps to have a brush for this as it helps the product to be absorbed seamlessly and the final result is far more perfect and precise. The Concealer brush from Clinique is my favorite for this purpose. Also, the bristles of the brush are so soft that it makes the application of the concealer easier on the under-eye area, which is already extremely delicate and soft.
2. A Big Round Face-Powder Brush
I have never really used a brush to apply my make-up base or set in the foundation. I had always been taking a few drops of foundation on the palm of my hand, added in some moisturizer and gently applied the concoction on my face using my fingers. The results were all good and satisfactory until I discovered those soft sponges called beauty blenders. Now, instead of my fingers, I dab the foundation on my face using this small miracle product. And, yes, it does make a huge difference to the final look. The application is far more flawless, and the result of the foundation is also enhanced. It gives you a very radiant and no-makeup sort of finish. So, I can safely say that the beauty blenders do a much better job than your fingers when it comes to applying the base. However, to set in the face powder so that the entire makeup gets an even finish and a radiant glow, it is highly recommended to use a fluffy big brush. The brush should ideally be of an optimal volume and the more closely stranded the bristles of the brush are together, the more even the application of the powder would be. Just take some slight powder with the brush, whiff it off to get rid of the excess product and softly move the brush around on your face, pressing the powder gently all over, so that you don’t end up looking like a powder cake. This would just bring out the entire makeup look better and the face would also get a soft radiant finish. The same brush can be used to dab some powder onto your neck, shoulders and chest as well and also for putting on other products like a bronzer or even a body shimmer.
3. The Perfect Blush Brush
The most important brush in your kit, this one needs to be really perfect for your makeup to come out well. A well-blended blush-on is the star of any makeup look and you just need the right brush and the right shade of blush to achieve the perfect result. An ideal blush brush should be the size of the apple of your cheek, or slightly bigger, but never too small, or else it would end up transferring the entire product to just a small area and not the entire cheek. Blush is best applied in one or two full-blown strokes with the right amount of product that covers the entire area where it needs to be applied. If you try to spread out the product with the help of a few applications, then it is bound to be a disaster. Hence, the size of the brush is important. Also, the bristles need to be neither too spaced out nor too dense. It should be just moderate so that the product is evenly spread out. Also, a face powder brush cannot alternatively be used as a blush-on brush because there is a difference in the shape of the two. The latter one is slightly domed, with its centermost bristles slightly longer than the others, whereas for a face powder brush, all the bristles are of equal length. You may also use the same brush, a little tactfully, to apply the bronzer on your cheeks as well.
4. A Medium Width Eye Shadow Brush
A lot of people use the small flat brush that comes along with the eyeshadow kit to apply the product. But no makeup expert across the world recommends that. Though it is ideally recommended to use different sizes of brushes for eye shadow application, depending upon the amount of product you wish to transfer, a simpler option can also be to go in for a medium-width brush specific for eye makeup. You can apply different shades of eye shadows with this creating a plethora of looks or even if you wish to achieve the much coveted smokey eye makeup look with perfection. You can also carry a small width brush in your kit to apply highlighter to the corner of your eyes.
5. Fan Brush for Highlighter Application
This is as tricky as you make of it. For highlighting and contouring your face, I always say the more you practice the better. The strokes and the application only get perfected with time. One needs to have a good understanding of the face and features to get an idea of which aspects to highlight and what to contour using these techniques. A fan brush is good for applying highlighter to your cheeks as the bristles are extremely light and the brush is styled in a way that it picks up less product and helps you gradually build up the effect in a few strokes rather than depositing all the highlighter at once. However, I have also been using the regular medium-sized brush for applying my highlighter to the nose, and cheeks and pulling it upwards to the end of the eyebrows and I have been pretty happy with the results. To apply a highlighter at the inner corner of your eyes and under the brow bone, you may also keep a small-sized regular brush in your kit.
How Often Should You Clean Your Makeup Brushes?
For all the great, stunning makeup images that you see around, there are just three main tricks to it. Firstly, the products that you use make a huge difference. The quality has to be really good and the product should suit your skin (obviously the brand matters, you can’t just go about applying any powder onto your face, in the name of makeup. The quality of the product used does reflect). Second, the tools, or rather the brushes should be right. Each brush has a different purpose and they should be used accordingly. Finally, blending the products well is really important. The best makeup is the one that doesn’t look like a layer on the face. It should just look like your second skin and for this blending, it well is really important.
How Often Should You Clean Your Makeup Brushes?
The hygiene of your makeup brushes is extremely important, not just to maintain their quality and enhance their usability age but also to save your skin and face from some irreversible damage that the bacteria lingering on these brushes can cause. The skin of our face is extremely delicate and sensitive and can be prone to allergies and infections. Dirty makeup brushes can wreak havoc on the skin. A lot of harmful bacteria builds up on the brushes kept dirty or unwashed for a long. And if we again apply the makeup products onto our face using these brushes, the bacteria get directly transferred onto the skin and can cause a lot of infections, allergies, skin irritations, acne breakouts and even other unforeseen problems. So, it is best advised to take proper care of these brushes and wash them every 7 to 10 days.
How to Clean Makeup Brushes?
- Rinse the tips of your brushes under lukewarm, running water to remove any residual makeup.
- In a bowl, add some mild or clarifying shampoo to lukewarm water and shake well.
- With soft hands, wash the bristles of your brushes in this water and try to get the makeup residue out.
- Rinse the bristles in clean lukewarm water once again and then again wash them in the shampoo water.
- Repeat this a few times, so that the entire makeup is off the brushes and you can see clear running water through them.
- Dab them dry with a very soft muslin cloth or paper towel. Don’t move against the bristles too hard as that would wear off their softness.
- Lay your brushes on a towel or a soft cloth and let them dry. Don’t place them in direct sun or wind, but just at room temperature or a light shadow area.
Finally, try to always keep your brushes in a clean, dry bag or pouch, with maybe the bristles wrapped in a paper towel. Also, it is best advised to refrain from sharing your brushes with others as that can very easily lead to the transfer of bacteria and skin issues.
Hope this really helps. It is imperative to have a regular and effective routine around cleaning your makeup brushes in order to achieve those flawless makeup looks while maintaining your skin’s health.