Tuesday, July 23, 2019

How to Own Brushes Like a Pro!

How to Own Brushes Like a Pro!

Buying makeup brushes can be overwhelming. This is especially true if you are a new or aspiring makeup artist. I decided to put together this guide to teach you the best way to buy brushes for your kit.  This is also helpful if you are someone who creates a lot of makeup looks.  My secret?  Buying multiples of the brushes I use the most has been one of the best things I have done for my kit.   Shopping this way can prevent impulse purchases, and ensures that you always have the perfect brush handy. 

In some categories, you will notice I literally own several of the exact same brush.  In others, I simply like to have many of the same brush type handy.  The key is knowing which styles meet your needs.  Start by thinking about how you apply makeup, and which products you typically use.

Here is a quick look at what works for me: 

1. Bdellium Tools 776 (your favorite blending brush) - This brush is my favorite for blending eyeshadow. It is a multipurpose brush that works great with powder and cream products. The size, shape, and fluffiness of it meet all of my needs for achieving the perfect blend.  I always keep multiples of the Bdellium Tools Pink Bambu #776 brush handy because I know that no matter what eyeshadow look I am going for, this brush works well for me. If you have a different blending brush that you love, buy several of them.  This really makes it so much easier when you are working with different eyeshadow colors, so that you don't have to clean off the brush in between. I often use more than one blending brush when creating an eyeshadow look.  If you prefer a shorter handle length, the Green Bambu #776 is the same style, with the only difference being handle length and color of the brush. 

2. Flat Shader brush for packing on pigment (Sigma E54 Medium Sweeper) - If you love working with glitters and shimmers on the eyelid, a good pigment packer is a must! I like a medium sized brush head with bristles that come to a tapered tip.  This enables me to pat or sweep color onto the lid, then use the tip of the same brush to apply color along the lower lash line. 

3. Pencil Brush (Sigma E30 Pencil) - No, I don't have a Sigma discount code, nor am I a brand affiliate. Sigma just seems to put out a very good variety of brush shapes at reasonable prices. I own quite a few of their E30 Pencil Brushes because they are ideal for really smoking out the lower lash line. Use these with your favorite eyeliner or eyeshadow to get right under those lashes, or blend out any harsh lines for the perfect smokey eye. 

4. Face Fan Brush (multipurpose) - Scott Barnes #66 - There are some people who don't believe in fan brushes, but I can't live without them. This luxurious find from the great Scott Barnes is one that I use nearly every time I apply makeup. It is the perfect brush for sweeping on Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, dusting on highlight, blush, bronzer, or sweeping away that loose powder you are baking under your eyes. The unique tilted shape really fit the curves of the face in the most natural way.  This is the brush that made me fall in love with the entire brush line from this brand. If you are a professional artist, you can't go wrong with any from this line. 

5. Lip Brushes (PRO1L Furless Cosmetics) - If you are not a working makeup artist, you may not get a lot of use out of lip brushes.  I have always preferred to use a lip brush, even on myself for getting a really perfect looking pout.  No other brush beats my Furless Cosmetics Pro1L.  I own three of these and this brush has had a home in my kit for a number of years for a reason.  It allows me to really get into the corners of the mouth, and this brush can also be used for concealing small spots on the face, or even help in creating a cut crease on the eyes. 

6. Powder Brushes - setting powder, bronzer, powder blush. Have a few good sizes handy including one for more precise powdering (Scott Barnes,  Real Techniques, etc) - Kelley Quan #5, Scott Barnes #67, Sephora PRO Featherweight Powder #91, Princeton Neptune #6 & #8 - When it comes to powdering, I have three main sizes that I like to have multiples of; a small very tapered style, a medium size for blush or setting powder, and a super large brush for bronzing up the neck and body.

There are a lot of good options on the market.  I love these art brushes (pictured below) that I picked up at my local art supply store.  The Real Techniques setting brush or contour brush will also work for powdering small areas such as setting your under eye concealer.  The only difference between the two brushes pictured below is handle length. 

For a medium sized powder brush, Kelley Quan's #5 reigns supreme in my stash. These are a bit on the pricey side, so I only own two, but they are worth every penny. The bristles are unbelievably soft, and the quality is top-notch. I really love these for sweeping a variety of different powders on the face, using a pressing motion for setting powder or adding that perfect touch of highlight. 

Then there are the super huge rounded styles that are a must-have when bronzing the neck and chest area. For this brush, I don't own multiples of any one specific brush.  Instead I have a few of the same style across several different brands. The main reason for this, is that due to the very large brush head, these brushes tend to be the most expensive within their respective brands. If you have one that you love and want to buy a few by all means do so.  Since these are not something I use everyday, I have purchased the few that I own over time.  The two pictured below are my favorite in this size because the very rounded tip has the perfect amount of flexibility to not only apply product but really blend it out.  I use these mostly to apply bronzer along the shoulders for the most natural looking tan. 

7. Foundation Brush - Only of you don't use sponges (Marc Jacobs The Face Brush I and II) - If you are a professional makeup artist, you should only use disposables when it comes to makeup sponges.  The caveat to that, is if you plan to give the BeautyBlender or beauty sponge to the client, but BeautyBlenders cannot be properly sanitized so the same sponge should not be used across multiple clients. I do love beauty sponges, but only use them for personal use.  For everyone else, foundation brushes are a true staple.  I tend to favor the Marc Jacobs foundation brushes because the density of the bristles really give an airbrushed look to foundation. I like The Face Brush I for liquid or cream foundation, and favor The Face Brush II for mineral or powder foundation.

8. Flat paddle Brushes - great for face primers (Princeton Neptune Oval Wash, Furless Cosmetics PRO1F, S.I.L.K. Green Line Foundation GL-7, IT Cosmetics) - Speaking of foundation brushes, many people think of these flatter brushes for foundation application. I have used them for this purpose, but really like them better for primer application. I understand a lot of people apply primer with their fingertips, but using a flat brush enables a truly even application.  Many different brands sell this style of brush, but I tend to favor one with a slightly thicker brush head and rounded or angled bristles to better reach the inner corners of the face. 

9. Duo Fiber Face Brushes (for applying moisturizer) - Furless Cosmetics PRO6F, PPF3  - This brush is also commonly referred to as a stippling brush. I use this type of brush daily to apply moisturizer. I know a lot of people don't use this style, but it really is the best for layering up products onto the skin because you can both stipple and blend with the same brush.  Furless Cosmetics makes really great sizes of this brush in terms of bristle length and circumference of the tip. 

10. Concealer Brushes (flat and buffing style) - Also great for applying eye primer. (IT Cosmetics, Icing eyeshadow crease brush, Furless Cosmetics ME1, e.l.f. Angled Contour Brush) - Again, this is a brush that I use daily. In fact, I often use a few of these during one makeup application.  You will notice that most of them are not true concealer brushes.  They were designed for eyeshadow, but the angled flat tip almost works like fingertips to pat concealer on under the eyes. If you use a mineral or powder foundation, this style will conceal a blemish in a pinch.  Just pick up some of the powder, and gently swirl it around the spot using one of the angled brushes below.  The traditional flat style concealer brush (the first one in the below photo) is also perfect for applying eyeshadow primer in a nice even layer.

11. Angled Brushes / Push Liner (only if you don't use pencil exclusively) - Kelley Quan #17, Crown Brush Angled Brush, Smith #211, Sigma Flat Definer E15, S.I.L.K. Green Line GL-9 Flat Liner, Kelley Quan #15 - I almost did not include this last category of brush, because finding angled brushes is not difficult. However, when it comes to applying powder to the brow, my Kelley Quan #17 Wave Brush has been a staple in my kit for years. I do own a couple of them, and find them to be truly unique. The Smith #211 (third brush below) is a much stiffer bristled brush, which I like more for applying pomades.  Angled brushes can also be useful for applying winged liner, and a push liner brush can really help create the appearance of a thicker lash line.  I encourage you to think about which products you typically use.  For example, if you only use pencil and brow gel, an angled brow brush may not be important to you. If you do like these styles, think about how firm you like your bristles, and what size works best for your style. 

I hope you found this guide helpful. Again, what works for me may not work for everyone.  The overall theme here is to really think before you buy. Don't just buy a bunch of blending brushes because your favorite YouTube star told you to.  Instead, think about what you already own, and really focus on the shapes and styles that work best for you.  After analyzing the products you use, and which brushes are most important to you, it becomes easier to narrow down what you like.  Once you have found that perfect brush buy a few of them.  I think you will notice it is much easier to have a few of your favorites handy rather than settling for applying with another brush because the one you prefer is dirty. 

What brushes are your go-to?  Do you own multiples of your favorites?  

*This post may contain some brushes that were sent to me.  The majority of them were purchased by me. I do not write sponsored posts, or get paid to name any brands in anything I write. Brands mentioned are simply for informational purposes. All of the brushes mentioned in this post are brushes that I own and really use and love. 

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