Makeup Brush Guide

Ah to the days of innocence. The days that you just put your eyeshadow on with the sponges that came in the package, or you slopped your foundation on with your hands. That just doesn’t work any more.. even if you haven’t nailed how to contour and highlight, you at least need a basic concept of makeup brushes… Do you need all of the brushes listed? No. Will you find what your favorites are? Yes. Will you make your own uses for each brush? Yes. Will your face fall off if you use them improperly? Probably not, but I’m not a doctor. This isn’t all the brushes out there. Not even close… there is literally 1,000,000 different types. But this gives you a good idea of where to start.

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Foundation {Cream}: If you use a cream foundation, you’ll want a flat-headed slightly-slanted brush so it really presses the foundation into your skin as you swirl it all over, giving you a flawless airbrushed effect. Natural bristles are critical for building coverage without streaking. 

Foundation {Liquid}: You’ll want a synthetic, densely-packed flat but wide brush to effortlessly cover more space when you’re in a hurry in the mornings. Look for ones with nylon or Taklon bristles for the smoothest application.

Foundation {Smoothing + Blending}: I know we’re all in a hurry in the mornings but I can’t tell you how critical it is to take 20 seconds with a clean natural bristle brush and smooth over your foundation before powdering to really blend it into your skin. It will take you from “it’s obvious she’s wearing foundation” to “wow she has such perfect skin.” 

Foundation {Mineral Powder}: This can be a synthetic or natural bristle powder brush, but look for one with a plump shape designed for the swirling motion we do when applying minerals. 

Concealer {Undereye}: I love a flat synthetic concealer brush for covering dark circles because you can really “lay down” the product by using the side of the brush. The other component to look for is a tapered edge because this helps you avoid clumping during application. The synthetic bristles will pick up less product so your coverage will last longer (the thicker you apply it, the more likely it will crease and cake).

Concealer {Blemishes}: Look for a pointed and tapered concealer brush made of synthetic bristles so you can apply it precisely on top of any kind of blemish (pimple, scar, broken capillary, etc.) without touching the surrounding skin. Practice mini-swirling motions gently on top of the blemish then lightly blend the perimeters with your ring finger. 

Powder {T-Zone}: Use an eyeshadow blending brush made with natural hair bristles as a powder brush just for the areas that tend to shine: between your brows, around and on the tip of your nose, your upper lip and your chin. This allows the rest of your face to glow and breathe.

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LID: Look for a natural-bristled brush that is dense yet thin, tapered and medium in length.
CREASE: Here you’ll want a tapered angled crease brush made of natural bristles that fits perfectly in the crease for when you want to create a smoky eye.
SMUDGE: This brush evolved in the last few years and quickly has become a favorite of mine! A lot of my clients don’t want their liner on the bottom lid to look like a “line” so for years I would smear it with my ring finger to create more of a shadow. But a smudge brush is much more effective. Look for one with a flat head, short and dense natural bristles as it gives you the best precision for smoking out lines.
BLENDING: This Pony Tail brush works like a windshield wiper, sweeping back and forth over both the lid and crease to blend all colors together and smooth away any hard edges. A step that you don’t want to skip, ladies!
BROW: Look for a double-ended brow brush that has a spooly (looks like a mascara wand) on one end and a slanted brush on the other end so you can brush them up and over before you fill them in with a powder. 
LINER: Because there are so many amazing long-lasting gel liners out there now, you’ll need a liner brush. The slanted liner brush is also perfect for swiping across a kajal pencil then using it to line with more precision. The pointed liner brush is great for dipping into liquid liners because the longer handle will make drawing a cat eye 1000 times easier. I like the slanted one because you can also dip it in black shadow and use it to color in the waterline (the area just between your lashes and your actual eye).

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Now, you have your brushes, don’t forget to CLEAN them well and love them gently. Cleaning them helps to keep the softness, get rid of old makeup, dirt and debris, bacteria, oils, and dead skin cells.

1. First, wash your hands
2.Run your brush under lukewarm tap water to rinse out any excess makeup. Keep the brush facing downward to prevent any water from getting in the handle and loosening the glue that holds the brush together.
3.Wet the palm of your hand with water, or fill a shallow bowl with water, and squirt a pea size to dime size of shampoo in the center, depending on the size of the brush. If using a brush cleaner, wet brush in water then spritz with brush cleaner.
4.Gently swirl the brush around in a circular motion to loosen the makeup, dirt, and oils.
5.Rinse the brush under running water, gently squeezing the excess water from the brush.
6.Lay the brush flat on a wash cloth, reshaping if needed, to dry overnight. (Tip: Make sure you clean your brushes after you’ve already applied your makeup for the day!)

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Why clean your brushes? Heres a few good reasons why….

1. Dirty Brushes Break You Out

2. Dirty Brushes = Terrible Color Payoff

3. Dirty Brushes are a Breeding Ground for Germs

4. Dirty Brushes Cause Skin Irritation

5. Dirty Brushes Give You Poo Face

 Aim to keep your brushes (tooth and face) at least 6 feet from the toilet, sanitize regularly, and keep your potty lid closed.

6. Dirty Brushes Could Rip Out Your Eyelashes

Product build-up on your curler can stick to hair, pulling out a few or all of your precious lashes.  If you can’t be bothered to replace the pads, at least give the curler a wipedown with an alcohol-soaked Q-tip to remove any visible grime.

7. Dirty Brushes Give You Herpes and Pinkeye

Herpes loves a moist environment. And the whole point of lipgloss is to be wet and wild forever and ever amen. Share your Netflix password, share your curling iron, but Do NOT share your lip or eye brushes, especially if you live somewhere like a college dorm where pinkeye is living on every surface.

8. Dirty Brushes Ruin Your Investment

9. Dirty Brushes Cause Mystery Breakouts and Allergies

10. Dirty Brushes are Just the Gateway Drug

Don’t use makeup brushes? Dipping your fingers into pots of moisturizer is just as bad. Make sure your hands are clean before applying anything that doesn’t come in a tube. If you’re feeling OCD fancy, fill a tiny spritzer bottle with rubbing alcohol and mist your lipstick bullets (the actual color, not just the tube). Seriously, your lipstick is probably covered in food particles and sneeze germs. You can also mist a tissue with alcohol and wipe off the surface of bronzers, blush, and frequently used shadows. Wash everything, basically.

**This article is written by me. These pictures are a collection from around the Internet and not my work.**

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