One of the things that my clients ask me about the most is my makeup brushes. I understand that for a lot of people, brushes are intimidating. They were intimidating for me at first too, there's so many different kinds of brushes and so many brush brands and for anyone new to makeup it can get a little confusing. But have no fear, I'm here to help!
I always like to say that beauty is not all one size fits all. What works for some artists may not work for others so I encourage you to play around with brushes and experiment with what works best for you.
BRUSH CARE: Now I also want to address brush care before we start. I can't even begin to describe how important it is to keep your makeup brushes clean! There are so many things that come from not washing your brushes. Dirty brushes can lead to clogged pores/acne, premature wrinkles, pink eye, skin irritation, staph infections and not to mention that your makeup definitely won't look as good on your face when you've used a brush with 100 different colours or products on it.
I wash my concealer/foundation brushes at least once a week. I use a Quo brush shampoo from shoppers (dish soap works as well), wash those thoroughly under warm water making sure all product is out. I then squeeze the brushes to get the excess water out and spray them with brush sanitizer (90% alcohol will work) and let them dry. It's good to let them dry upside down to avoid wearing down the glue that keeps the bristles in place- but if you don't have a way to keep them upside down just gently squeeze as much of the water out as you can and lay them flat.
With my other brushes I don't wash them as often- I wash them maybe once every 2 weeks or so, but between every use I at least make sure to spray them with sanitizer to get the colour/product off. Although if your brushes are being used by anyone except yourself make sure to wash them! All it takes is one little germ or bug to give you pink eye or a cold sore.
NATURAL HAIR BRUSHES- ideal for powder products but can be used for liquid or cream
SYNTHETIC- works best with liquid or cream products
FOUNDATION BRUSH: I definitely prefer a synthetic brush when it comes to foundation. They're easier to clean, in my opinion, then a natural hair brush, I put a little bit of foundation on either my mixing palette or the back of my hand (after I've washed them of course) and apply to all areas of the face. I start applying in the T-Zone and blend outwards- be sure to always apply right up to the ears (sometimes on the ears) and the neck for flawless coverage and to avoid the horrible foundation mask that can come with not blending properly! Left brush is natural hair, right brush is synthetic.
CONCEALER BRUSH: Again, I definitely prefer a synthetic concealer brush over a real hair brush. Small tapered brushes are good for carving brows out with concealer and larger ones are good for under eye or around the nose.
BLENDING SPONGE: This one isn't technically a brush, but it is a tool that I use daily. I make the sponge damp and use it to blend in my foundation and concealers for a flawless, airbrushed look. The smaller pink one has a flat side which is perfect for blending in under eye concealer. The larger purple one I use when applying foundation all over the face.
SMALL FAN BRUSH: I use this to sweep eyeshadow fallout from underneath the eyes- when doing a smokey eye or working with dark colours. For the most part I use this brush for applying highlighters because it gives me precise application and a sheer finish.
LARGE FAN BRUSH: These can be used for highlighting as well, but make sure to only use a little bit of product because this brush obviously has more surface area than the small fan brush. I also use this for contouring sometimes depending on the look I'm going for, I find that this gives me a more natural look. But again, just remember to use a small amount of product and start light, it's much easier to add product or colour to the face rather to remove it!
CONTOUR BRUSH/BLUSH BRUSH/POWDER BRUSH: The reason I've put all three of these brushes into one category is because for me I find that fluffy brushes work for any powder product. Sometimes I'll contour with an angled fluffy brush (white brush on the right), or sometimes I'll use a small fluffy brush (middle). Although I would stick to using a larger fluffy brush for things like powder and not bronzer or blush because it covers more surface area, just like the large fan brush, and it can turn out a little clown-like.
LARGE FLUFFY BLENDING BRUSH: I use these big fluffy brushes for when I apply eyeshadow in my crease. It's a great way to build up your colour and make sure it transitions nicely into your lid colour and brow bone.
EYESHADOW BRUSHES: Although there's a ton of different eyeshadow brushes, these ones I use pretty much for the same thing which is, applying shadow on the eyelid, blending shadow underneath the eye, and applying colour on the outer corner. The smaller brushes though (on the right), I like to use for applying a highlighter in the corner of my eye, or under the brow bone for a more precise application.
SMUDGE BRUSH: These are used for smoking out the eye with eyeshadow or liner. This brush will give you a soft, blended but dramatic smokey eye. Not a fan of the smokey eye? It's also perfect for applying a transition colour on the bottom/top outer corner of the eye.
LIP BRUSH: Lip brushes like this are perfect for applying lipstick because they're small, which means they create a very precise, crisp line of colour on the lips.
BROW/LASH COMB: Plastic side is used to comb out lash clumps and the bristly side is used for combing through brow hair.
EYEBROW BRUSH: For my eyebrows I like a very small thin brush like this one from Anastasia Beverly Hills. I have pretty sparse brows so this gives me a really natural look- especially when I use dipbrow. Here is a comparison of the Anastasia brush vs. a bigger one. These can also work well for gel liners, although I prefer something smaller when applying gel liner to make sure I get that perfect wing.