of course you can apply your makeup with your fingers — and it will probably work out a lot better than with most cheap brushes that come inclosed in the compacts and quads…
yet, one should appreciate the great finish a quality brush can bring. many would be surprised with the pretty dang good results a good brush can bring out from a less than amazing product. it doesn’t often go the other way around, though.
and, when it comes to eye makeup, I find that a few good brushes are essential for precision work.
choosing your brushes is a complicated task for those who don’t know much about makeup.
like in all of my videos, you can take from it what you need and fits your daily routines and tastes. I do my makeup everyday — full-face — and some people only feel the need to wear mascara once in a while.
for instance, when it comes to eye makeup, I don’t use all the brushes every single day: one brush is more than enough to apply a sheer wash of colour all over my lids and I’m out the door. on my face, I may use my fingers, or skip the concealer brush or whatever I’m in the mood for that day… but I like to keep my options open at all times!
know that, if well taken care of, good brushes can last you a lifetime. or, at least, a few decades!
when it comes to brushes, the quality completely defines the outcome. but that doesn’t mean a good brush set will cost you an arm and a leg.
some of the best professional brushes accessible in Portugal are from the Sephora Pro line, and M.A.C. — they can go anywhere between the twenty and the forty or even fifty euro mark.
but, without compromising quality at all, you can get amazing brushes among the Real Techniques line: they are beautifully put together, super thick and soft synthetic bristles, cruelty-free, can be used either with creams or powder, their shapes are amazingly multi-tasking, no shedding, easy to wash… I mean, the whole package. and some come in pretty awesome kits that are as expensive as ONE of the pro brushes I’ve mentioned. they may not have the same incredible longevity (not that I know that by experience, mines are just fine), but they will still last you a long long long time.
the Sephora Classic Collection brushes (shorter handles, all black) are also pretty good and a lot cheaper than the Pro ones. some of them exist in Portugal but are not on the U.S. website, and also the other way around, but… the links are at least for visual reference.
1. densely packed brushes pick up more pigment, ergo, provide more coverage. if you’re not a fan of/don’t need much coverage for foundation, you may prefer something like the Stippling Brush (which has more dispersed hairs) instead of a buffing or classic “paddle-like” brush. the same goes for the eyeshadow brushes: the less air between the bristles, the more product it will pick up and buff into the skin.
2. slightly stiffer but still soft and dense brushes make the best blending brushes. there’s a reason why M.A.C. 217 is a classic.
3. the smaller, slimmer and stiffer the brush, the crisper and starker the lines
4. travel kits/special edition collections — despite claiming they have the same exact brushes as sold separately — usually have less good brushes, which translates in more harshness and scratchiness… I’m looking at you, Sephora and M.A.C.
mentioned in this video:
. Foundation — Sephora Pro Flawless Airbrush #56. As an alternative: Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, or the Core Collection Buffing Brush. For mineral foundation as well as powders, the Sephora Mineral Powder Brush, recently renamed Classic Multitasker Powder Brush.
. Concealer (under eye, larger areas) — Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer #57. an alternative would be the Deluxe Crease Brush from the Real Techniques Starter Set.
. Powder — Real Techniques Setting Brush (smaller areas) and Blush Brush (larger areas, bronzer)
. Full Face kit — Real Techniques Core Collection (Buffing Brush, Foundation Brush, Contour Brush, Detailer Brush)
. Eye kit — Real Techniques Starter Kit (Base Shadow Brush, Deluxe Crease Brush, Accent Brush, Pixel-Point Eyeliner Brush**, Brow Brush)
. Eyes (blending) — M.A.C. 217 Blending Brush (one of the best brushes you can own, despite being an investment)
. Lips — Sephora #60 retractable lip brush, or as a maybe slightly cheaper alternative, Real Techniques Retractable Lip Brush.
. Sponge — the Beauty Blender Sponge (this is not as long-lasting as a brush: although you can keep it for a few months, you’ll have to replace it frequently. but still gives an unbelievable finish…)
alternatives for discontinued brushes I showed in the video:
. Pencil Brush — M.A.C. 21, Sephora Must-have Precision Lip 110 (it’s also dense, short and rounded as a pencil brush), or Sephora Pro Precision Smudge 29.
. Angled Brush — Sephora Classic Must-Have angled liner 90 and the Real Techniques Collector’s Edition Eyelining Set includes one as well as an amazing array of other precision brushes. these are the only brushes you’ll need to replace with some frequency, because they end up losing shape.
. Blending Brush — Sephora Classic Crease Shadow 73.
to carry in your purse:
for touch-ups, a retractable powder brush is always a staple. I’m an avid fan of the Too Faced Retractable Kabuki (made with the softest “teddy bear hairs”!), but Sephora (in two sizes) and Real Techniques retractable brushes are also pretty darn good, and for a third of the price.
** On the Official Real Techniques website, the Pixel-Point Eyeliner brush seems to have been replaced by the Fine Liner brush (which is an amazing upgrade, since the Pixel-Point doesn’t give enough control or thinness), but, on the Feelunique website, the set seems to still come with the original brush.