Make up tools: Brushes

make-up toolsThe right make up tools can make a difference between looking unpolished to looking flat-out fabulous. The right make up tools also make make up application easy and results in a flaw less looking face.

The right make up brushes will probably be your biggest make up tool investment so it’s important to know how to shop for them. So how do you tell between a good make up brush from a bad one? The bristles should feel soft against the skin and never scratchy or rough. It does not matter whether they are made out of synthetic or natural hairs. How they feel is the most important.

Lip brushes and concealer brushes are best when synthetic because they need to be stiff enough to apply a thicker creamier product. Eye shadow, blush and powder brushes need to be soft and fluffy so that they spread out over your skin. Before buying try the brush out by running it over the area of your face it’s designed for. Check the strength of the bristles by running your hand over them to make sure they do not come out. The handles need to feel comfortable in your hand.

A good set of brushes will last a long time if you take care of them. Storing them in a case also helps to preserve them.

Must-Have Brushes
Powder Brush: It’s a fluffy oversized brush used to dust on loose powder or bronzer.

Blush Brush: A round medium-sized brush used to apply and blend blush or bronzer. It should be rounder and wide enough to cover the apple of your cheek but not as wide as a powder brush.

Eyeliner Brush: It’s a stiff bristled brush used to trace an exact line along the lashes. There are different types.

  • A thin flat brush with either straight or slightly rounded bristles. It helps you draw a line that is not too thin or too wide. It works with both wet and dry eyeliner and is good for the top or bottom lid
  • A thin and pointed brush. It will help you create a very thin, deliberate line along your top lid
  • A brush that is cut on a diagonal is a bit thicker and is best for applying a smudgy sweep of shadow liner.

Eye Shadow Brush: It a fine and flat brush and should be soft and fluffy and should spread out easily when it touches your lid. It should be big enough to cover a quarter of your lid at a time. It is used to highlight the browbone, accentuate the crease or sweep color all over the lid.

Optional Brushes
professional make-upEyebrow Brush: A good eyebrow brush is slanted and the bristles are hard and a bit scratchy. It is used to sweep color onto the brows or define and darken the brows.

Wide Eye shadow Brush: It is bigger than the regular eye shadow brush and is used to apply a single base color over the entire lid.

Lip Brush: It is used to apply lipstick or lip gloss and helps give great definition. The bristles should be firm but be able to bend easily as you apply it on the lips. Lip brushes that retract are great for keeping in the purse.

Concealer Brush: Even though you can use your fingers to apply concealer, a brush makes it easier to get more concealer exactly where you want it. A good concealer brush is similar to a lip brush but a bit thicker, longer and softer. Remember that you will be using it in the delicate area around your eyes so bristles should be firm and not hard.

Brow Grooming Brush: It looks like a toothbrush. In fact a toothbrush is also perfect for grooming your brows. The bristles should be stiff and scratchy. Used to brush brow hair and keep them in place.

Eyelash Comb: Used to comb eyelashes after applying mascara. This can be skipped if your are careful about how you apply mascara.

Eyelash Separator: Looks like a mascara brush and is used to comb through mascara’ed lashes to get rid of clumps.

Wedge Sponge: Used for applying and blending foundation. Can be used dry for a matt finish, or wet for a dewier look.

Eyelash Curlers: Curling your eyelashes is not essential, but eyelash curlers help open up your eyes and make lashes look more lush with or without mascara. A good curler should feel comfortable in your hand, hold lashes firmly and should not tug at the hairs.

Tips for cleaning your brush set

  • Make up brushes should be cleaned every 3 to 5 months.
  • Use a gentle cleanser like baby soap or baby shampoo.
  • Do not soak your brushes or they will fall apart.
  • Instead, wet your brush. Squirt cleanser in your palm and sweep bristles gently back and forth and in a circular motion until all the bristles are covered in soap.
  • Rinse Well.
  • Squeeze out excess water with a towel. A paper towel is also okay.
  • Reshape Bristles with fingers.
  • Lay brush with hairs extending out over a ledge to dry.
  • Never dry brushes upright, as water can seep in and weaken the handles.
  • Using a hair drier on it’s lowest setting will quicken the drying process
  • Keep your brush set looking new by storing them in their case when not in use.

You might also like:

Prisca Mwangi is a Beauty Consultant at The Color Palette Company. She can be reached at