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Makeup Brushes - Tools of the Trade
Makeup Brushes - Tools of the Trade
5 October 2016

Makeup Brushes …Tools of the Trade


Here is the list of makeup brushes we recommend, and an explanation of what different types of brushes are used for.


Why do we need brushes?


Brushes are a must have as they can make a massive difference to how things blend, the precision of application and the shapes or styles we can achieve with our make up.


They can also be a great assistant if there is something you find more tricky to do, such as work accurately on a thin lip line, or conceal blemished skin. For example, concealing a spot without a brush is difficult as you need to ‘feather’ lightly to keep the product in place, whereas using your finger will keep removing it. For thinner lips that you might want to accentuate a little more, you need careful work to ensure you don’t end up looking as if you have a fat lip. A flat small rounded brush will make a huge difference here along with a good lipstick. 


So our advice is to lean on a brush wherever you need the expertise or extra help.  From our list of brushes below, you can pick and choose according to what your beauty concerns are and what looks and styles you want to achieve with your make up. You may want to buy the brush according to the look that suits you or you enjoy wearing - for example smokey eyes need a dome shaped brush and liquid liners need great precision with a fine liner.


Choosing the best brushes for you

Shu Uemura brushes has been a firm favourite for over 20 years. You definitely get what you pay for with brushes and Shu Uemura undoubtedly have some of the best in the business.



Here is our line up for the best brush role…


Foundation buffer

A good foundation buffer brush will have soft, dense bristles that can be swirled over the face in circular motions. This technique gives an almost ‘airbrushed’ effect to skin.


Alternatively, you can stroke foundation onto the skin and into tricky areas around the nose using a tapered foundation brush. We like the range from makeup artists Nic and Sam Chapman, Real Techniques, and they have created an excellent triangle foundation brush in their ‘bold metals’ collection.


If you find brushes tricky to use, you could try Artis brushes, which are angled towards you and are weighted so that they feel comfortable in your hand.  Artis Oval 7 is great for applying base products.


Concealer brush

Its good to use a fine concealer brush, and work accurately on the area that needs concealment. Look for one with a fine tapered tip such as Shu Uemura no 2r, as this will help you to ‘twiddle’ or ‘feather’ the brush and apply product to small areas with a light touch. If you need to conceal a larger area, try Real Techniques Triangle Concealer Brush as it has flat edges and a point which will allow you to work accurately.


Fine liner

Shu Uemura no 2r is one of the best brushes to use for lining eyes with liquid or gel liner. Look for a very fine tip and a shorter length so that you can press the brush hairs against the lid and complete the line in one stroke. Sometimes if the brush is too long in length, it is difficult to control and get a fine, even line.


Eyeshadow brush

Shu Uemura 10f blends like a dream and you can use this brush to get some great shapes with your eyes. It’s a brilliant shape for getting winged eyeshadow, or contouring eyeshadow for a more youthful shape.


Blush brush

Our advice here would be to go for a more modern blush brush, that isn’t like the puffy brush shapes of the ‘80s. An angled or ‘bud’ shaped brush will allow you to create cheekbones rather than stripes.


Powder brush

A fine dusting can only be achieved with a brush, and there are lots of different powder brushes on the market. If you have spent a while concealing a blemish then you want to get a good powder brush that is not going to ruin all your hard work. Look for a soft, puffy brush (such as this one) with flexible, long bristles that will sweep powder lightly over your skin without moving any base products underneath.


Wider concealer brush

Using tiny brushes to conceal blemishes for precision is recommended, while wider more traditional concealer brushes for under eye and any other areas work when you want to avoid stroke marks whilst getting a clean sweep of colour.


Flat lip/brush

A flat brush that gives a great line is what you want to look for when choosing a lip brush. If you’d like a natural edge to your lip colour, try the Artis Circle 1 brush as it is easy to handle and gives a lovely smooth finish.



Looking after your brushes

You often see brushes that are matted with product, and they are generally the larger powder/bronzer or blusher brushes. As a general rule its good practice to wash brushes with soap very gently every day if they can. Professional makeup artists often have to use stronger materials (such as alcohol brush cleaner sprays) to remove products as they don’t have time throughout the day to wash and dry, and hygiene is paramount for limiting cross infection. For your own personal stash wash once every 2 - 4 weeks. Any gentle liquid soap will do, then put them back into shape and leave them to dry where they can get air through the bristles.  By washing the brushes you keep the colour true and get better shapes with your make up.


The difference between natural and synthetic hair brushes

It really depends on your own personal preference whether to choose synthetic or natural hair brushes. The natural hair usually comes from squirrel, mink, goat, pony, or sable for more expensive brushes.


Synthetic brushes used to feel scratchy on the skin and have less ‘pick up’ of product, however brush fibre technology has really advanced so if you’d prefer to avoid natural hair then synthetic is a great choice. The Real Techniques and Artis brushes mentioned above are great synthetic options, and Shu Uemura have a range of high quality synthetics in addition to their natural hair brushes.


Be aware that products with a high pigment content (such as foundations or lipsticks) can stain synthetic hairs, so you may need to use a more harsh alcohol based remover to keep them true. Replace any brushes that have splayed, are dropping hairs or have become scratchy.


Hopefully this is a useful round-up of the brushes we recommend, and how to use them and care for them. Invest wisely in your brushes and take good care of them and they will last for years to come.


If you have any questions about using brushes, then let us know over on our Instagram or Facebook pages.


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