Ever wonder how to apply makeup like the pros? Makeup artists kits always include a range of specialist makeup brushes - indisposable tools for creating various looks. Forget the mini brush applicators that come included with many makeup products, these are often too small to be of much use. Quality makeup brushes are sold separately.
Different brushes exist for tasks such as drawing on eyeliner with precision, blending in eyeshadow for the perfect smokey eye, and creating a flawless foundation finish. Brushes help to create a professional looking and long lasting finish not possible when using other tools, such as sponges or fingers.
What Makes a Good Makeup Brush?
Quality makeup brushes that will last for years are always the best value. To keep them in top condition, brushes require regular washing with a gentle cleanser. A specialist brush cleanser is recommended, although makeup artists have been known to use eye makeup remover or even baby shampoo to clean their brushes.
It's also very important that the brush doesn't lose hair a brush that sheds will not only soon lose its density and effectiveness, it can leave particles of the bristle on your face or in you eye. It's also important for brushes to keep their shape during everyday use and washing. Especially with small, precision brushes once they splay outwards they are no longer usable.
Multi tasking brushes are also desirable to reduce clutter and brush maintenance. For example a powder brush used to apply setting powder, then used after to apply blush or bronzer, only needs to be washed once.
Brush bristles can be either natural (from animal hair) or synthetic. Generally, natural fibre bristles are best for powder products such as blush, eyeshadow and mineral makeup. Their soft texture allows superior buffing and blending, without irritating the skin.
Synthetic fibre bristles are recommended for use with water or oil based makeup - foundation, gel or liquid eyeliner, and lipstick. The synthetic bristles won't absorb the product, and will transfer it easily onto the face. When using liquid makeup formulations, brushes will need to cleaned after every use to remain hygienic, and synthetic bristles will hold up better to repeated washings.
Brands such as MAC are popular with both makeup artists and home users. Having a matching set of brushes from one brand complete with matching brush roll and apron is a common sight on professionals at fashion shoots. However cheaper brands are now introducing quality brushes at lower price points, and are slowly finding their way into makeup kits alongside the bigger brands. And an industry secret is that many professionals also source some brushes from art stores which stock quality brushes at often cheaper prices.
Environmentally Friendly Makeup Brushes
Increasingly, the use of animal hair to make up brush bristles has been criticised for being both cruel and bad for the environment. In addition, there has been interest in finding a more sustainable option for the wood used to make the makeup brush handles.
The Eco Tools range of makeup brushes has become increasing popular since its 2008 launch due to its high quality, eco friendly, and affordable price range. Forget stiff, scratchy synthetic bristles as these brushes head are incredibly soft making them a favourite of magazine editors and beauty bloggers world wide. The company uses sustainable resources to produce animal friendly products and is endorsed by actress Alicia Silverstone (herself an animal rights and environmental activist).
Standouts in the range include the Bamboo Bronzer Brush, loved for its super soft dense bristles that is equally effective for buffing in foundation and powder, as well as applying bronzer or blush. Also the affordable angled eyeliner brush which makes how to apply eyeliner a breeze.
These days, professional quality makeup brushes are readily available to the public and are becoming increasingly more affordable. And it's now even easier to learn how to use them with many makeup websites offering useful tips and tutorials online. So why not treat yourself to a set, and discover the difference it can make with your makeup.