This Is What Your Makeup Bag Is Missing

Photographed by Winnie Au.
Makeup brushes are an easy tool that can help update or enhance your look. If you've been avoiding them because you're confused about proper wielding and application, it's time to educate yourself on the many types of brushes there are and the different looks you can achieve with them. Last week, we discussed the right brushes to use for building a base, applying blush, and adding a bronzed glow. This week, we're here to break down the mystery behind eye, brow, and lip brushes.
From a soft dusting of silver shimmer and a sheer gloss to a serious smoky stare and a bold pout, expert makeup is all about the brushes. The bristles and shape are just as important as the technique of the application. Here are my favorite picks and tips.
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Dressed-Up Eyes
The tighter the fibers, the more specific the placement of the shadow. When doing sculpted eyes or using multiple colors, avoid muddiness by using a flat paddle brush made from natural fibers, which provide more control. The Lancôme Large Shadow Brush #11 fits this description. Use a pressing motion to build up on color saturation. The brush will deposit pigment evenly and neatly, leaving you with a flawless and professional look.
Fluffier brushes are great for blending. I like one that also has a narrow tip, which is ideal for creating soft definition. Tom Ford's luxurious eyeshadow blending brush is the best tool for softly diffusing color and blurring lines, ultimately creating an expert finish.
If you're not interested in building up an arsenal of brushes for a ton of different looks, you can feel confident about executing a made-up eye — smoky, subtle, soft, or bold — with the two brushes mentioned above. On the other hand, if you're looking to try more advanced eye-makeup looks, you'd do well to expand your brush collection.
Photographed by Winnie Au.
Advanced Eyes
When smudging shadow and eyeliner, for example, to create a smoky look in which the eyes take center stage, you want a pointed, tipped brush that's shaped like a pencil. This shape will allow you to work in the product at the lashline, which will create definition without harshness. Now, if you mess up your liner, the Grand Pinceau Paupières Rond from Chanel will help clean up your look and give you an instant cool-girl vibe.
For cream or gel liners, or to create sharp lines, a flat lining brush is essential. Although some artists favor an angle, I prefer a brush like Make Up For Ever's #256. Its straight line is perfect for defining the lashlines, whether you're using powder shadow or liner. It's ideal for a retro cat-eye or extra-flirty flick.
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Perfect Brows
Although your old toothbrush may do in a pinch, if you want to take your brows to the next level, invest in a spoolie brush. Spoolies distribute product throughout the brows, softening the look and blending to perfection. I love Anastasia Beverly Hills' Large Synthetic Duo Brush #12. It has high-quality synthetic bristles on one side and the spoolie brush on the other!
Painted Pout
Lip brushes are tricky and should be picked based on the size of your lips. Look for ones that have a cover, like MAC's 318 Retractable Lip Brush, to keep your kit clean. Those with a fuller pout should opt for a brush with a bigger surface area, a straight edge, and curved top, like the NARS Cream Blending Brush.
As always, make sure to take care of your makeup brushes and learn to effectively clean them for the longest use.
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