One brush we've never really understood, both in theory and in practice, is the fan brush. What, exactly, is one supposed to do with this odd-shaped brush? Apparently, quite a bit, as demonstrated by the pros backstage at NYFW. So intrigued were we by this odd-shaped tool, we asked Simone Ciafardini, vice president of education & artistry for Make Up For Ever, to give us the brush basics.
"Traditionally, a fan brush is used for highlighting and sculpting the face," she says. "It is also an excellent tool for dusting off excess powder without disturbing the foundation underneath." Still unsure? Ciafardini went ahead and broke it down for us.
"Apply blush onto the apples of the cheeks in a figure '8' motion. Sweep from the top of the apple downwards, then up and back towards the top of the ear."
"Apply a deeper shade of blush to the hollows just under the cheekbone, using the cheekbone as a guide. Start at the hairline moving towards the nose, but be careful not to extend the color past the pupil of the eye."
"Apply a lighter shade of blush just above the cheekbone and onto the temples. Again, do not extend past the pupil of the eye."
But, that's not all this versatile tool can do. Backstage at BCBG, we watched the talented Ms. Val Garland use a fan brush to apply mascara. She coated a baby-sized brush with mascara, then painted the product onto the lashes. Why is this better than your usual mascara wand? Garland said it allowed her to get closer to the lashline while still coating the lashes and allowed her to control the amount of product that was applied, so there was no danger of "Tammy Faye Bakker lashes."
Backstage at Peter Som, Tom Pecheux demonstrated yet another use for the brush: brow builder. He advised applying some brown mascara onto a tiny fan brush, and sweeping it through the brows. According to Pecheux, this will tint any of the light, baby hairs that sit around the brow, naturally bulking up your arches without looking too drawn-on or fake.
So, there you have it, folks: The fan brush is officially the MVP of the makeup-brush world.
Make Up For Ever 120 Medium Fan Brush, $31, available at Sephora.
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