Are You Using The Right Type Of Makeup Brushes For Your Look?

Photographed by Julia Robbs.
For a look that's subtly smoky or boldly smoldering, your brush technique is just as important as the makeup itself. The end result has a lot to do with how color is applied. From the size, shape, and texture of the brush to the actual technique, understanding your brush collection will give you another level of confidence when applying makeup.
The finesse of an expert look comes from knowing what brushes you need and how to use them with consistency. Below, our tips and techniques for makeup brushes that'll lead you to your most beautiful self.
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Choosing The Right Brush
Brushes come in an array of sizes, shapes, and fibers. Although it is often overlooked, the brush's fiber is actually quite important. The three most common fiber variations are synthetic, natural, and a combination of the two. Synthetic brushes pick up and deposit product, allowing for a heavier application. Natural bristles, which are more porous, lend themselves to a lighter application because they hold some of the product within their bristles.
Brush-bristle density is also something to think about. Fluffy brushes are great for blending, so they're perfect for foundation application on the entire face and for blush or bronzer that's focused on the cheeks. Tightly bound brushes are best for specific placement, so they're ideal for eyes and lips.
Foundation & Powder
There are many varieties of foundation brushes. However, some formulas (like liquid- and water-based foundations) are best applied with your hands. Massaging foundation onto your face with your fingers will create the most natural, full coverage with those liquid products.
Use a tapping motion with the flat of your finger to build up coverage. If you prefer a brush for your sheer liquids, try a fluffy, natural-bristle brush such as Wayne Goss' Brush 10.
For cream-based foundations that provide full coverage, a synthetic, flat paint brush is ideal. And, when shopping for a powder brush for your face, look for something that is fluffy and has a pointed tip. This is essential for maneuvering inside of small areas, like under the eye and in the nose corner. Our artists like Charlotte Tilbury's Powder & Sculpt Brush.
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Bronzer, Blush, & Contouring
Your bronzer, blush, and contour brush should be able to apply your makeup with precision. I love the Cheek & Contour Brush from Lancôme, because you can use the small, flat side to stamp out your cheekbones and precisely shape your nose. The opposite side is perfect for blush — round and flat to rouge up your cheeks!
The newest and greatest brush equivalents are foundation sponges like the Beautyblender. Pro tip: Use a sponge when it's wet. Mist it with a makeup-setting spray like Mac Fix+.
Using a foundation brush or sponge, along with a separate brush for bronzer or blush, may add a couple of extra minutes to your routine, but I promise those minutes will be worth it. In a future post, I'll discuss the different techniques involved in eye- and lip-makeup application.
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