Put Your Best
Face Forward

Bewildered by the array of makeup brushes available, and not sure what to use, or where or how? Good news: Unless you're a makeup artist by trade, you truly need only five key brushes to get your face done right.

Makeup brushes

Fluffy. Wide. Stiff. Short. Natural. Synthetic. There are so many choices of makeup brushes, but — guess what? — many are for special techniques that create unique looks, ones most of us regular folk don't need to bother ourselves with. The truth is, you only need five key brushes in order to do your face up right. Here they are.

A lip brush

It may be easier to simply swipe on your lip colour from the tube, but you'll get more precise application and deposit more product into the thin creases on the surface of your lip (creating a more intense and possibly longer lasting application) by using a lip brush.

A blush brush

A proper blush brush should be moderate in size and the bristles should not be overly fluffy. If you're currently using a big, poofy brush, you're wasting product and not depositing your blush as precisely as you should be.

A face-powder brush

This is the big and fluffy one! It feels wonderful when applying translucent powder over your entire face. Unlike the blush brush, this more poofy brush is used so you can airily deposit product onto your face with a light dusting.

A small, flat or straight-tip brush

Use this type of brush to dab on or otherwise apply product in a precise way: for example, to more effectively use eye shadow to line your eyes.

A small rounded-tip brush

Use this style of brush to apply colours more softly, and to blend; for example, your crease shadow with your base colour. This brush should be softer and more flexible than the straight-tip one in your collection.

When to use a brush or your hands to apply your makeup

Makeup artists tend to have a personal preference. Some say you waste less product applying with your hands and that the warmth of your hands will help when applying your foundation, for example. Others prefer a brush to apply most products, given the greater precision. Experiment and see what you prefer; it may differ from brand to brand, too, based on their formulations.

Natural bristles vs synthetic

Synthetic bristles often win over the natural bristles — a good quality synthetic brush is often less expensive and offers smoother application than one made of natural bristles.

Clean your brushes regularly

No matter why type of brush you use, be sure to clean them regularly — about once a week or so. Use a gentle soap and rinse well in lukewarm water. Squeeze out excess water gently and then rest until dry. Do not stand them upright or water will seep into the handle and weaken the brush.

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