Last week was my first week only publishing two articles, and it was such a weird feeling! Between work, my anniversary, and Valentine’s Day I had to take a mini break, but I’m so glad to be back and am going to get right into things! Today I’m talking about brushes. I am very much a brush girl. I know some people swear by using their fingers, but ever since I discovered brushes I have been unable to turn back. Quality brushes help me apply my makeup flawlessly and hygienically (as long as I keep them properly cleaned and stored!). I have found that not all brushes are created equal, but I also don’t have a fortune to spend on good brushes. In my opinion, a good brush consists of three things:
1) Softness – Not to be confused with density. It’s possibly to have a very dense, very soft brush. I think softness is important because coarser, rough brushes can micro exfoliate your skin, which makes your makeup go on patchy. This is especially important for those that have dry skin, as it makes the dry patches insanely noticeable. Rougher brushes can irritate the skin, leaving minor red places as well. Try not to buy a brush if you can’t touch the bristles for yourself. I’ve found that a good place to test the softness of a brush is on the inside of my arm…my hand is too rough compared to your facial skin, and I don’t know what kind of bacteria is on a tester brush so I don’t really want to put it on my actual face, so the inside of my arm is sensation enough to work perfectly.
2) Shape – Brushes come in a zillion sizes for a reason! If your favorite beauty blogger or Youtuber recommends an eye brush that is just PERFECT for the crease, but they have a completely different eyeshape than you, it may not give you the same results. I always try to find a mirror and hold the brush up to my face before I buy it so I can get a good idea of how it’s going to fit on my face. Think about which area you want to use a certain brush on, and compare it to the brush you’d like to use. And don’t get too stuck on the name! Yes, companies labeling their brushes for specific purposes is great and gives you an idea of what to do with it, but if their lipliner brush is exactly what you’d want from an eyeliner brush, by all means use it as an eyeliner brush! No makeup brush police officer is going to barge in and arrest you, I promise.
3) Durability – I can have the softest brush that is the perfect shape, but if it starts shedding and splaying after it’s very first wash, the brush is no good to me. This is the hardest thing to test, because apart from reading reviews, there is no way to really know a brushes durability until I test it for myself. I try really hard to do research on the brush or brush line before buying,mot cut down on wasting my money. Every brush line is bound to have a flop or two, and there is always the possibility that the bad brush in question was a fluke itself, but some brands tend to have a good reputation because of the low number of flops or flukes they produce, while others have an entire line of, well, crap.
Admittedly, I have not tried very many higher end brushes. I am constantly putting certain brushes I hear are amazing in my cart, and then taking them out because I know I own a brush that works perfectly well that costs less money. I’m hoping one day I’ll get up the courage (?) to finally go through with a purchase. For now, I’ll just stick to my low to lower-middle class brushes. In case you’re curious, here are some of my favorite brushes!
Real Techniques Stippling Brush – I use this brush to apply foundation, and on occasion cream blush. It’s not too harsh for foundation and doesn’t soak up too much of my product. I use the stippling technique (basically makeu not little dots allllllll over your face and then buffing) and it works like a dream. This is my favorite way to apply foundation when I’m in a rush.
BeautyBlender – This is my absolute favorite way to apply foundation, though it can do so much more than that. It applies the perfect amount of foundation and leaves my face looking so natural. If I am having a problem with a foundation looking too heavy, I will use this to get the coverage I’m looking for without the cakiness. It does a great job with my lighter BB creams, too. To use, you run it under water to get it good and wet, then, squeeze out the excess and dip it into your product and lightly bounce or tap it onto your face. I feel like this would be especially good for those with dry skin, but I don’t have that problem so I can’t say for certain. Because you do use water with it, this isn’t ideal to travel with, which is the only complaint I have. These also come in a variety of colors as well as black and white, so if pink isn’t your thing, or if you have sensitive skin and may be allergic to the dye used, you can find one that works for you! Do properly clean and store this (in open air) to prevent mold.
ELF Studio Blush Brush – ELF has two different brush lines, and their Studio line (with black handles and bristles) is leaps and bounds better than their Basics line (with white handles). I really dislike their Basics line, but have yet to be disappointed by a Studio brush. And remember how I said to ignore what a brush is supposed to be for if you want to use it for another purpose? Prime example right here. This is technically a blush brush, but I find it just a tad too small for blush, but perfect for both setting my under eye concerns let, as well as contouring. If I’m traveling and trying to cut down on items in my makeup kit, I always include this one because it. Can do it all in a pinch. It performs incredibly well and has yet to shed, even though I’ve had it for at least a year and washed it many times.
Real Techniques Blush Brush – Now this is my kind of blush brush. This brush is huge and tulip shaped, which helps me deposit the perfect amount of color to my cheeks when I wear blush. I also love to use this brush for bronzing, for the same reasons. It helps me build the color without going overboard, and blends products like a dream.
ELF Studio Complexion Brush – Another multitasking winner. I typically use this for anything I need just a dusting of, or to brush off excess powder on my face at the end of doing my makeup before I apply setting spray. I’ve used this for blush, bronzer, soft contouring, and translucent powder and it does just great. ELF brushes are my favorite for traveling because not only do they work well, they only cost about $3, so if I accidentally leave one behind I’m not too heartbroken because it can be easily replaced.
Real Techniques Setting Brush – This brush is perfect for setting my under eye area, as well as highlighting my cheekbones and nose, or giving my eyes a wash of color. I’ve even used this in my crease successfully, and as a contour brush to get a really precise contour before blending. I clearly am a huge fan of multitasking brushes, eh?
Lorac Eyeshadow Brush – Probably the most random, I got this brush in a limited edition eyeshadow kit and absolutely love it. It’s dense and flat enough to really pack on the color, but at the same time is pliable enough to blend things out, and it’s the perfect size for my small eyes. Hands down my favorite eye brush I own this is the kind of brush that can more or less do anything you need it to when it comes to your eye area. I have no idea if you can buy this separately, but if you can I highly recommend it.
ELF Studio Contour Brush – When I need to smudge out some liner or pack some color onto my outer V, this eye brush is what I reach for. It’s super dense without being harsh and really allows me to get in their with the color. It’s also good to use when doing an inner corner highlight or highlighting my brow bone, as long as I spot clean it first!
Anastasia Beverly Hills Small Angle Cut Brush #15 – I talked about this in my Brow Product Recommendations post (which you can find here), so I won’t go to in depth, but this is pretty much the only brush I use to do my brows. This brush stands up to any brow product and works perfectly. It could also be used as an eyeliner brush, but I never use it that way. Just an option if you’d like.
As far as cleaning and storing brushes go…I like to store my brushes in a couple of pencil holder type containers I found at Target, or if I’m on the go I store them separately from my makeup. This helps keep them clean. I spot clean my brushes in between cleanings by using my Vichy 3-in-1 cleansing water on a cotton round, or occasionally using a facial wipe. Depending on how dirty my brushes get, I deep clean my brushes every two weeks or so (note – I don’t wear makeup every day, not even every other day, so I can go this long with no issue. If you use or wear makeup more frequently, I’d suggest washing your brushes once a week, and getting multiples so that you’re able to use a clean brush without washing them every two minutes!). To deep clean my brushes I LOVE using the BlenderCleanser Solid by BeautyBlender (especially for my BeautyBlender, brushes could use it up quickly I think), or Purity Made Simple by Philosophy. I’ve heard good things about a couple of other products, but never tried them myself. Yes, my brush cleansers are pricy, I will admit, but they clean wonderfully without ruining my brushes and I don’t need much so it lasts. At least that’s how I justify it?
I hope you found this extremely long post helpful! After so many days away, I clearly had a lot to talk about. If you have any brushes I should check out, high or low end, leave a comment below!