Ok so you’ve got the technique down, but what one thing could be holding you back? Your brushes! Think of it like a painter and their brushes, technique is everything and anything can be manipulated into what you want, but what makes a great painting is great tools and great technique.
The knowledge behind what brushes to use is second nature for me, I never really thought of anyone having an issue with it until I recently did a makeup lesson. I’ve now realized the amount of people that just have a random amount of brushes and no idea how to use them. Now thinking about it, there's so many different shapes, styles, densities, textures etc. how could you not get confused?
I’m here to break it down into more simple terms.
There are many different types of foundation brushes. What brush you choose will determine your results. If you’re looking for more coverage, you would choose a brush that is dense, with lots of bristles. If you want less coverage and a more effortless blend, you would choose something more fluffy with less bristles.
Now for powder foundation the same rule applies; fluffy brush=less coverage. Dense flat top brush=more coverage.
Liking a sponge is solely dependent on your personal preferences. Basically, a sponge is meant to be used damp and should be used in a pouncing motion. A sponge can be used for any cream product. Ex; foundation, concealer, blush, bronzer etc.
Here are some facts to keep in mind when using a sponge:
-It retains or “soaks up” more product than a brush
-It is meant to be dampened with water. So if your product has oil in it, the damp sponge will make your product separate. Water repels oil.
FACT: Silicone is a synthesized oil. So if your product has silicone, the sponge will repel that as well.
-Sponges carry bacteria so they need to be washed OFTEN. Bacteria can cause breakouts.
TIP: You can wash your sponge with baby soap, clarifying shampoo, makeup brush cleaner, or even castile soap. I wash mine with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap Bar because I can scrub the product off the sponge.
-If you wet the sponge, it needs to dry in an open area where air can get through. If it dries in a drawer, bag etc. the bacteria and dampness can cause mold.
With all that being said, I actually love using my sponge for concealer. I feel it gives me the coverage and blendability I am looking for.
You can use either a sponge or a brush to blend out concealer. Same as foundation, if you choose a brush that's more dense like a small version of a foundation brush or even a small flat brush, you will get more coverage. Something more fluffy will give less coverage and more airbrushed blendability.
I generally like to focus powder on the areas that need it the most; the t-zone and under the eyes. For that, you can use a small fluffy brush that has the ability to lightly dust product onto the face. For all over, a big fluffy brush will do.
I grouped these two because you can get away with using the same brush for both. In this area, you want a fluffy brush that's not too big and not too small. Something that has enough shape to apply product to the desired area but is fluffy enough to get a good blend with it.
For contour, you’re going to want a brush that is more precise. Preferably pointed and fluffy so you can concentrate on the desired area you are contouring. The bigger you go, the larger of an area you are contouring.
I put this separate from the rest because I have a specific brush I feel works the best for cream blush; a small stipple brush. If you’re wondering what a stipple brush is, it’s usually medium density and has a bunch of “pointy” for lack of better words, bristles. The point of it is to stipple or “pounce” the product onto the face. I feel this works best when using a cream blush stick because you can control and build the amount of product you’re using. You can also use a sponge for cream blush.
For cream bronzer, you need a smaller, more defined brush that's not too dense. This will give you the best blending results as you work in circular and side to side motions. You could also use a sponge to get the same result.
For powder highlighter, I like a fan brush. It’s the perfect size, makes for a precise application and doesn’t apply too much product at once. It makes for easy layering.
For eyebrows, if you’re using a cream or powder you will need a small, angled brush to fill in the brows. To brush them out, you will need a spoolie. Usually you can find a dual ended brush that has the angled part on one end and the spoolie on the other.
For eyes and eyeshadow, I really feel you only need 4-5 brushes; a big fluffy blending brush, a smaller, more condensed blending brush for more precise application, a flat, dense brush for applying shadow as liner and a small fluffy brush for blending harsh lines and adding definition underneath the lower lash. You can do SO much with just these brushes.
Affordable Brushes I Recommend:
Listen guys, you don’t have to spend a fortune on brushes to get the job done. There is a huge selection of amazing brushes right at your local Target. Some of my personal favorites are from Real Techniques and Sonia Kashuk. Both really great quality brushes that don’t break the bank. I spend so much on brushes for my kit that when it comes to myself, I keep it super low cost for brushes. Both brands are a staple for brushes used on myself.
Different Types of Brush Textures; Synthetic VS Natural
Synthetic: Synthetic hair bristles are made out of synthetic materials like nylon and polyester. Synthetic brushes tend to be less expensive and not as soft as natural hair brushes. They also tend to not shed as much as natural hair brushes.
Synthetic brushes work best with liquid and cream products because they don’t absorb as much product. Therefore, less waste and you get more of a bang for your buck. They also are easier to clean and do not promote bacteria growth.
Natural Hair Brushes: Natural hair brushes are usually made out of animal hair or fur. They are more durable and usually more expensive. Contrary to synthetic bristles, natural hair brushes are great for powder products due to their excellent blendability. They are made for precision and control of product placement.
Makeup can become overwhelming with the amount of knowledge out there. Like I said earlier, how would you ever actually know the difference between a makeup brush and it’s specific usage? Answer; you wouldn’t unless someone educated you on it. That’s where I come in.
My job here and what I LOVE doing is educating you. Whether it’s the right shampoo for your hair or what makeup brush to use, I consider it a job well done if you learned something. That’s why I’ve dedicated so much of my career to my hair and makeup classes. Whether it’s online or in person, I am here to teach YOU something.
So next time you’re roaming the makeup aisle in Target, I hope you think of me when you see brushes and know exactly what to choose.