Sunday, April 22, 2007

Brush(es) with Greatness

Like Meg over at Faking Good Breeding, I'm no makeup application master. I can blend my concealer, puff on some powder, brush on the bronzer and blush, and line my eyes - but I know I'll ever be able to perform the miracles that Kevyn Aucoin mastered during his lifetime. That being said, I do believe there is a big difference in quality between high end and low end brushes. Being a poor college student, I certainly cannot afford the brushes that range into the hundreds of dollars - but there are some good, affordable brushes that I recommend for the ladies who hate the cheap little things that come with many makeup kits.

First, I've been using a Sephora brush set for a few years now. I received it as a Christmas gift, and it's one of the only gifts that has given me tons of mileage! Sephora offers a wide range of brushes, and their sets are great. The prices range from $15 for a mini-set to $150 for an amazingly comprehensive 15 piece set. They even have a clever, unique set with brushes that are double ended - perfect for girls on the go...or girls (like me) who don't have anymore room in their makeup bags!

The set I use is pretty basic - powder, blush, two different eyeshadow brushes, and a lip brush - but they're soft and effective, and if treated with care, they're supposed to last for five years (some say that brushes can last a lifetime, but others say that it's best to fully replace them after an extended period of time). There are many companies that offer specialty brush cleansers but I usually use my face cleanser (Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Cleanser), baby shampoo, or Jonathan Product Add Moisture Moisturizing Shampoo (I hate it for my hair, but it's great on my brushes!)

Sephora also offers brushes a la carte if you want to add to your collection. My favorites are the Long Handle Sable Eyeliner Brush ($8) and the Retractable Powder Brush ($12-$19 and perfect for on-the-go touch-ups). I use the Long Handle Sable Eyeliner Brush with a bit of Smashbox Off-Set Shadow Converter to create the look of liquid liner without the hassle!

I also have a handful of favorite brushes from different companies. First is Stila's #9 All Over Blending Brush for the Eyes. This brush seamlessly blends eyeshadow, and it's great for applying a tiny bit of shimmery shadow to brighten the inner corner of the eyes. Another winner from Stila is the #11 Concealer Brush. I couldn't find it on the Sephora website, so maybe they've stopped making it. I got mine a few years ago so it's possible they could have discontinued it, but it's a good concealer brush, especially for smaller areas around the nose and mouth.

Speaking of concealer brushes, a genius concealer brush is the Nars #9 Precision Concealer Brush. The brush looks like a thin, pin-pointed paint brush, and it's perfect for applying concealer on individual breakouts which is great when you're short on time or don't need or want a full face of makeup.

Finally, two of the all-time best tools available on the market are the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler and the Tweezerman Stainless Steel Slant Tweezers. Both products are staples in almost every make-up artists' kit, and thousands of beauty editors can't be wrong as each of these tools has been featured in multiple magazines and won dozens of awards. IF you don't have either of these, they're definitely worth the investment! They provide unparalled lash and brow perfection!

How do you feel about brushes and tools? Are they worth the money? Do you have any particular favorites? Leave your comments!

1 comment:

Aida Costa said...

Hi! I've just discovered your blog and love it. I completely agree about tools - I bought some Tweezerman's from Laura Mercier about 3 weeks ago and I use them almost everyday - they're a joy to use and I finally have beautifully sculpted and up-kept brows! As for brushes, I can't bring myself to plunk down the cash for MAC or Bobbi Brown (they both get fantastic reviews on but I use a decent set from Caryl Baker Visage (a Canadian company - I'm in Toronto) and yes, the right tools make all the difference. I enjoy my makeup so much more when I can get the look/effects I want.