By Ashley Goldsmith


So you’re all set for Fall beauty with your black gel liner for the perfect kitten eye, foundation and powder for a matte face and a-glass-of-red inspired lipstick for a deep colored pout. But what next?

Here at BN we like to not only share the latest trends with you but we also want to be sure that you’re armed with the proper tools to help you figure out exactly how to achieve your desired look. Makeup application isn’t all about technique, “Just like a hair dresser has different brushes and tools to create a hair style, a makeup artist or woman should have a specific brush to create their look,” says Tarek Abbas, a Lancome National Makeup Artist. Knowing which brush to use and how to keep your brushes in top shape is the foundation to a flawless look.

What brushes are essential to every girl’s makeup bag?

Foundation Brush: A brush made of synthetic materials will be the best for avoiding streaky application. You should also opt for a brush that works with liquid, powder and cream foundations so that you can switch products if need be without switching brushes. Try Clinique Foundation Brush,

Concealer Brush: Makeup Artist Alison Raffaele recommends two different sizes. “One larger and one smaller. These should have a flat head with a rounded edge and be made from synthetic bristles. The larger one is for applying/blending concealer under the eyes (the width of the brush should cover the area in one stroke) and the smaller one to apply concealer directly to the top of a blemish.” Try Alison Raffaele Concealer Brush Duo,

Powder Brush: The powder brush should be large with a tapered head, and be as soft and fluffy as possible. This will cover all of the contours of your face, making it easy to dust on loose powder for an even finish. Bobbi Brown says, “It’s important that the brush comes to a tapered point, so that you can apply either loose or pressed powder to tricky areas – like around the nose and underneath the eyes.” Try EcoTools BAMBOO Powder Brush,

Cheek Brush: For applying the right amount of color to your cheeks you’ll want a brush with soft bristles cut on an angle. With the wide, flat side of the brush, add blush to the apples of your cheeks. With the thinner, slanted part blend bronzer into the hollows of your cheeks for instant jealousy-inducing bone structure. Try Benefit Slant Powder Brush,

Shadow Brush: Simply enough, a brush with slightly rounded, dense, stiffer bristles will perfectly apply shadow across the eyelid for even application. Try Lancome Large Shadow Brush #11,

Shadow Brush for Blending: The perfect tool for creating a smokey eye, a tapered shadow brush with longer bristles will allow you to apply shadow to the crease. Be sure the bristles are soft so that the color is less harsh and easier to blend. Try Smashbox Crease Brush #10, http://www.QVCcom

Eye Liner Brush: Use an extra-fine tipped, fairly stiff synthetic fiber brush with cream or gel liners. This will deliver a precise, firm and even stroke when lining the eyes. Try Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Liner Brush,

Lip brush: A retractable style is perfect for portability when reapplication is necessary. Go for a brush with firm bristles to ensure even application of lipstick and gloss. Try Laura Geller Retractable Gold Lip Brush,

How to keep your brushes clean

Cleaning and taking proper care of makeup tools is a step often overlooked which will not only decrease the life of your brushes but can really take a toll on your skin. Bacteria, oils and traces of makeup can build up in your brushes and are then redistributed onto your skin when makeup is applied with the unclean brush.

Apply warm water to the brush, shampoo with a disinfecting cleaner like MAC Brush Cleanser ( and rinse. “Keep in mind that all cleansers are not created equal and if you want to keep your brushes soft and in their proper shape, you will need to clean them at the very least twice a month with warm water and a great specific brush shampoo,” says Sephora PRO Beauty Team Member, Sherlyn Mosaurieta. You can also use a daily brush spray like Sephora’s Daily Brush Cleanser ( for easy cleaning.

You should always lay brushes flat to dry and store them in a neat brush roll (that has individual slots for each brush) or upright in a cup so that they can maintain their shape.

If you invest in a quality set of brushes and provide your tools with the proper care, they can last a lifetime.

Originally published November 2009



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