Q&A and Brush Tutorial with Shana King

It doesn’t matter how much you spend on a blush. It also doesn’t matter how rich an eye shadow’s color payoff is. If you don’t apply high quality products with the right brush, the product won’t operate at peak, intended performance. With make up, brushes and applicators are as crucial as matching foundation shades to your skin tone. Since many women can be intimidated by the assortment and overwhelming range of brushes on the market, BN asked Shana King, an Atlanta-by-way-of-Canada based make up artist as well as the codesigner of aDesign make up brushes, to give us a “brush breakdown”. Who knew that so much science, technology, thought and care went into crafting a make up brush? It’s all done with express purpose of making you look your best and getting maximum performance out of your favorite products. Visit www.adesignbrushes.com for more info on brush to-do’s.

What was your motivation to create aDesign brushes?
aDesign was an idea on paper that has grown to where we are now. We wanted to create make up brushes that had innovation but paired well with products like none other you’ve seen in the industry. I am passionate about coaching women on how to do their make up. You can spend 50 dollars on foundation but if you apply it with fingers or a sponge, you will not achieve the same look as you would with a brush. I spent time traveling and speaking with women on how to incorporate brushes into their routine. So much goes into creating a brush. You have to consider the shapes, the handles and the cosmetic trends. You need both product and tools to do make up.

Tell us something about brushes that we may not know!
If you use the right brush, you use less product and there is less waste.

What constitutes a good brush?
With aDesign, the manufacturing, the shaping and the high quality of hair that we use is the basis of a good make up brush. You have to make sure you are using the right type of hair. You want synthetic hair to pair with emollient-based products. We consider everything from the handle to the brush head. If you try to use a powder brush to apply liquid foundation, it won’t work. I understand why women would freak out when trying to sort through brushes on the market. Every aDesign brush is handmade. There’s 50 processes that go into making them.

You also have skincare brushes, which seems quite innovative, since most women don’t equate using brushes with non-color products.
We have a skincare brush set. Most people don’t use brushes with skincare but I do every night. It helps skin product last so much longer. Your eyes don’t get irritated. Why stop at make up when using brushes? [The product] still goes on your face! So much bacteria and dirt lives in your hands so why not use a clean brush to apply skin products?

What was your essential philosophy when creating aDesign brushes?
Providing the user with super performance brushes. Gimmicky ideas don’t pair with the product. I gear towards performance. The head shapes and styles stand out. We want women to get over the stigma that make up brushes are only for make up artists. We make them consumer friendly.

Do you think there is a misconception about make up brushes in the marketplace?
You don’t need to be backstage at a fashion show to use a great brush. It’s accessible. Don’t be intimidated by brushes. A 26-piece brush set isn’t what this is about! If someone has 5 minutes, there are 5-7 steps and only a few brushes and they can customize for what they use.

Can you break down the differences in brush hair?
A lot of powder and cheek brushes are made with Grade A goat hair. There’s 20 different grades of hair quality. We use top of the line hair, which works nicely with powder, and pressed and loose products. It’s soft and feels good against skin, but it still has strength that will pick up a bronzer. Sable is really soft. We use a sable that’s not extinct. That’s amazing with eyeliners, lip glosses, lipsticks and cream blush. It’s natural hair but you can pair it with wet, cake-based products. It’s soft, so if you are against the lashline, it won’t irritate your eyes. Boar is for eyebrow brushes, since it’s stiffer. You don’t use that for eyeliner, obviously. It’s coarse. We use a lot of synthetics and when we do, they are made of high-grade synthetic hair. Some people don’t want to use natural hair. Different hair types allow for different deposits of color. I encourage women to play with different hair types.

Now that we’ve gotten to the basics of brushes, let’s talk about your favorite products. What are some of your faves?
I am a product junkie. I am a freak for DiorShow Mascara. I love cream blush so I use Aveda and Three Custom Color. Fresh makes a great one, too. You gotta have a good shaped brow, so I love the Sephora Brow Kit.

Any product you wish you created?
False eye lashes. I wear them more often than I thought I would.

What’s your drugstore dream product?
I love Burt’s Bees, their lip balms and hand creams, I throw that in my CVS cart at the last minute when I don’t really need it. Maybelline Great Lash is a favorite, too.