How to Pick the Right Makeup Brushes

Your makeup job depends as much on the application tools as the cosmetics themselves. Makeup brushes should to give you good control and be able to blend makeup into your skin. And good makeup brushes require an up-front investment that will be well worth it in their longevity and improvement to your look.

What to Look for in a Makeup Brush

According to beauty expert Sali Hughes, good quality makeup brushes can make "cheap eye shadow go on like silk." She notes that most cheap brushes have flat-edged bristles that make blending difficult, and badly weighted handles that don't give you the control you need. Good bargain brushes can be found, but she recommends that you never use the brushes that come with the makeup. Look for comfortable tools that feel balanced in your hand and brushes with dome-shaped bristles.

Choose the Right Tool for Each Task

Hughes recommends using natural bristles for applying powders and synthetic bristles for liquids or waxy products. Don't feel compelled to buy a complete matching set. Take your time building up the ones that work for you, and remember you're the only one who will know if the handles don't match. Makeup artist Quinn Murphy recommends the following makeup brushes for a well-rounded collection:

Concealer Brush

Choose a flat, angled brush to dab concealer directly on problem areas (not all around them).

Eye Shadow Brush

A petite, flat brush will give you precision control and the ability to add contours and highlights.

Eye Liner Brush

Look for a tiny, sharply pointed brush that will help you draw on liner like a pencil.

Blush and Bronzing Brush

Choose a fluffy brush with a round head. Unlike other brushes where you want more control, your blush brush should be designed to disperse color evenly without dumping intense spots of color.

Powder Brush

Many of these are giant, but a smaller brush will make it easier to touch up your eyes or T-Zone without adding powder to dry areas where it's not needed.

How to Care for Makeup Brushes

Be sure to take care of your brushes to extend their life. Hughes notes that she washes her own every four to six weeks with a gentle shampoo, then reshapes them and leaves them to dry flat on a towel. With good maintenance, quality makeup brushes can last for decades, making them a beauty investment that lasts long after expensive makeup needs to be thrown away.



Sources: "The Only Makeup Brushes You Need." Allure. Web. January 2012.

Guardian. "Beauty: Make-Up Brushes." The Guardian. Web. September 9, 2011.