At one stage in my life I was the owner of one dusty, manky little kabuki brush and was under the impression that it would do. The fact is, when it comes to makeup – brushes matter. Like many things in life, having the right tools in your ‘arsnel’ can make all the difference. Sadly South African’s aren’t spoilt for choice in this arena but I have managed to seek out some brushes that won’t set you back too much and are a good starting point.
Where to shop – Edgars have an okay selection called Beautique where I have bought my powder brushes from but I do find their eye shadow ones a bit prickly. Dischem also have a reasonably priced range called Cala Brushes which are very good for the price. I often find experimenting with a few inexpensive items are a good way to get a feel for what your needs are. I don’t find buying brushes very exciting, not as exciting as a eye shadow palette or new lippy but I have quickly discovered that they are really important and make a huge difference in applying make up and for the overall finish. I invested in some ‘Real Techniques’ brushes which are amazing and are apparently now available in Foschini’s. *happy dance* Foschini’s also have a range called ‘Studio basics’ which are also quite good.
Online – A great place to get a few sought after overseas brands is BIOVEA which ships in 3-5 working days and has free shipping for orders over R299. Their Real Techniques core collection is currently on sale for R227 but you can also buy them individually. (Also spotted on this site is a bit of ‘Too faced’ ‘Burt’s Bees’ and ‘skincueticals’)
When buying brushes – you don’t have to go overboard, think about the products you have, areas you would like help with application. Unless you’re a professional you probably won’t need all of them so assess your routine and start with one or two. If you don’t have a blush or powder brush, an eye shadow blender brush or eyelash curlers – I would start there. Don’t forget to test how the bristles feel on your skin and how the brush feels in your hand.
I don’t have a massive collection of brushes but I have some basics and I intend to make a few investment purchases in the future. These for me would be the iconic MAC #217 which is an eye shadow blending brush and a couple of Bobbi Brown brushes which are also amazing. I think it’s worth investing in a couple and also picking up a few ‘drug store’ brushes that will work well.
As a general rule – natural bristles like sable or squirrel are super soft and better for powder products like eye shadow and blush whereas synthetic bristles are stiffer than natural hair and are better for creamy/liquid products like concealer and lip liner.
* You know those little brushes and applicators that come with eye shadows and blushes…immediately chuck ‘em in the bin they are completely useless!
* Don’t forget you phalanges – the warmth of your hands is often a great way to blend/pat in foundation, concealer or lippy. In fact it is often the preferred method of application by many a makeup artist.
Below are the brushes I have which I think are a god starting point There are other brushes that would be great like a brow groomer, concealer brush and extra eye shadow brushes but as I said you can invest and add other brushes you need as you go along, depending on your preference.
Buffing Brush (foundation) – This brush has been a game changer and by far my favourite way of putting on foundation as you can really buff it in to your skin to get a nice natural finish. Pop your foundation on your hand, dab the brush into the foundation and buff away. Can use for a light application or build for more coverage.
Foundation Brush (foundation) – This is good for a more precise application and good with liquid foundation. I tend to reach for my buffing brush though.
Powder Brush (Powder & Bronzer) – I like this for powder and bronzer, I have the Beautique one. Great for a dusting of powder and super soft are best. I only dust powder along my T zone, not all over. Also a nice brush to use for bronzer.
Contour Brush (contouring/bronzer/highlighter) – A smaller angled brush is nice for a bit of contour under the cheek bone and along the temples.
Blush Brush (smaller fluffy brush) – don’t be tempted to use a big powder brush for your blush. This brush should be smaller giving you more control with the application.
Eye Shadow Brush (to apply your base eye shadow and to blend) – I have a couple I use, one for a light colour and another for a darker eye shadow application.
Eye Shadow Blending Brush (Blending) – A soft rounded brush is best. Great for blending out dark shades and for eliminating any lines.
Eyeliner Brush – Angled (Brows & Lash line) – I use mine with a dark eye shadow and run it along my lash line and below as well often instead of an eyeliner pencil.
Eyeliner – good for precise application of liquid/gel eye liner but not essential.
Lip Brush – should be firm, pointed tip and good if you like a bold lip or want to apply lipstick more precisely.
How to clean your brushes
A little search through pinterest offers up a fair number of ways you can go about cleaning your brushes and I have tried a few but this is tedious task and I want it to be simple an effective. I tried the olive oil/dishwashing liquid combo which was awful and faffy. Many brands have brush cleaning products which can be good but I don’t like the price tag. Baby shampoo has been the winner for me and it’s what I now use with great results. Depending on how often I use my brushes, I wash them once a week or every two weeks. It may seem a bit unnecessary to wash them that often but if you don’t give them a good clean, they will become a nice little place for bacteria to have a party and we don’t want that!
Squeeze a R5 size amount into your palm, wet the brush a bit and wash. Give it a good rinse and make sure the water runs clear to get rid of make up. Do a double wash if need be.
Tip – don’t leave your brushes to soak, you may damage the glue that holds the bristles together.