Back in high school, one of my friends decided to try tightlining. I had never heard of it then, but she swore it’d make her eyes more defined and her lashes look longer and fuller. That was the idea. But when she gave it a go, she just stabbed herself in the eye with the pencil. Ouch!
Last month we talked about which cheek brush does what. If you thought there were too many of those, eye makeup brushes are going to confuse you even more. They are lots and lots of them. They come in different shapes and sizes, each better suited to a different area or technique.
While you don’t need to buy them all, you do need to know what they do so you’ll be able to choose those that best suit your needs. Otherwise, you’ll end up blending your eyeshadow with the wrong brush, wondering why on earth it never looks good (something yours truly did for ages, ahem).
So, let’s get started:
All Over Fluff Brush
This is my favourite eyeshadow brush. Why? It is so versatile! You can do almost anything with it. Thanks to its dense, tapered bristles, it works well to apply eyeshadows all over the lid. You can use it to pat eyeshadows on the lid for an intense look, or to sweep them on the browbone for a sheer wash of colour. In a pinch, you can even use it to blend eyeshadows in the crease.
My favourite all over fluff brush is E.L.F. Essential Eyeshadow Brush. It’s only $1.00, but sooo good! The bristles are dense and soft, and, almost six years later my brush is still as good as new. MAC 213 Shader Brush ($24.00) is another great, but pricier, option.
Angled Eyeliner Brush
This brush has – you guessed it – an angled shape that makes it easy to apply pencil, liquid, and gel eyeliners at an angle to your eye.
Angled Shadow Brush
A tapered angled shadow brush that fits your crease well is perfect to create a smoky eye. I use it to apply a dark shade in the outer V. It adds depth to a look. You can also use it to apply eyeshadows on the lid.
Bobbi Brown Angled Eye Shadow Brush ($30.00) is a great investment that will last you for years. On a budget? Try Coastal Scents Classic Angled Liner Medium Synthetic (also available in small and large sizes). Its only $1.95 and does the job well.
Bent Eyeliner Brush
Have trouble tightlining your eyes? Want the eyeliner right there, on your lash line? Then this is the brush for you. Its bent handle allows you to reach even the most difficult areas for a very precise application.
Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Bent Eyeliner Brush No 107 is only $5.99 and delivers a smooth, straight line every time. Japonesque 150 Degree Application Pointed Liner Brush ($13.00) is a pricier, but great, option too.
A must that should be in any woman’s stash, this fluffy brush is perfect to blend eyeshadows after application. Sweep it back and forth, and see hard edges morph into a seamless gradient.
The best blending brush ever is MAC 217 Blending Brush ($24.00). It makes blending eyeshadows a breeze. It’s the only brush I haven’t found a perfect dupe for yet, but if you want something similar, but cheaper, you can try Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Pointed Blending Brush ($3.99).
Flat Eyeliner Brush
Short and stiff, this brush can’t be used to apply or blend eyeshadows. Instead, its job is to apply eyeliner to the lashline. It allows you to push it right on the edge for a very intense look.
This mascara has two sides. One features a stiff brush that’s suitable only to brush your brows. The other side is handier. It features a comb that separates lashes and removes clump just after mascara application. My favourites are the metal ones. You need to be more careful with them, but they work much better than those cheap plastic ones.
Mascara Fan Brush
This is a new type of brush, and only a handful of brands make it. It is very easy to use. You pick up some mascara from the wand with the brush and then apply it on your lashes. Less product is deposited, so you get a more natural result (with almost no clumping!). This brush also makes it easier to deposit mascara right at the root of your lashes.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found an inexpensive mascara fan brush yet. The cheaper I’ve come across is Paula Dorf Perfect Mascara Fan Brush ($18.00). A slightly pricier option is MAC 205 Mascara Fan Brush ($20.00).
This type of brush has a pointed, rounded tip, just like that of a pencil. It is very handy for placing and blending eyeshadows in small areas, guaranteeing a precise application. You can also use it to apply eyeshadow in the crease or on the lower lashline.
If you love the smoky look, you need this brush. With short, flat, and dense bristles, it is ideal for smudging eyeliners for that softer, flattering look. Choose one with firmer bristles as it makes smudging eyeliners a lot easier.
One of my favourite smudge brushes is MAC 214 Short Shader Brush ($25.00). MAC brushes are pricey, but you really can’t go wrong with them, and, if you take good care of them, they last forever. But if you prefer something cheaper, there’s always E.L.F Essential Smudge Brush ($1.00). It does a great job too.
I don’t use spoolie brushes often, but they can be very useful. You can brush yours through your eyebrows, just after you’ve applied your pencil. It’ll help blend the colour and tone it down a bit for a more natural look. You can also use it to remove clumps from lashes just after applying mascara.
Don’t spend a lot of money on a spoolie brush. An old, but clean, mascara wand does the job well too. If you want a proper spoolie brush, get Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Spoolie Brush No 127. It’s only $1.99.
How many eye brushes do you use? Which ones are your favourites?
Doesn’t matter how wonderful your blush or bronzer is, without the proper tools to apply them, you’ll never gonna achieve a flawless, natural look. I learned this the hard way. When I was a teen, there were only a handful of poorly made, scratchy brushes in the shops. Using your fingers was often the better option!
But even that wasn’t always ideal. So, I sometimes ended up with muddy or clown cheeks, or unblended lines of blush on the cheeks. Not good looks! But if once we often lacked the proper tools, now we have too many. Cheek brushes are available in all kinds of shapes, each one best suited to a different product or technique.
Which ones should you buy, and which ones are unnecessary in your personal kit? Read on to find out:
Angled Cheek Contour Brush
This brush has an angled tip that perfectly fits the cheekbones (to find yours, simply suck in your cheeks), allowing you to easily sculpt and shape them. Just pick up some bronzer or blush and apply it right on your cheekbones. Then, using short strokes, start blending it out, making your way across towards your ears. For best results, choose a brush with dense and firm, but soft, bristles.
My favourite angled cheek contour brush is from MAC. Although a bit pricey, the 168 Large Angled Contour Brush ($35.00) is an investment that’ll last for years. My only problem with it is the colour. Those white bristles get dirty so quickly!
If you don’t like white bristles, you could try Laura Mercier Angled Cheek Contour Brush ($45.00), which can be used for both highlighting and contouring. On a budget? Opt for E.L.F. Studio Angled Blush Brush ($3.00). Their studio line has never failed me yet.
This type of brush has large and dense, but fluffy, bristles that taper at the tip to give it a rounded shape. This allows it to pick up a generous dose of blush and blend it out easily. If, like me, you have pale skin, use this brush only with sheer and medium pigmented blushes, or you may end up looking like a clown!
Pretty much any brand makes this type of brush. My current favourite is E.L.F. Studio Blush Brush ($3.00). I’ve had it for years and it is still going strong. Another good option is MAC 116 Blush Brush. Again, pricey, but well worth it. You just can’t go wrong with a MAC brush.
The best bronzer brushes have a rounded head, which allows for a more even application. Not designed for contouring, this brush is ideal for applying, diffusing and swirling bronzer all over your face, cheeks included, for that pretty sunkissed look.
If price is not a problem, Nars Bronzing Powder Brush #11 ($52.00) is well.worth the splurge. If you’d prefer something cheaper, opt for Eco Tools Bamboo Bronzer Brush ($11.99). If you want something you can easily carry in your bag with you everywhere you go, consider Real Techniques Retractable Bronzer Brush ($12.99).
The most underrated makeup brush ever, the fan brush is both useful and versatile. Originally invented to remove excess powder and fallout from the face and eye area, a fan brush can also be used to apply a little dusting of highlighter just above your cheekbones or, for those who want just a hint of flush on their cheeks, a very sheer layer of blush.
The perfect fan blush has bristles that feel both airy and light on your skin. Luckily, there really is no need to splurge on one. Both Eco Tools ($6.99) and E.L.F ($3.00) make cheap fan brushes that work very well.
Flat Contour Brush
Ideal for contouring and sculpting, this brush features a flat top head that effortlessly creates shadows and highlights on your face to play up your favourite features. Look for synthetic bristles if you plan to use it with a cream product. For powders, natural bristles work best.
Real Techniques 301 Flat Contour Brush ($25.99), part of the Bold Metals collection, is both useful and beautiful. If you don’t mind spending more, MAC 163 Flat Top Contour Brush is another great option.
Pointed Blush Brush
This is a twist on the classic fluffy blush brush. It features a dense, large body and a point tip that allows for a flawless blush application. Every. Single. Time. The tip picks up less product than a normal, fluffy, blush brush, allowing you to apply even the most pigmented blushes without ever getting clown cheeks. Once you try it, you’ll never want to go back!
But which one to get? Not a lot of brands make this kind of brush yet. The best is from Hakuhodo. It’s called S103 Powder Blush Brush Pointed and retails at a whopping $97.00! A cheaper, but larger (it won’t work as well if you have a small face) option is Nars Yachiyo Brush #27 ($55.00).
A stippling brush has a two layer bristle design. A dark set of dense but short natural bristles, and a lighter set of long and sparse synthetic bristles. This allows it to pick up two layers of product, resulting in different looks depending on how much pressure you use.
Apply the blush with a heavy hand, and you’ll get a more intense look. Use a light hand and you’ll achieve a natural sheer finish. This makes this brush a great option for both cream and highly pigmented powder brushes. If you’re careful, you’ll never overdo them.
MAC makes several stippling brushes. The best one for cheek products is the 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush ($35.00). It applies blush like a dream, and can also be used for foundation, highlighter, and concealer. It’s very versatile. A cheaper, and more feminine (it’s pink!), option is Real Techniques Stippling Blush ($9.99).
How many cheek brushes do you use? Which ones are your favourites?
Are you Team Cream or Team Powder? Blush, that is.
I’m Team Powder, but more out of habit than anything else. Every time I use a cream blush, I can’t help but wonder why I don’t more often. I love the natural flush it gives my cheeks. But, come the next day, powder blushes drive me back to them.
Even so, I wouldn’t say that powder blushes are better than cream ones. It just depends on your skin type and what look you are trying to achieve. Powder blushes can absorb excess oil, making them an excellent choice for ladies with combination and oily skin. They also tend to give a more matte, polished finish to the skin.
Cream blushes, instead, are moisturising. More suitable for dry and mature skin, cream blushes provide a dewy flush, like you’ve just… well, blushed. They give skin a more youthful appearance and look more natural on.
Sheerer than powder blushes, cream ones are easier to build up. You have more control on how intense you want the colour to be, and you never have to worry about clown cheeks. That’s always a risk with highly pigmented powder blushes. That’s even more true if you have fair skin. I love being a pale princess, but that can make blush application challenging.
The trick, with very pigmented powder blushes, is to use a light hand and a stippling brush. This type of brush picks up less product, giving you more control over application. If you need to, you can always add more, but I find that’s rarely necessary.
With sheer or medium pigmented blushes, a big fluffy brush works best. It makes application quicker and just as precise. In both cases, though, you can take your time in blending out harsh edges and blotchy patches.
That’s not always the case with cream blushes. Often, they set quickly, and once they do, they are pretty hard to remove. To avoid streaked and marbled cheeks (ugh!), you’re forced to hurriedly blend them in. You can do so with your fingers but, if you don’t want to stain them, a stippling brush does the job very well too.
My main gripe with cream blushes, though, is their short staying power. Most cream blushes last only 6 or 7 hours on my dry cheeks. That’s not bad, but with powders, I can just forget I have them on at all. Most of the colour is usually still there when I take my makeup off late at night.
But, for a really longlasting glow and pop of colour, use them together. Apply first a cream blush as a base, and then a powder blush in a similar colour on top of it. This way, you can just forget about touch ups. The colour won’t budge. I usually do this when the weather start getting warm, so I don’t have to worry about the heat melting my face.
My favourite powder blushes? I love anything from Benefit and Nars. Nars has a wide selection of blushes in different finishes. Some are sheer, other highly pigmented, so anyone will be able to find something they love. Benefit blushes tend to be on the sheer side, which is great news for pale princesses.
Darker damsels would, instead, appreciate Sleek Makeup Blushes more. Best applied with a light hand, they are highly pigmented and pack a punch. I also have a thing for Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes. The range includes both matte and shimmery shades, all of which have good colour payoff and an easy-to-blend texture. The only con is that they are almost impossible to find outside the US. Boo!
What about cream blushes? My favourites are from Illamasqua. They have good colour payoff and a creamy texture that makes application a breeze. If you’re on a budget, try NYX Rouge Cream Blushes. They are sheer, but buildable, and give cheeks a glowy and healthy flush.
What are your favourite blushes?
Ladies, are you ready for Valentine’s Day?
If you’re still trying to decide what to wear for a night out with that special someone or what quick look to do for a last minute date, check out the options below. I’m sure you’ll find something that will inspire you:
1. Smoky Eyes
Add a dark twist to a feminine pink look with a dash of dark brown, or even black, eyeshadow to create a smoky look that’s both sexy and cute.
2. All Pink
Love pink? San Valentine’s Day offers the perfect excuse to don it on eyes, lips, and cheeks.
3. Sexy Au Naturel
You don’t need a lot of makeup to look your best. A natural look and a touch of pink on the lips will make you look naturally sexy.
4. Electric Purple
Feel like wearing something bold but still feminine? Opt for a pop of electric purple on the lips, and tone down the rest of the face.
5. Old Hollywood Glam
Forget pink and opt for a neutral eye look and vampy lips. It’s a classic and glamorous look that works for any occasion, San Valentine’s Day included.
6. Red Hot
If you feel particularly daring and want to wear something different, why not give red eyeshadow a go? it’s not as difficult to pull off as you may think, and it certainly won’t make you go unnoticed!
What makeup look are you going to wear on San Valentine’s day?
The base of any makeup look? Foundation. Unlike eyeliner or bronzer, it can seem very easy to master. And yet, we all keep making lots of mistakes, from choosing the wrong foundation for our skin type to not blending it properly. God knows I’ve been guilty of my fair share too.
How can I forget all those orange drugstore foundations I used as a teen because, at the time, it was impossible to find cheap pale shades in shops? I cringe just to think about it. Oh well, at least that has now changed and you can find a good match at any price point, and yet most of us still struggle with picking the right one.
And that’s only one of the most common mistakes we still make with our foundations. Here are more:
1. Using too wrong shade for your skin tone
A lot of girls opt for a foundation that’s darker than their skintone to fake a tan. Others choose a shade that’s too light to fake a paler complexion. Neither are good looks. Those areas of your body that anyone can see, such as your hands and legs, will give your secret away and just make you look weird. Embrace your skintone as is and choose a foundation shade that exactly matches it.
2. Testing your foundation on your wrist or jaw
Every time I go shopping for a new foundation, the SAs here still insists on trying it on on my wrist or the back of my hands. *sighs* Then, there are those who tell you to try it on your jawline. None of these are good places to try on your foundation. That’s because the skin on your face is a different colour than the skin on your hands and that of your chest. You don’t want a shade that matches your jawline or hands but is too dark or pale for the rest of your body. Instead, try foundation on your chest. That way, even when you wear a low cut top or a vest, your skintone will be the same colour from top to bottom.
3. Not blending properly
If you don’t blend your foundation properly, you’ll be left with ugly, patchy, and streaky spots on the skin. And they’ll only look worse when you set your foundation with powder. The best way to apply foundation is with a foundation brush with synthetic bristles (they work best than natural hair for liquids), such as Ecotools Bamboo Foundation Brush. Then, even everything out with a sponge, such as Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. This techniques ensures an even coverage and a flawless, airbrushed finish.
4. Use the wrong foundation for your skin type
If you have oily skin, avoid foundations with a glowy finish as they’ll just make your face look oiler. Also, stay away from rich, creamy formulas that may cause breakouts. If you have dry skin, instead, steer clear of matte foundations. They make you look flat and exacerbate the dry patches and fine lines on your skin.
5. You’re using too much powder
I’m lucky foundations usually last for ages on me even without a powder. But for most women, one is essential. So, avoid tinted powders. Even when they match your skintone well, you risk a cakey look. Instead, opt for a translucent powder and dust it on lightly. It will be undetectable on the skin, keeping your complexion looking fresh for hours. Also, don’t rely on powders to keep your face shine-free during the day. Using oil blotters whenever you need to do so works much better.
Are you making these foundation mistakes?