August 28th 2018
In the construction industry one might say that a workman is only as good as his tools, and it seems that this beauty business isn’t so different from your local building site really - success and a great finish can depend entirely on your equipment. I’m not suggesting that you apply your foundation with a forklift truck; the right tools make heavy handed application obsolete and can help you to achieve the kind of airbrushed finish that graces the covers of glossy magazines. Brushes aren’t always de rigeur and finger painting is not to be sniffed at, especially where cream eyeshadow is concerned, but arm yourself with a select few high quality tools and you never need tackle a tidemark again.
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Trust pro makeup artists and PixiWoo vloggers Sam and Nic Chapman to devise a collection of high tech, high performance yet purse friendly brushes, and this dainty, angled foundation brush could rival any high-end rival in the complexion perfecting stakes. It may not look particularly luxe, but it picks up just the right amount of product and the synthetic bristles blend out liquid and cream foundations like a dream (they’re also really easy to clean). After a going over with this baby soft brush pores retreat, blemishes take a back seat and even tricky nooks and crannies are covered, thanks to its precise slanted shape. If you've ever wondered how to apply foundation with a brush without it ending up looking like greasepaint, you need to spend a little time with this marvel.
£8.99, buy online
With a flat rather than angled head, this circular brush buffs cream and liquid base into the skin for a light, sheer finish. You can dab or pat more product onto areas where you’d like more coverage, but otherwise blend, blend, blend until the product diffuses. If you’re after a “no makeup” makeup look, this is the tool for you.
£32, buy online
Japonesque have always been ahead of the game on the apparatus front, so it’s no surprise that they’re meeting the modern demand for believable, beneficial base with a bespoke brush that’s fit for purpose. The mixed fibre bristles are the perfect fusion of firm and flexible, allowing you to apply your beloved BB with precision, without it looking flat or caked on. You can stipple, roll and buff to your heart’s content, or simply stroke over the t-zone if you’re feeling low-maintenance. It could be classed as a frivolous addition to your brush collection, but it gets an A* none the less.
£23, buy online
Another synthetic base brush (synthetic brushes are often the kinder, smarter choice- no squirrels are harmed and the bristles don’t absorb precious product), this tapered concealer brush is firm and straight to the point. It’s adept at tapping concealer over scars and imperfections, and tackles large blemishes head on (smaller ones may require a more petite brush). It’s also ideal for blending out under eye concealer and makes light work of fiddly or forensic eyeshadow application.
£19, buy online
If the queen has a makeup brush of choice, it’s probably this one. It’s the crème de la crème of multi-purpose powder brushes, and it’s rumoured to be so soft that you might be tempted to spend hours just stroking your face. Don’t, because that’s weird, but do use it to apply loose powder, blusher and bronzer - it somehow hits the spot and makes even the most budget buys look professional. It serves a multitude of uses and essentially does the blending, contouring and highlighting for you, so maybe, just maybe, that justifies the triple figure price tag. Let’s just say that I couldn’t get my hands on one to test - it’s the toolkit holy grail.
£168, buy online
This bud-shaped brush makes cut glass cheekbones and instant supermodel bone structure almost attainable for us mere mortals. Smaller than regular powder brushes, with a softly pointed end for more detailed highlighting, Charlotte’s magic wand creates shadow and light almost by itself. No wonder Kate Moss et al rely on Ms Tilbury - she can make every woman look smoking in seconds, and if the quality of this brush is anything to go by her tools are akin to an extension of her artistic hands.
£35, buy online
In Daniel’s own words, “It's as soft and fluffy as a bunny, as well as being a great multi-tasker. As it's so voluminous, you can use it to apply powder or bronzer in a flash, as well as any liquid body makeup or bronzing lotions- the finish is natural and completely streak-free. Basically, it’s ultra versatile”. It’s big, it’s beautiful and it works wonders on the décolletage.
£27.95, buy online
SO SOFT. So strokey. Really long. Like a wand. Anything that distributes my favourite beauty product of all time is already magic in my eyes, but Bobbi has pulled it out of the bag with this natural bristled blusher brush. The domed shape ensures that colour ‘pops’ in exactly the right place and the brush picks up just the right amount of pigment - no clown cheeks or rouged jowls in sight. It’s easy to build colour and sweep powder towards the temples if desired, and has just the right amount of ‘fluffiness’- not so delicate that it’s inefficient and not so stubby that it makes blusher appear unnatural.
£35, buy online
Ecotools make affordable, cruelty free and environmentally friendly makeup tools that not only boast impeccable eco credentials (clue’s in the name), but also actually deliver on the artistry front. Case in point is this dense, generously bristled bronzer brush- it’s the perfect shape for mimicking a tan over cheeks, collarbones and forehead and feels reassuringly heavy duty. It’s gung-ho, rather than feathery or delicate, and ideal for shading large surface areas.
£13.90, buy online
Makeup artist Ruby Hammer describes Nars’ new range of brushes as “to die for”, and I agree that I’d sacrifice most of my beloved blusher collection to keep just one of them. You know that when a product or tool is a makeup artist must-have, it’s likely to be a godsend for us amateurs. This contour brush has in-built expertise- it picks up pigment quickly and concentrates colour and shading exactly where you need it, with no streaks, fallout or odd powder migration. Subtle, effective contouring is a hard enough skill to master by itself- a dedicated brush that does the hard work for you means that your features will appear refined, not like a roadmap (it’s happened…).
£32, buy online
I’ve always eyed the fan brush with suspicion, it’s the exotic yet mysterious creature peeking out from behind a bush deep in the makeup brush jungle. It looks funky, but no one's quite sure what it does, or where to put it, or when to use it or…yes, we’re stumped. It’s virgin territory for many of us, but this one especially is well worth getting to grips with, especially when it comes to creating ethereal, lit from within cheekbones and, less glamorous but equally necessary, doing a quick clean up without disturbing the rest of your meticulously applied makeup. This Smashbox model is light as angel’s wings and applies powder products with a delicacy and subtley that you’ll struggle to achieve from any other brush. If you’re trialling a darker shade for the first time this brush will allow you to experiment without going overboard, and will clean up residual powder nicely when you’ve finished. Turns out that I’m a big fan of the fan after all.
£14.50, buy online
This eyeshadow brush feels more expensive than it is (incredibly silky, not a bit scratchy) and hugs the eye socket beautifully, ensuring a photoready finish whether you’re using cream or powder shadow. Use the soft tip to push shadow into the lower lashline. Simple, but effective.
£9, buy online
It’s FOUR POUNDS. It’s also GOOD. The value klaxon is sounding, as is my practicality alarm- it makes neatly applying cream or gel eyeliner so easy that you can never use “my eyeliner went wonky” as an excuse for being late to work again (I consider this acceptable as tardy reasoning goes). It’s on the money when graphic shapes and neat lines are the order of the day.
£3.99, buy online
If smokey, lived-in eyeliner is more your style, meet the smudge brush. It softens harsh lines and blends shadow and liner for a seamless, painterly effect. Its neat, natural bristles make getting close to the lash line a piece of cake.
£20.50, buy online
I’ll be honest, I’m an ‘apply from the bullet’ kind of girl (and I’m in good company, as Mary Greenwell is too), but for occasions when laser-like precision and technical perfection is required, this neat lip brush will ensure that no lip colour strays from its designated path. Use it to line the lips and fill them in with an even layer of colour. It’s also masterful well it comes to defining the cupid’s bow for a classic Monroe mouth. Wash and use it as a concealer brush to really make this brush sing for its supper.
£8, buy online
For au naturel brows, a spoolie brush is just the thing. If you’re blending brow powder, pencil or wax, a bristled brush is a must. Anastasia Beverly Hills is the queen in this department; a double ended spoolie plus angled brush takes care of both grooming and finickity blending.
£18, buy online
Described as a ‘baby buffer’, this flat topped concealer brush is far fluffier than the average and works concealer into the under eye area gently yet flawlessly. Soft, vegan and handy for applying highlighter and shadow too, the fact that it’s available in a ‘unicorn’ inspired colourway is merely a bonus.
£4.99, buy online
Like your own pinkies, but better. This firm, rounded blending brush keeps cream and powder just where you want it, allowing you to stipple on shadow, blend in highlighter or dab on shadow with precision, whether you want to play something down or make an impact. The silken bristles are also made from recycled plastic bottles, so extra kudos to The Finger. Also it kind of sounds like a Bond villain which delights me.
£18, buy online
Soft yet sturdy and never known to leave a streak, this dual-purpose liquid foundation and powder brush makes light work of both stippling and smoothing, and the size is ‘just right’ in a Goldilocks vein. If you can’t afford to splash out on extended brush family, this is a truly marvellous multitasker, plus it’s vegan and the rose-gold version is quite the looker.
£12.99, buy online
Disregard the fact that this looks more like a toothbrush than an artful liner applicator: this unusual brush has a lot to give. Firstly it’s vegan and cruelty-free, secondly all profit from purchases of Kohl Kreatives brushes goes back to Kohl Kares charity, an initiative that provides support and cosmetic masterclasses to cancer patients, those suffering from conditions such as alopecia and vitiligo, burns victims and those transitioning from gender to another. As for this brush in particular, the brand is keen for you to use it however and wherever you choose, it it works wonders for fluffing up brows, softening eyeliner and diffusing lipstick, to name just a few application possibilities. Also, it stands up by itself. Magic.
£15.99, buy online
Makeup brush purists often dismiss synthetic fibred brushes as inferior to natural animal hair brushes in terms of blending prowess, but this abundantly soft and fluffy vegan powder brush proves naysayers wrong. It distributes loose and pressed powders evenly without the merest hint of caking or shedding, and the silky fibres are simple and easy to clean, making this the perfect staple for everyday use. The powder brush can be bought alongside six other rather splendid synthetic brushes for under £20, which is a total steal for high performing, impeccably hygienic brushes. Bravo KISSBOBO.
£16.99 as part of a seven-piece set, buy online
August 28th 2018
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December 5th 2017