Brush Up by Becca Gilmartin
14September/2012

Brush Up by Becca Gilmartin

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I AM A FIRM BELIEVER THAT IN MAKEUP LAND THAT YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR BRUSHES REGARDLESS OF HOW MUCH OR LITTLE MAKE-UP YOU WEAR.

It is one of the most common conversations I have with people asking advice. “How do I learn to do a good smokey eye?”… “How did you get my foundation looking so good?”… “How did you blend that eye make-up so well?”… The answer is always the same; it all starts with brush choice. Regardless of the quality of the make-up that you have, it will only look as good as the quality of brush that you apply it with. So, class, let’s do some make-up brush 101. There are two types of brush “hairs” or bristles – natural and synthetic. It’s good to know the difference as they both have different strengths.

NATURAL BRISTLES

Natural bristles are authentic animal hair bound together to form a brush. Common types of hair are pony, squirrel and a blend called sable. When you look at a natural hair under the microscope, it looks like a pole with scales on it and because of this natural bristles are brilliant for any powder product. Reason being, the rough surface of the hair picks up the perfect amount of powder particles and deposits the powder effortlessly onto your skin.

 

SYNTHETIC BRISTLES

Synthetic bristles when looked at under a microscope look just like a smooth pole. The beauty of this technology is that it’s amazing for use with creams and liquids. That is why most foundation, lipstick and concealer brushes are synthetic. Products slide right off the hairs when they need to. This is not to say that natural bristles won’t work with liquids and synthetics won’t work with powders… in fact some vegans opt for completely synthetic brush ranges… however, these is their optimum use.

 

 

 

 

 

TOP TEN TIPS FOR MAKE-UP BRUSHES

 

1

Use a big brush for large areas and small brushes for small areas such as eye shadow or concealer. Brush size is where a lot of people make faux pas. We have all seen the girl who chose a giant powder brush to apply her bronzer… yes? Use a medium-sized blushbrush to contour your face with bronzer.

2

Hold the brush ¾ the way down the handle for general use. Holding the brush too far up the handle near the bristles encourages heavy application and less control.

3

If you have a small make-up case, think twice about buying brushes with thick handles. They look fancy, but take up a lot of room!

4

 Take care of your brushes! Use a brush cleaner in-between uses and once a week wash them in mild shampoo or pure soap. Run lukewarm water to wash the bristles gently, squeeze the brush into shape and lay down on a towel to dry. This will extend the life of your brush.

5

The first place you place your brush on your face is where you will get the most amount of product. Keep this in mind when applying liquid liner, eye shadow and foundation. Always start your application in the centre… or the place you want the most amount of product/coverage, and work out from there.

6

When using eye-shadow brushes, make sure you use the side of the brush against your skin (the flat part), not the tip. The bristles are cut at different lengths on the side so eye shadow can sit there effectively… use your brush like you would use the pad of your finger - pat your eye shadow on for great consistency! Use windscreen wiper motions whilst holding your brush at the end to blend.

7

Retractable brushes are perfect for your gym kit and allow you to leave your main brushes at home. Carrying your brushes around loose in a bag can damage the bristles. Or opt for a small make-up brush roll to carry travel brushes around in.

8

Everyone wants to know what the fancy fan brush is for! The longer the bristles of a brush are, the softer or finer the application… therefore the fan brush is amazing for highlighting the tops of your cheekbones, collarbone or the front of your shins with a shimmer. It delicately applies product. It is also a great brush to hold under the eye when applying dark eye shadow; the dark shadow will fall on your brush not your face.

9

Soft brushes are beautiful for blending; firm brushes are great for coverage and moving product around the face.

10

Foundation brushes are brilliant and are not just some extra product your make-up counter wants you to buy. The reason they are so good is:
• A sponge sucks up all your foundation, therefore most of your product ends up in the bin.
• Applying just with fingers is usually uneven and the natural oils in your fingers can contribute to a ruddy appearance. (For those of you who
shake your liquid foundation with your finger over the opening… have you noticed the lower the level of foundation in the bottle…the darker it
is? That’s because of the natural oils in your fingers! EEW! )
• A foundation brush allows you to apply your foundation evenly over your skin and uses half as much product as a sponge. Over areas where you have open pores, pat - don’t wipe the brush over your skin and you will get a smoother look.

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