Adventures in make-up: the problem with brushes

Make-up brushesI started my adventures in make-up with a large face brush, a blush brush, an eyeshadow brush and whatever applicators came with the few products I owned.

I thought I was doing pretty well.

I was quickly disabused of this notion by Google and YouTube. If you want to apply make-up artfully, they said, then you need the right brushes. The better the brush, they said, the better the result. And the key to a natural look is really, really good brushes and a hell of a lot of blending. They said.

Bearing in mind that my first visit to Mecca Maxima for a consultation on a ‘simple’ day look entailed the use of 11 different brushes and scared me silly, I approached this advice with some caution.

I made a list, and strode purposefully into Sephora. After 20 minutes of jotting down (some quite eye-wateringly high) prices, I strode back out again, dodging sales assistants helpfully brandishing baskets at me, and sat down with a coffee to calculate the damage. I either had to rationalize, or I was gonna need a bigger bank account.

Now, six months later, I have what I consider to be a modest but adequate collection. I’m not particularly brand-conscious, but Mac, Lancôme, Real Techniques and Ecotools all feature.

  • A kabuki bush for powder foundation, which is great for when I can’t wear my contacts, because it’s so small I can get close to the mirror with it. It also feels quite lovely on my skin.
  • A long-handled foundation brush for liquid foundation, which I only ever apply when I have contacts in and can see clearly what I’m doing.
  • A flat stippling brush, which is great for blusher and translucent powder.
  • A barely-there silky fan brush, for highlighter. This one’s just fun to use.
  • A densely bristled concealer brush for concealing, which I don’t do much of because it takes so much time, but works nicely when I do
  • A fluffy blending blush for eyeshadow. Blend, baby, blend.
  • A double-ended angled eyeliner/blending brush, which is fantastic for under the eyes.

Plus a ton of applicators from all my new products, some of which are better than others.

Which is great, except that they all have to be cleaned on a regular basis.

I hate cleaning.

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