I received some eagle-eyed queries not long ago about makeup brushes and why I’d stopped writing about them. Well, it’s not for want of owning them. I am still mad about my makeup brushes, in particular Japanese made natural hair brushes, but I’ve reached my optimum satisfaction point – anything after this would be diminishing utility <- economics! argh! LOL
So, I’ve stopped buying and ogling the beautifully crafted Japanese makeup brushes (my wallet thanks me profusely), and am quite content with what I own. Also, I own A LOT. It’s embarrassing for someone who isn’t even a makeup artist, nor wears that much makeup daily. So, instead of pulling them out one by one to feature here on the blog, I’m going to talk about makeup brushes as a collective.
For this week, I’ll be featuring makeup brushes I use most often for face, eyes and cheeks. I’ll show you the type of brush, so you can find other options out there if you like, to see if the type of brush suits your makeup style. I’ll also tell you in gist how I work with these makeup brushes and why I use them and why I like them, if course.
We’ll kick off with makeup brushes for the face and lest I’m left to do all the talking, please let me know what your favourites are in this category too! 🙂
Makeup Brushes For the Face – Liquid Foundation
I primarily use liquid foundation, or perhaps stick foundation, depending on when the fancy strikes. But in all situations, I use the 5 line method that you can read about here. In gist, I pump out the foundation on the back of my hand, use my finger to draw 5 lines on my face, and then use a brush to blend it out. I don’t use a brush to apply anymore, as that offers a higher coverage than I like, although that can sometimes be a good thing. I use the same method for BB or CC Creams.
The picture above shows my most regularly used liquid foundation brushes and you may notice that there are 2 types of brushes I use – the round brush and the flat top brush. Do note that I do not use the traditional flat paddle foundation brush. From experience, that sort of brush sucks, as it will be streaky, applies too much product, and is a very poor introduction to using a brush with liquid foundation. I refused to use a makeup brush for foundation, preferring to use my hands and fingers, for years thanks to this sucky type of brush.
If you have been thinking that a liquid foundation brush is a waste of money, because it’ll just make your makeup look streaky, then you will understand where I’m coming from, and you may appreciate the recommendations I have because these will leave you flawless. If they don’t, I wouldn’t be using them 🙂
Makeup Brush – Liquid Foundation (Round)
Left-Right: Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, Urban Decay Optical Blurring Brush, Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush
These are my current foundation brushes in rotation, because I find that a round brush like this diffuses and blends my liquid foundation more easily with my skin. I also find that the coverage isn’t as high, which is how I like to wear my liquid foundations for daily wear. When I use this brush, I buff and blend my liquid foundation in circular motions all over my face, and then go back to dab on product where I feel I need it.
I don’t particularly have a preference, although I tend to prefer synthetic brushes, as they are softer and less abrasive for buffing product on skin, and also because I use liquid foundation, so it’s easier to get it off synthetic bristles. The Real Techniques Expert Face Brush is excellent, as it is quite dense so it actually is easier to build coverage, and it’s also affordable. My only gripe is that the black rubber handle bit is so sticky now that I’m loathe to use it.
The Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush is very lovely, and I don’t even know why I had never tried it before this. It’s very soft on skin and although it calls itself a full coverage brush, I find that it doesn’t quite perform that way. I use the full coverage Bobbi Brown Glow Foundation with this brush and it doesn’t give me a higher coverage than I like, and instead, diffuses the product to a very natural look, which is a good thing.
The Urban Decay Optical Blurring Brush is rather underrated, in my view. I don’t hear people talking about it, but it’s a pretty good brush for buffing in foundation to give you a nice smooth coverage on skin. I bought mine way back when it was just launched, and I can see that the packaging has changed a little now. But take a look. It’s a decent brush for foundation.
Makeup Brush – Liquid Foundation (Flat-top)
The brush that taught me how to appreciate using a makeup brush to apply foundation was the Shiseido Perfect Foundation brush, which I still highly recommend. Since then, I’ve amassed a collection of similar flat top brushes from different brands.
Left-Right: Hakuhodo B5554, Wayne Goss Brush #1, Dior Foundation Brush, Shiseido 131 Foundation Brush, Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush
The shape of these brushes are similar – flat on the top, and slightly slanted, This fits better to the contours of your face, and offers an easier way to build coverage. I like to use flat top foundation brushes with lighter, sheerer textured foundations, as I can actually build up the coverage without applying more product than I like.
How I do it is by using the flat top to dab on the product where I need it. It is quite effective and offers a very natural appearance to the skin. I also find that the flat top allows me to blend and spread out the foundation more easily, and to offer a smoother effect. I usually put the flat top directly on my skin, and then gently buff in small circles. It’s actually quite quick so don’t be fooled by the small brush head.
The downside of these brushes however, is the cleaning. I find the Shiseido brushes and Dior brushes hardest to clean as they are very very dense. I use the Daiso brush cleanser, which I’ve been given to understand is discontinued or very hard to find. I haven’t found anything much more effective, so when I do, I’ll report back!
The Wayne Goss Brush #1 and the Hakuhodo B5554 are practically siblings. They are a mix of natural goat hair and synthetic bristles. The shorter hairs are natural goat and the longer hairs are synthetic. The effect is a little more diffused than the effect I get from the Shiseido brushes, but the principle is similar. Dab and buff. For some reason though, I do find these brushes easier to clean. It might be because they aren’t as dense as the synthetic brushes (still dense, just not as dense) or it might be because natural hair is easier to get product off (ironic!) but either way, I can get away with using the Dr. Bronner’s castile liquid soap on them and get them clean. Yes, I do get them back to the pristine white condition that I get out of the pack! These brushes are all heavily used 🙂
Makeup Brushes for the Face – Powder
Left-Right: Real Techniques Blush Brush, CD Japan Beauty powder brush (squirrel), CD Japan Beauty powder brush (goat), Lunasol Powder Brush N
You may be wondering why a Real Techniques Blush Brush is appearing here. Well, it’s just too freaking large to be used as a blush brush for me, but serves its job well as a powder brush. It’s more dense than the other brushes I have, so I use that for the Guerlain Meteorites Perles.
The CD Japan Beauty brushes are pretty decent and you can see, a little battered. The dark squirrel hair one is very soft and airy, but does not pick up product very well. I prefer using it for loose powder and for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, where I don’t want to pick up and deposit a lot of product on skin. The white goat hair version is a little rougher (marginally) and picks up product better, so it works for my Meteorites as well.
The Lunasol Powder Brush N is a beautiful, soft brush that is very luxurious on skin. The hair is squirrel hair, and I use it for everything, but it works best for applying loose or pressed powder and less so for the Meteorites perles.
These are most of the face brushes I use in my daily rotation. Not all at once of course! I usually use just one from each category, and rotate each week till I run through them all and am forced to do a major brush clean LOL! Oh yes, I’m that lazy that I don’t wash my brushes weekly, but I do have enough to allow me to rotate without having to do that chore as regularly as I should 😛
Are they mostly expensive? Yes they are. That’s just where my preferences lie. If you’re familiar with my preferences, it’s for natural hair brushes and those can cost an arm and a leg! The most affordable brushes I own are the Real Techniques brushes. The most expensive are the Wayne Goss and Hakuhodo ones, but I have collected them over the years, not all at one go. I’m not that crazy nor have I struck the lottery 😛
Do you use similar types of face brushes? What are some of your favourite face brushes that you think I might like to try?
I’ve been sated for a while now, as I realised that whatever brushes I buy hereafter will fall into either category of foundation brushes – round or flat top – so considering what I already own, I’ve decided to save my money. I may however still be in the market for a powder brush. We’ll see 🙂