Brushes 101: The Basics

Beauty TipsHealth & Beauty

Brushes 101: The Basics


Now that you’ve thoroughly established a concrete make-up

collection, the next step in turning your favorite look into perfection is finding the right tool: the make-up brush. Perusing Sephora’s brush section is a scary task. Where do you even start? What brushes can you skip? Which ones should you splurge on? That’s why The WALK is bringing you a series focused solely on this easier-than-you-think topic starting with Part 1: 6 essential brushes you must have.

Foundation Brush: The most important brush to have is the liquid foundation brush. Anyone who uses liquid foundation can attest to this: the flawlessness of your look depends solely on your applicator. Of course, slathering on the wrong shade of foundation will also turn your look from best to a mess. However, despite the quality of foundation you use, the texture of your skin will always seem off without the right brush. Our favorite type to use is the stippling brush. The catchphrase for this tool is that it makes skin look so soft, it almost seems airbrushed. The brush’s bristles are stiff and spread out so the brush will not capture too much formula. It gives the skin a more nature look and a less cakey finish. Another good foundation applicator is a sponge. Always begin by wetting the sponge so that the moisture will repel the formula from being absorbed by the sponge. This applicator also produces a natural and soft finish. Remember to replace the sponge every month (more often if you use foundation on the daily!) to assure that no breakouts will form from lingering grease.


Powder Brush: Finishing powder works wonders on top of a foundation base as a setter. One of our favorite brushes is the Kabuki brush, a short and fluffy applicator. These brushes can be used for loose powder or bronzer depending on the season. They help make application easy and even. The brush is soft and versatile, and you can design your own ways to use it as an applicator. The curved shape of the top allows you to apply a concentrated amount of the product if you desire onto areas where you need more coverage. The soft bristles also allow you to lightly dust powder all over your face for a lighter look. Feel free to adjust exactly how much you apply by tapping the brush gently on the back of your hand to shake off the extra formula. Also, if you were to splurge on any brush, splurge on this one! Bad brushes will leave stray hairs all over your face when you dust the powder on.


Blush Brush: Use an angled blush brush to add that pop of color to your complexion. The tilted line allows you to guide your blush along your cheekbones for a more defined look. This brush is very versatile. You can use a concentrated amount to create a slightly more dramatic look by highlighting your distinct bone structure. For a softer look, tilt your brush so that the longer side faces your cheeks. Glide a smaller amount of blush onto the apples of your cheekbones. This creates a more natural feel, perfect for a normal day of going to class.


Eyeshadow Brush: The main brush needed to apply eyeshadow is the simple, flat eyeshadow brush. Make sure you wipe any excess eyeshadow left over from past applications. This brush will most likely be used in different color pots with every use, so it is crucial to clean the brush on a regular basis. With shimmers and metallics that might not stick well to the brush, wet the brush lightly before dipping it into the eyeshadow. This will help you apply a more dense coat onto your lids. Be careful you don’t use this technique on matte shades! The colors will overpower your face.


Crease Brush: One easy way of giving definition to your eyes is to apply a darker complementary color on top of your base within the creases. Use an angled crease brush (try to find a thinner one so you can be more precise when applying the color) to sweep this color into your crease. This brush is extremely important when producing the smoky eye effect. Also find a brush with natural bristles so the sweeping motion will not create pre-mature wrinkles on your eyelids.


Blending Brush: Lastly, to put the entire look together, make sure you invest in a good blending brush. My favorite ones are cylindrical in shape with flat tops, so you can use them in any direction you want. If you apply a darker crease color, make sure you blend out the edges to soften your look. Also, if you apply a highlighting coat on your browbone, blend the borders between this lighter shade and darker eyelid base coat. This is also a good brush to use if you applied a thin eyeshadow layer below your lower lash line. This will create a more natural, smudged effect.

Of course there are many other specialized brushes out there. These are just six must-haves every girl should obtain to seal her make-up collection. If you have any other favorite “necessities,” leave a comment below and let us know!

 – Cindy Yuan

Images courtesy of Makeup by Kim Porter, Teen Vogue, Miss Natty’s Beauty Diary, Make Up For Ever, A Beauty Loft, The CreamsicleBloomingdale’s, and InStyle.

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