Saturday, January 28, 2012


In my many years as a technician, one of the most valuable lessons I've learned is that the proper tools make the job go a lot easier.  This is just as true when applying makeup. You may think that makeup brushes are confusing, expensive, and only for professionals but there are many good brushes out there that won't break the bank. If you try to use those little foam wands that come with some eye shadows, you won't be able to blend or precisely apply. Invest in a set of brushes to make your life easier.

The bare bones of any brush collection should be a blending or crease brush, a flat brush, and a small brush for more precise application. If you wear a lot of gel liner, you should also add a bent liner brush to your arsenal.  Last but not least don't forget your brows and lashes! Add a double sided brow and lash comb and you'll be all set to really start experimenting with eye shadow.

I highly recommend the brushes from Makeup Geek. I use the Outer V ($5.99) everyday for applying shadow to the crease.  I recently picked up the Crease Brush ($4.89) and it's quickly becoming a go to brush. It works well for blending the crease. It is very similar to the MAC 217 but is a little smaller (which I like) and is about a quarter of the price. These are natural fiber brushes and have held up well for me.

Bottom to Top: MUG Outer V, MUG Crease Brush

I do have a collection of MAC brushes. I only use about three of them regularly. The aforementioned MAC 217 ($22.50) is a great brush for applying color or blending. It's soft and feathery. Next is the MAC 219 ($24.50). I have a smaller holiday special edition set from a few years ago. This brush is used for a more precise application of color or blending. I use it under the brow and in the inside corner of the eye. The brush I use the most after the Outer V is the MAC 239.  This is used for applying color to larger areas of the lid. It has flat rounded bristles. I've had my 219SE & 239SE for at least three years now and they are still in excellent condition.  These are also natural fiber brushes.

Bottom to Top: MAC 217, MAC 219SE, MAC 239SE

Perhaps the most bang for your buck can be found in the e.l.f. Studio 11 Piece Brush Collection ($30). I just recently purchased this set and I'm in love. It's a nice mix of eye and face brushes and it comes in in a soft case for storage or travel. I'm really impressed with the Eye shadow "C" Brush. It blends like a dream. The Contour Brush is similar to the Outer V  and the MAC 217 but is probably the most stiff of the three. I use the Small Precision Brush and the Small Smudge Brush frequently. They are a great size for applying or smudging eyeliner. The face brushes are super soft. I've really started to use the Fan brush quite a bit. I need to explore using the other face brushes a bit more. If you forget what a brush is for or how to use it, there's also a cheat sheet.  e.l.f. products can also be found at Target.  These brushes are fully synthethic so that means they are vegan friendly.  If you shop soon, you can use the code: SAVE50 to get $7.50 off. That's like $2 a brush. Go do it now. Open a new tab.  ;)

e.l.f. 11 Piece Studio Brush Set

Finally, if you use a lot of gel liner or are thinking about buying some gel liners, pick up the Sonia Kashuk Bent Eyeliner Brush ($5.79 at Target). The angle makes it a lot easier to apply eyeliner comfortably and precisely.

Don't forget to pick up a brush cleaner to clean and condition your brushes. I will post a review of different brush cleaners soon.

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