You've heard it before, and we really hate to nag but: makeup brushes. We can't emphasize enough, but they're kiiiind of important; and no, you cannot carry on using the dinky little applicators that come with your blushes and shadows. We dug through our tool box and did a little crash course in some of our favourite beauty brand's brushes—we're all about doing the legwork so you don't have to.
Sephora's namesake collection of cosmetics and accessories kind of nails it in the brush department. Their #75 Pro Angled Contour Brush slanted head allows for ample highlighting, plus the synthetic bristles mean you can contour with cream and liquid products as well. It's just dense enough to work in and expertly shade your cheekbones and jawline without being too intimidating. Go too hard with the contour palette? Enter their #65 Pro fanned brush, which ensures super light, even application of bronzers and blushes. It sweeps away harsh, super '80s lines that sometimes occur when applying the two. Its synthetic bristles also make it ideal for final touches of sheer finishing powders. Finally, their #58 Pro Precision Foundation Brush, made from synthetic bristles, is angled to allow you to blend just about anywhere, and also allows for light or heavier application of virtually any foundation formula you throw at it.
We've talked about our love for Tarte before, but as of late, it's the Undercover Lover concealer brush that is getting all of our affection. Its slightly stiff, dense bristles allow you to layer for extra coverage, yet its just soft enough to still blend like an expert; plus, the dome shape makes the whole early-morning process of hiding under eye circles a whole lot easier (And when that doesn't work to cover 'em, we suggest eye cream). We're all about multi-purpose everything, so we're grateful its shape and density also makes it perfect for buffing shadow into your crease, for those saucer-like Twiggy eyes.
Who better to help us brush up on our technique than Aerin Lauder, granddaughter of Estée? Despite only launching last year, we're slightly obsessed with the brand's signature set.
M.A.C.'s got a wide-ranging repertoire of brushes. For eyes, we love their 263 Small-Angle Brush, perfect for dipping in an inky pot of gel liner and drawing on a winged cat-eye à la Leigh Lezark. To take the look one step further, give their 219 Pencil Brush a spin. It allows you to buff, smudge and shadow for the perfect messy, smoky eye. For face, lately we've been using their 130 Short Duo Fibre Brush to apply cream blushes, but also liquid foundations for a slightly—dare we say it—airbrushed look.
Now, one last thing—do we really need to remind you to wash those suckers? While we find the suggestion of dish soap to wash with slightly horrifying, baby shampoo does just the trick (because if it's gentle enough for a baby, it's probably gentle enough for your brushes). Alternately, plenty of brands are coming out with their very own brush spray; Sephora's allows for easy daily cleaning. Just concentrate your cleansing the top of the brush, where the product accumulates—washing too close to the base can cause the bristles to shed. You got that?