Regardless of how long you’ve been into makeup for, the fact that the concept of what’s beautiful is an ever-changing phenomenon means that there’s always something new to learn about makeup. And as is the case with most creative work, knowing how to use the tools at your disposal really well is vital, is a really important aspect of becoming successful at your art.
Makeup is no exception to this; some people use their makeup brushes and there’s nothing special or noteworthy about it. But in the hands of a few special, crafty people among us, some serious magic is cast using the very same brushes to create looks that resemble fine works of art. Alright, that example might be slightly exaggerated but the point of the analogy is that in order to be proficient at makeovers, knowing how to add that extra something with the use of your brushes can go a long way, regardless of whether that is as simple as adding things that make your work more efficient or adds something different or unique to your looks. To help a friend out, I have some tips and tricks for you to add to your makeup arsenal. Some of them will make your use of makeup brushes easier and the others, I hope, will help you take your makeover game to a higher level.
If you’re a man or woman of very few facial expressions, it’s time you get those facial muscles flexing friendo! Don’t worry, it’s not a new fad or anything. Even before getting into brushes, what if I told you there are certain ways to make your dabbing, swiping and swiveling actions with the brush much less tedious and time-consuming? And all you had to do was make faces?! Yes, when using certain brushes, certain gestures can really speed up the application process.
For example, before you use the crease brush, keep your eyes open naturally to be able to see the accurate area of the crease and keep it open while you are applying eye-shadow on the crease for accuracy. Similarly, some people find it difficult to find out where the apples of their cheek are. An easy technique to make your use of blush easier is to put a slight smile on your face to identify the elevated region that consists of the apples. And yes, if you weren’t aware, unlike the apple of your eye, the apple on your cheeks are actually on your body!
The most popular face posturing, a.k.a the most cringe-inducing expression of all time, the duck face, is actually useful for something too! By doing a duckface, you can make it easier to find the cheekbones of your face, giving you the border for the two foundation layers, making it easier to apply the foundations for contouring. And finally, when applying eye-shadow on the eyelids, keep your eyes closed to make it easier to run your lid brush through the entirety of the eyelids, or the application might be very spotty.
One of the most obvious things about that people mess up when running any brush across their face is using too much force. I mean come on people, has violence ever solved much?! When you press down too hard with the brush on your face, whatever it is that you are applying, be it foundation, concealer, highlighter, all will come out looking very harsh and unnatural. Almost everything you do when applying makeup includes blending and when you are trying to self-harm with your makeup brush, it looks more like drawing really big lines more than anything! There are a few guidelines you can follow to help you out with this though; firstly, use your brush in a way so that the bristles do not bend when you move it across your face. Secondly, always make sure to shake off excesses of powder after you’ve dropped the tip of the brush into a powder box.
I don’t know how many people I have to repeat this to but rest assured, I’ll be fighting this battle until the last person on earth gets it into their head; USE ENOUGH BRUSHES! I mean sheesh, why would you think your favorite brush alone is going to be enough all the time?! Your favorite makeup artists probably need golf bags to carry all their brushes around but you think carrying just one or two is going to help you sparkle? Because let me tell you, if perfection and excellence are what you’re after, you’ll need a whole kit of 5 or 6 at least to take your makeover game to a decent level. Unless you’re traveling and don’t want to go through the hassle of carrying all your stuff, always make sure to use the appropriate brushes for every situation.
A good number of people I know don’t like to use brushes with their liquid products for whatever reason. And let me tell you, this is the kind of stuff I’m ready to lose friends over. You really spent all that money to accumulate the perfect set of brushes and you’re applying all your liquid products with your bare fingers?! I’d be reconsidering all my priorities in life if I were you! It’s quite simple, if you don’t use brushes, you’ll almost never get an even blend of whatever foundation or blush you’re applying. Unless if that’s what you’re trying to do (you’re probably a pro at this point then!), you should always go with using brushes for application purposes.
Keep your brushes clean my friend! Let me tell you, most people underestimate how often they should be cleaning their brushes. With use, your brush is going to start collecting bits of powder-like debris and oil from your skin, so unless you use clean brushes, do know that you’re just putting all that junk back onto your face. Maybe this is why you’re makeup skills have been poor of late? There are a lot of different ways to clean your brushes that the people of the inter-web can help you with. However, if your first instinct is to grab soap and water, you might want to reconsider. It’s fine to use this age-old combination for brushes with natural bristles but if the bristles on a particular brush are synthetic, it’s strongly recommended not to soak it. At best, run the brush under some running water to clean the bristles and to clean the rest of the brush, use hand sanitizer instead of water. Soaking in water can be damaging to certain types of brushes as it can dampen the adhesive holding the bristles of the brush close. You don’t want to throw all that money down the basin now, do you? Last of all, do not share brushes with anyone. As much as you’re dying to try out the new Tom Ford Eye Shadow Blend Brush that your best friend purchased recently, it’s a very unsanitary practice and if getting your own oil and makeup debris on your face is bad enough, imagine if it’s from someone else!
When buying brushes, do consider buying a few of the same type with different bristle lengths. As a general rule, longer bristles on your brushes will get you a softer, more diffused look. Shorter ones, on the other hand, will make it easier to attain heavier layers with a more matte look. You’ll want to experiment with all types of looks before you settle on what you think works best for you so it’s worth getting a few different sizes in order for you to practice. For what it’s worth, you might need a different kind of coverage depending on the occasion as well, so it also keeps all options open.
Another, less costly way of getting softer blends is to rub the brush on your face in a circular motion, usually spiraling in or out in order to attain similar consistency over the entire area of application. As a general rule, circular rubbing on your makeup will usually tend to blend out whatever you are applying more than a straight swipe would. Similarly, a way to get harsher layers without investing in smaller bristles is to repeatedly apply over the same area in a sideways or straight motion. I’m looking out for my broke friends here too, see!
If you have the budget, it’s worth it paying the extra amount to get brushes with natural hair bristles instead of the synthetic ones mentioned earlier. There are several benefits to using them over their synthetic counterparts, including being able to soak them in water. Natural hair is much better for people with sensitive skin and natural hair brushes are as a whole, better at blending shades. Here’s a quick tip; if you want a look with more glow, it’s a good strategy to make the bristles wet before you go applying highlighter with it. (If you’ve tried this, yes, you’re welcome!) This simply isn’t an option using synthetic brushes so unless you’re paying for it out of your tuition budget or food budgets, stop being a cheapskate and seriously consider going for the natural brushes.
One of the things that beginners tend to overlook when getting into makeup is knowing how and where to hold a brush. Even something as subtle as this can drastically change the way any skin product blends onto your face. By knowing what techniques to apply in order to get the desired effect, you can add more depth and variation in your makeover style.
take eye-shadow brushes for example. When you’re applying some eye-shadow on your eyebrows, obviously you’ll want it to look as natural as possible and to achieve that, you need a very soft application of said eye-shadow. So when you’re using eye-shadow brushes, if you grab it towards the tip, you’re more likely to leave a thick, matte layer over your brows. I’m sure it’ll make for a great Frankenstein impression but unless it’s Halloween, I imagine you’ll want to avoid that! So just adjust your grip close to the far end of the brush to make it much easier to leave a very soft, natural-looking layer of eye-shadow. Do note that this does not mean that you shouldn’t have a degree of control over the maneuvering of the brush so don’t hold it at the very end either; you still need to apply the skin products properly, don’t you! But the point of grip should be in between the halfway point and a quarter of a point away from the end of the brush.
The following video may be of some use for you with some tips and tricks-
Most of these are just tips so it’s not necessary to know all of them like scripture right from the off! Take your time and try out all the different techniques and ideas mentioned here and see what works for you best. It’s more than possible that not everything mentioned here will be useful to you but do make sure to try all of them out because these are things that most people find useful. Things like the tips about how to clean your brushes should be a staple for pretty much anyone getting into makeup and it should be something you look to make into a habit of doing in case you do makeup on a somewhat frequent basis.
And even if you don’t aspire to rival the best makeup artists around, you’ll find that a cleaning every now and then is helpful. Other things like advice to spend more money to get natural brushes are more subjective. People have other priorities as well and it’s fine to cheap out on brushes if you really don’t want to spend a lot of money on it, so I hope you didn’t feel too about it! All in all, I really hope that you find the advice useful and can take your makeover game to new levels with these tips.