Tools of the Beauty Trade: What, Why and Where to Begin

Do you remember when you you first started wearing makeup? I don’t know about you, but orange racoon pretty much describes how I looked: Overly done, somewhat skew eyeliner and an obvious orange line along my cheekbones. I think we can all agree that makeup is an art. An art that takes some practice and a few nifty makeup tools. I decided to look into the tools and tricks of the beauty trade to make you paint on your makeup like a renaissance master.

Let’s start with a few essentials for your basic kit:

  1. A stippling brush, with a firm square edge is a great one to use to easily ‘stipple’ on and blend in your foundation.
  2. Perfect to use for both finishing powder and blush, a Kabuki brush ensures a light dust of powder that sets evenly over your foundation. Look out for a mass of thick, soft bristles with a slightly domed shape.
  3. A Beauty Blender (or a makeup sponge with a similar shape) works best to apply foundation evenly over your face for a flawless finish. Best of all, the Beauty Blender’s pointed tip allows you to get to all the nooks and crannies around your nose and eyes.

Wet or dry application? How you can use your makeup sponge:

The trick to a smooth natural look, is to give your makeup sponge a few squeezes under a running tap and allow it to absorb some water. This prevent your foundation from being soaked up by your sponge before you have the chance to apply it onto your face. The damp sponge also gives the foundation a more dewy, glowing finish, which is ideal if you want to add some of that youthful luminosity.

If you are looking for more coverage and a more matte finish, rather use a dry sponge, as the foundation is less diluted and less likely to reveal blemishes or excess shine. To prevent streaks and uneven application, roll the sponge from side to side, rather than dragging it across your face. To cover those blemishes, dab a touch of foundation onto your dry sponge and simply stipple onto the targeted area and blend gently into your face. Finish by blotting off excess foundation using a bit of tissue.

A dry sponge is great to apply creamy blush or concealer, without smudging your foundation underneath.

A useful hack: To remove mascara smudges without removing your makeup completely, spray finishing spray onto you beauty blender and simply dab off.

Building up your brush collection:

Choosing makeup brushes comes down to your individual preference. It’s about how the bristles and shape of the brush feel against your skin; or whether you think synthetic fibres are a better option than natural fibres. I’ve compiled a list of a few nice additions to your makeup box, and guidelines on what to look out for when choosing your brushes.

  1. Flat concealer brush: For precise application go for a flat brush with a pointed tip that allows you to delicately pick up your concealer and dab onto your face. (You can also blend just as well using your fingers.)
  2. Highlighter brush: a medium sized flat brush, with tightly packed bristles is your go-to option when it comes to applying highlighter. The flat and firm width is great to press the highlighter onto your face and you can use the edge to blend it into your makeup.
  3. Eyebrow brush: to keep the natural line of the brow, an angled brush with a narrow edge and firm bristles is a definite must. Another eyebrow brush hack is to use an old mascara wand, which is fantastic for blending brow liner.
  4. Eyeshadow brushes: If you are looking to boss the eyeshadow, choose different sized brushes to perfect the art. A small brush with soft dense bristles and a rounded tip is essential to fill in the small areas inside the corner of the eyes and beneath the brow. For a light wash of colour on the eyelids and brow bone, use a medium width brush (roughly the size of a thumb nail). To blend in various shades of colour, a tapered brush, with long, thin and flexible loosely packed bristles will come in handy.

Keeping your kit squeaky clean:

Makeup brushes are a haven for bacteria, which why it is oh so necessary to clean them properly and regularly. I had a look into what works to clean your brushes:

  • Baby shampoo is the perfect mild formula to effectively clean your brushes without damaging the texture of the bristles.
  • It’s best to use lukewarm water.
  • When washing your brushes it’s important to hold the brush downwards. This will allow residue to rinse out properly, and it will prevent water from getting into the base of the brush where it could loosen the glue that hold your bristles together.
  • Dry your brushes laid out flat.

Do you have any makeup hacks to share? Feel free to drop a suggestion in the comment section below.

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