What woman doesn’t love trying out each season’s new makeup colours and formulas. And who can resist the latest shampoos, conditioners, pomades and gels that just might be the missing link to help you achieve perfectly tousled locks. Go ahead and indulge, but don’t overlook an essential element of your beauty artillery: brushes. The right brushes for both hair and makeup can help make you absolutely dazzling!
“If you don’t have the right application tools,” says celebrity makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown, “even the most expensive products won’t go on properly.” Look for brushes that feel comfortable in your hand, that aren’t shedding and that have soft bristles. Brown chooses synthetic bristles for concealer, lip and foundation brushes, but she opts for natural bristles -- such as sable, mink or goat -- for blush or powder brushes. “Stiffer bristles can scratch your skin,” she says. If you prefer not to use animal products, look for brushes made from high-grade synthetic fibers, such as taklon bristles.
Here’s what you need:
Face: Foundation brush, large powder brush, blush/bronzer brush (you can use one brush for both bronzer and blush, just wipe off brush between applying each product), concealer brush
Eyes: Fluff brush for applying shadow to lid, flat liner brush for applying colour along the lash line
Optional: Tapered shadow brush for applying shadow increase or blending eyeliner and shadow to create a smoky eye, spooly brush or disposable mascara wand for grooming brows and combing through eyelashes to remove clump between applying coats of mascara, angled eyebrow brush for applying powder to brows, and lip brush
“Perfect application comes from clean tools,” says beauty pro Robert Jones, author of Looking Younger: Makeovers That Make You Look as Young as You Feel. “Blush or powder brushes should be cleaned at least once a month, and eye brushes once a week.” Brown’s favorite brush cleaner? Your regular shampoo. “Just put a little shampoo on wet hands, run it through the brush hairs and lay the brush flat on a towel to dry.”
Most women will need two combs, our experts say:
Wide-toothed comb should be kept in the shower for distributing conditioner evenly throughout hair and for gentle detangling.
Fine-toothed comb is necessary for backcombing or teasing. Backcombing is an easy way to create volume. Working from the crown, take panels of hair just over 1cm in thickness and gently tease. Then, smooth out just the surface of the hair.
A few different brush options are available, depending on your hair type and usage:
Round brush If you blow-dry your hair, this brush is essential. Look for one with a combination of synthetic and natural boar’s hair bristles: The nylon bristles will give you a good grip on your hair while the natural ones impart shine.
Paddle brush Use a paddle brush at the end of the day to impart smoothness and shine to hair that may look a little flat and gnarly.
Natural boar toothbrush This is optional. “Keep one in your purse,” suggests Michael Shaun Corby, a hair pro who often works backstage at fashion shows. “If you add just a touch of pomade or hairspray to the bristles, you can tame all those flyaways on the surface of your hair without disrupting the style. If you have superfine or thin hair, use the toothbrush right at your scalp in a circular motion to pick up all those fine hairs that a hairbrush doesn’t get to. Every bit of volume helps!”