Having the right type of makeup brushes is an essential component of our beauty routine but still, midlife women often overlook these important tools. What they forget is that sometimes it’s the right brush that makes all the difference and not just the product.
There are, however, so many different types of brushes on the market, with so many shapes, sizes, colours, textures and prices, no wonder it can be quite daunting knowing where to start when it comes to narrowing down our list.
Ideally, we should buy ourselves a good set of make-up brushes made of the finest, quality materials. This will help us save money in the long term (as they will last longer) and will make it easy to play with powders and colours.
Natural bristles such as boar or horse hair are usually considered the best makeup brushes for mature women. This is because natural hair tends to pick up more pigment and has very soft bristles that run smoothly on our delicate faces.
But these days, with high-quality synthetic materials available on the market, there is no need to use animal hairs. Actually, the majority of the best makeup brushes today are synthetic because, over the last decade, many brands, such as MAC have shifted toward clean beauty and have switched over to using synthetic materials. Synthetic brushes are highly effective products that don’t break the bank while also being cruelty-free — making them a win-win for all of us.
Also, synthetic brushes (often hypoallergenic) are the way to go if your skin’s on the sensitive side as natural brushes are more likely to become dried out, brittle, and scratchy over time, like natural hair.
In the end, whether you prefer natural or synthetic brushes, it’s important that they feel soft and gentle, never prickly or irritating on the skin. You can test that quite easily by running the brush over the inside of your forearm in both directions.
Here are some tips to help you make an informed choice.
One size doesn’t fit all
According to New York-based makeup artist Kristine Cruz, using the wrong brush can completely ruin your whole look. “Makeup brushes are specifically made to target certain areas of the face,” she says. “So if you choose one that’s too big or the wrong shape, it won’t place the product where you want it or apply it in a natural way.”
This is why having a good set of tools in your arsenal is a must. But don’t get us wrong: in the end, the right numbers and shapes depend on your makeup style.
“The amount of brushes you need depends very much on your makeup style (how simple or complicated you like it) and on your passion for makeup tools” – explains YouTube Star Dominique Sachse-. “There are, however, a couple of must-have brushes everyone can benefit from. You will need a few brushes for your face, to apply cream and powder products, and quite a few for your eye makeup. Most of the time, eye makeup requires the biggest number of tools and is the most time-consuming task. Even though the surface is tiny, getting that gradation of colours and so many precise details means you need to dedicate some time and have a few brushes on hand“.
The Make-Up Brushes You Can Live Without
If you are often in a rush (or you simply look for practical solutions), make-up artists usually suggest counting on the following essential make brushes, especially if you are a beginner.
This type of brush is very popular these days as it can be used to apply anything from a BB or CC cream to the foundation.
“These types of brushes will always make your cream/liquid foundations look more evenly dispersed than using your fingers – says Beth Djalali, founder of Style at a Certain Age-. Foundation brushes will give you an airbrushed effect that won’t end up streaky as bare fingers will“.
Start using it in the areas of the face that need the most coverage and use downward strokes for the smoothest, most natural application.
Typically designed for applying loose and pressed powders (like setting powders) on large surfaces of the face, the best versions of these brushes are fluffy and soft, which helps the product distribute evenly across the face.
To apply powder makeup, start by dipping a powder brush, into the loose or pressed powder you plan to use. Tap the handle to get rid of excess product, and lightly sweep the soft bristles over your face until you achieve your desired coverage.
This is a more compact powder brush that can be used to apply cheek colour. The bristles are often dense but soft and angled perfectly to hug your cheekbones and jawline to create flawless definition.
Smile to locate the apples of the cheek, use short strokes to dust powder out toward the hairline and remember to work from the inside of your face outwards, using long sweeping motions along the contours of your face.
Flat shadow brushes are another must-have for many eye makeup looks. The densely packed bristles allow you to really pack on the product and give your eyeshadow gorgeous depth.
To use, apply a powder or cream eyeshadow by evenly patting the brush over your entire lid, starting from the inner corner of your eye (just above your tear duct) and working your way outwards. For a softer look, instead of patting the brush, use a sweeping motion with quick gentle strokes.
- Our favourite: the Kabuki Brush
Of all the brush trends that have come and gone, Kabuki brushes are one that has remained a constant due to their versatility. You’ll recognize a Kabuki brush by its flat top and ultra-soft, densely-packed bristles, which work well for applying powder, and bronzer as well as plain ol’ blending.
You can find it in different shapes. While a traditional kabuki brush is perfectly rounded, new versions are available, including angled, dome, and flat, which you can choose depending on your beauty needs.
Keep them clean
Depending on what type of bristle you choose, caring for your brushes is essential. If you apply makeup every day, we recommend cleaning your brushes once per week, Simply wash bristles in mild liquid soap, rinse well, lay them flat, in a horizontal direction on a dry towel, and then air-dry.
Of course, you can always use your fingers and sponges to apply makeup, but brushes can be a real game changer — especially if your goal is to create a seamless, blended finish.