We all have secret weapons... the tricks we hide up our sleeves until we need them. Like a trusty joke to break the ice. Or the cake shop that packages their cupcakes in your Tupperware... To create flawless-looking skin, you're also going to require a few secret weapons, some of the most important being a good set of brushes. The one's you choose to use will have a big influence on whether you look perfectly polished or perpetually polyfilla’d. This is why I'm only too happy to share my four favourites with you.
The Kabuki brush
Used for: powders on medium to large areas.
The Kabuki looks fairly similar to a blusher brush... if you saw off three quarters of the handle. This short, stubby brush is designed to give you more control over your application and it’s ideal for applying mineral foundation. Grip the short handle like you would grip a pen, dip it in your product, and apply your powder foundation in circular motions. If you’re very low-maintenance, it can also be used to apply highlighter, bronzer or blusher in their powder forms. Just make sure to clean it between uses to avoid disaster.
Good value: The Body Shop Kabuki brush, R150
The Body Shop Kabuki brush
The concealer brush
Used for: liquid and cream formulas.
Concealer brushes are tapered to provide precision application. This comes in very handy when you’re working to conceal under eye circles and redness in the corners of your nose. Simply apply some concealer (or even foundation if you’re traveling light) onto the brush, dab onto the problem area and blend until both the product and the problem are invisible.
My favourite: Smashbox Precision Concealer brush #5, R145.
Smashbox concealer brush
The slanted eyeshadow brush
Used for: powder eyeshadow (both compact and loose).
This multitasking little friend of ours can be used in quite a few ways. If you want a softer-looking effect than something you'd get from using an eye pencil, use the tip to create a line of eyeshadow just above your upper lash line. You can use the flat end of the brush to apply and blend colours on your eyelids to your heart’s content. The tip of the brush can also be used to dust eyeshadow into your brow line. This fills any gaps and creates a uniform brow colour.
Budget beauty: The Body Shop slanted brush will only set you back R90.
The Body Shop slanted brush
The powder brush
Used for: loose and compact powders - think translucent, blusher or bronzer.
This is also known as a face brush, or face and body brush. I prefer using a brush like this instead of a blusher brush which I find too small. The larger the blush, the more natural the application, so be mindful not to draw camo lines on your cheeks when you attempt to create a healthy glow; the 90’s are long gone my friends... Simply swish the brush around in the product of your choice, tap off the excess, and off you go.
Worth the investment: Guerlain powder brush, R620. It's created with a mix of natural goat hair and high quality synthetics and promises to last a lifetime.
Guerlain powder brush
The foundation brush
Used for: applying liquid or cream foundation.
Foundation brushes are great in that they allow you to apply your foundation evenly to your face. Also, unlike sponges that suck up half your product, foundation brushes allow you to create medium to heavy coverage to areas that need it most.
We like: Bobbi Brown foundation brush, R420. (Speaking of which, have you seen Bobbi's gorgeous new Tortoise Shell collection yet? It's divine!)
Bobbi Brown foundation brush, R420
Natural VS synthetic
Brushes made of natural animal fibers are traditionally known to hold their shape better, last longer, and feel softer to the touch for longer. These guys can be made from sable, pony, squirrel, goat, and a few other furry friends’ hairs. Luckily synthetic brushes have come a long way in the past decade, so you need not throw your vegan lifestyle out the window in search of a good makeup brush – the choice is yours.
Keep it clean
Gently swish your brushes in a solution of lukewarm water and shampoo or foamy facial cleanser until clean. To rinse, do the same in a bowl of clean water. Shake off the worst of the water, and let them lie on a towel overnight to dry.