February 24, 2014

Foundation Brushes 101

Complexion Brushes

Do you ever look at all the brushes out there that say they're made for foundation or concealer and start getting a little sweaty under the pits? Don't feel bad...it happens to everyone. It's easy to understand why it can be so daunting when you have liquid foundation, cream foundation, powder foundation, mineral foundation, BB cream, cake foundation....and the list just KEEPS GROWING!! Well if choosing the correct foundation type for your skin is not confusing enough, then you have to figure out which damn brush or tool to use to apply it! I'm going to begin our lesson with some of my favorite brushes and what they're good for. When we're finished with today's lesson, I will do a separate post on which type of foundation is best for your skin type. Pay attention! This may be what you need to take your foundation game from amateur to professional!

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1 | I talk about this brush a lot. Wanna know why? Because it rocks my socks off. I was introduced to this brush when I worked for Nordstrom and I'm so happy about it. It is perfect (which explains the name). This brush is designed to be used with all formulations (liquid, cream or powder) but it is my FAVORITE to use for fuller coverage liquid and cream foundations. It has very tightly packed bristles that are just ever-so-slightly tapered so you can get in all the nooks and crannies. To use: "stipple" product onto the face and use short strokes to blend it in. Sometimes I use small circular strokes and then stipple extra product over the top to get more coverage. Because the surface area of this brush is so small, it is perfect for concentrating product in smaller areas to get maximum coverage (i.e. inner cheeks, around nose, etc).
2 | This brush is a beautiful way to apply liquid foundations and BB creams for when you want a very sheer application. The bristles are so heavenly and light and they glide across the face so delicately. To use: hold this brush handle toward the end (furthest away from bristles) so you get a very light hand. Dab your product onto face where you need coverage and then use this brush to swirl into the skin with a feather-light touch. I use this brush trying never to "press" too hard into the skin but letting it just glide across the face without disturbing the bristles very much if at all. This brush can also be used to apply a very light application of powder to set your foundation. Just make sure you don't use it for liquid foundation first or else the bristles will get grimey and won't deposit the powder correctly. If you use it as a powder brush, use it for just that or else you'll have to wash it AND dry it before you apply powder.

3 | This angled foundation brush is perfect for liquid foundation and is sooooo great for working around the contours of the face. So easy to get right under the eyes and around the nose. Because the bristles are made out of synthetic Taklon, you get the smoothest, almost "airbrushed" finish. This brush is a killer deal at $8 and I love how the bottoms of the Real Techniques brushes are flat so you can stand them up on your counter! You can also find these brushes at Ulta. To use: dab foundation onto skin starting at the center of your face (where the most coverage is usually needed: nose, cheeks, forehead, chin) and blend out towards the outer face and jawline. Make sure to blend down past your jaw so it doesn't look like your face and neck were separated at birth. 
4 | Alright mineral makeup wearers! I haven't forgotten about you! This brush is perfect for applying loose and pressed mineral makeup as well as powder foundations. It's plump and densely packed which are vital components for mineral foundations and powders, but its dome shaped top makes it easy to get your desired coverage (as opposed to using a flat-top brush which can sometimes give too heavy of an application). This brush will still give a full-coverage if needed, just keep building your layers until you get the coverage you need. To use: dab brush directly into powder, tap off any excess into lid (so you don't waste it) and apply in very small circular motions starting at the center of face. This brush will also work to apply your finishing powder or bronzer.

5 | You may be looking at this brush and be thinking "um...Colleen....that's an eyeshadow blending brush, you ninny"...but bear with me! Most people don't need to apply powder all over their face! I know....mind blown, right? Powder is meant to "set" or "finish" your foundation to make sure it lasts and has a flawless finish. More often than not, the only places that need powder are the places that get greasy. Enter this beautiful blending brush. Make sure it has natural hair bristles and not synthetic. PERFECT for applying loose or pressed powder under the eyes to set undereye concealer, around the nose, inner cheeks and between the eyebrows on the forehead. You can make sure to get the perfect amount and lightest touch as to not disturb your foundation and the best part is you don't end up with the dreaded "cakey powder face" look. Blech. To use: lightly dip brush into loose powder, or sweep it across pressed powder, and apply it to nose, around nose, inner cheeks, chin and between the brows.
6 | I'm going to be talking about two different concealer brushes. The first is this angled camouflage concealer brush meant to cover up imperfections and blemishes. The tapered tip makes it ideal for covering the tiniest of dots, spots, scars and marks. To use: gently tap brush into concealer and lightly "dab" onto the offending mark in question. Use the tiny brush tip to gently blend out the surrounding area and set with finishing powder using the above brush from #5.
7 | I loooooooooove this concealer brush. This bad boy is meant for larger areas that need extra coverage like the undereye area and around the nose and mouth. The very cool thing about this brush is it can be used with liquid, cream OR powder concealer. It is the perfect combination of firm and soft and gives the best coverage ever. To use: dip brush into concealer (powder), drag across (cream) or apply concealer to skin using your clean finger (liquid) and use brush to gently blend into skin. For the undereye area, use the flat side of the brush to really pat down the product before you blend it out. Note: NEVER APPLY A LIQUID OR CREAM CONCEALER OR FOUNDATION OVER POWDERED SKIN. If you are a mineral powder foundation wearer, just make sure you apply your concealer first. If you use a powder concealer (like Bare Minerals) that is the only time it is okay to apply concealer over the top of a powder foundation. Period. End of story.
8 | And last but certainly not least, is the Beauty Blender sponge. This little egg-shaped wonder wears many hats and I've said it before and will say it again: THERE IS NO DUPE FOR THE ORIGINAL. Trust me, I've tried them all. Don't waste your money on the imposters, just get the original. This sponge is most commonly used to apply liquid and cream foundations (it's my fave to use with my Revlon Colorstay foundation) but here's where it's multi-tasking duties come into play....it can be used to apply and blend out concealer (using the small pointy end) and also can be used to apply powder if you like a fuller coverage setting powder. To use: run the sponge under luke-warm water giving it a few squeezes to completely dampen it. Squeeze out all the excess water. The sponge should double in size. For foundation: dot foundation all over face and use the fat end of the sponge to stipple and "press" foundation all over the face. Do not sweep and drag the sponge across face. For powder: dip the bottom, fat end into loose powder (or drag across pressed) and press into skin wherever coverage is needed. 
Lastly, I want to take a moment to discuss properly cleaning your brushes. It is so important for your skin health as well as the longevity of your brushes. I clean my brushes once a week, however, if I'm doing makeup on clients or other people, I wash them after EVERY application. Non negotiable. I make sure to wash them at night before bed so that they can dry overnight and be fresh and ready in the morning. Properly cleaning your brushes removes makeup (duh), dead skin, dirt, bacteria and yucky oils. There are M A N Y different types of brush cleaners out there and some even accompany certain brands of brushes. One of my favorite tutorials on how to clean your brushes like a pro is right here, check it out.

Make sure to stay tuned for my next post where I will be covering different foundation types and what types of skin they're best for!

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