Wednesday, 6 April 2011

At the stroke of the brush....

I have a lot of make up brushes. One of my least favourite activities is cleaning them all, it takes so long!! Keeping them clean is really really important though, so I just have to suck it up! I do tend to wash them as I go along, as washing 5/6 brushes takes a lot less time than washing 30!!

Good make up brushes are important and it is worth paying money for good brushes. They don't have to be expensive though, and if you take care of them, they will last for years.

When choosing brushes it is important to think about what you will use the brush for, whether you need to carry it around, what sort of product you will be using it to apply, and whether you prefer a synthetic or natural brush.

The synthetic/natural brush debate will probably rage on forever. I have both in my collection, but in all honesty I prefer natural bristle brushes to synthetic ones. I do try and seek cruelty free brushes these days, but I can't vouch for my previous shopping. The reason I prefer natural brushes is the way they pick up and react with product. I find synthetic brushes useful if I am applying something cream based, like a MAC Paint Pot, as that is a fast drying product and natural bristles have a tendency to suck all the moisture out of a product. Which makes them excellent for applying powder products, as they keep the product dry. I really think it is a personal choice though, and you will find what works best for you. 

Cleaning brushes is really important, they harbour so much bacteria if you don't! Since I started washing my brushes every time I used them, my skin has been a lot clearer. To clean, just run a sink of warm water and add a good squirt of shampoo - I use baby shampoo most of the time. Dunk your brush in up to the base of the bristles and swirl it around on your hand. If your brushes are quite dirty you might need more shampoo at this stage.
Put them to one side, then when they have all been through this phase, empty the sink and clean it out. Run another bowl of warm water, but leave it pure. Repeat the previous stage with the clean water to rinse the brushes. Shake out over the bath/shower and place on a towel. Once they are all rinsed and shaken out, fold the towel over and press gently down on the brush heads to remove the excess water. Reshape and stand up in a pot to air dry.

Let me show you around my collection!

Face brushes

MAC 189 Foundation Brush (far left): I bought this on a bit of a whim after the MUA used it on me at a MAC session a few years ago. Unfortunately it was a limited edition one (it certainly isn't available now). I like it because it is a fuller, wider foundation brush than most, and sort of a cross between a stippling brush and a foundation brush.
Sephora Professional long handled Kabuki brush (centre): I bought this brush in Prague and it is a brilliant brush for finishing powder. It is wonderfully soft and dense.
Ecotools concealer brush (centre right): I bought this because I needed a new concealer brush and I likes the fat head on it. It is like a mini foundation brush!
MAC 130 Foundation Brush: This mini stippling brush was released with the Mineralise Compact foundation last year and is like a mini 188 with shorter bristles. I have to be honest, I don't get along with this brush at all - I bought it on a whim but I find it really hard to make it work for me. It is quite good for blending concealer into foundation but that is about it. I find it utterly useless as a foundation brush, and it isn't special enough to warrant being a special concealer blending brush!
MAC 224 Blending Brush (far right): This is supposed to be an eyeshadow blending brush, but after seeing it being used to blend concealer on Pixiwoo, I have started to use it that way too. It is especially good for blending under eye concealer.
Jemma Kidd Kabuki brush (top): I bought this years ago as an alternative to the MAC 182 Buffer Brush. I think it was £10 in Boots and it is really dense, really soft. It is brilliant for buffing in mineralise skinfinish or translucent powder.

Blusher Brushes

MAC 187 Brush x 2 (left): I loved this brush so much after I bought it that I had to buy another! It is an extremely versatile brush that I have used for applying foundation, powder, blusher (which is its current usage).
MAC 188 Brush (on top of 187s): The baby brother/sister of the 188, I use this brush to apply highlighter powder as its thin head makes it good for skimming along cheekbones.
Tesco Angled Cheek Brush: Tesco Make Up is made by Barbara Daly, who I have been a fan of since she was the creative vision behind the Body Shop's make up. This brush is pretty old now (around 10 years I think) but it is still going strong.
Tesco Powder/Blusher Brush (right): Soft and well shaped, this brush is great for light touch blusher application.
The Body Shop Powder/Blusher brush (front): This brush is I think about 16 years old. It was one of the first 'proper' make up brushes I bought. This is what I mean about brushes lasting a long time. It has long bristle and isn't particularly dense but it is lovely for a whisper of blusher.

Eye Brushes

Eye brushes make up the bulk of my collection - I like to have a wide range of choice in brushes and have a habit of buying whatever I need. For that reason, I won't go through every brush in detail, otherwise this will be the longest post ever!

Tesco brushes on the left, Ruby & Millie in the centre and Ms Mascara on the right. 

Ancient toothbrush for eyebrows, Revlon next to that, then a Sephora Professional Eyeliner brush, Body Shop in the middle (wooden and recent handles), H&M and a few more Ruby & Millie.

My MAC eyeshadow brush collection: from left to right: 249, 217 x2, 239 x2, 213 x3, 228, 266 x2, 209 x2, 210 x2, 225 (now discontinued).

The brushes I use most on my eyes are probably the MAC ones, but it very much depends on the specific thing I need a brush for. Certainly the MAC eyeshadow brushes I own form my core collection, the ones I use over and over again, and would be lost without.

Many other make up brands make brushes that are just as good - Chanel, Bobbi Brown, Illamasqua to name but a few.

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