Makeup Brush Essentials

The Professional Artistic Set 2

Makeup Brush Essentials

What are the essential makeup brushes every girl should have in her arsenal? Girls get so confused when it comes to brushes. What 5-6 essential brushes do they REALLY need, and for which parts of the face? This is one of the questions we are repeatedly asked. So, let’s clear up the confusion and get down to brush basics!

I like to think of make up wearing the same as your every day wardrobe, so when getting into it initially think of the items which are most basic that will see you through (like your underwear or classic skinny jeans!) and once you’ve sorted the basics you can accessorise afterwards!

The Basics

So the essential brushes for basic everyday make up wearing would be a good foundation brush, something for concealor, a powder brush for setting your liquid foundation and also for bronzer. An angled powder brush which can be used both for blush and soft contouring. A slanted eyebrow brush – super important – which can double up as a liner & brow brush and lastly a fluffy tapered (slightly pointed at tip) eye shadow brush which will work to both place shadow and blend it out.

Can You Double-up on Any?

Absolutely! A foundation brush can also be used for concealor as all you need are synthetic hairs for applying creams. A large powder brush works for both setting powder and for bronzer application also. A tapered or angled blush brush can be used for shading as well as highlighting and blush application. A nicely tapered eyeshadow brush can be used to both above and below the eye – to smudge shadow along your lower lashline as well as blending into the crease to create a smokey, blended contoured eye.


After the Essentials, What are the Nice to Haves?

A good highlighting brush is wonderful for creating lift and light reflective, youthful makeup but needs to be done subtly so a brush that picks up little and allows you to build is ideal. A duo fibre stipple brush is wonderful for this.

Fine detail brushes are also lovely to create more structure and shape to your eye design. Smudge brushes to brighten up the inner corner of the eye & highlight below the arch of the brow to create lift, pencil brushes to strengthen up your smokey eye, tightly packed dense haired brushes to apply glitter & shimmer to your lid and not have it drop everywhere.

A fan brush is amazing for cleaning up under the eyes, for soft contouring, for sheer application of blush and highlighting powders. This is one of my absolute handbag essentials!

How Best to Choose | Synthetic versus Real Hair | What’s the Difference?

Synthetic brushes have come on leaps and bounds in recent years with the creation of kabuki brushes so it doesn’t really matter anymore which you go for. Generally synthetic was always used for creams and natural fibres were used for powders.

Old skool or cheap synthetic hair used to be really hard and scratchy and could lead to your eye becoming irritated or weepy so using a synthetic for powder work was a big no no. But now, good high quality synthetic hair like ‘Taklon’ (which is what we use at Nima Brush) is super soft so won’t do this. Most reputable brush brands will ensure the use of good high quality synthetic hair.

Just be aware of travel sets and cheap brushes that will mix both synthetic and natural fibres into one brush. Have a feel of the brushes you’re interested in first and this will tell all.

Budget wise, you can spend anything from €15 to €500 (yup, seriously!) on a natural fibre brush depending on the hair used, so shop around and try and test. Generally goat or pony hair is the one to go for. There are so many fantastic brush companies out there now and bloggers/vloggers helping you to understand how to use them, it makes brush shopping so much easier.

How Often Should they be Cleaned or Washed | Any Tips?

Once every seven uses is my general rule. If product builds up in a brush it both makes the brush unhygienic which can lead to facial breakouts and also the product build up can weigh on the fibres of the brush making them snap and flay, which will eventually lead to you losing the original shape of your brush.

You can wash your brushes with any type of detergent. Alcohol based cleaners such a surgical spirits are a big no no as they can dry out the brush hair leading them to snap and it’s also damaging to your skin. Shampoo, soap, washing up liquid….just make sure to wash the brushes completely clear of the suds afterwards.

Tilt your brush downwards, wet the hair only, massage as you would the hair on your head, be gentle and don’t pull at the hairs, work with the brush shape not against it! And when you’ve rinsed completely and water runs clear, use a towel to squeeze out excess water, reshape and leave flat on a towel for 24 hours. Click here for more information on brush cleaning.

How Often Should they be Replaced

A brush need only be replaced when it’s completely lost shape (by incorrect use or by not washing it ever!!) or all the hairs are falling out. A faulty brush will show fault within the first two months. After that it’s usually how you’re looking after them. If you mind your brushes, they’ll mind you and last years! A clean brush is a happy brush!

The perfect starter brush set to cater for your every day needs can be found here.

For an exclusive insight to detailed brush technique check out our Nima Brush workshop, The Art of Nima. You can find details here.

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