Let’s talk makeup brushes!
I’m inspired to do this because lately I’ve been e-bombarded by ads telling me to buy the latest and greatest makeup brushes. The variety of brushes — styles, handle lengths, bristle thicknesses, angles, and on and on — is mind-boggling, as are some of the prices. Sorry, I’m not paying more for one makeup brush than I am for a nice new shirt or pair of shoes. What are these $50+ brushes made of, imported albino yeti fur?
Until recently, I never bought or used separate makeup brushes at all. I used whatever came with the drugstore makeup I bought, usually little sponge-tipped applicators or velour puffs. With some eyeshadows, I used (and still use) my fingertips. Then when I started dabbling in higher-end makeup I started reading more reviews and watching video reviews, and many people used brushes and seemed to get better results.
I bought a few inexpensive brushes and quickly discovered that I have an issue that you may or may not share: I am extreeeeeemely nearsighted, to the point of being legally blind without my glasses. When I apply makeup, I have to have my face so close to a mirror that my nose is almost touching it, so I cannot use brushes with a long or even standard-size handle.
Travel sizes to the rescue! Here are two small sets that I bought at Ulta: Eco Tools Fresh & Flawless 5-Piece Complexion Set and Eco Tools 6-piece Cosmetic Set (the latter counts the bag as one of the pieces, and it is handy for travel). The SRP is $14.99 and $11.49, respectively, but I got them on sale, plus you can find this brand at Target and other big box stores.
I love these little brushes and while I’m still learning how to best use them, I gotta admit that cheap sponge-tipped applicators just aren’t cutting it any more. They now feel so hard and harsh. Some better makeup items come with their own brushes.
If you’ve never used makeup brushes before and would like to make the leap, start small. First, decide what you want them for — mineral foundation, blush, eyeshadow? The company e.l.f. makes a variety of $1 brushes that you can try individually without a big hit to your pocketbook. Before I realized how my vision issue would affect using makeup tools, I bought a long-handled e.l.f. brush for powder foundation and it was fine except that I couldn’t see what I was doing.
I also recommend watching some how-to videos about brushes if you’re so inclined. One of my favorite beauty products reviewers is EmilyNoel83 on YouTube who also has a channel and Facebook page called Beauty Broadcast. I have no illusions that I will ever look like her — for one thing she’s young enough to be my daughter (she features her beautiful mom in a couple of her videos!), and she used to be an on-TV personality — but I love many of her tips and suggestions. Two of her videos about brushes are called My Most-Used Makeup Brushes! and Favorite ELF Brushes!
Emily does wear heavier makeup than I would be comfortable with but I can see how to tone things down for my age and for a look I’d like. And I used to be envious of what I thought was her perfect skin, but a recent video she did about melasma (the skin discoloration from pregnancy; she’s currently 8 months pregnant with her first child) showed me that (a) her skin isn’t perfect, and (b) she covers up discolorations with makeup like the rest of us. Big props to her for showing us those “before” pictures and giving us encouragement!
Which digresses from the brush topic. I’m still really a brush newbie. Do you use brushes? Which ones? Have you found some real winners, either in price or performance or both?