Makeup Tools

The tools you need for easy application

Brushes and curlers and applicators, oh my! With a slew of products on the market, how do you know which items are good and which are not? Which items are necessary and which can you live without? Professional makeup artists claim that there are around six or eight essentials, depending on who you are asking. I prefer to stay on the side of simplicity over excess, so it seems to me that there are really only six necessities when it comes to makeup tools.

First, you will need a makeup sponge. These can be purchased at your local drug store for a very low cost. The advantage to using a sponge over your fingers is that sponges make it easier to blend, and your fingertips can add extra oils to your face, which is something that no one wants.

Second, you will need a powder brush. This is a thick brush that will easily sweep over your face to apply the powder without leaving streaks or globs of product. Often when you purchase powder foundation, a makeup pad or small brush is included. However, this does not mean that it's the best tool for the job - often the applicators that come with the product will leave streaks and clumps. A brush helps to blend and spread the powder more evenly.

Third is the blush brush. This should also be a large, soft brush, but not quite as large as the powder brush. The head of the brush should be large and should have a slight taper to it.

This tool helps with evenly spreading the product and defining the cheek bone.

Next, you will need a brush for your eyebrows. This is the one tool that is most commonly overlooked. We often do not think about how much eyebrows affect our look. A well-groomed brow can make all the difference. This tool is usually double-sided, with one side having a stiff, comb-like quality, and the other having a softer brush to assist with brushing the brows into a certain shape.

Fifth is the eyeshadow brush. This is typically a square-headed brush with a slight taper at the sides. The brush should be firm but gentle. This tool provides control and precision when you're applying eyeshadow. This tool ensures that the shadow will not look flaky or clumped on the lid. This also helps to make blending different colors of eyeshadow a bit easier.

Finally, you will need a good foundation brush. The key here is to look for a large, wide, flat-headed brush. This will help with blending and with providing a more natural look.

One addition is the lip brush. This is not necessarily a must-have unless you tend to purchase liquid lipstick; then, it is helpful to ensure that the lipstick is applied evenly and blended well.

The eyelash curler is another commonly overlooked essential for applying makeup. This item helps to curl the lashes upward, which opens the eyes and makes them really pop! Again, this is not necessarily a must-have, but it certainly helps if you do not have lashes that naturally curl upward.

When you're choosing your brushes, quality is more important than quantity. If you cannot afford all the items at once, begin with the ones that you use the most and work your way up. Quality brushes are typically made of natural hair from goat, sable, squirrel and pony. However, there are many quality synthetics and animal-friendly items.

You want to make sure that the bristles are soft, silky and light. Poor-quality brushes often have rough bristles that shed and clump the makeup. So, when testing your brush, give it a tug to make sure that the bristles are strong. Good-quality products will last you a lifetime and will make applying makeup easier and faster. Plus, without clumping and flaking, your makeup will undoubtedly look more natural and polished.

By Kristie Zieler