Why Brushes? Or not?

Okay so, let’s be honest.  Whenever a makeup artist such as myself waxes on about the importance of brushes (or heaven forbid, washing them), your eyes probably glaze over and you start thinking for the $50 you would spend on a good brush, you could get 4 lipsticks or 4 shadows, or 2 lipsticks/2 shadows, or……  Anyway, you get the point.  Or you just assume the salesperson at the makeup counter just needs to make her sales goal for the week.  This may all be true, but I just want to take a moment to demystify the makeup brush.  We artists do actually use them for a reason.  We wouldn’t spend the money on brushes if we didn’t have to, or lug them around in our kits for that matter.  You wouldn’t hammer a nail with a fork or use a machete to rip out a seam.  The right tool for the right job.  It may  not seem this way to the makeup beginner, but each brush is indeed used for a specific reason.  Although they look similar, they really do deliver varied results.  And not just synthetic versus natural fiber.  Just the shape alone, distributes product in varied ways.  Today for instance, I was working on a fashion show and found myself struggling to get the color to go on in the same way it was demonstrated.  The key artist had used a different brush and I didn’t have one like it.  And it was more than a little frustrating.  “But I have  soooo many brushes at this point,” I thought to myself.  How can this be?  Because for every job there is a specific tool and that’s why I will always need more tools.   So I can sympathize with the inability of someone not being able to replicate a look that a makeup artist showed them.  My first question is always, “What brushes are you using?”  This could also be the reason someone’s concealer is caking or creasing or why the shadow looks like a “punch in the eye.”  It could also be a problem with application, but correct application starts with the tools.  That being said, you don’t need to buy a $90 brush if you don’t know what it’s for.  The cheaper brushes may not work as well, so I do suggest not getting the most expensive, nor the cheapest.  (My favorite brand rhymes with SAC.  And it’s not because I have been gainfully employed by them.  They have great brushes.  There are higher quality out there on the market, but  not for the average makeup user who is not doing makeup professionally.)  I suggest at the minimum owning a few eye shadow brushes (blending, crease, and liner), a blush brush, a foundation brush, and a powder brush.  And wash them!!!!  They are going on your face and you don’t want to break out or distribute bacteria from you, to your product, and then back to you in a vicious cycle of face disease.  Wash them at least once a month or something like that.   And just because a brush is marked for a specific job, it doesn’t mean that’s all it can be used for.  I only use eye shadow blending brushes to apply concealer because that is what I find works best for a flawless finish.  The “concealer” brushes really spackle it on and I find that leads to too much product distribution and that leads to a hot mess, i.e. cracking, creasing, and just not pretty.  There are some cases when you will not need a brush.  Whenever you want to warm up a product by using your hands.  Some natural foundations, creme blush or shadow, and lip tints are all good examples.  There are no hard and fast rules because it is personal preference.  You may like to do it a certain way and that makes it correct as long as you get the result you crave.

Part 2: Sponges

If you try a brush and you really like the overall look of a sponge better, by all means, go for it.  The one that is winning most of our hearts is cone shaped and pink and rhymes with ‘beauty spender’. (I’m not here to endorse/promote any one company or product.) A sponge can lead to a more natural “I’m not wearing makeup” finish, especially if you are heavy handed with a brush.   Just make sure if you are washing your sponge, that it is a brand that is meant to be washed.  You will most likely know this because the washable ones start around $25.  If it was $8 or less it is probably meant to be thrown away.  Seriously.  Washing it will breed bacteria.  As my coworker says, ‘You wouldn’t wash your face with the same wash cloth for 6 months would you?’  I sincerely hope not.  When your sponge is a month old, toss it.  If it smells funny, toss it.  I know it sounds obvious, but I can attest to the fact people don’t think about it.  They will show you the makeup they have been carrying for months and peel away a sponge that looks like a coral reef after an oil slick.  Sorry to be graphic, but I feel strongly about your health and the overall finish of your makeup:)

Until next time…….