Beauty U -- How to: Buy makeup brushes

People are always shocked when they see how many brushes I have in my kit, but the truth is that makeup brushes, if cared for properly, are a wise investment that can last a lifetime.  One of the hardest things to choose, makeup brushes are used to put on powder or liquid product on every area of the face, but one may not have the time nor the patience to try on under-eye concealer fives times in a row to test out whether or not a concealer brush is streaky.  To make things a bit easier, I've compiled a list of  SIX tips on how to shop for and choose makeup brushes and included a top picks list of MAC brushes.

  1. First and foremost, don't invest (not only because it'll break my heart to find out and your bank sooner or later) in quality brushes if you know you won't care for them.  Sounds hard to believe, but I know of folks out there who have purchased some pricey makeup brushes without diligently caring for them only to find out that they do not perform as they once did.  
  2. Prioritize -- don't buy brushes you think you'll need.  Instead, make a list of the tasks you feel are most important in your daily makeup routine.  If you use powder foundation every day, buy an all-over powder brush.  If you only do a smoky eye once in a blue moon, hold off on a short and stubby smudging brush until you come to the point where no other brush you already own gives you the same effect -- then buy the smudging brush. 
  3. Get educated. Research is key when going forward with any investment and, like anything you plan to own for a lifetime, knowing more will only leave you in a better position.  There is a plethora of makeup brush choices as well as brands in the makeup world -- some brands are better than others, some brushes are synthetic, and some brushes contain hair from animals.  If you want the added assurance that your makeup brush came from an animal that was not harmed during the process making of your brush, I recommend that you peruse Body and Soul's brush collection (the travel kit is adequate, but if money ain't a thang, then go for the individual brushes!) who, I know for a fact, manufacture their brushes responsibly. 
  4. Invest (there's that word again) in cleaning your brushes.  It doesn't take a lot of time, but it does take keeping in mind how long it's been since you last did the chore.  There are two routes one can go when it comes to cleaning solution:  many people feel a simple mild shampoo or soap does the trick (wash with warm water and dry thoroughly) and from my experience, a brush cleansing solution with alcohol (see my recommendation in the "A Few of My Favorite Things" sidebar) gives me peace of mind that my brushes are actually sanitized (spray or drip on the brush, wipe on paper towels, and dry thoroughly).  You can clean as often as you'd like, say, after every time you use your brushes, once a week, bi-monthly, or monthly at the least! 
  5. Stocking up is not a faux pas.  Love a brush and wish you could have two?  Then, go for it!  Do what I did and instead of compromising with only one of your favorites, buy a second brush because you know you'll make use of it.  I, myself, own two brushes of the same type -- I use one for lighter eyeshadow colors and one for darker colors, so I don't have to clean the darker pigment off the brush if I want to go back into the lighter color. 
  6. Buy within your budget.  If you are on a budget, you could either go with Sonia Kashuk's brushes -- she has a very fine collection available at Target.  If you are starting out and want to pace yourself, go mid-end and go with MAC or Sephora's brushes.  Although the line between mid-end and high-end brushes (based on cost alone) is a fine one, if you've got loads of money, I recommend buying from Body and Soul or Shu Uemura
 Here are my MAC brush recommendations:
  • for general application of shadow, blending, and darkening of the crease and outer corner of the eye -- the 217 brush.
  • for application of concealer and other liquid to cream products over a small (not spot-concealing) to medium area -- the 195 brush.
  • for filling in brows with powder product -- the 288 brush.
  • for blush or powder application -- the 129 brush.
  • for application of cream or gel eyeliner -- the 266 brush.
  • for application of cream to solid foundation product -- the 190 brush.
  • for application of liquid foundation product -- either the 109 or 188 brush.
  • for application of powder foundation product -- the 138 (useful for getting under the eye), the 134 (useful for allover general application), or the 225 (useful for targeted smaller areas such as only beneath the eyes) brush.
For more in-depth reviews on the brushes mentioned above and more, look for my official MAC makeup product reviews under "banhbaocheeks."
Next Post »