Thursday 19 March 2015

A Beginner's Guide to Makeup Brush Collecting

If you're just starting out with makeup and beauty, and are wondering what brushes you should get to kick off your collection, then you've come to the right place. It can be a bit daunting to go to a beauty store, or a makeup brush store, and see so many brushes that you don't know where to start.

All those "makeup collection" videos on YouTube and those Instagram photos full of brush collections? You don't need all that. It's something you build up over time. You will discover what you like and what works for you, but everyone needs to start somewhere and here's where.

1. Foundation brush
This brush in and of itself is a very diverse 'type' of brush, and it all depends on what you prefer, so try out different ones. There are flat foundation brushes, stippling brushes, fluffy foundation brushes, and dense flat-top foundation brushes. They all do different things, apply foundation differently, and have different finishes when used. Let's dig deeper.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- COMMON FLAT FOUNDATION BRUSH -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is the type of foundation brush that you will usually find on brush sets. They are basic, common, and they do the trick. The pros to these types of brushes are that they give good coverage, they're easy to use and they don't overly absorb product. The cons are that they don't blend, they aren't good for sheer or light coverage, and they don't work perfectly on their own. By that I mean, they apply foundation in such a way that it sits on the skin and you would need a sponge or beauty blender to blend it into the skin further.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- STIPPLING FOUNDATION BRUSH -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A stippling foundation brush does exactly what it sounds like it does-- it stipples the product onto your face. The way they're typically designed is that they've got dense bases, and then the flat-top part of the brush has very light bristles. To use this brush, you're meant to pat the stippling brush into the product, and then blend it into the skin in circular motions.

The pros to this brush, and this technique, is that you've got very full control over your coverage and your overall finish. By using this brush you get a very even coverage, and by swirling it onto the skin you get a very nice finish that doesn't feel cakey and doesn't sit on the skin. In my opinion, there aren't any cons to this brush.

A good stippling foundation brush at a reasonable price is the Real Techniques brush. You can buy Real Techniques at Walmart or from the website itself.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FLAT TOP FOUNDATION BRUSH -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Much like the stippling brush, this brush has a flat-top but unlike the stippling brush, it is much more dense. It is used much like the stippling brush as well, however the difference in application is that by being much denser, the coverage of foundation is much heavier and more full.

A good flat-top brush (typically called flat-top kabuki) is harder to find than the other two, at least a good quality one, so I would recommend the Sigma F80 which retails for roughly $24.00.

The pros for this brush are the coverage, you get a very full, even, coverage with the flat top kabukis so if you prefer a heavier coverage without looking too cakey (though part of that depends on the foundation), then this brush is something you would do wise by investing in. If I had a con for this brush, it would be that blending is a little less easy as the bristles are so dense and you can only blend such a small area at a time.

The above are the main types of foundation brushes, and it's all up to you which one you prefer. Try them out and figure out what's best for the looks you do most often and invest in one good brush. Price doesn't always equal quality, so shop around.

2. Eyeshadow brushes
I put this category in plural form, because I think every basic makeup brush collection needs various types of eyeshadow brushes. I'm going to start with the basics and get a little more thorough depending on what you think you might need or want aside from the staple brushes.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BLENDING BRUSH -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I think this is the single most important brush in your eyeshadow brush collection. You can put shadows on with your fingers, you can make do with what you've got... But blending is a whole other deal. A necessary deal. You can get a blending brush pretty much anywhere, and they vary in price and size. Everyone's different, but the typical eyeshadow blending brush that you should opt for would be somewhat dome-shaped, fluffy, and not very dense. You want something that will feel soft, and fit very comfortably in your crease. e.l.f, or eco tools are two brands that sell excellent brushes for quite cheap, and there are a multitude of more expensive blending brushes at your reach as well.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SMALL PENCIL BRUSH -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A pencil eyeshadow brush is one that is very small, very precise, and rather dense. I included this brush because they are the most ideal for adding shadow to the bottom lash line, cutting the crease, and adding shadow to the inner corners of your eyes. Having a good precision brush is a good investment for different looks. A good one to grab is the Crown double ended brush; double ended brushes are good investments as you get two in one. The Crown brush (linked at the bottom of this blog post and shown in the image) has a pencil brush on one end, and a large shader brush on the other end. Two birds, one stone.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FLAT SHADOW BRUSH -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This one is something that not everyone might benefit from buying, but it is a good brush to have in any collection. A flat shadow brush that is nice and dense is great for packing colour onto the lid. If you want intensity or good colour payoff, a small flat brush will do a good job. 

These brushes are also good for precision work-- as they are flat, and narrow, you can use the edges of this brush to create precision lines.

3. Angled eyeliner brush.
Simple and straightforward. You don't get too much variety with this type of brush, but it is a good one to have. Winged liner is something everyone is doing /cue hipster mumbling about having done winged liner since eighth grade/ and having an angled eyeliner brush is a good thing to have if you're someone who makes use of gel or cream liners. Gel and cream eyeliners are good for anyone who might not be quite at the slaying level of doing eyeliner just yet. It's a bit more forgiving, and you can correct mistakes more easily as it doesn't set nearly as quickly as liquid. You can get an angled liner brush almost anywhere and need not splurge on this kind of brush.

4. Fluffy power/blush brush.
This one is another brush that is available in complete abundance, and there are many different shapes and sizes but to me, they all do basically the same thing. A nice big fluffy brush is good for powder and/or blush application. You can buy brushes that are more fluffy and ones that are denser which would be good for powder foundation or thick powder application, if that's your preference.

Those four categories/types of brushes are the most necessary brush types to start out with if you're wanting to begin collecting brushes and need a place to start. There are many places where you can buy brush sets, wherein you would get multiple different brushes in a set of however many and they really help to have on the side. Getting a cheaper brush set if you're not wanting to spend a lot of money is a good idea because they always come with brushes you might not use a lot, but they're good to have for a day where you try something new and need a brush for it. 

So browse around, get to shopping, and find what works best for you. Keep in mind that, as is always the case, what works for someone else might not work best for you. Figure out what does and you'll be on your way. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SOME OF MY FAVOURITE PICKS -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Stippling Brush
Real Techniques
$10.00 - $17.00
F80 Flat Kabuki
Essential foundation brush
Deluxe Double sided blender
Crown brushes

Disclaimers: Header photo from, edited by me, brush photos from their respective websites.

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