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The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Makeup Brushes: Necessary or Nah?

Makeup+brushes
Makeup brushes

For many, the summertime is a break in more ways than one. It’s a chance not only to recuperate emotionally from the strain of a packed semester schedule, but also to take a break from product overload to bring your skin’s health back up after all the strain put on it from the school year stress and regular makeup application.
Now that it’s time to put our professional faces on, it may be a good opportunity to try some new techniques for applying makeup. If you’re like me, you may have doubted the necessity of makeup brushes. Not only are they mindblowingly expensive, but it just doesn’t seem like there would be a major difference between applying makeup with your hands or with a brush.
To be honest? Having experimented with both, the difference does not seem that drastic. But there certainly are benefits to switching to brushes.
I have always been the type who felt I had more control in applying foundation and concealer exclusively with my fingers. The few brushes I did try, such as The One Perfecting Brush by Becca, were an awful experience. My foundation was streaky and the brushes often shed onto my face despite the hefty price tags.
It’s important to remember that, regardless of how much you pay for a brush, it is simply not going to work unless you learn techniques for applying your makeup. You have to be willing to switch up your application tricks a bit.
Since switching to a brush for my foundation, I have found that I can take a lot less foundation much, much further. This is because a brush makes the blending process much easier. Using my selected foundation brush, I buff the foundation onto my skin using small strokes and taking my time doing so over and over on all parts of my face. Blending is the most critical part of smooth foundation – more important than your brand of foundation or brush.
As for applying my concealer, I have found that a combination of using my fingers and a small concealer brush to blend it into my foundation has been the best technique. You can blend pretty well just patting with your fingers, but going back over your concealer by patting it with your concealer brush makes sure to remove any distinction between foundation and concealer.
However, if it came down to picking between getting a foundation brush and a concealer brush, the foundation brush is the much better choice. The improvement you get from a foundation brush is worth way more than the improvement you get out of a concealer brush.
Finally, if you are going to apply any sort of powder – whether it be a setting powder, a bronzer, or a blush – you are going to get way more control and a more even application with a brush. I have always stuck to drugstore brands for powder brushes and have never had an issue. I would save splurging for your foundation brush and possibly your concealer brush.
As a bonus, I’ll include my favorite eyebrow brush. People have many different techniques and products they use to do their eyebrows, including simply using eyeshadow. I like the specially formulated waterproof gels, and have had much success with brushes geared towards those products.
Here are my personal favorites!
1. Foundation Brush: Sephora Collection Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53, $38.00
I really love a dewy and fresh look for my foundation, and this brush has been a godsend for achieving it. Although I was pretty satisfied with how my makeup looked when applied with my fingers, I felt I could do a lot more with a lot less using a brush. I also learned to build up foundation very gradually, only using small dots of foundation on my face and blending them in before adding the next round of dots.
This brush leaves absolutely no streaks and makes blending super easy because of its shape. It is shaped like an oval and the tapered edges make it easy to apply foundation to places like your nose, while the thicker center part makes it easy to apply to places like your cheeks. It also comes with a bristle-protecting case that makes it easier to bring along when traveling.
2. Concealer Brush: Sephora Collection Pro Flat Concealer #76, $20.00
Economically, this brush is less of a plunge than others out there. One of the key elements of brushes is the shape of the brush itself, which tends to determine the application process. I personally feel that a flat concealer brush is ideal for patting and blending.
This brush is my favorite because, while being flat, the end is rounded, making it a little easier to blend. Like the #53 brush, the #76 comes with a bristle-protecting case.
3. Setting Powder Brushes: Mineral Powder Brush and Eye Shading Brush from the Ecotools 5-Piece Mineral Brush Set, $12.99
Although getting a set of five brushes for only 13 bucks may make you nervous about the quality of what you’re paying for, you truly get a bang for your buck with this Ecotools set. Since I have always used a mineral-based setting powder (and experimented with mineral powder foundation), this set was an obvious choice. The Mineral Powder Brush is large, round, and fluffy – perfect for gently dusting on and blending a layer of translucent powder.
I like to use the Eye Shading Brush for applying setting powder under my eyes. I feel that it is too round to work for eyeshadow because I like the control of a flat blush in applying product to my eyelids. It is the perfect size to reach the small creases under my eyes.
4. Blush, Bronzer, and Highlighter Brushes: Mini Kabuki from the Ecotools 5-piece Mineral Brush Set, $12.99
I see a lot of people having separate brushes for applying their bronzer, blush, and highlighter, but I have never seen the point. I use powders for each, meaning they all have about the same consistency and require similar blushes. I also like to blend them all in really well and they frequently overlap, so why not just use one brush for all of it?
The Mini Kabuki from the Ecotools set is perfect for the job. When switching from bronzer to blush to highlighter, I simply rub the brush on the back of my hand to minimize muddying the products together. I also simply squeeze the fluffy end of the brush to form a thin line of bristles when applying my highlighter, so I can focus it on particular parts of my face.
5. Make Up For Ever 274 Double Ended Eyebrow Brush, $28.00
Figuring out how to do my eyebrows was probably my biggest struggle with makeup, but after getting this brush, I never had any more issues. One end of the brush has a stiff, angled, flat brush for applying the eyebrow color to the hairs. The other end has a spiral brush to sweep the excess product and soften the look. The brush honestly does all the work and is worth the investment.