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You can have the best makeup in the world, but the proper application tools are essential for a flawless finish. Sure, you can get away with your fingers with some things (such as cream blush or highlighter), but professional-grade results require precise, even application that only a brush can provide. Celebrity makeup artist Natasha Severino (whoâ€™s worked with the likes of Amber Valletta and Rita Ora) weighs inâ€¦
Whatâ€™s better than two brushes in one? It Cosmeticsâ€™ Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7 ($48) is a dual-ended dynamo that has your foundation and concealer needs covered. Comprised of synthetic bristles, the larger brush buffs foundation to an air-brushed finish while the smaller brush allows for targeted application and beautiful blending.
MUA Advice: Severino says, â€œWhen it comes to foundation and concealer brushes, I only use synthetic bristles because they are easier to clean.â€
Even if you only use one eyeshadow shade, use a matte neutral as a base for optimal results. The proper blending brush is key for a seamless transition from color to color (especially if using two, three or more hues), and MACâ€™s 224 Tapered Blending Brush ($32) is a perennial makeup artist favorite. With a short handle and goat-hair bristles, its ability to subtly blend cream and powder pigments without disrupting your handiwork is unsurpassable.
MUA Advice: â€œSynthetic brushes work best for applying and blending cream pigments, while goat or sable bristles are better for powders,â€ explains Severino.
Yes, one brush can meet myriad makeup needs, and Charlotte Tilburyâ€™s Powder & Sculpt Brush ($49) is one of them. Used to apply powder under the eyes and around the T-zone after foundation, to contour and highlight the cheeks and jawline, or precisely place blush, this natural-bristle tapered brush deposits just the right amount of color every time.
MUA Advice: Severino shares, â€œWhen contouring with creams, I blend with my fingertips or a sponge. If Iâ€™m using powders, I apply with a curved crush for a more chiseled cheek or use a mid-sized fluffy brush for a softer shadow.â€
â€˜Tis the season for sun-kissed skin, but the only healthy tan is a faux tan. Regardless of the bronzer you choose, Kevyn Aucoinâ€™s Large Fan Brush ($60) leaves skin with a natural-looking finish every time. The shape and density of the goat hair and synthetic bristles allow for light-handed application, which translates to a fineÂ dusting of powder with no stripes or streaks whatsoever.
MUA Advice: â€œUse bronzing powder where the sun would naturally kiss the face. Gently sweep over the cheekbones, forehead, chin, nose and eyelids,â€ advises Severino.
The Finishing Touch
When youâ€™ve applied foundation, concealer, bronzer, highlighter (or more), you have to make sure everything blends together, and the Artis Oval 8 ($65) is just the brush to do it. Sure, you can use this synthetic brush to apply foundation, bronzing powder or highlighter to larger areas, but itâ€™s a dream for finessing your hard work and the ideal finishing touch before you walk out the door.
MUA Advice:Â Severino’s rule: â€œI always have a clean brush on hand for blending.â€
BITB Tip:Â When was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? Youâ€™ve heard it before (and weâ€™ll tell you again), but itâ€™s imperative to cleanse your brushes not only for flawless makeup, but for the health of your skin as well. The Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette ($15) makes it super easy, and all it takes is a bit of gentle facial cleanser and a few swirls to rid your brushes of makeup, oil and dirt.
Note:Â It Cosmetics products were provided for review. Opinions are my own.