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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 (who’s worked with the likes of Amber Valletta and Rita Ora) weighs in…
What’s better than two brushes in one? It Cosmetics’ 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, “When it comes to foundation and concealer brushes, I only use synthetic bristles because they are easier to clean.”
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 MAC’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: “Synthetic brushes work best for applying and blending cream pigments, while goat or sable bristles are better for powders,” explains Severino.
Yes, one brush can meet myriad makeup needs, and Charlotte Tilbury’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, “When contouring with creams, I blend with my fingertips or a sponge. If I’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.”
‘Tis the season for sun-kissed skin, but the only healthy tan is a faux tan. Regardless of the bronzer you choose, Kevyn Aucoin’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 fine dusting of powder with no stripes or streaks whatsoever.
MUA Advice: “Use bronzing powder where the sun would naturally kiss the face. Gently sweep over the cheekbones, forehead, chin, nose and eyelids,” advises Severino.
The Finishing Touch
When you’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 it’s a dream for finessing your hard work and the ideal finishing touch before you walk out the door.
MUA Advice: Severino’s rule: “I always have a clean brush on hand for blending.”
BITB Tip: When was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? You’ve heard it before (and we’ll tell you again), but it’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: It Cosmetics products were provided for review. Opinions are my own.