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How to make the most of make up brushes

Tricia Cusden / 15 June 2016

Make-up artist Tricia Cusden explains how to use make-up brushes to their full potential in this simple tutorial

Make up brushes

Before I trained as a make-up artist I would often ‘slap’ my make-up on using my fingers. However, I quickly realised that if you want a really professional finish, then the answer is to use the correct brush in the right way. Make-up artists always use a wide range of different brushes – because they are creating the perfect look, just as though they’re painting a portrait (they’re not called artists for nothing!). So, if you want a better, smoother and more professional finish with your make-up then the solution is to use the right brush in the right way.

More make up advice: How to look good

Face make-up brushes

The first brush you need is for your foundation. I like an angled foundation brush like our Brush 03 because it can be used more easily in the eye area. I swirl the brush into the foundation base that I’ve squirted onto the back of my hand and then, using a sweeping motion, I start to buff the product into my skin.

Concealer is definitely better applied with a brush with firmer short bristles because you need to stipple it into and on to those areas needing camouflage. The brush needs to be like our Brush 04 – small enough to get into the inner corners of the eyes. I sometimes use a very small brush to cover tiny individual blemishes with concealer and then pat with a finger.

A blusher brush is the best way to sweep an arc of colour on top of the cheekbone. Whether you are using a powder or cream-to-powder formulation, a brush is the perfect way to add colour to your cheeks and then smooth and blend so there are no hard edges.

Finally a big fat brush is the best way to apply a fine translucent powder or a bronzer. The idea of this brush is to lightly ‘dust’ the product onto those areas needing to reduce shine or to add a subtle ‘sun-kissed’ effect

Basic skin care tips

Eye make-up brushes

Start with the eyebrows, which are best groomed using a spoolie brush. This can also be helpful after you have applied The Brow Shape to ensure the colour is as subtle as possible.

For eyeshadow you need a short bristled small brush so you can easily apply the shadow to the lids and socket line. I always keep one ‘clean’ eye shadow brush so that I can thoroughly blend the eye shadow after application and ensure there are no hard edges.

There will usually be an integrated brush on any highlighter you use and mascara also comes with a brush, or ‘wand’ with which to sweep the product on to lashes.

Try our eye make-up masterclass

Lip brushes

A small fine brush is exactly right for painting on a perfect mouth with your chosen lip colour. First use Lip Prime just on the edges of your lips and let it dry. It’s then possible to create a really sharp line around the mouth using the lip brush and then fill in the rest of the lips with your chosen lipstick.

And finally – look after your brushes by washing them very regularly in warm soapy water (I use a mild shampoo or any hand wash to dissolve the make-up). Then dry them thoroughly, either on a radiator or on a sunny windowsill. If you look after them they will last for years, making them an excellent investment and essential items in your make-up kit!

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Tricia Cusden is founder and MD of Look Fabulous Forever.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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