Makeup dominates the beauty industry, but it seems like there’s hardly any useful information advertised about makeup’s essential comrades—makeup brushes. They’re an obvious must-have, but you may be among many women who are wondering where to start or even what to look for when purchasing makeup brushes.
No need to feel lonely, let’s start with some basics.
Quality doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive. Some of my makeup artist friends have complained about how they spent a pretty penny on brushes that have been nothing but junk—and if they’ve fallen prey to business’s brush gimmicks it’s not hard to imagine how many others have too.
One of the first, and easiest, things to do is to look at the handle and the ferrule on the brush. It’s important to choose a wooden handle and titanium/nickel-plated brass ferrule with deep “crimps”, if you want a brush that isn’t going to come apart.
The ferrule should not move at all. Before you go gaga over the “new” multi-color ferrules, you should know that metal ferrules that aren’t as good of quality typically come in color (sad face). Though, Poor quality can still be disguised in silver. Little tip, I find that aluminum is a lighter-looking silver and titanium is a darker-looking silver. Also, cheaper metals can rust which is obviously something you don’t want to happen to something you just used all of your milk money on.
The second thing that you want to assess is the hair aka bristles. New brushes always shed a few hairs, but if you gently tug on the bristles and more than a few hairs come out then they were not glued correctly at the base. Also look at the shape of the bristles. If they create a symmetrical uniform shape then you know they’ve been aligned correctly.
It’s also important to know if the bristles are natural or synthetic. Natural bristles (such as goat, sable, or squirrel) are best for working with powder applications. They are typically brown, white, or black in color and very soft. Whereas synthetic (such as taklon and nylon) are going to be best for cream-based products. They are typically orange or white in color, soft but stiffer than natural hair. I don’t typically recommend blended bristles (both natural hairs and synthetic) unless you are a little more experienced with what mediums do well with blends (ah-ha that explains those streaks). It's a safer bet to stick with the general rules mentioned above.
So, how can you know what the hair really is? You will have to ask the company. I do want to note that many companies are moving towards engineered synthetic hair to mimic natural hair (which is great if you have any allergies), but you will just have to test to see if the engineered bristles are doing what they are supposed to. So read the companies description of intention.
Lastly, (yes I will be Captain Obvious) it’s a good idea to test how a brush feels when you hold it in your hand. It needs to feel comfortable and easy to use. Now you know what you are looking for and which makeup brushes are worth investing in.
Before we part here’s a few things I recommend you purchase to get your makeup brush collection started (Of course only buy what corresponds with the products that you use but I find these to be common for most people) and something to safely store them in:
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I am a professional makeup artist and licensed cosmetologist. I absolutely enjoy sharing hair and makeup tips to help others enhance their natural beauty. Trust me, you're gorgeous.