Hiya Groupthink friends! I haz another post on mah blog! Promise, I am going to try and post more. I'm thinking every Tuesday is a good place to start. We shall see how this goes. Next, maybe a video? Yeah. That'll be interesting. Cross your fingers. But here ya go!

Hello there!

Now, before we get into some of my more elaborate tips and tricks (And I promise I will be posting more. I swear. Every Tuesday, even!) let’s talk about some makeup nitty gritty. No, nothing actually gritty. Though, if you don’t clean them properly, gritty may well happen... But back on topic: BRUSHES! Now, I could have gone to a store and bought a nice matched set, and told y’all how to use each one, and what they all are called, but I thought that would be disingenuous. So what you will see is a beautiful picture of all the brushes that I own (and use!) - except one. I can’t find my pesky liquid concealer brush. But you can rest assured I have another, and will mention the perks of having one for both powders and liquids when I get there.

Hopefully, you will be able to make out the format. Instead of taking a bajillion pictures, and making you scroll back and forth between them, I have one picture with numbers on it. I’ll be going through one by one, and describing the brush, but you’ll be able to see them all in one handy reference photo.

If anyone would like more information, or a more detailed look at any single brush, please let me know in the comments. Happy to extrapolate! Let’s do this, friends!

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  1. The Blush Brush - There are many different kinds of blush brushes out there, but this one is my particular favorite. Mostly, and this is good for you, dear readers, because it’s very easy to use, and doesn’t require a lot of skill. I’m lazy, ok? See how it’s tapered up at an angle? That is the exact angle at which you want to sweep the blush across the apples of your cheeks to get a basic flushed look. Easy peasy.
  2. Concealer - As I mentioned, this is a concealer brush for powder use. Ever since switching over to Bare Minerals for my daily ‘face’, I’ve been obsessed with this brush. It basically allows you to put a little bit of the powder in a more concentrated area, so you end up with more evenly toned skin. However, I do still use a liquid foundation for events where I want something just a tad longer-lasting and sophisticated. That’s when I’d use my other concealer brush, which looks almost exactly the same - it’s just smaller.
  3. A Lip Brush - I’ll be perfectly honest with you on this, friends, I rarely use lip brushes. I recognize that they can be very useful, but if a lip product requires more than about ten seconds to apply I start rapidly losing interest. Again, lazy. It’s good to have around, however, especially when the urge to put on a vampy red lip strikes! It allows for far more precision than your finger or the actual tube of lipstick allows, so you have expert control over where and how much lipstick goes on. Not an essential, but useful.
  4. Eye Brushes - Ok, so from the little gold brush over to the two-ended brush are my eye brushes. The smallest is just a little eyeshadow brush that I use mostly for highlighter, but is also good for sweeping on sheer color. Next is my eyelash brush (yeah, I recognize that I should get a new one. what can I say, I like definition when it comes to my mascara!), which is basically used to define and separate lashes after mascara application. After that is a basic large shadow blush, then a flat shadow brush, an eyeliner brush, and finally a two sided ‘smokey eye’ brush. I use the large brush the most - it lets me just smudge a basic color all over my eyelid, and allows for a pretty even application of color. The flat brush is a little more finicky, but is excellent for more precise color application. Eyeliner brush - a super handy little brush that lets you use eyeshadow as liner! Just smudge the itty bitty angled brush right next to your lash line and you are good to go! The duo brush? Pretty useless. I used it mostly for the liner brush until I got a better one, and now I use it mostly to correct mistakes. Also, for those of you who think duo brushes are a great idea: they are hell to store. You can’t stick them in a jar, which is my preferred method, otherwise the fibers get all smooshed. No good.
  5. Foundation Brush - This is strictly for liquid foundation. I love it for harder to reach areas, as it lets you really get in and around all the peaks and valleys that make up your beautiful face. It’s a little hard to explain how you use this one exactly, so I’ll make a note to use it in a video soon. Hold me to that, my little cabbages!
  6. Powder Brushes - The two black/natural brushes are for my Bare Minerals powders, and you basically just swirl them all around your face. Super easy, very soft, two sizes so you can use them different ways. The white/pink brush I got when I thought I’d try Guerlain’s Meteorites. And... that’s about all I use it for. If you are photographed often, I recommend the product and the brush, but other than that it’s easily skippable.
  7. Kabuki Brushes - Well, all but one. The largest is actually an airbrush foundation brush by Tarte, and I freaking LOVE it. I use it with their Amazonian clay foundation, for those times you really just need a more ‘upscale’ look. It’s soft, easy to use, really does give you an airbrushed look, and was worth every penny. The other three really are ‘kabuki’ brushes. See the one a little bit in the back, with white and black fibers? That’s my finishing powder brush. It is softer than sin, and according to one of my friends at my local Sephora is the #1 product that people shoplift. Really, I can’t blame them, because it’s like heaven in brush form. You don’t have to use it with the product it is made for (though I do, because it seriously cuts down on my face’s oil-slick tendencies), it works nicely with a variety of finishing powders. Last, but not least, is the most versatile of my brushes (we’re ignoring the mini-kabuki, because as far as I can tell it’s kind of useless). That little bugger does everything. I use it primarily for bronzer, but you can also use it for blush, to smudge around highlighter, for contouring, or all-over powder. I’ve used it for liquid foundation before, but I find the bristles are a little stiff for that, and I don’t end up with a very ‘soft’ look. Seriously, if you’re going to buy just one new brush this year, get one of these.

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Those are my brushes! I’d like to leave you with a couple of final thoughts, if that’s alright.

First of all, please remember to keep your brushes clean. Even if you’re just spraying on a basic cleaner and wiping them on a cloth after you use them, that’s good enough. I’d like you to also deep clean them at least once a month, because bacteria WILL build up in them, and you’ll pay for that in angry skin. Be gentle when you clean them, use a special brush cleaner or even a gentle baby shampoo, but make sure they stay clean. It’s not a lot of extra work, and both your makeup collection and your skin will thank you!

Finally, please realize that you don’t have to buy the highest-quality brushes on the planet for them to be really useful additions to your routine. I’ll be honest - most of these brushes were fairly pricey. The Tarte brush by itself was $30+, and the Guerlain brush was close to $40. I recommend buying the most expensive brush you can afford, because they WILL last longer, but most specialty stores make excellent store-brand brushes that are nearly professional quality. Sephora has two or three different lines now, all of which are quite good, and seven of the brushes shown are from the Sephora lines. If you are brand new to this, get a set! That’s a really great way to introduce yourself to the concept of using brushes, and you can get some wonderful deals. Keep in mind - if you do go that way, get a set that has both face and eye brushes. That way you aren’t overwhelmed by how many different brushes are out there for even the most basic of things - I can think of a couple different styles of blush brushes off the top of my head (I have a ridiculously small collection for someone who loves makeup as I do. Plans are in the pipeline to change this, but I get by with these quite nicely for now!). I wish you luck on your journey, and as always please don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments!

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Mes petites choux, ciao!

(Originally published here)