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Updated: Jun 20, 2022

You have implemented an excellent skincare routine and are getting positive results, but you still have trouble getting a smooth finish on your makeup application.

Questions to ask yourself –

  • Are your makeup products up to date and clean?

  • Are your brushes worn out, dirty, or wrong texture?

  • Are you using too much product all at once?

As a makeup artist, one of the main goals is to create a flawless finish on the skin with any desired makeup look. There are different parts to a makeup application that influence the overall finished product or results. The texture of the skin is not the end-all factor. You can get closer to that flawless finish using ideal tools and products that deliver the kind of makeup application results many seek. Much like how we see fashion, the idea that you want to wear the look, not let the look wear you, is also common to makeup. The smoother the application, the more it looks natural and enhances your appearance, rather than having your makeup look muddy, thick, and cakey. Keep in mind that not all makeup styles work well on every face. With essential tools like quality makeup brushes and proven techniques, you can build on your makeup skills and learn how to wear makeup well.

Model with large black hat and flowing red scarf. Sleeveless button up black dress. Green eyeshadow with pale pink lip color.
Red Scarf @Kim McElroy

Consumers spend millions on first-choice skincare and makeup products. Still, they may overlook the one essential tool that will give them and you a higher quality and longer-lasting makeup application. Without a doubt, quality makeup brushes are essential. When you combine quality makeup brushes with quality makeup products and several application techniques, getting a smooth makeup finish is possible. The opposite is also true that using poor-quality tools and products can negatively affect the results you will get from your makeup application.

What is the difference in quality? What are the best brushes to use?

It can be challenging to decide on what brushes to choose among the many styles and materials used to make brushes. Many companies are moving toward using nylon, polyester, plastic, or a hybrid of synthetic and natural bristles. As makeup artists weigh in on quality control and have differing opinions, my personal choice has always been to use natural goat hair brushes, and here’s why. Much like the quality of well-balanced light in a professional photo, makeup must also have balance to look great. To create that balance, you need quality brushes of the natural kind.

Natural vs. Synthetic Bristles

Let’s break this down a little. Painters generally use stiff and soft brushes of all shapes and sizes as they work on different surfaces like canvas, fabric, cement, wood, and glass, while makeup artists work on people’s skin. Since skin is a makeup artist’s canvas, a live, pliable surface, the tools you use must be gentle, soft, and efficiently transfer and evenly distribute a product to the skin. Synthetic brushes can feel soft, but they can’t mimic the texture and performance of real goat hair brushes. Plus, synthetic bristles can be stiff and not able to give the ultimate smooth finish. Plastic as the vessel to transfer powder products smoothly doesn’t work as well as a natural hair bristle. Although, not to discredit synthetic brushes completely, they do work fine to transfer liquid and gel makeup products.

This is a table with a makeup artist set up of brushes and makeup products.
A Professional Makeup Artist's Kit

Natural bristles can balance out the warmth of the skin with the natural moisture and oils that the skin secretes. Natural bristles also work better with skincare products that keep your skin plump and hydrated. It is the interaction between the natural goat hair and the natural surface of the skin that creates a flawless finish.

Natural goat hair makeup brushes feel luxurious on the skin’s surface while giving you a refined, smooth finish to your makeup application. Yes, some brush bristles shed a bit, but that is what natural hair does, right? Removing a run-away strand isn’t tricky when you ultimately get the kind of makeup finish that wows.

Natural bristled makeup brushes protect your skin, while poorer quality brushes can be abrasive from the rough edges. When you take time to care for your skin, the last thing you want is to damage it with makeup tools.

That little spongy applicator that comes in drug store eyeshadow and even some high-end products will do nothing to benefit the texture you get when applying your eyeshadow. The rough sponge applicator will deliver an uneven and overly thick result. If you haven’t added quality makeup brushes to your kit, you are better off using your fingertips, specifically your ring finger or pinky. Quality makeup applied with a feather’s touch when using natural hair brushes of soft goat hair will give you a smoother finish.

Whether you are a makeup artist or for at-home use, and you’re looking to up your game in the field of makeup and you want to achieve your best possible makeup application, investing in quality brushes is essential and can put you in the right direction.

Cleaning Tips

To clean and maintain the health and life of your natural goat hair brushes, I recommend using a fragrance-free glycerin soap and lukewarm water. After cleansing each brush in a circular motion in the palm of your hand and rinsing well, squeeze out the moisture with a clean towel and shake it out or rub the bristles over the towel to loosen up the individual hair for ease of drying. You want the strands to look fluffy and separated. Never soak your brushes in a water bath, which will eventually deteriorate the wood and get too much moisture in the base of the bristles enclosed in the stem. The reason for using a glycerin soap is to free the brushes from oils, product residue, and other icky stuff that can build up over-usage. I avoid using alcohol-based cleaning products except for a quick swipe for in-between maintenance. You also don’t need to use your makeup cleanser because it can leave the product residue on the bristles that can gum up your powdered products. You want your face to be cleansed and moisturized. You want your brushes clean from any residue to get the optimal performance.

What brushes to use first?

It can be overwhelming to figure out which brush styles are the most essential. There are so many brush styles that it can be confusing what does what. Many are repeats in a different form and do the same function. You will need only the brushes that it takes to get the look you want. So, if you are going super-natural, you may only need one great blush brush. For more extravagant and intricate looks, you need brushes that deliver a specific function, like creating a thin line of gel liner on the eyelid. Specific brushes are used for a single purpose, while other brushes are multi-functional.

You can control the level and depth of color with quality brushes, which build a makeup look by applying thin layers until you get the desired result.

To further assist, I will be listing the most essential brushes to include in your makeup kit in an upcoming blog post.

Scroll down and sign up for a free subscription and stay up-to-date on the next makeup and skincare lessons to build your makeup skills. Future blogs will be going over hair styling, hair care, and more.

I also offer private online consultations.

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