The Key to Better Makeup Application

What if we told you that the best way to improve your makeup experience might not be to change the products you use, but instead the products you use to put that makeup on? Today, learn the basics of building a brush set, with tips from a pro!

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The secret behind those makeup artists and bloggers who have flawless makeup on Instagram isn't (usually) a filter—often it comes down to the brushes they use to apply their cosmetics. Instead of relying on a random assortment of tools you found at a drugstore, it pays to invest in good, sturdy, high-quality brushes. They'll help you streamline your routine every morning, speeding up the whole process, and making your face look better at the very same time.

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Blondie, who only goes by that name, is an Australian-born and Los Angeles-based makeup artist who has applied her brushes to well-known faces such as Cara Delevingne, Willow Shields, and singer Kilo Kish. And, according to her, brushes are the most important aspect of makeup application.

How to identify a pro makeup artist? They will usually be wearing a crossbody bag that holds their nice makeup brushes, like this artist at Berlin Alternative Fashion Week. Photograph courtesy of Christian Vierig/Getty Images
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Here, she explains the different brush parts to survey before you buy. 

Check 1: The Softness

"Make sure the bristles don't feel scratchy, even synthetic brushes should feel soft," she says.

Check 2: The Fiber

"It is entirely personal if you wish to use a natural fiber brush, or a synthetic fiber," Blondie says. Although she notes that "firm synthetic bristles have stronger application properties, so they're great for cream and liquid-based products." Natural fibers are best for applying and blending powders.

Check 3: The Handle

The brush handle matters, too. "Make sure the handles are sturdy and that they won't come unglued when washing," she advises.

Now that you know the basics of what to look out for, check out some brushes that are integral to makeup sets for all levels of expertise, from beginner to advanced. Use this as your guide for building your collection!

For Foundation

190 Foundation Brush, $35,
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"For base I would recommend this brush for all cream or liquid foundations—it won't soak up all the product, unlike sponges," Blondie says.

For Blush 

Natural Brush 20h, $50,

"I live for this brush! It is perfect for a soft application," Blondie notes. "When doing your blush you want to avoid brushes that are too firm, as the product will be harder to blend." 

For Eye Shadow

220 Luxe Grand Shader, $12,
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"Opt for a soft, flat brush," Blondie says. "For a light application of shadow use a fluffier brush, and for more dense application go for a firmer bristle."

For Eyeliner and Eyebrows 

#47 Angled Eyeliner Brush, $28,
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"This brush can be used with a black eye shadow or gel eyeliner to define the eye," she says.  "You can also use it with a powder brow product for a more defined brow." 

For Clean-up

Brush 7.5 Deluxe Round Shader, $35,

"I like to think of this as my magic eraser. Once you have applied your shadow, use this brush to clean off any product and to blend eyeshadow," Blondie says.

More interested in a one-stop shop? These are the sets that Blondie recommends: 

Look in a Box Brush Kit, $60,
Basic 5 Pieces Brush Set, $202,
Rose Golden Luxury Set Vol. 3, $103,
Personal Set, $300,
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