From the Alicia Keys “No Makeup” movement, to the revolution Rihanna has created with her all-inclusive makeup line Fenty, the power of makeup is changing. Makeup is not only glittery, bold eyeshadow and colourful lipsticks we throw on for fun. It is, for a good portion of women, the little extra we need to step into the world confidently and make a difference.
So, why go through life with bad makeup brushes, bustled bristles, and poorly blended contour. We deserve better than that. Whether you decide to leave the house with simply a little blush, or want to wow the town with a full glam look, here are some essential tips for picking your makeup brushes.
What to Look For: Bristles
Natural hair brushes are made from various animal hair such as goats, horse or squirrels. However, because these brushes are made from animal hair, they aren’t cruelty free. We don’t stock them or recommend their usage, due to the animal cruelty aspect, as well as the fact that the porous cuticles on the animal hair shaft can harbour bacteria, which can lead to breakouts and contamination of your makeup products.
Made up of manmade bristles, usually from nylon or other synthetic fibers, synthetic brushes are the acceptable alternative to natural brushes made from animal hair. Synthetic makeup brushes are unique from natural brushes in that they don’t have a cuticle. Their lack of a hair cuticle makes them great for cream-based products such as foundation and concealer because they won’t trap makeup. Since synthetic bristles tend to gravitate towards one another, they’re perfect for precision application.
The Core Four
You can either buy makeup brushes as a set, which usually works out more affordable, or you can purchase individually. The 4 essential brushes we recommend:
Large brush for powder
You’ll need a large powder brush for powder or bronzer on the face and/or body. Try the Essential Powder Brush, perfect for applying translucent powders, powder foundation, or bronzer to the entire face and/or parts of the body such as the neck, collarbone, shoulders, and more.
Smaller brush for powdered accents
For bronzer, blush, and highlighter (glow, baby), use a slightly smaller fluffy brush. Try the Essential Angled Blush Brush, made up of durable bristles perfect for applying those powdered accents. Looking for a more chiseled look? Press bristles between fingers for better control and definition.
Eyeshadow brush for base
For eyes that pop, use an eyeshadow brush roughly the size of your fingertip. Try the Essential Large Eyeshadow Brush for applying eyeshadow. Start by applying a lighter shade from the inner corner to the middle. Then, work outward with a contour shade (darker than your base shade). Don’t forget to blend the two shades in the middle of your eyelid. Large eyeshadow brushes can also be used to apply highlight to the cheeckbones.
Smaller eyeshadow brush for blending
For a good blend and smudge, use a smaller shadow brush such as the Essential Eyeshadow Brush. This brush will be key for getting rid of that dreaded raccoon look. For the immediate area outside of your eyelid (about halfway up to your eyebrow), use this smaller eyeshadow brush to blend and smudge any sort of edges that you may have created.
Scarier than it sounds, contouring is the new wave of makeup trends. It can take a round face and give it angles; take a set of cheeks and make them structured; even, take a thicker nose and create the illusion of a thinner one. Contour is fabulous. Hence, with great contouring comes great brushes (it’s a must). First, let’s breakdown contouring into a step-by-step process.
What you’ll need:
Step 1: Base
Using a gentle cleanser, clean and apply a light SPF moisturizer to your face. Apply your most-matching foundation over your face with a foundation brush or a beauty sponge. Don’t forget to blend the midway of your neck; this will decrease the chance of having a darker face than neck.
Step 2: T-zone
Using a lighter foundation stick, apply this to areas in your T-zone, which include centre of forehead, middle of the nose, middle of the chin and upper lip. To get rid of baggy eyes, apply under your eyes, too. Blend into the skin with your sponge or concealer brush.
Step 3: Contour
Using a darker cream foundation or contour cream, map the areas of your face you’d like to contour. Try the cheekbones (just where the bone dips into a hallow area), jawline, sides of the nose, temple (you can even extend up to the forehead for people with longer foreheads), and even below and above your lips to create the illusion of fuller lips. For this step, we recommend the Contour and Highlight Duo. On one end is a smooth, matte contour cream stick perfect for mapping your areas of contour, and on the opposite end is an illuminating liquid highlighter which will perfectly accent your work of art.
Step 4: Blend
Using your fingertips, a brush, or blending sponge, begin to blend your contour toward your face with the blending sponges bigger end. For the smaller, more intricate areas such as the sides of your nose, try to flatten the blender by squeezing it as you press the cream into the skin. Make sure there are no remaining lines. Oh, the horrors we’ve seen in contour.
Step 5: Set
Now that your foundation is in place set it by applying a finishing powder to your entire face (and neck). This will remove any extra shine while ensuring your face does not look cakey from the foundation. Our Prep + Set + Go Translucent Powder will give you that post-contour finish to set everything in place.
Step 6: Blush and Glow
After applying blush to your cheeks (upward toward your temples), use a powder highlight to make your cheekbones pop! Want to glow even more? Apply just a bit to the tip of your nose, your cupid’s bow and right along your collarbone. With all that glow, you’re a sight for sore eyes.
What to Avoid
Natural-bristle Makeup Brushes
As we are a cruelty free company, all Ooh Fabulous! Makeup brushes are vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. Regardless of which kind you prefer, keep in mind, there are ways to manufacture makeup brushes without harming animals in the process. Therefore, our synthetic blend of bristles used to craft each brush are strong enough to hold dark pigments, like that black eyeshadow you put on when you’re feeling tough, yet soft enough to blend the softess shades that enhance your gorgeous features subtly.
Avoid brushes that are impossible to clean. In the argument of natural versus synthetic brushes, we opt for synthetic due to their ability to be easily washed. Often overlooked, cleaning makeup brushes is essential in warding off bacteria and preventing breakouts.
How to clean your makeup brushes & sponges
Because the makeup industry wouldn’t be as glamorous without the very queen Kandee Johnson herself, we look to her for advice on cleaning our makeup brushes and sponges like a pro. For those of you who prefer a DIY-method of attack, Johnson recommends pouring one-half teaspoon of gentle dish soap or shampoo onto a plate. Swirl your brush or sponge into the mixture, then continue to swirl on an empty part of your plate until the soap is completely worked into your brush. Repeat with every brush in your kit, rinse, then leave out for six to eight hours to dry. Learn more at kandeejohnson.com.
We also recommend using a silicone makeup brush pad for your brushes after they’ve been soaked in a cleansing solution. Repeatedly wipe the wet brush back and forth on the ribbed silicone pad until there is no product remaining on the bristles. Remember, do not get any Ooh Fabulous! brush handles wet; only the bristles should be soaked.
With the hardworking money we spend on our makeup, why waste it on bad contour lines and racoon eyes due to the inability of weak makeup brushes. Next time you’re going for that flawless Kim Kardashian look, make sure your makeup brushes are prepared to handle the glow-up. Check out Ooh Fabulous! for your next set of makeup brushes, contour kits, and anything else you may need to feel your most confident you. Remember, all of our Ooh Fabulous! makeup brushes are vegan-friendly and cruelty-free – something to be proud of aside from your fabulous eyeshadow job.