Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tool Time: Part Two

hola chicas! time for part two of Tool Time, where i will focus on some more brushes that i think are crucial for getting your best makeup application. now these are brushes that are a little more specialized, probably better suited for someone who's into experimenting with her makeup and working on creating different looks. so if you're more than happy using your fingers to apply your makeup, don't feel bad, it's all about what makes you the most comfortable. here are some more of my favorites, so read on and enjoy!

4. this next brush is one that i only recently started using and fell deeply, head-over-heels in love with. MAC's 194 Concealer Brush, $18.50, is firm, flat, and slightly tapered, making it perfection for covering small spots and blending concealer underneath the eyes. all these years i've been of the school of thought that undereye concealer is best applied using the ring finger, because the heat from your finger helps warm and blend the concealer seamlessly. i still do believe that, but using the 194 brush to first apply and blend makes the task quicker, easier, and delivers a better end result. it's slim but firm shape is also great for concealing the darkness that some of us lucky girls have right under our lower lashline, a place impossible to get to with your finger. now i stroke on my concealer with the 194 and just use my ring finger to tap, tap, tap and blend away into invisible perfection. and the small point of the bristles is perfect for getting just the right amount of concealer onto a blemish without highlighting the skin around it. a cheaper alternative? try Essence of Beauty's Synthetic Conceal Brush, $3.99 at CVS stores or at their website.

5. our next brush gets the privilege of having cult status! people practically die over this brush and it's many, many uses! MAC's 187 Duo Fibre Face Brush, $42, boasts natural goat hair AND synthetic bristles, giving it it's distinctive two-toned look. often referred to as a 'skunk brush', this type of brush is made by many brands but none come close to the quality and performance of MAC's. the 187 is quite the multi-tasker, performing equally well whether it's being used with cream, liquid, or powder products. many swear by the airbrushed finish it gives when used with liquid foundation, and it's light touch is the perfect answer to highly pigmented blushes or shimmery highlighters. it also is wonderful for giving a light-as-air dusting of powder to set any look. it took me quite a while to be convinced that it was worth the money, but i'm here to tell you it definitely is. this is a brush i use almost every single day, and have washed many times, that still looks brand new. really want a skunk brush but don't have the cash for this one? try Flirt's Feather Dust-her Brush, $6, a brush that performs surprisingly well for it's low price. Flirt cosmetics are available exclusively at Kohl's, so stop in and check it out!

6. this next brush is one you've seen mentioned previously on my blog when i discussed smoky eyes. it's a wonderful brush that stands up a to a beating and ended up being well worth it's price (which i was not too happy about at the time). MAC's 209 Eyeliner Brush, $17, is just money well spent. it's slim but just stiff enough bristles give you the most perfect application of gel eyeliner that you never have to trace over! it also works really well when used damp with a powder eyeshadow to give you a softer intensity eyeliner. for brightening up any eye look i'm going for, i like to use my 209 dry with a white shimmery eye shadow to trace a line under my bottom lashline and around the inner corners of my eye. need a less expensive alternative? try E.L.F.'s Lip Defining Brush, $1 (yes, only one dollar! all of E.L.F.'s makeup is only a dollar, check them out here) which is the same shape as the 209 and could help you decide if this type of eyeliner brush is for you before you spend more money on it.

7. up next on the list is the perfect brush to bring out when you're in the mood to create a sexy, smudgy, soft looking eye. MAC's 219 Pencil Brush, $23, was made for precision shading on the eyelid, in the crease or along the lash line. the soft, smooth fibers of this brush are gathered into a pencil-shaped tip that's the ideal firmness for blending out sharp lines and keeping shadow in it's assigned place. i like to use this brush to softly line my upper lid, lower lid, and to accentuate the outer 'V' of the eye. another option that's less expensive but works just as well is Essence Of Beauty's Crease Brush Duo, $4.99. this two-pack of brushes is a thrilling find for under $5! it includes two brushes, one being a bit larger than the other, that blend shadows, find your crease and hug your outer 'V' in a way that makes even an amateur feel like a makeup artist. i have to say i own both the 219 and the EoB brushes and i don't know which ones i use more, it's a close call!

8. finally on the list, i've chosen a little tool that's become indispensable to me. you may have noticed that i love a multi-tasker for the time it saves and it's convenience, and Sephora's Professionel Platinum Lash & Eyebrow Comb #21, $10, earns that title proudly. it packs two tools in one, a fabulously made brow brush and a clump killing metal lash comb. here's where i have to climb up on my soapbox and beg you readers please, please do not buy the lash combs that are made of plastic! they don't work and will probably end up doing more harm than good. the plastic teeth are never sharp or thin enough to get into your lash base and they just plain stink. you need metal teeth to bite their way into those clumps! this will be the best ten dollars you've ever spent when you see how much better your eyelashes look after a sweep of the lash comb. plus, the brow brush side works super well for taming brows and blending in your brow pencil or powder. i use this little guy every single day and don't know what i did before i owned it! another great option that gets many rave reviews is Tweezerman's Folding Ilashcomb, $7, which you can find at drugstores or Tweezerman's website. i've never tried this one but i trust the reviews on MUA and they seem to love it!

now of course there are many, many more brushes that i could talk about but i think these are my most essential. i hope you've enjoyed hearing about them and maybe found something in your price range to check out! always remember that the better you care for your brushes the longer and better they will serve you. i wash mine atleast once a week (and my 209 brush that's used for gel eyeliner each and every time i use it) with a mild soap like Dial which i like for it's antibacterial qualities. after gently squeezing the water out of them, i lay them flat on a hand towel and allow them to air-dry. this seems to work well for me and should for you, too. and one more thing, some of these brushes are very expensive, but i've found that if you buy one at a time, here and there, you will be happy that you spent a little extra for items that will last.

what are your favorite brushes? any that you've bought and hated? let me know in the comments!

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