I was always fascinated with makeup ever since I was little. My mother was a powder and lipstick kind of girl, but my father had cousins who would take hours doing their hair and makeup before they go out. I used to watch them when I go to my grandparents' house every weekend and would practice at home using whatever left-over make-up they gave me. You can just imagine the hilarious results and how annoyed my mother was. I became quite adept doing eye makeup for elementary and high school presentations (the only time I was allowed to do so), but I noticed that the colors did not blend well. I did not know then that there were different makeup tools needed for application and blending. All I had were small sponge applicators that came with the eyeshadows. It was much later in my adult life that I learned that there were different brushes and sponges for every kind of makeup product. Today, there are so many in the market that one has to know the differences between each one. Unfortunately, not all makeup tools (and products for that matter) are made equal.
Basically, every woman should have the following 7 tools in her makeup kit for everyday use.
1. Foundation Brush for Liquid Foundation
To cover redness, blotchy skin and even out skin tone, we need a good foundation. There are several kinds in the market, but for older skin, a liquid foundation is better. But how do we apply foundation? While some use their fingers or hands, the best way to apply foundation is with a brush. A good foundation brush uses less product, keeps the oils and bacteria away from your face (presuming that your brushes are clean, of course) and gives your foundation a nice flawless finish.
2. Complexion/Blending Sponges
Sponges are used to blend foundation after this is applied by a foundation brush. I never thought there was any difference between the different kind of sponges in the market until I regularly began using foundation. Let me just say that there are sponges...and there are SPONGES! The best kinds for foundation are the latex-free ones that resist swelling when wet and do not flake or crumble easily. I like using the super soft Victoria Vogue cosmetic wedges for blending. And then to finish up there is your complexion blender sponge as shown in the picture above. This is a good tool to blend foundation in those hard to reach edges of your face and the end result gives your skin a smooth and natural look.
Eyebrows that are well shaped can improve your over-all look. I made the mistake of over-plucking my nicely shaped natural brows in the 70's and these were never the same again! A brow/lash groomer helps in keeping it in shape and makes it easier for me to apply the brow gel, cream or powder. It also helps separate lashes that clump together after putting on mascara.
|Brow/lash groomer, Angled brow brush, Spooly|
4. Angled Eyebrow Brush and Spooly
I prefer to use brow gel/cream or powder instead of a pencil since my eyebrows have become sparser as I grow older. To do this, I need an angled brow brush to fill in the uneven areas and to create a nice arch. Once done I run the spooly lightly over my brows for better shape.
5. Shadow Brush and Crease Brush
When putting on your eye makeup, 2 brushes (or a double-ended one) are needed: a shadow brush and a crease brush. Proper use of these will give you natural looking eyes that stand out. Sponge applicators that go with your eye shadow kit should be used only for touch-ups.
6. Powder Dome Brush
I use a powder dome brush to set my foundation with loose face powder. I find this much better than a powder puff or sponge as this tool picks up just the right amount of powder and will distribute the product evenly around the face for a dewy look.
7. Angle Blush Brush
There are many types of blush brushes, but for me this angled kind is the most practical one. This tool can be used not just for blushers but for basic contouring as well. I use this for shaping my face (to make it look thinner and minimize my double chin) and it helps create illusions like higher cheekbones, for example.
There are so many beauty products in the market today that can mystify women like me who like to simplify their makeup routine. All we want is to look beautiful without the confusion of choosing between all these products. My never ending love affair with makeup and the many trials and errors that I experienced through the years, have shown me that these 7 tools are all I would ever need to look good everyday. Life is complicated enough, makeup should be simple.
Let me just end with that old but true adage that...practice makes perfect.