Face brushes 101

A few of my friends have asked me questions about brushes, and it seems like it can be a whole unknown world so I decided I’d tell you all about the ones I own and why ! I don’t tend to wear eye makeup, and when I do I usually apply products with my fingers. I might use one or two brushes but to be honest, I’m not at the stage where I feel I can’t you give advice on that yet. Today’s article is about complexion a.k.a bronzer, blusher, setting powders, concealer, that’s it.

First off I think – if you don’t own any brushes – to get a good base to work with, you should definitely check out Real Techniques. That’s what I did. Created by the makeup artists sisters Sam and Nic Chapman, they are great, well priced, soft, and super well made brushes. I got the “Core Collection” featuring all the essentials : contour brush, pointed foundation brush, detailer brush and a buffing brush. I only really use the contour brush to, well, contour but also to set concealer with a little powder and sometimes to blend concealer (works nicely). I also like the buffing brush to apply concealer all over the face, or blend a CC/BB cream, though I have to admit I truly prefer using a beauty blender to seamlessly blend the product. Real Techniques is simply the perfect entry point to your brushes collection.

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Now, let’s get more into this. Here are the only brushes I use day to day. Oh also, they have names and are meant to be used for this or that… I don’t really care for that.

Actually lots of makeup artists, Sam and Nic Chapman included, say that you should use them how you want to. Brushes are versatile, don’t be put off by the name and think “oh this is a foundation brush, I can’t use it for bronzer then”. Just give it a try and experiment !

Real Techniques Powder brush

I use this big powder brush to diffuse bronzer all over my face, or to set my makeup with a light powder with not much coverage. It’s a quick and easy brush, great for all over, not so much for precision.

Real Techniques Blush Brush

I would not necessarily use this brush for blusher, because it’s a bit too big for my cheeks. I love it for bronzer though, like the Nars Laguna, and I do use it for blusher that are super pigmented because the bristles on the brush diffuse pigments in a light way which is perfect if you don’t want to look like a clown with red cheeks.

Real Techniques Stippling brush

This one is amazing for cream and liquid blush. I put the product on the back of my hand, swirl the brush in it, and then gently dab on the cheeks for a super fast and gorgeous finish. I’ve recently discovered how good it is for foundation. Its super soft bristles really distribute the product evenly and it gives a soft finish, with good coverage because it does not drink up all the product. Perfect combination with Daniel Sandler’s watercolor liquid blushers and Glossier Cloud Paints.

Real Techniques Powder bleu Soft Finishing Brush

I LOVE this new addition to my brushes collection. It’s perfect for powder blush, AND bronzer if you want to be quite precise with your application and slightly contour. Extremely soft and amazingly gentle for my sensitive skin.

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Eco Tool Precision Blush brush

Again, good for powder blush, if you really want to go for it. Its bristles are densely packed so the brush does give a good amount of pigment, better to use with a blush or a bronzer that’s not too pigmented or too bright. I love it with the Max Factor Cream Puff Powder Blushers.

Kiko Face Stippling Foundation Brush

This is my go-to for bronzer, because of the two levers of bristles on it : it gives a lovely light yet noticeable result. It has stayed really soft and is gorgeous to use if you want to build up a healthy glow with something like Chanel Les Beiges Powder.

Beauty Blender

This is my go-to to blend liquid or cream base products like Glossier’s stretch concealer, the Bourjois 123 Perfect CC cream, the Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer. I run it under water and keep it quite wet, so the product really melts into the skin. It gives a flawless finish and really ties the complexion together. It’s the one thing I would not dare to imagine myself without.

Do you guys use brushes ? What are you favorites ? I’d love to know !

To powder or not to powder

Powders have always felt quite mysterious and chic to me. Though I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mum or a friend for that matter, actually use one. The first memory I have about powders is the Stay Matte from Rimmel, that I got at Monoprix, the equivalent of M&S in France I’d say. I used so much product on my brush and it was so damned matte that I simply decided to stay away from powders.

Back in the days, in high school for instance, some girls would wear powder foundation, but it was never the right shade nor the right finish because, well… it was before the internet and Youtube were really a thing so I guess it was harder to get good/personalized advices. If you’re wondering how old this sentence makes me feel, well, very…

I looked at powders thinking it looked lovely to have one in your bag, but I had no idea what I could do with it.

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Anyways, back to a few years ago. I had since discovered beauty blogs, and Youtube. At some point, everyone would talk about Hourglass illuminating powders, and because I had discovered online beauty content, I had also discovered the notion of glow. I’m realizing this as I’m writing : I don’t think glow was ever something I had in mind when I thought about makeup before that. I did enjoy blusher, but highlight and/or glow all over the face ? I did not even know what it was, and why I’d use a product to highlight some parts of my face or set my makeup with. I’m quite new to the concept of highlighting still. However when the Hourglass launched and took the internet/beauty world by storm, I suddenly became obsessed with the idea of giving this glow thing a try.

One night, after countless hours of looking at swatches online, reading reviews, trying to find less expensive dupes… I typed Net a Porter into my search bar, got on the Hourglass page, and ordered the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder in Dim Light. First Net a Porter order, first time I had bought a makeup item that costed more than 20 euros, I kind of closed my eyes when I clicked on “approve the payment”…

I do not regret buying this powder at all, I believe it is one of the best I ever bought. Actually, let me tell you about my four favorites powders. That’s what you’re here for, isn’t it ?

If you don’t know how to use yours, or if you should or should not buy one, here’s why I think they’re useful : I use powders to mattify the T-zone, to set the makeup and light up the face and to bronze, sometimes contour-ish, and give it some GLOW !

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Matify –  Bourjois Healthy Balance Powder in the shade 53 – Beige Clair

This powder does what it says on the tin. It’s mattifying but keeps the natural glow of the skin. Let me explain : I use it on my T-zone or sometimes all over the face during summer. It looks quite natural and not cakey which I find really important. I like makeup that you can’t see, complexion wise. A lovely, glowy complexion’s my favorite makeup look, so matte powders could by definition, take away all the glow, and if the powder’s not fine enough, simply look too powdery. Not this one ! Also, it’s cheap (around 10 euros) !

Glow – Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light

This, even though it’s the first luxurious powder I ever bought, I liked but would not repurchase. Not because it’s bad. In my opinion, this powder is simply gorgeous. Super fine, lovely luminous finish, lasted me ages… I would not because I don’t regularly reach for it to finish off my makeup look. It’s the kind of powder that you’d use to set your makeup, so on your entire face, or to set concealer under the eyes without taking away luminosity, or you could if you’re quite fair, use it as a light contour/bronzer. But the powder I tend to get the most use out of is generally bronzer. I did love it but I simply don’t need a powder like that. I like quite dewy finish, that I get from my base, and to set I’d use something like Chanel Les Beiges, or a light bronzer. Which reminds me, I’d love to try their bronzer !

Bronzer – Nars Laguna

Especially great for summer, because it’s a tad too dark for me. I actually love it in winter because it gives some more than welcomed warmth to my face, without looking orange or too powdery. I choose to apply it with a Kiko Stippling brush, which is perfect to distribute a subtle amount of product. It has a slight shimmer running through it, not really noticeable at all. What’s noticeable however, is the satiny finish. This stuff’s glowy.

Bronze & Glow – Chanel Les Beiges – Healthy Glow Sheer Powder in shade 30 and 40

This is probably my favorite powder ever. It is extremely fine, the colors are perfect, not too warm, not too cold, and the concept is easy : giving glow. Which it absolutely does, without making the actual powder noticeable on the skin. If you had to buy one powder, and like subtle glow from within, try this one !

I had it in the shade 30, which probably suits me better than the 40 I now own, and I completely used it up. 30 was perfect because, I could simply use it to set my makeup, and add a touch of warmth to my face. In that case, I’m quite light-handed. OR, I could go to town with it, and really add almost a sun-kissed effect to my skin, if applied with a big brush, on my cheekbones, forehead, bridge of the nose and neck. The shade 40’s good to really bronze-up the face with, but to just add a healthy glow, it might be too dark if you’re quite fair. Still, I use it all the time as you can see !

So there you have it, I hope it was useful.

Do you use powders ? What are your favorites ?