7 Must-have makeup tools

Oct 1, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. ET

Your makeup bag is filled to the brim. But getting the most out of your paints and polishes still requires the right application tools! Here's how to take your makeup to the next level and achieve a flawless finish.

Makeup tools

Brush up

Makeup brushes differ in size and function, so you'll want a variety. Brush heads can be made from synthetic fibers, natural sable or even horsehair! You'll need to experiment to find what's right for you. Some people are allergic to certain animal hairs, so make sure you choose a brush that won't cause a skin reaction.

1Foundation brush

A foundation brush is typically made with synthetic fibers and has a head shaped like a small spatula. Using a foundation brush helps keep application light and even.

2Powder brush

A big, fluffy powder brush is soft and supple -- ideal for evenly applying loose powder to prevent it from caking into tiny lines and wrinkles. Use the powder brush to add a flush of color on your cheekbones with bronzer or blush.

3Concealer brush

The concealer brush resembles a mini-version of the foundation brush, and it's really useful for applying liquid concealers in hard-to-reach places like the corners of the eyes.

Helpful makeup tools

Having the right set of makeup brushes is important, but adding some other inexpensive makeup tools can make your morning routine and quick touch-ups fast and fabulous!

4Eyelash curler

Good eyelash curlers won't pinch or pull and will add a sexy sweep to your eyes in under a minute! Always curl your lashes before you apply your mascara to avoid any breakage.

5Brow comb

Don't neglect your brows! They frame your face and draw attention to your eyes. Use a brow comb to style your brows and to brush out any excess eyebrow powder or stray eye shadow.


Round and wedge sponges are handy for blending and smoothing out makeup lines and smudges. Keep your sponges clean to avoid transferring any old makeup residue during use.


The humble Q-tip is a remarkably versatile tool. Use them to remove excess makeup around the eyes or lips and to dab on concealer if you get a pimple... they will even pinch-hit for a makeup brush if you need to sweep on eyeshadow, correct an eyeliner smear or scrub lipstick off of a tooth. Q-tips are inexpensive, disposable and great multi-taskers to include in your makeup tool arsenal.

Keep your makeup brushes clean and sanitary! Wash them occasionally with a gentle soap, then pat away excess moisture and allow them to air-dry.

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