Makeup brushes are incredibly powerful tools — so why do so many of us spend so much money on makeup products and so little on brushes? Maybe it’s because we just don’t know where to start. If you’re looking for the 411 on makeup brushes, we’ve got you covered. Celebrity makeup artist Guy Guido took some time out of his busy schedule to give us his advice on what brushes to buy and how to use them.
Makeup brush essential #1: Eyebrow powder brush
One of the most forgotten parts of our faces according to Guido are our eyebrows. “There are so many misshaped and neglected eyebrows out there when it comes to makeup,” he says. So what’s a girl to do? Guido recommends a “flat, thin, angled eyebrow brush.” This will give you a precise tool with which to fill in and shape your brows. He suggests brushes by Maybelline. Just make sure you use it with an eyebrow powder that truly matches your brows! Or take a cue from one of Guido’s tricks and use it with a matte eye shadow.
Makeup brush essential #2: Blending eye shadow brush
Guido’s second must-have makeup brush is a brush that is perfect for blending your eye shadow. It “looks almost like a watercolor brush,” Guido says. His personal favorite is M•A•C Cosmetics’ “tapered blending brush” (#224). “After you have applied your eye shadow(s) with your regular eye shadow applicator, swiping this brush in light circular motions will give you that perfect blended almost airbrushed pro look,” he explains.
Makeup brush essential #3: Lip brush
When you think of makeup brushes, the first ones that spring to mind are probably ones you use with powder-based makeup on your eyes or face. However a brush for your lip makeup ranks among Guido’s bare necessities and he says that you should always use one for any lip makeup other than a sheer gloss. He shares his very precise method for foolproof lip makeup: “I always line lips softly with a pencil first… even if it is a very nude colored pencil. Then take the lip brush and go over the pencil to blend it across the bow of your lip (following your natural line or adjusting your natural line slightly to make it fuller or balance out any asymmetry you might have. Then follow through into the outer corners of your mouth. This will make the shape of your lips more precise, but at the same time softer and more natural looking. Follow this step with a gloss or your lip color and again use the brush to apply.” Guido tags the lip brush by Kevyn Aucoin as his favorite. For a more budget-friendly alternative he recommends the lip brush from Sonia Kashuk’s line at Target.
Makeup brush essential #4: Blush brush
For the perfect blush brush, size is imperative. Guido suggests bristles of about 2.5 inches. If your budget allows it, get a brush with natural bristles as opposed to synthetic ones. Natural bristles will blend your blush better. “Don’t even think of using that little square plastic thing that comes in the blush package,” he says. “Throw it out!”