A lot goes into your beauty product routine. First, you have to figure out what’s needed to achieve the right look. Then you have to shop for the perfect products based on our skin type and budget. And once you’ve got your arsenal of cosmetics, you need the right tools to to ensure flawless application and lasting results.
It may seem superfluous, but
the right beauty tools can transform your look. (After all, Van Gogh didn’t paint “Starry Night” with his fingers.) Your face and hair are your canvas, and the tools are just as important as the products you’re using. If you’ve been using your hands to apply makeup, you’ll be amazed at how much more control you have with a makeup brush. And you’ll see that investing in the right blow dryer and round brush is worth it if you want a fabulous blowout.
Don’t feel daunted by the sheer variety of makeup tools out there. There’s one for each step of your routine. If you only purchase what you need (like these thirteen must-haves), you’ll have a streamlined collection. And once you start using them and see the magical results for yourself, you might even be emboldened enough to buy that mysterious Kabuki brush.
1. Lip Brush
When it comes to applying lipsticks, glosses, and liners, a good brush is key. Although you can easily apply these products as packaged, the color can smudge and fall outside of the lip line. With a brush, your have better control over the coloring, resulting in a smoother, more precise look. Not to mention
you use less product with a lip brush, thus extending the life of your favorite lip color. Who doesn’t want that? Try: Sephora Collection Pro Lip Brush , $14, Sephora Concealer Brush
Here’s another instance where your fingers fail you. In an interview with
Vogue, makeup artist Daniel Martin explained that a concealer brush allows for a more even distribution that hides the blemish better. But that’s not the only benefit to choosing brush over finger. Although a common technique, using a finger to apply concealer actually makes the blemish worse by depositing more bacteria on the area. Ew! Save yourself the skin troubles and invest in a concealer brush. Just make sure to keep your brush clean – otherwise, it’s the bacterial equivalent of a grubby finger. Try: e.l.f. Essential Concealer Brush, $5, Amazon Blush Brush
Choosing the right blush brush depends on
the look you’re trying to create, as one size does not fit all. If you want a bold swipe beneath your cheekbones, pick a medium-sized brush with a domed shape. But if you prefer a pop of color on each cheek, go for a brush that’s small and dense. You can invest in a brush that suits your particular style, or buy a few for every facial occasion. Try: Real Techniques Blush Brush, $8, Amazon Eyeshadow Brush
Eyeshadow loyalists know not to depend on the flimsy little foam applicators that come with your product. They’re tiny, they fall apart quickly, and they’re not customized for the specific look you might be going for. They’re also not going to allow you to vary your look.
Different eyeshadow brushes allow for different styles, so start with a basic brush, and then decide if you want smoky, dramatic, or smudged lids (each one necessitates a different brush!). Try: e.l.f. Eye Shadow Brush, $4, Amazon Powder Brush
There is no reason not to finish off your look with a powder brush. And I don’t mean the teensy one that comes with your compact. In an interview with Allure, makeup artist Troy Surratt described
the right powder brush to as having natural bristles, as they “have a cuticle—just like human hair—that really grabs pigment and holds on until you place it exactly where you want on the face.” Try: Real Techniques Powder Brush, $9, Amazon Brush Cleaner
Now you have the essential brushes needed to make your makeup shine – it’s time to learn how to take care of them. “For concealer and foundation brushes,
[wash] at least once a week to prevent a buildup of product,” makeup artist Bobbi Brown told Allure. “Brushes that are used around the eyes should be cleaned at least twice a month, while all others can be washed once a month.” Brown recommends using soap and water or – if your brush is made of natural bristles –
brush cleanser. To get the cleanest tools, invest in a
brush-cleaning glove that has the texture and strength you need to really give your brushes a thorough cleansing. Try: Sigma Beauty 2X Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove, $39, Check It Out! Master Cleanse: Daily Brush Cleaner, $8, Sephora Blow Dryer
Studies show that a salon blow-out is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Okay, maybe not
studies, but we all know it. Investing in a good blow-dryer is one way to try for the results you get in a salon. You’ll want one with ceramic heating (as opposed to one that boils your hair dry – yikes! – and not surprisingly, results in breakage) and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with common blowdrying mistakes. Try: Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer, $295, Amazon Round Brush
If you want to efficiently blow dry your hair and create voluminous waves (who doesn’t?), it’s time to make friends with a round brush. A round brush with vents will
dry your hair more quickly, and a ceramic core uses the heat from the dryer to polish your hair’s cuticle. Try: Olivia Garden Ceramic + Ion Thermal Hairbrush, $17, Check It Out! Images: Laura D’Alessandro , Britney M , , Matt Trostle kizzzbeth , sunshinecity /Flickr; maccosmetics , stilacosmetics , clinique , maybelline , tweezerman , covergirl , , benefitcosmetics thedrybar , oliviagardenint /Instagram