Friday, August 5, 2011

Give Your Makeup the Brush - Eyes and Lips

In my Post earlier this month, “Give Your Make-up the Brush!”, I introduced you to my Grandfather George, an actor turned make-up artist, and we discussed how to choose the best make-up brushes for your face.

Today, we’ll talk about choosing the best make-up brushes for your eyes and lips.

But first, a quick review.

There are basically three types of make-up brushes:

1) Natural bristle;
2) Synthetic bristle; and
3) A combination of natural and synthetic bristles.

Have I lost you yet? Hope not, because here’s where it all gets demystified.

1) Natural bristle brushes work best with powdered make-up (face powders and blushes and eye shadows);

2) Synthetic bristle brushes work best with creamy make-up (concealers, cream blushes, liquid foundations and cream eye shadows); and

3) Combination bristles work best with liquid make-up (foundation).

O.K.. here goes…..

This is Laura Mercier’s Angled Eye Color Brush. It is a natural bristle brush and, hands down, the best eye color brush I’ve ever used.

The flat part of the brush makes overall application and blending a snap and the angled area is ideal for contouring the crease area of your eye and/or for running a smudge of color along your lash line.

If you only own one eye color brush, this is the one to buy.

You simply cannot go wrong with this brush in your make-up kit.

The Flat Eye Liner Brush on the Left by Laura Mercier is a synthetic brush with narrow, stiff bristles which allows you to create a very thin line of color right along the lash line.

The Pointed Eye Liner Brush on the Right by Laura Mercier is also a synthetic brush with stiff bristles that taper to a point which allows you to control the width of your line based on the amount of pressure you apply to the point. You can also add tiny dots of color in between your lashes for a more natural look.

I own both of these brushes. They work best with cake eye liner (moisten first) and the Pointed Eye Liner Brush is the perfect way to apply Bobbi Brown’s Gel Eye Liner, the best gel eye liner in the business (doesn’t smudge, lasts all day!!).

Quick tip: Keep a Q-tip handy to smudge liner into your lash line for a natural look and to remove any unwanted smudges or mistakes.

This Brow Definer Brush from Laura Mercier is a synthetic brush whose flat, stiff bristles work well with powdered or gel brow color and the angle allows you to perfectly define your brow.

Laura makes several angled brow brushes in different sizes, but this is my favorite. It’s just the right size to fill in my brows where needed and, let’s face it, Ladies, after a certain age, our brows begin to thin and fade and, like our eyes, need special attention.

Don’t overlook them. Remember, great eyebrows make the perfect frame for your beautiful eyes.

Some make-up professionals prefer a natural bristle lip brush, but I love this synthetic bristle Lip Brush from MAC.

Its slightly rounded tip creates a nice, clean outline, and it’s large enough to fill in perfectly with color.

When it comes to choosing the right brush for your lips, it’s definitely your call.

Here are a few final thoughts on the subject of make-up brushes.

 Your biggest investment should be in natural bristle brushes. If you take care of them (i.e., wash and dry them properly), you will have them forever. I’m still using a Prescriptives powder brush I bought more than 25 years ago.

 When choosing a natural bristle brush, run it over the back of your hand. You should barely feel it. A good quality natural brush will be as soft as a whisper.

 You can definitely skimp on synthetic brushes, as even the expensive ones need to be replaced more frequently than natural brushes.

 Brushes you use every day should be washed once a week in a gentle cleanser (mild shampoo or your facial cleanser) in tepid water. Rinse gently, blot with a towel, reshape and dry flat. If you stand them on end to dry, over time the water will collect in the base of the brush and melt the glue that anchors the brush to the handle.

And there you have it, Ladies. Everything you really need to know about the care and feeding of your make-up’s BFF – the Brush.


  1. One of my favorite brushes is the one I use to apply foundation. As opposed to using my fingers or anything else, this brush allows me to use less foundation and apply it in a light film over the skin ever so delicately to give my complexion a healthy looking glow. I thought it was the foundation that did the trick - but when I apply the same foundation with my pinky or a sponge, I don't get the same effect; I use too much makeup. With the brush, I get the right touch! The French Touch! Merci ...

  2. As usual, one of your great comments. Thanks, Cynthia.

    My Grandfather George would agree that it's all in the brush and the stroke.

    Merci beaucoup.

  3. Great post for makeup brushes they seem awesome!


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