Written by Lindsay Stewart Glor
Starting from scratch, I headed to Buttercup Beauty Bar in search of a fresh set of tools. There I was pointed towards the sexy new line of Kevyn Aucoin makeup brushes. Offering the right brush for every blush (and shadow, and mascara), these beautifully bristled brushes are slender and sleek. They may seem a little pricey, but the cliche that you get what you pay for was born in truth after all. These coffee-coloured wands will not only do their job well, but they will last.
Here are six must-haves for any proper makeup bag:
a) Lip brush
If you have ever watched a professional apply lipstick or gloss (even if it's just Carmindy on What Not to Wear), you will have noticed that they always use a lip brush. With a small, pointed head, this retractable brush (the only one of the set that isn't set in a glassy cylinder) will allow for precise application. This should help you keep within the lines so to speak, highlighting your natural lip shape.
b) Sculpting brush
Cream shadows have pervaded the market, and while pretty, they come as is, challenging the consumer to find an applicator to match. Using the wrong brush can leave you with gobs of cream on your lids, or quite the opposite, having wiped it on and off with the same stroke. This brush has a soft, full, flat head that allows for definition and even application. After all, a cream shadow should look as pretty on you as it does in its package.
c) Small eyeshadow and eyebrow brush
If you are still using and reusing the infinitely tiny, foam-covered stick that came with your eye shadow, this brush is for you. Rather than harsh streaks, this brush will give your shadow a softness, which, after all, is why it's called shadow and not front and centre. Those who darken their brows can also use this brush to soften and blend for a more natural, less severe look.
d) Eyebrow and mascara brush
Now here is a brush that you do need to carry with you at all times. There is nary a woman out there who has not been horrified to see clumpy eyelashes staring back at her in the rearview mirror. This firm bristled brush is much fuller than the average mascara applicator, allowing it to feather your lashes, even after your mascara's firmly set in place. It is also great for those of us with brows that need to be, let's say, tamed. Giving your brows a quick sweep can give you instant polish as you head from the office to cocktails.
This tiny brush ensures that concealer is applied discreetly, not like you just dabbed on some tinted Clearasil circa grade nine. It's compact shape is also great for blending penciled-on eyeliner or getting that smoky look with dark eyeshadows.
f) Large blush and powder brush
Large, but light, this is not a brush you keep stashed in your dainty clutch, but it should be at your side while in front of your mirror at home. Generously filled with loose, silky soft bristles, this brush is for pressed powder, loose powder and blush. Try it instead of that old worn out pad that came in your compact for smooth coverage that isn't cakey.
TIP: Yes, you will eventually have to replace your favourite brushes, but you should also give them a few cleanings along the way. While there are many brush cleaners on the market, some experts suggest that warm water and mild shampoo (every one to two weeks for powder brushes and after each use for any brush you use with a liquid or cream product) will do the trick just as well. Be sure to rinse the brushes well, so that all shampoo and makeup residue is gone and the water runs clear, before leaving to air dry for at least a full day. All brushes available at Buttercup Beauty Bar, 402 Academy Rd, 488-6920.