Beauty Report: Finding the perfect set of brushes

You don’t have to break the bank, but a good collection will last years

Provided you care for them, good makeupbrushes will last for years, so they are worth investing in

Provided you care for them, good makeupbrushes will last for years, so they are worth investing in

 

Mary Greenwell should be every woman’s source of inspiration when it comes to makeup application. Greenwell, the original makeup artist to the supermodels, has worked with almost every model and actress you can think of from Naomi Campbell and Princess Diana to Cate Blanchett and Victoria Beckham, is famously blase about brushes.

Watch her at work and you’ll be astounded by her hands-on approach. She touches the model’s face, takes it in her hands and pivots it this way and that. Her technique looks to the uninitiated observer somewhat like she is throwing makeup at the model’s face with supreme confidence. In her model’s lap sits a towel (to which even Naomi consented to be subjected) that Greenwell will occasionally and unceremoniously wipe her hands on. When she has finished this oddly physical ritual, a radiant and perfectly applied face of makeup is what’s left. Very frequently, she finishes a whole face without ever reaching for a brush.

For more complex or avant garde artistry, brushes become very important. Last month, Dublin’s Emma Farrell gained entry to the final of L’Oréal’s International “The Brush” Competition. The final, which takes place in Paris from May 17th to 20th, will be the culmination of a search taking part in 13 countries for the newest member of the L’Oréal makeup designers team.

Farrell, who has been working as a makeup artist for the last nine years, and has extensive experience in editorial and television makeup, won the UK final leg of the competition and will head to Paris to compete for the €100,000 prize money and coveted position. The grand finale will be hosted on YouTube by Eva Longoria.

Irish women buy more makeup than our European counterparts, so Farrell’s achievement is a great reflection on the proficiency of Irish artistry.

We can’t all have Greenwell’s seemingly effortless skill with makeup, so a small collection of multi-tasking brushes can be very useful, but the endless variety of choices can be intimidating.

Opt for the cleverest brushes, and never settle just for the advertised function on the packaging. Brushes are versatile and are never only good for one job. Provided you care for them, good makeupbrushes will last for years, so they are worth investing in.

Real Techniques is a pharmacy brush brand that offers astonishingly good quality and value for money. The brushes lack the sleek, glossy appearance of more expensive brands, but they apply makeup every bit as well. Look out for the Expert Face Brush (€13.49 from Boots), which buffs cream and liquid foundations on for an airbrushed finish, but also applies cream blush and highlighters beautifully.

A fluffy brush is preferable for powder products, and the NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush (€55) – as well as having a pleasingly strange aesthetic and a comforting weight – blends seamlessly. This will work for any powder formulation, but don’t be afraid to use it to apply liquid foundation. It’s a slightly unorthodox use, but the finish it creates is soft and flattering.

Charlotte Tilbury exploded on to the Irish market relatively recently, but the Brown Thomas counter is already a favourite.

The Eye Blender Brush (€32) is dreamily soft, and will apply and blend powder shadows seamlessly. Try using it to buff liquid concealer under the eyes. It is small enough to reach every nook and blends concealer over discolouration or blemishes far better than a flat concealer brush.

For brows, lips and liner, opt for the Sigma Winged Liner Brush (€14.95 from Cloud10beauty.com). It is softly angled, perfect for creating sharp lines along the eyelid and on lips, but the very slightly stiff bristles are just rigid enough for filling in brows with powder.

When multi-tasking with brushes, wipe them on a cleansing wipe between products, and wash them a minimum of once weekly. Hand soap will do; keep it fuss free.

lkennedy@irishtimes.com

Watch Laura’s beauty videos online at irishtimes.com/fashion

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