Makeup Brush Special

Essential tools for great makeup looks, makeup brushes enable you to create defined and otherwise complicated looks with ease and finesse.

But with so many brushes to choose from which are the ones you should have in your kit and most of all how on earth do you use them?

Essential: You need these in your kit.
Needed: These are quite good to use, and will be missed once you have them.
Handy: Good for a couple of jobs.

The Full Brush and Tool Line Up

Foundation Brush
Rating: Essential
Looks like: A wide flat set of bristles with a rounded tip and a fine smooth texture.
Used for: Applying foundation evenly over the skin’s surface. Can be used for anything from a light to a medium or even heavy foundation application.
Brush Buy: Manicare Foundation brush $13.99, Mac 188 Brush $85.00.

Concealer Brush
Rating: Needed
Looks like: A mini foundation brush. Often this brush has quite long firmly packed rounded bristles.
Used for: Applying stick or crème concealer to blend in the skin's imperfections. Can also be handy for applying crème eyeshadows or blending crème eyeliners in for perfect eyes.
Brush Buy: Mac 191 Square Foundation Brush $91.00.

Concealer Brush
Rating: Needed
Looks like: A mini foundation brush. Often this brush has quite long firmly packed rounded bristles.
Used for: Applying stick or crème concealer to blend in the skin's imperfections. Can also be handy for applying crème eyeshadows or blending crème eyeliners in for perfect eyes.
Brush Buy: Mac 191 Square Foundation Brush $91.00.

Powder Brush
Rating: Essential
Looks like: A broad rounded set of bristles with a soft texture. Medium packed to allow for movement but with a degree of control - the tips of the bristles form a round or oval shape.
Used for: Applying pressed or translucent powder, powder foundation or bronzer over large areas of the face or body.
Brush Buy: Manicare Powder Brush $15.99

Blusher Brush
Rating: Handy
Looks like: A powder brush, but with shorter bristles, which are often more loosely packed.
Used for: Defining the cheeks and cheekbones with blush and bronzer or bringing soft colour to the apples of the cheeks and other small areas.
Brush Buy: Manicare Retractable Blusher Brush $13.99, Manicare Stubby Blusher Brush $11.99, QVS Blush Brush $12.99.

Fan/ Flat Brush
Rating: Needed
Looks like: A thin fan of firm bristles usually with a thin handle.
Used for: Can be used to brush away excess powder off the skin’s surface or for moving stray particles of eyeshadow or dust that have fallen under the eyes during application.
Brush Buy: Kryolan Fan Brush $25.00 from Minifie

Sponge Tipped Applicator
Rating: Needed
Looks like: A small rounded sponge on either a long or short handle. The sponge may be latex or foam based, or may have a latex sponge on one side and a foam base on the other.
Used for: Applying and blending eyeshadows – especially powder formulations.
Brush Buy: Manicare Sponge Tip Applicators $7.50 per pack

Small Rounded Brush
Rating: Needed
Looks like: A long handled brush with bristles similar to an eyeshadow brush but with shorter smaller bristles.
Use for: Applying and blending eyeshadows (fine detailing), lining eyes and defining brows.

Brow Brush and Comb
Rating: Needed
Looks like: A miniature toothbrush on one side with a comb on the other.
Use for: The brush is used to define the brows with brow or eyeshadow and setting and maintaining them. The comb can either be used for combing the brows or combing the lashes themselves before or after applying mascara.

Round Tipped Eyeshadow Brush
Rating: Essential
Looks Like: A long handled brush with short, medium packed rounded bristles.
Used for: Applying and blending in eyeshadows of all colours and textures.
Brush Buy: Kryolan Cats Tongue Brush $25.00 from Minifie

Angled Brush
Rating: Essential
Looks like: A thin line of firmly packed angled bristles with a thin edge along the top of the bristles.
Used for: Defining eyes and brows, using eyeshadow or brow powder. Smudging eyeliner to create a smokey eye and getting eyeshadow into the inner corner of the eyes.
Brush Buy: Mac 266 Brush $51.00

Lip Brush
Rating: Essential
Looks like: A thin almost triangular shaped set of
short bristles on top of a long thin handle often with an aluminum cover that you can put over the bristles when not in use.
Used for: The brush allows you to apply lipstick for perfectly shaped lip, to blend gloss and lipstick or lipstick and liner to get the correct consistency or colours for application. The metal brush cover allows you to shave off stick concealer or lipstick if you are applying onto someone else’s skin.

Makeup Wedges
Rating: Needed
Looks like: A wedge of latex with fine corners.
Used for: Applying liquid and crème foundation especially in hard to reach areas. They can also be used to apply powder to the skin, and are often used to apply powder in the under eye region.
Brush Buy: QVS Makeup Wedges $8.95 from pharmacies.

Fine Tipped Brush
Rating: Handy
Looks like: A thin handled brush with a small amount of tightly packed thin bristles.
Used for: Applying makeup in hard to reach areas, concealing minor skin imperfections.
Brush Buy: Eyeliner Brush #8 $45.00 from Smashbox Cosmetics.

Rating: Essential
Looks like: A stick with tightly wound cotton on either end. The most useful have an end with a rounded tip and an end with a tapered or pointed tip.
Used for: Applying or smudging eye shadow (especially into the very inner corner of the eye) and fixing up any makeup mistakes.
Brush Buy: Johnson and Johnson Q tips - $3.95 from supermarkets and pharmacies.

Mascara groomer/ wand
Rating: Handy
Looks like: A mascara wand that you usually get with your mascara. Maybe a bit firmer or with harder bristles.
Used for: Grooming eyelashes with or without mascara and really handy if you use a powder mascara to create more depth around the eye area.
Brush Buy: Kryolan Mascara Wand $9.90 from Minifie

Care Tips

Wash your brushes properly, this is probably one of the most important things you can do in terms of brush care. First and foremost, it rids the brushes of dirt build up that can damage the bristles over time but more importantly unclean makeup brushes can lead to all manner of skin nasties which is never a good thing! Also over-washing or washing them incorrectly can damage them so this isn’t as straightforward as you would think.

Your brushes will need a thorough wash every two weeks at most (some wash their brushes once a month). Start with wet brushes and apply a dab of shampoo or liquid soap and massage through the bristles gently. You can use a little shallow dish of water to massage the brushes into if they are particularly dirty. Once the brushes are clean of debris rinse them in some running water (cool or warm), reshape them into their original shape and then lay them flat to dry. The best way I have found to do this is a towel covered in a paper towel. They need a few hours to dry like this so at night is a good time. Avoid washing in hot water and drying up right as this can break down the glue that holds the bristles in, leading to falling out bristles! If you like doing your friend’s makeup too (aren’t you a nice person) consider spritzing your brushes with isopropyl alcohol to kill all the bacteria and clean them completely.

During the week my makeup brushes are used a lot as I wear makeup nearly every day to work. So I generally store them upright in a glass on my bathroom bench. However, remember that gravity can affect even makeup brushes and doing this for prolonged periods can cause your makeup brushes to loose their shape or droop. So do what I do and rest your brushes by laying them flat or putting them in their makeup brush holder. I find brush rolls are handy for this as all your brushes can lie flat without taking a huge amount of room in your already cluttered bathroom – or maybe that’s just me!

If your brushes are cared for, cleaned effectively and of course stored properly they will last a very long time. Keep in mind things like sponge tip applicators and sponge wedges can be re-used around five times with washing in between but then need to be thrown out. And make sure to clean mascara wands really well – I’ve been known to throw mine in the dishwasher.


Skincare 101

If you've already got a solid routine, you can read to brush up on this basics.

What You Really Need

A cabinet filled with different jars, tubes, and bottles does not guarantee good skin. You can put a hole through your wallet on the latest creams and serums, but the truth is you need only a few things. Regardless of your age, your face can fare very well with a few targeted items, listed as follws:

Moisturizer with SPF (day time)

Moistruizer without SPF or a night cream (night time)

Eye cream

Makeup remover


*These are the basic products everyone should be using on a regualr basis.

Your A.M Routine

1. If you've cleansed properly the night before, you don't need to wash your face when you wake up. Splash your face with water is just fine. (Although I personally prefer using a light cleanser to ensure my skin is supple and opens the pores so they can absorb moisturizer)

2. Apply moisturizer with SPF (or use a separate sunscreen if you're going to be exposed to very strong sun). If you want to wear makeup over your sunscreen, make sure it's a lightweight sunscreen. Some sunscreens are not compatible with makeup, and it's diffcult to apply products on top of them.

3. Apply eye cream under your eye only. (It's not necessary to use it on your eyelids in the morning as it will interfere with any eye makeup you are wearing)

Note: Consider changing your products seasonally. In the warmer months, a light lotion may be better for your skin than a heavy cream and you may want to use a higher SPF. In the colder months, with dry heat inside and damp conditions outside, a richer cream may be the way to go.

Your P.M Routine

1. Before bed time, you *must* wash your face, otherwise you're risking yourself to blackheads, breakouts and flare-ups! If you're not wearing much makeup, use a cleaner that doubles as a makeup remover.

2. If you're using a serum, then the time to use it is after cleansing. (You can skip this step and move right to moisturizing). Serums go under your moisturizer, use a few drops or as much as directed and smooth onto skin.

3. Moisturize with a cream or lotion that's free of SPF or a night cream. Don't just slap the cream onto your face, neck and chest, really massage it in. Take the time to *push* the product into your pores while they are still open can boost the circulation to your face.

4. Apply eye cream gently around the entire eye area, including eyelid, but be careful not to get it into your eye.

Smart Skin Food

Your diet is an important part of your skincare regimen because the health of your skin and the foods you eat are directly related. Much of this is common sense:

---> Try to reduce the amount of fried and sugary foods that you consume.

---> Make sure you get enough leafy green vegetables and brightly coloured fruits.

---> Get some salmon or other oily fish into your diet. (Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids)

---> Make sure you're drinking enough water and not too much soda.


My 10 Minutes Makeup Routine

Winter is fast approaching, and to ensure I get extra snuggle time in bed, I decided to revise my normal daily routine, cutting down from 45 minutes to only 10 minutes(!). I ditched a whole lot of un-necessary steps, and I'm glad I did, no more fussing around early in the mornings for me!

Here we go:

Step 1 ---> Start with clean skin that has already been moisturized. Dot concealer under eyes and around nose. Blend. Slick on lipbalm.

Step 2 ---> Brush eyebrows and fill in any sparse areas with an eyebrow pencil

Step 3 ---> Line eyes with fluidliner. Tightline with a pencil.

Step 4 ---> Curl lashes and apply 2-3 coats of mascara. (Don't forget to brush in-between coats)

Step 5 ---> Highlight brow bone then more lipbalm


Makeup Shelf Life

Same as everything else, cosmetics do go bad and if you keep on using expired makeups, you are risking yourself to breakouts and skin irritation.

So how to find out if your makeup has gone bad? The first obvious thing you should do is to check the expiry date on the product (duh!).

Then threw away anything if - it smells funny / change or separation in texture / change in colour / older than 3 yrs.


Follow the guideline below. Please note that this is just a generalized estimate, which means it does not necessarily apply to all products. Liquid/cream products do not last as long as powder ones because they contain more emulsions, which are less stable and break down over time.

Face Products

Foundation ---> up to 2 years
Concealer ---> up to 2 years
Pressed Powder ---> 2 years
Loose Powder ---> up to 3 years
Powder Blush/Bronzer ---> 2 years
Cream Blush ---> 12 - 18 months

Eye Products

Mascara ---> up to 3 months
Powder eyeshadow ---> 2 years
Cream eyeshadow ---> 12 - 18 months
Pencil eyeliner ---> 2 - 3 years
Liquid/Gel eyeliner ---> 12 - 18 months

Lip Products

Lipstick ---> 2 years
Lipgloss ---> 12 - 18 months
Lipliner ---> 2 - 3 years


1. Always store products in a dry, cool place and away from direct sunlight.

2. Use a clean brush/sponge/fingers for application to prevent contamination.

3. Never share your makeup with other people.

4. It is preferred to choose products that comes in a tube or pump dispenser, thus reducing the product to air and the risk of contamination will be reduced.

How to Revive your Makeup

This does not mean using old products as if they are new, this is referring to makeup that have been sitting in your bottom drawe and still in usable condition.

* Pencil eyeliners & Lipliners - Best way would be to sharpen them.

* Gel eyeliners that have dried out - Scrap off the top layer or add a tiny bit of water. (Note: NEVER apply the same method to mascara!)

* Powder products - Scrape off the top layer and spray with rubbing alcohol.


Eyeliner is often considered essential in finishing eye makeup or accenting the bare eye. You would be surprised at how much of a difference adding a touch of black eyeliner on the lower rim of your eye can be.

There are numerous types of different liners – from gel to kohl to liquid to pencil. Textures also vary from brand to brand and certain types of liners have a specific texture.

Gel liners - Similar to both kohl and pencil liners, but slightly wetter and more movable (similar to fluidliners, which come in a pot-form).

Liquid liners - Liquid color that is applied using either a separate brush or with an included applicator. The standout differences between liquid and other forms of liners are that liquid liners can allow for stronger color, often have longer staying power, and more precision.

Basic Techniques

Top Lashline: Tilt your head up slightly, pull your skin taut, look down into a mirror and start from the inner corner working your way towards the outer corner. A pointy but soft brush like Smashbox's Long Handle Sable Eyeliner Brush #21 as shown below would work.

Bottom Lashline: People with small eyes should refrain from lining both top & bottom lashlines. by lining both top and bottom lashlines can actually make eyes appear even smaller. But for people that wishes to apply liner to the lower lash line, you simply pull the skin under your eye down a little, look up into a mirror and start from the outer corner lining inwards.

I recommend using an angled brush (MAC Small Angle Brush #263)

Or a Push brush (MAC Flat Definer #212)

Tightlining: This technique is mostly done on the top lashline and if correctly applied, there should not be any space between the liner and lashes. The way to achieveing the look would be to use a flat liner brush to push liner into the lashline from beneath the lashes. Afterwards, your lashes look thicker, which in turn makes your eyes look bigger!

How To Make Your Liner Lasts Longer

1. *Don't* rub your eyes when you have makeup on. (duh!)

2. Prep the skin with powder or e/s before and after you line your eyes.

3. Line top & bottom lashlines with a pencil first, followed by liner.


Correct Order to Put On Makeup

I have always wondered what the correct order to put makeup on is, does such a thing exists?

Different people have different ways of doing things, even though there are certain rules that you should stick to, but personally I think you should just do whatever works best for you.

Here is a summary of how I do my makeup everyday in 4 simple steps -

Step 1: Wash face --> Use toner --> Eye cream --> Lotion with sunscreen --> Lip balm

Step 2: Apply primer to face --> Pat concealer under eyes, around the nose and any areas that needs concealing --> Apply TM

Step 3: Fill in eyebrows --> Apply base to entire lids --> Apply a light shade of e/s to lids --> Line lids --> Apply a darker shade of e/s to crease & blend --> Curl lashes --> Apply mascara --> Curl lashes again once the mascara have fully dried --> Apply highlighter on browbones

Step 4: Make sure everything is well-blended before heading out the door!