Brushes come fat, fluffy, thin and wispy. They differ in shape and size and in texture, making it difficult to know which one is good for what. Synthetic hairs tend to be better for liquid and cream makeup. And natural hairs work best with powders (because pigments can stick to the fibers).
We asked the pros how to achieve your best look with these uncommon gadgets.
Sonia Kashuk Tools Contour Brush No. 30
Sonia Kashuk available at target.com | $16
This fan brush is all about intricate detailing. "Pros use this to apply mascara to the base of the lash line and to dust away eye shadow fallout," says Lijha Stewart, director of artistry and education at Make Up For Ever.
Make Up For Ever #402 Artistic Fan Brush
Makeup Forever available at sephora.com | $20
it Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Master Brush #16
it cosmetics available at itcosmetics.com | $58
Use this multitasker with any major face product: foundation, concealer, blush or bronzer. The shape of the brush allows it to be used with all base cosmetics. Its flat side blends makeup over larger areas, and the pointed tip is best for precision application in the grooves.
Make Up For Ever #412 Medium Paint Brush
Makeup Forever available at sephora.com | $43
This paintbrush look-alike is great for covering large areas without losing color intensity. Apply foundation to the face or conceal blemishes on the body with this one.
Artis Elite Mirror Linear 3 Demi Brush
Artis Brush available at artisbrush.com | $40
No, this is not a toothbrush. The thin fibers are terrific for creating lines. "Use the brush to line the lash line, to define eyebrows or to accentuate shadows in your lid crease," says Artis founder Matthew Waitesmith.
e.l.f. Beautifully Precise Multi Blender Massager
e.l.f. available at target.com | $12
With its wavy massage-head bristles, this gizmo sculpts, shapes and blends powders, liquids and creams. "Use it to apply moisturizer first, then let what's left on the bristles slightly sheer out your makeup coverage for a more natural look," says Achelle Dunaway, global artistic director for e.l.f.
This feature originally appeared in the ESSENCE January 2017 issue.