16 Jul 2013

Absolute basics: My five favourite powder brushes

OK so there are seven items here, but bear with me :-)

More glorious brushes :-)  This time the turn of the brushes I use for powder - by this I mean finishing powder, blotting powder, mattifying powder... although I will mention mineralised powder foundation a little bit lower down...

For a flawless, professional, just-not-gonna-budge finish, it's got to be a powder puff.

Old faithful

This is an old-school way of applying finishing powder, but it really really does work, especially if you want to absolutely categorically most definitely no-two-ways-about-it get rid of shine and set your makeup in place.  Forever.  (Or at least, for a long while).  Using the old press-and-roll method, apply the puff to the powder, then press onto the face, then roll it.  Keep going until you're finished.  Use a soft powder brush to get rid of excess on the skin.  It's the fastest and easiest method for brides, long-wear makeup, or makeup that's going to need to withstand up-close-and-personal flash photography (head shots etc).

My five favourites are here...
L -> R: Crown, Lauren Luke, Louise Young, Chanel, Inglot, Japonesque

After that, take your pick... My five favourites are, in order of preference:

In general, I'm tending towards smaller brushes all the time - I am not sure why, but I am!  I find you get more precision with them, I guess.  This is why my choice of powder brush is actually a large eyeshadow fluff.  This is far too large a brush for eyeshadow (unless you are whacking a really quick base on the lids) but it's perfect for setting concealer under the eyes and around the nose and chin; the only places that I really find I need to powder.  Japoneque brushes are brilliant, and this is one of my absolute favourite brushes of all time.

L -> R: Inglot 4SS,  Japonesque 234

Although I haven't mentioned it above, the Inglot 4SS could be used in a similar vein to the above Japonesque brush.  Although the shapes are different, they're similarly soft and fluffy - when I don't have access to one, I'll use the other.

In general, I tend to use the large brushes shown above above for dusting powder off, rather than on; when I use a powder puff, I use these brushes to dust the excess off the skin, although they could also be used to apply a light dusting of powder to a more normal-dry skin.

What about mineralised &/or powder-based foundations?

L -> R: Crown*, MAC
This is an easy peasy one - for mineralised or powder-based foundations (either loose, like the Bare Minerals one here, or compact, like the MAC one here), you're going to need to buff them in.  So you need a densely packed buffing brush.  I personally find that natural fibres tend to work better but Sigma do a decent set of long-handled kabuki brushes that are quite good, for synthetic offerings.  Depending on whether you simply prefer smaller or larger brushes, long handles or short, rounded or flat brushes, they'll all do the same trick, but my usual reached-for brushes are one of the two above.

*I believe that the one on the left is a Crown brush, but I'm not 100% sure because it doesn't have a name/brand/label on it.  The differences between that, and the MAC 182 (on the right) are (a) flat top v domed top, (b) synthetic v natural fibres.  My preference is the MAC 182.  It's also a really super-fast way of whacking a powder-based foundation onto a large area if required.

And what about HD Powders?

HD Powders (like those reviewed here) really need to be buffed in.  Its important to use a buffing brush (similar to those mentioned above) in order to avoid the dreaded white-flash effect that these powders produce in flash photography situations where they haven't been properly buffed-in.  For normal day-to-day use of these, I will just use my Japonesque 234, but then again I don't have to run the gauntlet of a red carpet en route into my desk at work every day.

Overall recommendation?

If you like smaller brushes, the Japonesque 234.  If you prefer a larger brush, the Chanel #2 - expensive but beautifully soft.  If you like a bargain, Lauren Luke (assuming still in business, not sure as a lot of the brushes have been marked Out Of Stock on the website for some time).  The Crown brush is ok, but a little harsh.  And either the MAC 182 or 109 as a buffer brush.

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