Achieving a naturally pretty face is all about how you apply your makeup. With the right brushes and products, you can get a look that lasts all day and looks as fresh in the evening as it did when you first applied it.
Tip #1 Invest in a good set of brushes
Since a good set of brushes can run you about 200 bucks, lots of ladies never bother to get quality brushes. But you should remember that good brushes can last years with proper care, and the difference good brushes make is so dramatic that it’s definitely worth the investment.
You have a couple of choices in terms of brushes. You can go natural hair or synthetic, and you can buy a full kit or just pick up the essentials and add on more along the way. Most people think natural hair brushes are better, and that’s a matter of personal preference, but synthetic brushes tend to be cheaper, last longer, and shed less.
Trish McEvoy and Bobbi Brown make absolutely amazing brushes, with prices ranging between $15-$40 a brush. Both also offer sets of full-sized or mini brushes that are in the $200 range (found at stores like Saks and Neiman Marcus). Another option is Urban Decay. Their synthetic brushes are absolutely amazing, last forever, and are less expensive.
Here are the 4 essential brushes that you should start with:
Kabuki brush: this is a large, full brush with a short stubby handle. It’s used for applying and blending face makeup, such as loose powder and bronzer.
Fine eyeliner brush: this is a thin brush with a short, stiff tip. Some of these are angled, but it’s best to get a normal one because it lets you blend your eyeliner with your shadow.
Dome brush: this is a small brush with a thick, domed tip, used for applying eye shadow and blending darker shadow into the crease.
Angled blush brush: this is a medium brush with an angled tip, perfect for applying blush more precisely than with a normal blush brush.
Tip #2 Always use primer
Primer is overlooked way too often, but it makes a world of difference when you use it. Apply it with your hands on a dry face before your foundation, concealer, or loose powder. It fills in lines, smoothes out your skin tone, and provides a base so that your makeup goes on evenly and stays put all day. My favorite is the one by Nars.
Tip #3 Moisturize before applying makeup
Now and forever, the biggest trend is glowing skin. If you can achieve that glow, you don’t need to put on any more makeup, and the end result is a naturally pretty face perfect for daytime. To get it, wear moisturizer under your makeup. If you’re going for a really ethereal look, put on primer first, follow with a thin layer of moisturizer, and then, using a sponge applicator, apply a thin layer of liquid foundation on top. As a result, the moisturizer will make your liquid foundation absolutely shine and look light and natural all at once.
Tip #4 Use powder makeup whenever possible
Powder makeup is much easier to blend than liquids or creams and looks more natural as a result. Instead of liquid foundation, use a loose powder like Urban Decay’s Surreal Skin Makeup. Apply lightly with a kabuki brush in a sweeping circular motion after putting on primer. The result is a flawless matte finish that you can jazz up with bronzer and loose powder blush.
Instead of the usual eyeliner, try using kohl, which is a packed powder liner. The great thing about kohl is that you can apply it wet or dry. Applying it dry looks very natural and is a great way to enhance your eye color without looking like you tried too hard. Apply with a fine eyeliner brush, right over your lashes, in short, controlled strokes. Then, blend outward, slightly above the lash line and a little past the corner of your eye in light, feathery motions, starting from the edge of your eye and moving in the direction of your nose. This gives your eyeliner a much softer, more natural appearance. Use brown for the perfect daytime smoky eye. For a more dramatic look, wet the tip of your brush and follow the same method. The end result is like liquid liner in terms of color, but much softer and more blendable.
Tip #5 Apply a slightly sparkly bronzer and a touch of pink blush for that sun-kissed glow
No matter how dark or how pale you are, bronzer is the best way to brighten up your face, as long as you don’t abuse it. Look for a bronzer that has a bit of sparkle to it, I especially like the one from Nars. Using a kabuki brush, sweep bronzer lightly onto the face along the hairline, over the nose, chin, and cheekbones. It’s important to apply a very small amount and to blend well in a semi-circular motion. Then, follow up with blush in pink or coral, depending on your skin tone. To apply in the right place, make sure you’re grinning. Then, sweep on with an angled blush brush, starting at the apples of your cheeks and blending upward. This should give you a nice natural flush if you blend well. For bonus points, also apply a tiny amount to the tip of your nose and your chin. And voila! A day at the beach in just instants.