Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Starting Out: Tools

Welcome to my tenth, and LAST, post of 'The Starting Off Project' - founded and set up by Stephanie from Steph's Inside Voice.

Catch up on my previous posts:
I'm Part of #theSOproject... Are you?
Starting Off - Skincare
Starting Off - Concealer
Starting Off - Foundation
Starting Off - Bronzer
Starting Off - Blusher
Starting Off - Mascara
Starting Off - Eyeliner

Starting Off - Eyeshadow

Starting Off - Lips

So, we've prepped and primed our skin with our skincare routine, covered our blemishes with our concealer, applied our foundation, bronzed and contoured and popped a little colour onto our cheeks, beautified our eyes and then finished our look by making our lips look prettiful! :)

Now let's talk: Tools...

Good makeup application is down to decent products, practice and GOOD TOOLS!
The makeup brushes you use play a BIG part in the overall finish of your application. So step away from the tacky foam wands, put those fingers away... And invest in some decent tools!

My tools and brushes live in this Soap&Glory cosmetic & brush bag, they do a similar one here

I'll go through some tools available and show you what I use...

Foundation Brush - these come available in a few different types, usually flat or tapered brushes with packed tight bristles for smooth application of fluid foundations. Blending sponges are also available for great foundation application. Strippling brushes or duo fibre brushes are also great multi-taskers, amazing for buffing and blending liquid, cream or powder products. I need to get my hands on one, as I don't currently have one in my collection. [But it's on my Wishlist ;) ]
I currently use this Real Techniques Expert Face Brush to apply my foundation. It's an amazing brush - I'm a fan of the RT brushes, they're multi-functional & cruelty free. I use this one to apply and buff my foundation and get really great results. I also use this to apply and blend my contour.

Concealer Brush - Usually a soft but firm bristled, flat brush with a rounded or tapered/pointed tip for applying concealer to under eyes or any blemishes or discolouration, and easily blend. 
I use this fab bright pink Topshop Conceal Brush.

Powder Brush - A big, soft, fluffy, rounded brush to easily load with powder and distribute evenly over the face. Can be used for both loose or packed powders and also bronzers, powder highlighters, any powder products. There are also small, chunky brushes called kabuki's, they're usually thick, bundled and are designed to apply mineral make up in circular movements.
I use this Real Techniques Powder Brush  to apply my powders and skin finishes, it's super soft and I love buffing with this huge brush.

Blush or Angled Brush - Usually a round or angled head of fine, soft, long, gentle fibres to apply blush to the apples of the cheeks, without disturbing the base. 
I use this Urban Decay Good Karma Blush Brush below which doesn't look as fluffy as normal as it had not long been deep-cleaned and was still drying. I use this to apply my blusher to the apples of my cheeks, it's a gorgeous fluffy brush. Below that is another brush I sometimes use for blush, it's from a brush set, it has softer, less firm fibres so it's nice for a smaller, gentler application I often use for a sweep of shimmer.

Fan Brush - Fine but firm hairs in a fan shape, designed to be used to apply powder in a soft, velvety effect, apply blush to the cheekbones and clean up excess powder or highlighter. It's another multi-tasker! I got this fan brush as part of a set, I've had it about 2 years so I can't remember the brand.

Spiral Eyebrow/Eyelash Brush - This in effect is a mascara wand, used to tame unruly hairs and groom brows. You could also use to brush through your lashes to remove clumps. But I wouldn't use for both, or if you choose to, make sure you clean after each use; you don't want mascara in your brows!! :)  I use this one, from the same set to brush through my brows once I've done them.

And below is my collection of eye brushes... [and theres a lip brush thrown in there too ;)]
They're a mixture of Real Techniques, The Body Shop & those of the brush set I mentioned, big ones small ones, fine ones, firm ones, shadow ones, crease ones, liner ones and brow ones. ;)

Other tools in my collection include:  eyelash curlers, tweezers, a pencil sharpener to keep my liners sharp and a facial hair trimmer, which I use on my eyebrows or for any other emergency hair removal! ;)

Now, to keep your tools in tip top condition and to keep them germ and bacteria free, it's very important to regularly clean them. A few weeks ago I asked Twitter how often they cleaned their brushes as I wasn't sure if I was cleaning them regularly enough, the results were quite different. 
But this is my routine...

I spot-clean my brushes twice a week using MAC Brush Cleaner (£10.00) and then give them a deep clean fortnightly with a shampoo such as Johnson's Baby Shampoo (£1.00).

Spot Cleaning My Brushes...
To spot clean my brushes I use an old flannel, I have a few old baby flannels and a mitten style flannel which I use solely for brush cleaning. I pour a little brush cleaner onto the flannel then gently swirl each brush into the liquid, in circular movements or back and forth to remove all product. Using this method means the brush doesn't get too wet so can be used almost straight away. I've yet to find a brush cleanser better than MAC's! I do this twice a week, although if you have a breakout it may be best to do it daily, as you'll only be spreading the bacteria back onto your face the next day, which won't help your skin to clear up!

Spot Cleaning

Deep-Cleaning My Brushes...
When deep-cleaning my brushes I fill a small bowl with lukewarm water. I pour a little baby shampoo into the palm of my hand and swirl the brush into the shampoo to create a lather, before rinsing in the lukewarm water and then swirling the brush onto a clean, dry towel, gently re-shaping the bristles before placing them on a towel to dry. I try to fold the towel a few times at the base of the brushes, so they're on a slant facing downwards. This is to ensure that water doesn't run down into the metal part or handle of the brush, as it may damage the fibres or break down the glue that holds the bristles together, resulting in hair loss. This is also important to remember when cleaning your brushes in or under water! I leave the brushes to dry for a few hours, or overnight if possible so they're ready to use the next day.

Deep Cleaning

That's my take on make up tools. Join me next week to talk.. Oh wait, that's it!!
Well I'd like to thank Steph for creating this fab project, to all the other bloggers I've met along the way that have posted some fantastic posts as part of this project. I've really, really enjoyed being part of it. I've learnt lots, and I hope that my readers have gained something from my posts too! :)
Remember to use the twitter hashtag #theSOproject to read more Tools posts from the 120+ other bloggers taking part in this project.

Feel free to comment with your links to your Tools posts as part of #theSOproject. 

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  1. Great post. You have a lovely collection of brushes.


  2. Adding the part about cleaning brushes was so clever!
    Love your posts, always so helpful with fab photos! :D


  3. great post!
    You have mentioned a lot of good make-up tools! that eyelash brush looks awesome!
    can't believe it is the last one :(

  4. Very useful post and nice to see your brush collection :)

    Ila x


  5. Great post!!! The real techniques brushes are so good for starting out as they're so cheap & affordable! They wash well too xx

  6. Fabulous brushes, real techniques is the best! Great post :) I really like your blog name as well xx



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