Women (and, in some cases, men) have been using cosmetics for thousands of years. Makeup trends may change, but the basics stay the same. We want to highlight and brighten our eyes, add color to our cheeks and lips, and smooth out the hue and texture of our skin.
Of course, as with anything, you can't get the job done right if you don't have the right tools. Even if you have the highest-quality makeup in your drawer, if you don't have the correct application tools, that quality won't shine through.
Which tools do you need?
After you apply foundation, your face needs one thing: powder. Powder helps to set your foundation. It also evens out the tone and helps your foundation to last through the day or evening. To apply that powder, you'll need a brush. But what kind?
Powder brushes come in many shapes and sizes, but don't be overwhelmed. Simply look for a brush that has a full head. The bristles should feel fluffy and light. If the bristles are too hard, your makeup will go on splotchy. A softer brush is also less likely to irritate your skin. Some people like a brush with a long handle; others prefer a short handle. It's really just a matter of personal preference.
Eyelash curlers look a little like torture devices, but if you use them correctly, your eyes will appear larger and more open. Curling your eyelashes is an easy way to brighten up your face, even if you don't wear a lot of makeup.
Here's the skinny on using an eyelash curler: Always use an eyelash curler before applying any mascara; otherwise, you may pull out your lashes. Hold the curler in your fingers and open it by spreading the handles. Center your upper lashes between the top and bottom sections of the curler. Make sure the curler is set at the base of your lash line, but take care not to touch your eyelids. Gently squeeze tight, hold for a few seconds, and voila -- pretty lashes!
Some people use a heated eyelash curler to get more curl. But those aren't necessary unless you have super-stubborn lashes.
If you use liquid foundation, you're better off applying it with a sponge rather than your fingertips. Your fingertips may spread bacteria to your face, which can cause breakouts. Makeup sponges also provide a more even application.
Don't use too much foundation, though, because it will settle into any nooks and crannies in your face and make them look even more pronounced. Experts recommend dipping the sponge lightly into foundation and dabbing it onto any splotches or discolorations first. Then, dampen the sponge and apply the foundation to your entire face. Take care to blend it nicely into your neck.
Also, clean your sponge regularly to avoid introducing bacteria to your skin. Yuck!
We list the eyebrow and lash comb together because they often sell as a unit. The lash comb is on one side and the eyebrow comb is on the other.
An eyebrow comb (sometimes referred to as an eyebrow brush) gives your eyebrows shape and definition, and puts any rogue eyebrow hairs into place. Also if you use an eyebrow pencil, the brush will blend in the color.
If you wear mascara, you need an eyelash comb. Mascara can clump, and an eyelash comb will remove those clumps. And as a side benefit, by brushing your lashes up and away from your eyelid, you'll give them a little curl.
We use blush to add a healthy glow to our cheeks. But which brush does the job best?
Blush brushes come in many shapes and sizes, and all provide a different style of application. We love the basic fluffy brush. It's great for adding color to the apples of your cheeks. A thin, fan-shaped brush will help you smooth out color and remove any excess powder. A kabuki-style brush is a big puffy brush with wider coverage. It's excellent for applying bronzer. You can also purchase smaller, more angled brushes for precise contouring of cheekbones.
When was the last time you cleaned out your cosmetics? HowStuffWorks talked to an LA-based makeup artist for advice on how often we need to toss it.
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- "shu uemura Eyelash Curler." Sephora.com. 2010. (June 16, 2010) http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P8119