5 Makeup Tools You Can Skip

Whoa. Does your assortment of makeup tools look like this? Perhaps some purging is in order.
Whoa. Does your assortment of makeup tools look like this? Perhaps some purging is in order.
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Raise your hand if you've been in this situation: You're innocently strolling through the makeup section of a department store in your local mall. Maybe you're just passing through, or maybe you've come with a mission to buy one specific product, perhaps a lipstick or a new shade of blush.

Fast-forward 30 minutes, and you walk out of the store loaded down with three new eye shadows (and accompanying brushes), bronzing powder (and contouring brush), lipstick and lip liner (with lip brush, of course) ... and a rotating mascara wand? You dump all of the loot into your already overloaded makeup drawer -- and barely touch any of it again.


Sound familiar? No matter how hard we try to be strong, at one point or another most of us have fallen prey to the hard sell by a makeup salesperson. And it's not only the cosmetics they're shilling -- you might find yourself realizing a sudden, deep need for tools, too. Even if you've never heard of a stippling brush, after a few minutes you could start thinking it's the key to happiness. If you don't watch yourself, you'll snap it up -- and not see it again until the next time you clean out your makeup drawer.

So you don't get burned the next time you stroll through the makeup department, here's a list of four makeup tools you really don't need -- and one product everyone has that you should throw out as soon as humanly possible.


The Brushes That Come With Blush and Eye Shadow

Like that smoky eye? Quality brushes can help you achieve it.
Like that smoky eye? Quality brushes can help you achieve it.

We hope you learned this lesson back in high school, but here it is anyway. When you buy blush or eye shadow, the first thing you should do is throw out the brush or sponge-tip applicators that are packaged in the case.

Even the best blushes come with really low-quality brushes, and those sponge applicators are basically useless for eye shadow. Invest in your own brushes -- they don't have to be expensive, but pretty much anything will be better than the generic stuff.



Fancy Brushes

Yes, we said you should invest in some brushes. But unless you're a professional makeup artist, you don't need every brush under the sun -- and there are a whole lot of brushes under the sun.

It all depends on how much and what kind of makeup you wear, but most of us won't have much use for angular blending, stippling, contour and fan brushes. So you don't end up with a bunch of brushes you don't need, buy individual brushes instead of big brush sets.



Heated Eyelash Curlers

Eyelash curlers are a mainstay on lists of essential makeup tools. They do look a bit like medieval torture devices and can be rather tricky to use for the uninitiated, but it's a small price to pay for having eyes that, as they say, truly "pop."

Why not up the ante by bringing heat into the picture? Yes, heated eyelash curlers supposedly make your eyes pop just that much more. But we definitely question the wisdom of holding a heated tool 2 millimeters from your eyeball -- this is one tool you can surely do without.



False Eyelash Applicator

Want to rock false eyelashes like Ms. Perry? Use tweezers and skip the applicator.
Want to rock false eyelashes like Ms. Perry? Use tweezers and skip the applicator.
Ian Gavan/Getty Images

If you're considering buying a false eyelash applicator, we have one word for you: tweezers.

Cosmetics companies are experts at making you think you want -- no, need -- products you really don't want or need (see: stippling brushes, heated eyelash curlers). Add false eyelash applicators to that list. Tweezers can do the job as well as, if not better than, special applicators.


Save your money for the newest nail polish craze.


Rotating Mascara Wand

If you're an insomniac or habitual late-night TV watcher, you might have encountered an infomercial for a rotating mascara wand that supposedly separates your lashes as it spins, resulting in absolutely flawless eyes.

But we think this product sounds more like a recipe for disaster than the answer to the prayers of your skimpy lashes. We suspect that instead of perfectly crafted lashes, you'd be way more likely to end up with the worst-ever case of raccoon eye. Skip it and buy the old-fashioned stuff.



Clean Out Your Makeup, Like Right Now!

Clean Out Your Makeup, Like Right Now!

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.

Related Articles


  • Chaturveda, Megha. "Most Expensive Cosmetics." Born Rich. Jan. 11, 2012. (Sept. 2, 2012) http://www.bornrich.com/expensive-cosmetics.html
  • Good Housekeeping. "Mechanical and Heated Eyelash Curler Reviews." (Sept. 2, 2012) http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/product-reviews/beauty-products/eyelash-curler-reviews/best-lash-curlers#slide-1
  • Payne, Todra. "Hi-Tech Mascara Wands." Healthy Beauty Project. (Sept. 2, 2012) http://www.healthybeautyproject.com/news-info/hi-tech-mascara-wands/
  • Temptalia. "What beauty products do you feel are unnecessary?" March 6, 2011. (Sept. 2, 2012) http://www.temptalia.com/what-beauty-products-do-you-feel-are-unnecessary