Photo: Alexandre Weinberger/Trunk Archive
You might splurge on lipstick, or a game-changing night cream, but brushes? It turns out, there’s good reason to pay extra for well-made makeup brushes. Glam factor aside, makeup artist Beau Nelson, whose clients include Kristen Stewart, Nina Dobrev, and Emmy Rossum, says, “High quality makeup brushes are designed to last for years. They make application easier and more professional looking. Fiona Stiles, makeup artist to Jennifer Garner, Elizabeth Banks, and Gabrielle Union agrees that they are worth the price. “Good makeup brushes are like a perfect blazer or black pumps—they’re a staple you’re going to use every day,” Stiles says. “And if you have super sensitive skin like me the soft, tapered hairs of a quality brush will be much more pleasurable to use.”
Some of the most expensive brush sets include a $650 set by Kevyn Aucoin or $1,525 collection by Claudio Riaz. But next month, jeweler Alexis Bittar is releasing a Liquid Gold collection at Sephora for $175. “When I was designing it, I was trying to capture a moment in time — late-Seventies New Wave, with sharp angles and lines,” Bittar told Women’s Wear Daily. “I was going for this Studio 54 vibe, what you’d want to have in your clutch there.” There’s the five-brush set (with display stand), or a Swarovski crystal and 24-karat gold-plated powder brush in a suede pouch for $58.
If you’re looking for options to buy now, Nelson says his favorites are Shu Uemura, Hakuhodo, Tom Ford and Make Up For Ever. Stiles is a fan of Hakuhodo and Laura Mercier. Her favorite affordable brush line is Sonia Kashuk, which is available at Target, but she feels you’ll need to shop at a high-end department store or retailer for superior quality. They’re worth the investment; Stiles says she’s had some of her great brushes for over 15 years. “Make sure you wash them frequently and dry them flat,” she says. “If you dry them standing up, water will seep in and deteriorate the glue where it’s bonded and you’ll lose hairs.” Nelson says he avoids brush cleansers that contain alcohol as those tend to dry out hair and cause breakage.
If you need to buy just one fancy brush Nelson and Stiles say to go for a powder/blush brush you can use to apply powder to the T-zone and diffuse blush on the cheeks. “It feels incredibly glamorous to use and will make your daily application that must better.”