FIONA  STILES

makeup artist

Post from teenvogue.com

Fiona StilesComment
Teen Vouge got in touch with me a few weeks ago and asked if I would do an interview with them about makeup brushes.  I have what you might call a MAJOR obsession with brushes.  I have literally hundreds.  And if you're wondering why I have so many, it's because there are days when I have multiple girls on a shoot, or have to do a few different clients in a day and what good is it if I used my fave brushes on one person and then they're dirty and I can't use them on the next lovely lady?  So there's the answer, many, many multiples of my favorites.  But don't worry, you don't need that many brushes, in fact just of few of the right ones will suffice.  Read below for my brush breakdown..... And thanks again to Teen Vogue!

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Q: What are the most important makeup brushes to own and what brushes can you do without? 

A: The right tools for the job are absolutely key. And having the right tools truly helps you get the best results. The most important brushes are for concealer, eye shadow and blush since these need the most blending, and a powder brush so you don't over apply (a problem with pressed powder). I love using a big synthetic brush for foundation, but it's not as important as having a concealer brush that makes short work of spots and under circles. And even though I always use a lip brush for work, you can absolutely skip it. 

Q: What kind of makeup products should you use brushes with? 

A: Nothing helps make a blemish disappear like the right brush, it can work miracles! And getting a perfectly flushed cheek is way easier when you have the right shaped brush. One that's too big will put too much product on and over too much of your face and one that's too flat can just leave big patches of unblended color. And using the right brushes for eye shadow will be the difference between looking like fabulous and looking like you have two black eyes!    

Q: What should you look for when shopping for makeup brushes? 

A: First of all, when you buy eyeshadow and you get those little sponge tipped applicators, just throw them away. You don't need a million brushes, just a few of the right ones....And you will never get the looks from magazines or red carpets if you use those. You can get pretty good brushes at the drug store, Eco Tools are good ones, and CVS will take anything back with a receipt, so that makes it easy to try them out. It all comes down to how to blend a product... Anything you use powder with you want to use a brush with real hair; blush, shadow, powder, bronzer. And anything that is liquid or cream you should use a synthetic brush with; lipstick, foundation, concealer, eye liner. For a concealer brush, you want it to be flat so you can feather the concealer out and seamlessly blend it into the foundation. For eyeshadow, I like a brush that is soft and domed for blending, and a flatter oval one for laying down color. For powder or bronzer, one that is soft and fluffy and domed does the trick. And for blush, I love one that is domed and on the smaller side; ones that are too big make it hard to control the color. Brushes that are really hard or rough just feel terrible on your face. It's your FACE! Only use things that feel nice on your skin. 

Q: Why is owning the proper makeup brushes important? 

A: You can't get the control you need with your fingers and sponges. If you were a carpenter, you wouldn't use a ruler to hammer in some nails! It ends up wasting product when you don't use the right tools, because you can't apply if efficiently. Plus if you take care of your brushes you can have them for a lifetime, so they are very much worth the investment! 

Q: What can you do with brushes that you can't do with other makeup application techniques such as sponges, using your fingers, etc? 

A: Brushes let you be so much more precise than using your fingers or sponges. You can't blend eye shadow with your fingers and applying powder blush with your fingers or a sponge is a recipe for disaster. With brushes you can draw on a perfect 60's winged liner, or beautiful wash of color, or add depth and contour to your eyes. You can give yourself a believable sun kissed glow with bronzer or a fresh and pretty flushed cheek. All of which is almost impossible without brushes! 

Q: What tips do you have for using makeup brushes? Are there any special looks you can create by using them? 

A: There are so many different sizes and shapes of eye shadow brushes, it can get a bit confusing! But they all do different things so it really depends on how you like to wear your makeup. Thin, pointy brushes are perfect for lining the eyes. Small, stiff angled brushes are great for filling in brows or pushing liner into the base of your lashes. 

Q: How often should you clean your brushes? What's the best way to clean them? 
A: Realistically, try to clean your brushes every month. You don't want to have a bunch of bacteria growing in your brushes, especially the ones you use to cover blemishes with! You don't have to buy anything special to clean them with, your favorite shampoo will work just fine! For your brushes that are harder to clean, like lip brushes, eyeliner brushes (especially if you use a gel liner) and concealer brushes--basically synthetic brushes--you can use dish washing soap. It really breaks down the oils and gets them super clean. To dry them squeeze out the excess water with a paper towel, or a dishtowel, and lay them flat to dry. Letting them dry overnight means they're ready to use again in the morning. Don't blow dry them with a hairdryer, you can totally damage the hairs that way. Sunbeams are fine, so a sunny windowsill can speed up the drying process.