Tools of the Trade

by - 11:13:00

Make up Brushes and other Beauty Essentials

I'm a firm believer that if make up is to look as good as it can on the skin it must be applied correctly. Enter the tools.

The majority of brushes I use come from a ten piece set by E.L.F which costs just £12. Also good to note is that E.L.F regularly have amazing promotions (I purchased this set on their last 50% sale) so you can get good quality, functional brushes for as little as 75p!!! Yes that may seem ridiculously cheap for a quality product but E.L.F have never disappointed me so far.

The first brush is the total face brush which is a dense fluffy brush which is ideal for powders and all over bronzing. It is a super soft brush which is gentle on the skin and delivers a nice dispersion of product. 

The blurb says they have been "tested by professional make up artist Scott Vincent Borba" and have been "ergonomically designed" to fit perfectly into the hand. While I can't vouch for the first claim, I certainly agree it fits well in the palm and allows for ease of use, resulting in a flawless finish on the skin.

This is the E.L.F Kabuki Face brush which was not a part of the ten piece set; it retails for £3.50 which is a reasonable price when compared with other brands (once more look out for promotions =)). I mainly use this to apply my mineral foundation as it is dense enough to pick up enough product to achieve the coverage I need as well as small enough to use on more awkward areas such as the nose. In my opinion it's not as soft as the others on some areas, on my forehead and cheeks it feels lovely and soft but on my nose it can feel scratchy and harsh. 
Also, if you are one of those people that uses bronzer all over the face, this is a great tool as you can target specific areas and provide a nice overall glow too. Overall a product I'm glad I got and would recommend to others, the only criticism I have is that when I first got it, it did shed fibres for a week or so but after regular washing with brush cleanser it's been fine ever since.

If, like me you contour your face using bronzer, blush or highlighter (or all three) then the E.L.F bronzing brush  is the perfect product! It is a slim angled brush which allows you to apply powder products with precision so you can achieve the perfect look with ease rather than applying with a regular blush or bronzing brush and the rubbing away the excess. Quality wise, this one I am not so sold on. Though it does exactly what it purports to do, the quality just isn't present in this case. Unlike all my other E.L.F brushes this one isn't so soft and I don't really like the feel of it against my skin (I'd liken it to mild sandpaper), but again this might just be my brush as I know others love this brush and wouldn't be without it. You only really know when you try I guess so if you aren't sure look out for a promotion and even then if you aren't truly happy the team at E.L.F will be more than happy to help =).

Foundation is a staple in my make up bag so I wouldn't be without my trusty E.L.F foundation brush. This is one product that certainly hasn't disappointed. It spreads liquid foundation like a dream so you get the perfect coverage using a relatively minimal amount of product. It also works well on the more difficult areas such as the nose and around the eye area. For a flawless base, you can't go far wrong with this gem =). I can't stress this enough however, always clean it after use. As gross as this is, if I've done my make up for a night out and only clean it the day after, it can be difficult to remove and even once clean I've found the brush can still feel 'greasy' and unclean. Despite this, I would most definitely recommend this, especially for those who aren't used to applying foundation with a brush, you can learn the basics with this and invest for example.

This brush I would absolutely not be without, it's a Clinique powder brush which I got as part of a Bonus Time gift at House of Fraser. It's so incredibly soft (think freshly washed hair) and works a dream. This is my go to brush for applying blusher as it applies and blends the product so well that I get a lovely, well blended pop of colour which doesn't look unnatural on my pale skin. It is hands down the best product I've received as part of Bonus Time. 

Annoyingly, my skin has persistent redness around my nose (mainly in the creases) so this little   E.L.F concealer brush allows me to apply my stick concealer with accuracy and it also blends it reasonably well, although I do prefer to use my ring finger for a natural looking finish. I can imagine this brush would also be useful for concealing spots as the brush is so small I could see it applying concealer well to a pimple like blemish, so perfect for those with teenage skin or acne. Due to the nature of the function of the brush, regular cleaning is essential (I usually clean mine straight after use) so as not to spread any bacteria which may be associated with any blemishes. Once more, there's not really anything I can fault about this product as it's fit for its purpose. It has the perfect sized brush head for the preciseness required when concealing blemishes and is easy and straightforward to use.

This E.L.F lip defining brush I can take or leave to be honest. I'm not really a big lipstick wearer so it's very rarely used. However, when it is used it is very much fit for purpose, the brush is fine enough to define the shape of the lips and spread colour to fill in the lips and creates a beautifully even, professional looking finish. In relation to this product, there is very little that I can complain about, the only thing being the fibre fallout which still occasionally occurs. Aside from that, a perfect little product for a perfect little price. 

The above product is the E.L.F eye shadow brush which is the only E.L.F product I truly dislike! Fibres are constantly falling out and  and two of my three have short and stumpy brushes (like poor crease brushes). Some peoples experiences may be very different from mine, but based on the products I have received I would not really recommend this particular product as I've yet to achieve a good result using it. It is very disappointing to be honest as out of everything I've bought from E.L.F (and there have been many) this has been the only product that has truly let me down. From what experience I have with it, I would suggest that your money would be better of spent elsewhere.

Yet another product I can take or leave; I haven't really used this product too much as I generally prefer a pencil eyeliner but when I have I haven't been delighted with the result. My main issue with this is that although the brush head appears to be fine enough to create a nice line, on my eyes, the brush practically covers my lid with black product which is not a great look. I've seen many tutorials and there results look better than mine, so it might just be my eyes. I don't think so however and I just think the product isn't fine enough to product the line most people wear. On a brighter note, the brush is dense enough to create a strong line; it doesn't swish away, it sweeps along the lash line comfortably. 

Last but not least are my QVS eyelash curlers (couldn't find a link as I'm not sure you can still buy them over here in the UK). I have had these for a number of years and I wouldn't know what to replace them with. They are so easy to use and achieve a perfect natural curl, I can't recommend them enough. I recently acquired some E.L.F lash curlers and all I can say is that they are now in the bin. I was a bit sceptical about purchasing what I would consider a bargain brand lash curler but if the rest of their range are as good as these curlers then I wouldn't hesitate to try more of their products. The lash curlers are just phenomenal, if you can find a pair I wouldn't hesitate. 

I hope you have found this post useful and as usual, any comments or questions are welcome.

Kirstie xoxo

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