Thursday, December 1st, 2011

By Kathy, Makeup Artist

Kathy was born a long, long time ago in the Sonoma Valley in California but grew up in the South, which is where she resides currently. Her passion for makeup goes back to when she taught her babysitter to curl her eyelashes at the ripe age of six! When Kathy was 13, she received her own makeup set–she says she looked like a cross between Stevie Nicks and Rocky Horror, but “it was the 1970s, so no one noticed.”


5 Great Makeup Artist Tools You Can Use

I’ve decided that I have just one mission in my makeup writing life: to make makeup accessible. To do this, I’d like to start by giving everyone a list of handy tools. I use these every time that I do my own makeup or anyone else’s. I guarantee that everyone has some of them, though probably not all, so I’ll give some sources if you’d like to get them.

Baby Wipes

These are so useful that you’ll wonder how you got along without them. They can clean a work area, spot clean brushes, and even correct makeup mistakes. They don’t contain enough cleanser to remove more than a stray liner mark or tighten up an outer eye, but they also won’t bleed through your skin’s natural lines and destabilize what you want to keep while removing what you don’t. Get the ones for sensitive skin or the all-natural ones at your local grocery or drugstore.

Regular Tissues

Ever wonder why your makeup gets caked partway through your day? If you use foundation and concealer, you’ve added a lot of moisture to your face. This will combine with your natural facial oils and your setting powder to make a makeup mud pie. Try this instead: after you put on your concealer or color corrector, split a tissue into 2 plies and place one onto your face, folded in half, running your fingers out from nose to ear. Now, without removing it, take your hands away. If it’s still sticking to your face, flip it over and do the steps again. Don’t forget to separate the layers: most tissue is 2-ply and you only need one of them. Get these at any grocery or drugstore.

Small ELF Concealer/Detail Brushes

How can you not love something that does fine detail work, lines eyes, lines and fills in lips for $1? I’ve even used one to put glue onto a lash strip and cleaned it afterwards and it was still usable! Come to think of it, the one thing that I don’t use the ELF Concealer/Detail Brushes for is concealer.

Color Corrector

Have you ever tried to conceal under eye circles or a really vicious blemish only to have its color still show through? Put down the regular concealer and pick up the corrector! Makeup artists like them because it allows us to fix a problem instead of covering it up. You can get these anywhere from the mall to the drugstore. I got my Graftobian Color Wheel for $12.50, but the HD version is $23.99.

Spoolie Brushes

Have you ever been running late and, as you put on your mascara, your lashes gathered into thick clumps of lash unhappiness? Running your lashes again and again with the mascara wand will deposit more and more product, which only compounds the problem.  Instead, allow the humble spoolie brush to assist you.   Just pick it up and run it through the gloppy mascara and you, too, can get separated lashes.  Get these at anywhere from Sally’s to Sephora!

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23 thoughts on “5 Great Makeup Artist Tools You Can Use

  1. Amy Hemming

    I love baby wipes – they are a makeup artists best kept secret – and I have a black counter at my studio – they are THE BEST for cleaning it after a client! Great advice! Spoolies are great too and keep my brides looking fabulous .

    • Kathy S.

      Thanks, Amy! If you approach a client with a spoolie to separate lashes, it’s easier to get them not to pull back. A lash comb can put them on the ceiling!

      I was worried about adding the wipes to the list, because the opinions on their use are so polarized, but I’m going to refer to them in my next article so I felt I had to.

  2. I would add in there a brush belt, because it’s easier to strap it on your waist and walk around the model freely, without worrying about where you left the brush roll.

    I’m in need of a color corrector wheel. I was going to buy Ben Nye’s version, but I may take a look at Graftobian as well.

    • Kathy S.

      Thanks, Chris! I like the Graftobian ones – HD and the one in the picture. Honestly, Ben Nye is probably just as good. You’ve got to try it to believe what it can do – it’s like magic. I barely use concealers anymore.

      Your point about the belt is well-taken, but I was kind of going for what the average person might be able to use in their own makeup area. A way to organize brushes is vital for fast application, though. You’re 100% right on that one!

  3. Daintynymph

    I actually have a hard time finding spoolie brushes. Neither the Sallys nor Sephora near me had them. Nor nail wheels, which I also wanted. Once I get holiday money I’m gonna order some from Amazon.

    • Susanne

      You probably do not need to buy one of these brushes. If you save the brush of an empty mascara and clean it.. That shoudle work, tooo

      • Kathy S.

        Susanne is right, Daintynymph. If it’s just for you, just take the wand from a mascara that you need to retire and clean it. Try using makeup remover or olive oil to remove all of the gunk, then a gentle baby shampoo to finish.

        Because it’s going near the eyes, always be sure to wash any spoolie frequently.

        If you’re 100% set on buying one, I got one of mine from Target. It’s Sonia Kashuk. MAC has one, too.

      • Catriona

        I always save my mascara brushes when I can. :) They snap off or can be cut off the lid so you don’t have to keep the bulky part. They’re good for brushing brows and for applying dye to brows and eyelashes.

    • Elf sells a spoolie brush! They always have some kind of sale going on but my advice is expect to spend at least 25 dollars (you usually have to, to get free shipping) and shipping is like 6 almost 7 dollars if not.

  4. Ooh I love the tissue tip! I usually wait until my concealer/foundation is completely dry to apply my setting powder, but this tip will definitely come in handy when I’m in a rush! Thanks for these!

    • Kathy S.

      Thanks, Joyce! I love the tissue tip myself. It removes some of the oils that bind the pigments in the concealer together. It also makes my 3 year-old son giggle when I pat fresh corrector and the tissue sticks, but that’s just a side effect :-).

  5. Tessa Mabry

    Blotting tissues would make a great addition to this list. Those nifty little tissues have lightened my load dramatically. I don’t have to carry tons of make-up in my bag to do touch ups on the road anymore. Just dab one of these on your face to soak up excess oil and you’re good to go!

    • Kathy S.

      Tessa, that’s actually a good suggestion. I use the tissues for that, but blot papers are a good idea as well. They go a long way towards fighting the dreaded makeup mudpie!

  6. Lisa

    I totally agree about the ELF brush. I have 4 of them in my kit, I use it for so many things.

  7. Shannon

    Excellent tips, thank you Kathy. I have my shopping list ready :-)

  8. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Katherine Katherine

    Great tips! Please consider to do a tutorial on how to apply corrector—correctly :) Thanks!

  9. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Janis summerblue6

    Nice article! Nice tips.

  10. Rachel S.

    Oooh the color wheel! I definitely do need to get one of these!