Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Blush 101

Beauty Lessons: Blush Brushes

For a softer look, consider using a fluffier brush that’s not as dense as the traditional blush brush. I recommend using stippling brushes, like Sephora’s #44 Professional Stippling Brush ($35), MAC 187 Duo Fibre Face Brush ($42), or Make Up For Ever HD #55N Blush Brush ($39). Stippling brushes deposit color more evenly while allowing you to build up color slowly.

For a brighter look, consider dense, tapered brushes. The tapered edge allows you to deposit color with precision, which will help get you that brighter, more noticeable pop of color right on the apples of the cheeks. I recommend angled brushes like Sephora #42 Natural Slant Brush ($32), Benefit’s Slant Brush ($20), Laura Mercier Angled Cheek Contour Brush ($45), and MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush ($32).

For everyday usage, consider dense, domed brushes with some fluff to it. A fluffier brush will allow you to blend and deposit color more evenly and softly without going too heavy, but the density will still allow you to pack on color should you choose to. The dome shape works nicely to give cheeks color without being too concentrated on the apples, so it can blend outward and look natural. I recommend Bobbi Brown Blush Brush ($50), Eco Tools Blush Brush ($9), MAC 116 Blush Brush ($32), and NARS Blush Brush ($46).

For mistakes, use a dense, buffing/kabuki brush in soft, small circles to diffuse the color and blend out harsh edges. Some top buffing brushes include NARS Botan Brush ($75), MAC 182 Buffer Brush ($45), and Eco Tools Kabuki Brush ($9).

What’s your favorite blush brush?

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33 thoughts on “Beauty Lessons: Blush Brushes

  1. Amber

    Great advice! Thanks Christine! I really like Sonia Kashuk’s Blush Brush for a flush of color right where I want it and MAC 187 for a softer look or when I am using highly pigmented blushes. I am quite fair-skinned, so I always blend with a kabuki to even everything out.

  2. Mickee

    I love these beauty lesson articles, very informative! Thanks Christine for doing these sometimes i forget basic info, lol, so these are a nice refresher. :)

  3. I love the Eco Tools blush brush & kabuki for everyday blushes! I really wish they would make a full size regular kabuki brush. My other two blush brushes are actually the Eco Tools powder brush from the mineral set (perfect for blushes that are too pigmented for the full size one, but not quite pigmented enough for a duo fibre brush, such as Tarina Tarantino’s, Paul & Joe and the brighter Shu Uemura blushes) and the MAC 188 which I find to be much more precise for blush application than the 187 (for super pigmented blushes like NARS, Rock & Republic).

  4. Erin

    I love my Sonia Kashuk angled multi-purpose powder brush (aka a black-bristled MAC 168!) for daily blush application, and I use my 187 knockoff (StudioTools!) for my more heavily pigmented blushes (MAC Cantaloupe, MAC MSFs, NARS Orgasm) or for when I want a more diffused look.

  5. Jenni

    Christine, these beauty lessons posts are very helpful. Thank you!

  6. Irene

    I use MAC 129 for general usage, even for more pigmented blush i still use this brush but with light hand application. Whereas I use MAC 116 for less pigmented blush because I can pat the color onto my cheeks. It gives me denser color payoff. MAC 182 for buffing if I put too much blush to avoid clown cheeks. MAC 168 for more define cheekbones usually I pair it with neutral/brown color blush. Finally MAC 131 for cream blush! Well, I LOVE LOVE LOVE blush :D

  7. AmazingRaquel

    How do I get my Sephora’s #44 Professional Stippling Brush to stop bleeding? Washing it is a nightmare!!

  8. This post was helpful, im going to bookmark it! I like using my MAC 187 for blush btw :)

  9. macpixie55

    I like the 129, 188 or 187 for applying. I like the 116 for highlight (helps the highlight blend beautifully into the blush to give a slightly gradient effect) and I use the 182 for buffing the colour to make it softer.
    I love my Quo angled brush for contour!

  10. DallasBrownEyes

    Would these brushes also work for applying bronzer?

  11. Christine – just an update and btw on the Eco Tools brushes… I STILL can’t get anyone to answer my questions re: their actual “eco factor.” They politely refuse to answer any question like that over the phone and all of my emails (which they say will be returned within 2 days) have gone unanswered. It leads to me assume that Eco-Tools aren’t very “eco,” if they were, they would be able to answer my questions instead of constantly forwarding me into their “eco-oblivian.”

    For me, it’s not just the quality of the product that I’m interested in, but also how true the product holds to the companies claims. For example, If MAC’s Volcanic Ash Exfoliator was the best product I’d ever used to scrub my floors, but it made my face itch and burn and bleed, I probably wouldn’t give it a good review because it’s SUPPOSED TO BE USED ON YOUR FACE!

    • No, I completely agree with that assessment! For me, if a lipgloss is SUPPOSED to be sheer, then I can’t really say it sucks because it’s sheer, can I?

      I’m not happy hearing about this, so I’m going to go ahead and e-mail their PR your questions and see what I get!

      • You go get ‘em! Hehe :) I’d love to know what they say if you hear anything from them.

        • WHOA! Wait a minute! Holy crap! I JUST (I mean JUST) got an email from them about 10 minutes after I posted this… BIZARRE!!! I’m going to post BOTH the email I sent (that they are replying to) and their reply.

          My email:

          “I called today to find out about the Eco Tools brushes and was directed here. I was hoping you could tell me some information on the packaging of these brushes. Is the plastic they are packaged in recycled? How and where is the bamboo harvested? Are all the parts for these made in China? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks so much!”

          Here is their reply:

          “Thank you for your questions. In an effort to protect our trade secrets, all of our company’s production techniques, for any product we produce, are confidential. While we truly value your interest, I am not at liberty to disclose details in regards to the production of any of the items we sell.”

          … ?

          • Very, very tight-lipped. While I agree that they probably wouldn’t or couldn’t give 100% details about some of the products, I am surprised they couldn’t at least say something along the lines of, “We do everything we can to minimize our carbon footprint, so we do x, y, z. Our bamboo is sustainably harvested. Blah blah. We manufacture in China, but we do blah blah blah to ensure everything is up to our standards.” You know… something? rather than nothing. Some sort of reiteration of the company line.

            • I was kind of surprised as well… It’s not like I was inquiring about some kind of “trade secret,” I was asking if the plastic was in any way recycled, etc. If a company is going to bother claiming to be eco-friendly, they should at least have a script to read from when they’re pressed to back their claims – Whether they are a small business or a multi-million dollar making giant.

              I also thought it was REALLY bizarre that they got back to me today, shortly after we started talking about it again… Seemed rather random. I should probably check my room for eco-ninjas.

            • LOL!

              Yeah, I agree, I figured you’d get a rather canned response, but a canned response would have certainly been better than what you did receive… which was almost defensive.

            • Here here! I agree :/

  12. Great, great advice! I end up using MAC187 for the soft look and Bobbi Brown Blush Brush for other uses 99% of the time so this is right on. :D

  13. Michelle

    Great tips Christine!

    I like using MAC 109 for blush. It gives me just enough color without going overboard.

    Why are NARS brushes so expensive? Are the worth the price?

    • I have no idea – I just imagine they’re at a higher price point so the brushes scale up. I don’t own any NARS blushes, though I’ve tried them in-store and they certainly seem nice!

  14. Siledhel

    Just yesterday I was looking into Sephora’s website for a Blush Brush.. haha. Thank you Christine! This will help me a lot!

    I read some great reviews on Too faced Retractable Kabuki brush… does anyone have any comments???

  15. CeeBee

    I like the Benefit Slant brush a lot, though my favourite angled blush brush would have to be the Smashbox one that came out with the Vanity Brush set a few years back, #23 or #26 I think it was. It is slimmer and slightly less dense that Benefit so I tend to use it for application and then buff with the Benefit one.
    Otherwise, an Estee Lauder brush I got as part of a Blockbuster Set one year is the perfect density and diameter for me, such soft bristles too!

  16. mandy

    Ecotools blush brush is my most favorite blush brush EVER! Perfection!

  17. Tammy

    I LOVE the ELF Studio blush brush. I love the shape and it’s just so soft. I use it everyday- and here’s the kicker- I love it more than the MAC ones I have :)

  18. I’d say the choice of brush depends on what kind of blush you have! Different brushes give different results depending on the blush

  19. marielouise

    MAC 129 is my favourite, because I can define, blend and add colour with it, it’s not too small and not too big. Perfect size for me :)

  20. Elsa

    Hi Christine! How does the Nars blush brush compare to the MAC 116? Are they the same or is the MAC one denser/fluffier/bigger etc.?

    I’m trying to build my MAC brush collection right now. I have the Nars one, but I also want to get the 116. But if they’re really similar, I think I would hold off until later and get some other MAC brushes first.

  21. Ranjani

    Christine, I am currently building my brush collection and looking at the Bobbi Brown blush brush.I can see you have noted the brush above. But is it worth the extra cash over the Mac brushes? Ideally I would be using the brush for soft application with some control.