Doesn’t matter how wonderful your blush or bronzer is, without the proper tools to apply them, you’ll never gonna achieve a flawless, natural look. I learned this the hard way. When I was a teen, there were only a handful of poorly made, scratchy brushes in the shops. Using your fingers was often the better option!
But even that wasn’t always ideal. So, I sometimes ended up with muddy or clown cheeks, or unblended lines of blush on the cheeks. Not good looks! But if once we often lacked the proper tools, now we have too many. Cheek brushes are available in all kinds of shapes, each one best suited to a different product or technique.
Which ones should you buy, and which ones are unnecessary in your personal kit? Read on to find out:
Angled Cheek Contour Brush
This brush has an angled tip that perfectly fits the cheekbones (to find yours, simply suck in your cheeks), allowing you to easily sculpt and shape them. Just pick up some bronzer or blush and apply it right on your cheekbones. Then, using short strokes, start blending it out, making your way across towards your ears. For best results, choose a brush with dense and firm, but soft, bristles.
My favourite angled cheek contour brush is from MAC. Although a bit pricey, the 168 Large Angled Contour Brush ($35.00) is an investment that’ll last for years. My only problem with it is the colour. Those white bristles get dirty so quickly!
If you don’t like white bristles, you could try Laura Mercier Angled Cheek Contour Brush ($45.00), which can be used for both highlighting and contouring. On a budget? Opt for E.L.F. Studio Angled Blush Brush ($3.00). Their studio line has never failed me yet.
This type of brush has large and dense, but fluffy, bristles that taper at the tip to give it a rounded shape. This allows it to pick up a generous dose of blush and blend it out easily. If, like me, you have pale skin, use this brush only with sheer and medium pigmented blushes, or you may end up looking like a clown!
Pretty much any brand makes this type of brush. My current favourite is E.L.F. Studio Blush Brush ($3.00). I’ve had it for years and it is still going strong. Another good option is MAC 116 Blush Brush. Again, pricey, but well worth it. You just can’t go wrong with a MAC brush.
The best bronzer brushes have a rounded head, which allows for a more even application. Not designed for contouring, this brush is ideal for applying, diffusing and swirling bronzer all over your face, cheeks included, for that pretty sunkissed look.
If price is not a problem, Nars Bronzing Powder Brush #11 ($52.00) is well.worth the splurge. If you’d prefer something cheaper, opt for Eco Tools Bamboo Bronzer Brush ($11.99). If you want something you can easily carry in your bag with you everywhere you go, consider Real Techniques Retractable Bronzer Brush ($12.99).
The most underrated makeup brush ever, the fan brush is both useful and versatile. Originally invented to remove excess powder and fallout from the face and eye area, a fan brush can also be used to apply a little dusting of highlighter just above your cheekbones or, for those who want just a hint of flush on their cheeks, a very sheer layer of blush.
The perfect fan blush has bristles that feel both airy and light on your skin. Luckily, there really is no need to splurge on one. Both Eco Tools ($6.99) and E.L.F ($3.00) make cheap fan brushes that work very well.
Flat Contour Brush
Ideal for contouring and sculpting, this brush features a flat top head that effortlessly creates shadows and highlights on your face to play up your favourite features. Look for synthetic bristles if you plan to use it with a cream product. For powders, natural bristles work best.
Real Techniques 301 Flat Contour Brush ($25.99), part of the Bold Metals collection, is both useful and beautiful. If you don’t mind spending more, MAC 163 Flat Top Contour Brush is another great option.
Pointed Blush Brush
This is a twist on the classic fluffy blush brush. It features a dense, large body and a point tip that allows for a flawless blush application. Every. Single. Time. The tip picks up less product than a normal, fluffy, blush brush, allowing you to apply even the most pigmented blushes without ever getting clown cheeks. Once you try it, you’ll never want to go back!
But which one to get? Not a lot of brands make this kind of brush yet. The best is from Hakuhodo. It’s called S103 Powder Blush Brush Pointed and retails at a whopping $97.00! A cheaper, but larger (it won’t work as well if you have a small face) option is Nars Yachiyo Brush #27 ($55.00).
A stippling brush has a two layer bristle design. A dark set of dense but short natural bristles, and a lighter set of long and sparse synthetic bristles. This allows it to pick up two layers of product, resulting in different looks depending on how much pressure you use.
Apply the blush with a heavy hand, and you’ll get a more intense look. Use a light hand and you’ll achieve a natural sheer finish. This makes this brush a great option for both cream and highly pigmented powder brushes. If you’re careful, you’ll never overdo them.
MAC makes several stippling brushes. The best one for cheek products is the 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush ($35.00). It applies blush like a dream, and can also be used for foundation, highlighter, and concealer. It’s very versatile. A cheaper, and more feminine (it’s pink!), option is Real Techniques Stippling Blush ($9.99).
How many cheek brushes do you use? Which ones are your favourites?