Makeup Brushes: Q&A With Fiona Stiles

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Would you like to know more about your makeup brushes? Choosing the right tools to create a look is just as important as knowing how to use them, but it can often be tricky. With so many different variations, names, and hair types, it can get confusing when you're trying to decide which brushes you really need—and why. We spoke with Los Angeles-based celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles (she has worked on countless runway shows and magazine shoots and made up the faces of women such as Reese Witherspoon, Eva Mendes, Kate Winslet, and Kristen Stewart) and found which brushes are essential (concealer, powder, blush, and eye shadow brushes, she says), what to use them for, and her special tips.

Q & A: Fiona Stiles

Q: Does price or quality make a huge difference?

“Quality does, price does not. You can absolutely get great quality brushes at a great price, you just need to look around. EcoTools makes really affordable brushes that are cruelty-free. They are just as soft as fur but are 100% synthetic and come in an array of great shapes and sizes.”

Q:  Which products should you apply with makeup brushes?

“Concealer, foundation, powder, blush, and eye shadow are best applied with a brush.”

Q: How important is it to apply foundation with a brush?

“Very. With a foundation brush you can feather out the product and really blend it into your skin. With your fingers that’s a lot harder. Your foundation should look like your skin, and that is very difficult to do with a wedge as well. You definitely get the best control of your coverage when you use a brush.”

Q: Which brushes are best for applying blush and bronzer?

“I like a rounded, domed brush or a dual-fiber brush for blush and bronzer. The nice thing about the dual-fiber brush is that it can be used with cream or powder formulations. The shape is important so the color blends well. If the hairs aren't tapered, you’ll have a harder time blending the color out and you won't have a seamless look.”

Q: Do you have any special tips for using your brushes?

“Treat them well and they will last a lifetime. Make sure you wash them regularly—once a month is fine—and use a harsh dish-washing detergent to clean the ones you use with creamy products, such as lipstick, gel liner, cream blush, and foundation, to strip them of all the oils.”

  Fiona Stiles is a Los Angeles-based celebrity makeup artist who has been in the biz for more than 10 years. She has painted the faces of Hollywood stars such as Reese Witherspoon, Eva Mendes, Kristen Stewart, and Halle Berry, worked on numerous magazine shoots and covers, and is world renowned for her impeccable work. Follow her on Twitter @fionastiles for exciting beauty tips and tricks.

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