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Brush Secrets From a Top Makeup Artist

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Have you ever walked down the makeup brush aisle, staring at the sea of ferrules, bristles, and handles in confusion? Selecting the right tools to apply your products might be just as important as the colors and formulations you use. Seriously, it’s a daunting task for any makeup artist. To give you a little perspective, we asked Shiseido artistic director Dick Page (and, um, makeup legend?!) for his take on curating the perfect brush kit.

B: Dick, which is better? Real or synthetic hair?

Different looks require different brushes, and choosing a brush is very personal. I have a mixture of real and synthetic brushes in my kit.

B: What do you look for in a good makeup brush?

The true qualities of a great brush are the comfort of the brush in the hand and the amount of control you have with application.You need to go through a lot of trial and error to find what works for you; what feels good in your hands and what makes product application easier.

B: How do you take care of your set?

I tend to clean my brushes all the time since I work on multiple faces and models. I prefer Ben Nye and Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaners—I find them easy to use when I’m on the go. I apply a small dot of solvent with warm water, and the brushes dry quickly so I can begin using them again without long delay. Parian Spirit is a cleanser made with citrus oils, and I recommend it for cleaning powder-based products out of brushes. Bigger tools, such as powder or blush brushes, generally need more thorough cleaning. I wash those types of brushes at least two times a week with warm water and baby shampoo, squeeze out the excess moisture, and let them air-dry overnight.

B: Do you have the same brush in multiples?

I absolutely think it is a good idea to buy more than one of your favorite makeup brush. You never know when a staple brush in your kit is going to get discontinued. Also, for someone like myself, who works fashion week or advertising shoots, it’s convenient to carry more than one brush on hand when working on multiple faces.

B: Which brush favorites come top of mind at the moment?

I always have to have these three brushes with me in my kit:

1. A ¼” or ⅛”-inch fluffy shadow brush

I use it for shadow around the eye or lipstick application.


2. Shiseido’s Perfect Foundation Brush

Small, compact, easy to use, and suitable for a variety of foundation formulations. I like that the bristles are tightly packed so the working surface adheres well to the skin. The short handle allows for precise control when working with base makeup.


3. A Spooly Brush

Brilliant for combing color through eyebrows for added definition.

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