Tools of the Trade
As with any situation in life, there are the stars of the show, and there are the behind the scenes guys, and there's really no point in rattling on about all of the makeup and skincare products that we use without mentioning the tools which help them to do their thing. My evening skincare 'oil + moisturiser' combo wouldn't shine quite so brightly without the help of a certain facial massager, and behind every Nars Sheer Glow there's almost certainly a Real Techniques Buffing Brush...
We're all aware of the hype surrounding the MAC 217, but (NEWSFLASH!!) the Queen of blending brushes has been ousted from her reign. The usurper : Zoeva's 227 Luxe Soft Definer Brush* - an eyeshadow newbies dream which makes any difficulty surrounding application and blending of eyeshadow a thing of the past. Not only 490987654 times better than MAC's offering, but (at £6.50) a fraction of the price.
I keep my brows in place with the help of The Body Shop's Brow & Lash Brush. Whilst I've never used it on my lashes, it more than serves its purpose in shaping and adding definition and volume to my brows prior to filling and setting them. The firm bristles also help to remove any trapped foundation from my brows. Sounds petty, makes a difference.
On a similar note, when I come to fill in my brows I reach for the Zoeva 317 Brush*. Although intended for winged liner (I'm a felt-tip liner kinda gal myself) I use this to apply eyeshadow (MAC Corduroy) to my brows for a defined but natural effect. I used to swear by brow pencils but as of my last visit to a MAC MUA, I'm a convert. I've used other similar hard angle brushes for this purpose before but find this to be the best as it applies just enough and not too much.
The Holy Grail of electrical skincare gadgets, the Clarisonic Aria* is my new best friend. I've been using it for about 2-3 months now, and the effect that it's had upon my skin has been amazing. The texture of my skin has changed completely - I never even noticed that it was very bad before, but boy oh boy, this brings a whole new meaning to the word 'smooth'. I also think that it's the only product I've ever used that has actually lived up the claim of reducing the appearance of my pores. I don't like to encourage excessive purchases, but if you have or had persistently troubled skin then I would really really recommend getting a Clarisonic. Save up. Add it to your Christmas list. Splurge. Whatever suits you.
Sounds boring, but if you're using any kind of cream cleanser/cleansing balm/cleansing oil, then ensure that a flannel or muslin cloth is part of your artillery. Soak in hot water and place over your face for a 1 minute facial (this will help to open your pores and improve the efficacy of the cleanser) or simply soak and use to wipe the cleanser from your face in circular motions for a gentle exfoliation.
I'm not big on wearing blush, so when I do I like to ensure that it's applied as subtly as possible (seriously though is there anything worse than OTT blusher??). The Zoeva 127 Luxe Sheer Cheek Brush* ticks virtually every 'blush brush' box you could want it to, and allows for a light dusting and gentle blending, giving a VERY natural 'barely there' effect.
Zoeva steals the show for a final time... I've always struggled to find the perfect contour brush but the Zoeva 110 Face Shape Brush* makes for precise application, and avoids the twin dangers of either too much blending or not enough. Again, if you're new to using brushes/wearing makeup: 100% newbie-proof - and I would really recommend checking out the Zoeva brush sets. I own the Rose Golden Luxury Brush Set* which contains 8 brushes, a travel case, and looks uber luxe on my dressing table.
The only place where Zoeva was beaten in the brush game... The Real Techniques Buffing Brush (available as part of the Core Collection) is a beauty bloggers' favourite for a reason. I can't imagine applying my foundation with anything else - it leaves a flawless finish and blends foundation seamlessly. I've also used this gem to buff in concealer and over-zealous contouring, as well as to apply powder touch-ups. If you buy one brush, let it be this.
A regular on TGG, The Body Shop's Facial Massager may cost just £6, but it worth 10000000x more. Regular use helps to improve the absorption and efficacy of any products applied beforehand, and stimulates blood cells which helps to improve skin tone, pigmentation, and scarring without damaging delicate skin tissue. An essential in my bedtime skincare routine.
What are your beauty tool recommendations??