When it comes to creating a flawless, celeb-inspired beauty look, it’s all about the application. So if you’re putting on and taking off your makeup the old-school way — ahem, with your fingers — or not utilizing products that can take your makeup moves to a whole new level, it’s time to step up your glam game. The right foundation brush or eyelash curler can truly be life-changing. So which items should you stock up on and start using on the regular? To help answer this question, we tapped into the expertise of celebrity makeup maven Jane Cohen. She’s worked her magic on stars like Sophia Bush, Alyssa Milano and Rachel Bilson, and now she’s sharing her must-have tools of the trade.
1. BLUSH BRUSH
Why you need it: No one wants to be in the blush danger zone (AKA rocking bright, perfectly rounded circles of color on your cheeks), which is why a good blush brush is an essential tool. “The right size blush brush that is slightly domed at the top, with dense, soft bristles, will deposit the right amount of blush evenly on the cheeks, seamlessly blending the blush into the skin,” shares Cohen.
Pro pick: The makeup pro’s favorite blush brush is the Bobbi Brown Blush Brush ($52). “It has all the above attributes, holds onto the blush perfectly, and deposits it exactly where you want it,” she says. What could be better?
2. FACIAL CLEANSING BRUSH
Why you need it: Cohen says she always recommends a facial cleansing brush to her clients. Skin looks so much more radiant and healthy when you’re using a skin brush, and face creams appear to be more easily absorbed too, she says. Plus, the skin gets cleaned six times better with a skin brush, and the results are visible immediately. By using a cleansing brush, your makeup will glide on more smoothly and you’ll be left with gorgeous, glowing skin and shrunken pores. Oh, and you won’t wake up with foundation stains on your pillowcase.
Pro pick: A great option that won’t break the bank is Olay Professional ProX Advanced Cleansing System ($35). “It’s smaller than most pricier versions, but still does an incredible job,” says the makeup maven. It will leave your skin refreshed, smooth and renewed.
3. BROW BRUSH
Why you need it: A good brow brush is a necessary tool to get a celebrity-inspired, well-groomed brow that perfectly frames the eye. “The brush should ideally be slanted and have enough stiffness to perfectly deposit the right amount of color onto the brows, while also giving a defining shape,” advises Cohen.
Pro pick: Cohen’s favorite brow brush is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Duo Angled/Spooley Brush #7 ($18). “It has just the right amount of slant and firmness to create the perfect brow shape with powder,” she says. This slanted brush is multifunctional and can also be used to apply eyeliner. The duo makeup tool also features a mascara tip on one end, so you can expertly brush your brows into place.
4. FOUNDATION BRUSH
Why you need it: A foundation brush is truly a game-changer. Applying foundation with a good brush makes your skin look flawless and airbrushed, so you’re camera-ready all day long. It may take a little practice, but once you master applying foundation with a brush, you won’t go back to fingers or sponge! If you have an incredible brush, you will actually end up using less foundation, which means you’ll save money over time, shares Cohen.
Pro pick: The glam guru loves the Make Up for Ever Precision Foundation Brush #112 ($46). It is slightly domed, which makes it easy to get foundation into the corners of the nose and under the eye area.
Why you need it: A good pair of tweezers is a must-have tool for a makeup artist, and really for anyone who wants well-groomed eyebrows, spills Cohen. Tweezers should be able to pluck out the finest hairs easily and precisely, which eliminates so much time and effort that can easily be wasted with blunt tweezers, or tweezers that are just not up to the job!
Pro pick: Cohen’s all-time favorite pair of tweezers is the Tweezerman Slant Tweezers ($23). “This pair will last you years and years and even does an amazing job with fine, invisible hairs,” she says. “It’s one of my beauty-kit staples.”
6. SMUDGE BRUSH
Why you need it: Another beauty tool Cohen uses on every celebrity photo shoot is a short-haired, thickly stacked brush. “It’s quite stiff but has enough give to do an amazing job of smudging and softening eyeliner on the upper lid,” she shares. “I usually apply gel eyeliner and then smudge with this brush dipped in eye shadow across the upper lash line. It’s another great tool for creating a sexy smokey eye.”
Pro pick: Cohen recommends the NARS Smudge Brush #45 ($28). This brush seems to do it all! It diffuses and softens the eyeliner to deliver a head-turning finish.
7. PENCIL BRUSH
Why you need it: A pencil brush is fantastic for applying eyeshadow under the lower lid with precision while also helping to even out any hard lines from kohl or liquid eyeliner. “A pencil brush is another of my absolute favorite tools,” says the pro makeup extraordinaire. I constantly use this brush on my clients to soften and smudge under the lower lid to help create a smokey eye look.” This brush is also a great tool for applying a highlighter in the tricky inner corners of the eye.
Pro pick: The M.A.C. Cosmetics 219 Pencil Brush ($25) is fabulous for precision shading on the lid, in the eye crease and across the lash line.
8. EYELASH CURLER
Why you need it: An eyelash curler is truly indispensable for creating luscious lashes and getting that lovely “wide-eyed” look. “I personally use one every single day!” exclaims Cohen. “When lashes are long but totally straight, I find that using an eyelash curler makes the eyes look more defined, brighter and opened up. Lashes frame the eyes and complete the entire makeup look, so I recommend doing anything you possibly can to make them longer, thicker and more luxurious.” Luckily, an eyelash curler will do this for you!
Pro pick: The makeup artist’s favorite lash curler is the classic Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler ($20). “I’ve never found anything better,” she says. “It does the perfect job of curling and separating the lashes without any pinching.”
9. POINTED EYELINER BRUSH
Why you need it: Liquid eyeliner can be oh-so tricky to use, but who knew there was an easier way to get this sexy look? “I swear by a pointed eyeliner brush,” shares Cohen. “To use it, I dip it into an eyeliner gel and then sweep it across the upper lash line. This method gives me much more control, and also allows me to build the depth of the line I want.” A pointed eyeliner brush also helps to avoid that “shaky line” look you get from liquid eyeliner.
Pro pick: When Cohen needs expert liquid-eyeliner control, she always chooses the Laura Mercier Pointed Eye Liner Brush ($26). “Its extra-pointy shape never fails me!” she says. For a stunning (and easy-to-apply) eyeliner look, the glam pro recommends using the brush with Make Up for Ever Aqua Black Waterproof Cream Eye Shadow ($23).
10. OIL BLOTTING SHEETS
Why you need it: There’s nothing worse then spending all your precious time getting glam, only to have your skin look shiny and greasy an hour later. In order to have this never happen again, say hello to your new best friend: blotting sheets. Keep these bad boys in your makeup bag at all times and throw an extra pack in your purse (be prepared, people!), then whip one out whenever you need a face refresher. These portable, touch-up pouches are seriously heaven sent! They not only give your makeup a matte look, but they also make it last longer.
Pro pick: Cohen recommends the Shiseido Pureness Oil-Control Blotting Paper ($19). “These sheets feel silky smooth and instantly absorb excess oil and shine, leaving your makeup intact and your face luminous,” she dishes. “I always recommend blotting sheets for when you want to take away excess shine, but still maintain that sheer, dewy finish without the mattifying effect of powder.”
What’s the most ah-mazing beauty tool in your makeup bag? Let us know in the comments!
(Featured image via @janecohenmakeup)