What to know when buying makeup brushes

How many times have you had to pick those pesky black bristles off your face that used to be part of your makeup brush?

Say goodbye to that first world problem because you're about to find out just what makeup brushes you actually need and how to pick the right ones for you.

Makeup artists say a quality makeup brush is one of the best investments you can make. Don't worry about having a matching set but mixing and matching to get the right tools of the trade.

"Great brushes used well can help you achieve a polished finish to any makeup," according to makeup artist Amy Capeda.

"Blending colours together becomes more seamless, products look more natural on the skin and to be honest, it just makes everything a lot easier.

"I really recommend buying a brush in person so you can feel the quality of the bristles and have a play with the shape to see if it will work for you.

"You want to make sure the hairs or fibres of the brush feel smooth against the skin and look for hairs or fibres that have a soft tapered edge."

When it comes to your liquid or cream products like foundation or concealer go for a synthetic brush. It soaks up less product. There's the traditional flat brush or you can opt for a stippling brush that has two sets of bristles - synthetic at the top and natural on the bottom.

Powder brushes should all be natural, large and soft. They last longer and provide more flawless and even coverage.

Amy says you need different brushes for different powders.

"To add bronzer to the face, a larger soft brush will help the product blend naturally over the skin so you won't be able to see where the product starts and stops.

"Working with blush where you only want to hit the apples of the cheeks, a small shaped brush will work better."

When picking a contouring brush go for a flat synthetic one if you're using a cream or liquid. You can use a natural round blush brush if contouring powder is more your preference.

An eyeshadow brush should have stiff bristles and be flat if you want coverage all over the eyelid and a smooth finish. An eyeshadow blending brush is softer and the end result is more natural.

Amy's top picks for makeup brushes are Hourglass, Makeup Weapons and Real Techniques.

"All of these brands are cruelty free and are made with synthetic fibres - no animal hair," she says.

"Brushes are a real investment to your makeup kit so I would recommend buying a few great, quality brushes that will last you a long time."

Now that you're all informed, here are some of my favourite makeup brushes.

The Real Techniques range is affordable and there's a huge amount to pick from.

 Pic: Bonnie Garner

Pic: Bonnie Garner

This RMS Skin2Skin foundation brush has an angled brush using different length bristles in a swirl pattern to better blend your foundation. Thicker at the bottom, it allows the bristles to reach every bit of your face.

 Pic: The Detox Market

Pic: The Detox Market

Eve Lom's concealer brush spreads makeup evenly.

eve lom concealer.jpg

Mac 217 eyeshadow brush is so soft and my eyeshadow goes on flawlessly.

 Pic: Urbanista

Pic: Urbanista

Don't forget a brush cleaner. You need to clean your makeup brushes at least every fortnight. I'm using Mecca right now. I spray directly onto my brushes and use a tissue or makeup pad to remove the lingering makeup, making them good as new.