Basic Tools for Everyday Makeup Application

A rundown of essential tools needed for everyday makeup application, including information on how to use and clean them.

You won’t be able to put makeup on properly if you lack the basic tools, nor if the ones you have are of poor quality, no matter how skilled you are or how good your makeup is.

You need tools that allow you to control how much makeup you apply and what kind of finish it leaves.

Foundation Sponge

Why Use a Sponge?

Whether a sponge is necessary when applying cream or liquid foundation depends on the finish you want.

If you apply with your fingers, you'll find that it stays matte for longer, which enables you to use less powder.

If, however, you want a super sheer finish, you need to apply with a damp sponge.

What is a Good Sponge?

For a perfectly even finish, a foundation sponge must have a smooth, skin-like surface. A porous or worn sponge will leave your complexion speckled.

What is the Best Sponge Shape?

Foundation sponges come in several shapes and sizes, including round, oval, square and oblong. The most convenient is the wedge-shape. It allows you to reach tricky areas like the inner eye corner, and is small enough not to obscure your view in order that you can see exactly what you’re doing.

The wedge-shaped foundation sponge is also the best tool with which to blend cream blush, cream or liquid highlighter, and concealer products applied over large areas.

How Long Can a Makeup Sponge Be Kept?

Inexpensive sponges should be discarded after a single use.

High quality or ‘new generation’ sponges should be washed once or twice a week with baby shampoo and thrown away the moment they start to show signs of wear.

Whether a sponge is necessary when applying cream or liquid foundation depends on the finish you want.
Whether a sponge is necessary when applying cream or liquid foundation depends on the finish you want.

Powder Puff

THE FLEECY POWDER PUFF

The fleecy powder puff is generally used for applying loose powder.

Although it's better for setting foundation than a brush, it's not so easy to control how much product you apply.

Therefore, it may be a good idea to use a puff at your vanity table, but to carry a retractable powder brush in your purse for touch-ups while you’re out.

To use a fleecy puff, wrap it around your middle and ring fingers, press it into the powder and then onto the back of your hand to remove excess.Then roll the puff over your face, working from forehead to chin. You’ll need to reload after about every three or four strokes.

COMPACT POWDER PUFF

The sort of powder puff that comes with pressed powder is convenient for your purse, but shouldn't be swiped or wiped over your face. Instead, gently press it onto areas where you’ve accumulated shine.

A fleecy puff or a brush can also be used for pressed powder.

COTTON PADS

Lint free cotton pads are ideal for applying loose powder, especially if your skin is oily or acne prone, or if you suffer from enlarged pores. Because they are disposable, they are more hygienic than a brush or powder puff, and actually leave a better finish on problem skin.

To use, dab the powder over your face from forehead to chin working it into your foundation until it becomes invisible.

Because cotton pads are quick to shed fibers, you’ll need to use several for one full-face application,

Lint free cotton pads are ideal for applying powder, especially if your skin is oily or acne prone, or if you suffer from enlarged pores.
Lint free cotton pads are ideal for applying powder, especially if your skin is oily or acne prone, or if you suffer from enlarged pores.

Eye Shadow Applicators

Eye shadow applicators are a must, especially for smudging and blending.

They come in various shapes and sizes depending on the eye area to be worked on or the desired effect.

Important is that the applicator allows you to apply even pressure for a perfect finish. Therefore, before buying, squeeze the foam part to make sure it’s held on by a spade-like structure rather than just a rod or pin.

Because the eyes are particularly prone to infection, keep applicators clean by washing them once a week with baby shampoo.

Eyelash Curler

Curling the lashes is intended to ‘open’ the eye and accentuate lash length.

Make sure you buy a high quality eyelash curler; it may pinch the lid if it’s of poor quality, which is painful. And always curl before applying mascara to prevent lash breakage and kinks.

To use an eyelash curler, place it as close to the eyelid as possible, squeeze, count to ten, and release. This gives a direct upward curl. If you'd prefer a softer, more gradual curl, progress to the ends of your lashes with quick pinches.

Keep your curler clean by wiping it with rubbing alcohol once or twice a week.

Curling the lashes is intended to open the eye and accentuate lash length.
Curling the lashes is intended to open the eye and accentuate lash length.

Eyelash Comb

Eyelash combs are shaped to a curve to fit the contour of the lash line. Their purpose is to separate lashes and remove clumps after applying mascara. Because mascara tends to stick to the comb, you’ll have to wash it after each use, otherwise it won’t work properly the next time you need it.

Instead of a comb, many makeup artists use a sewing needle to separate lashes. It’s more time consuming, but results are always perfect.

Eyebrow Comb/Brush

There are numerous ways of styling eyebrows, but whatever your choice (assuming you have more than a pencil line) you should always comb or brush upwardly. This also makes pencil strokes appear more natural after filling in gaps etc.

Eyebrow combs and brushes usually come conveniently combined as one tool.

Tweezers

Tweezers are not only for plucking brows, they are also essential for handling and applying false eyelashes.

Whether a full set or individual lashes, it's easier to pick them up with tweezers. When attaching to the lash line, press gently into place using the ‘wrong end’ of the tweezers.

Tweezers are essential for handling and applying false eyelashes.
Tweezers are essential for handling and applying false eyelashes.

Cotton Swabs

Cotton swabs or Q-tips are useful for cleaning up smudges and mishaps, especially around the eyes and mouth. Just moisten the swab with a little eye makeup remover.

Makeup Brushes

Of course, makeup brushes are of the most essential makeup tools, and no makeup kit would be complete without them. For a detailed explanation of the most invaluable, take a look at the article Which Makeup Brushes Do You Need?

Photo Credits

First image by PDPics (https://pixabay.com/de/make-up-farben-schönheit-mädchen-390623/)

Second image by Andyk (http://mrg.bz/Kw3Oob)

Third and fourth images by Jayne Lancer

Fifth image by PublicDomainPictures (https://pixabay.com/en/eyelashes-makeup-beauty-fashion-315626/)

© 2016 Jayne Lancer

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