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Make-up masterclass: Eye brushes and how to use them

Paddy McGurgan is one of NI's best-known beauty experts and each week he'll tell you all you need to know about the latest make-up techniques and trends

By Paddy McGurgan ·

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Choosing the perfect brushes can be tricky.

It is often said that a bad worker blames their tools, but when it comes to make-up, this really could not be further from the truth.

Your make-up brushes are essential when creating a perfect look, and today I will focus on eye make-up brushes and my favourites for creating any look.

Blending brush

After you have added primer to your eye area, the next step is your soft transition colour. A transition colour is a shade that brings a soft wash of colour across the eye to blend into the skin and warms the eyelid with tone. For example, if you are creating a brown smokey eye, then one popular shade of transition colour would be a camel/sand tone.

For this, you'll need a soft, fluffy blending brush. One of my favourite blending brushes to use for transition colours and slightly darker tones is the Make-up Pro Store No.19 Brush (£11.50). This is a soft bristled brush that's the perfect length for light-blending techniques and will blend all eyeshadows so naturally into the skin.

I also love the Gucci face brush in #20 (£33). This is in the more luxury price bracket, but it really is the most soft and beautiful tool. The oval shape of the blending brush expertly brings shades together with smooth and professional control. Use on the eyelid for a dusting of colour, or smudge into the crease for all-over shading. Cool to the touch, the weight and feel of the double anodised aluminium handle is balanced for perfect control.

Bullet brush

This brush is ideal for smudging shadows underneath the eye area, and allows the eye make-up to look as consistent under the eye as it does on the lid and crease area. For this, try Morphe M321 Bullet Crease Brush (£2.10). This brush has a small, bullet-shaped head that's made from the finest sable hair bristles and works to fit into the smaller areas of the eye for targeted shadow application and blending.

Flat brush

The next step is one of my favourite: adding pigments and glitters. For loose and finely milled glitters and pigment, you need a dense brush in order to not only minimise fallout but to ensure you are able to pack on a intense coverage of product on the lid. For this I love Stila's #11 Flat Brush (£13). This is actually designed to be a concealer brush, but I adore how flat and densely packed the bristles are -you are able to get maximum effect with your embellishment products.

Liner

Once you have completed your embellishments, it is time to think about your liner. If you are not a lover of liquid liner and prefer to use a cream or gel liner, then you'll need a sharp-angled liner brush. This will allow you to create a sharp, clean line, but you need a super slick and sharp-angled liner brush to match. Step up Illamasqua Angled Liner Brush (£16). This is the perfect brush to define and create precision lines. It's ideal for eyebrow and eyeline definition and for sharpening beneath the eyebrow and around the lip with your foundation.

Cut crease

This will mostly affect all the make-up addicts and make-up artists, but I am consistently asked what my favourite brush to create a cut crease is. This is where you use a brush to map and outline the eye in a semicircle shape and add a gradient of colour to give an almost sunset effect on the eye.

To cut my crease with concealer, I love using MAC Cosmetics 242S Shader (£21). This is a firm brush shaped for the smooth, even application of powder or emollient products.

Top tips to brush up on

1. Always use a brush soap to clean your brushes, especially eye brushes, as you are using these in sensitive areas which are at a high risk of cross-contamination and potential infection. Wash brushes at least once a week if only being used on your own face. If being used on clients, they must be disinfected and cleaned between each client, and thoroughly soaped each night. Leave to dry naturally. Do not leave on a radiator or anywhere with excessive heat, as this will loosen the glue attached handles.

2. To keep your liner brush in as good condition as possible, use a small amount of wax to keep it clean and sharp.

3. Quality versus quantity. You do not need loads of eye brushes. Just be 100% happy with your choice of brush and ensure you always grab this when doing your make-up.

4. Always match your blending brushes to your eye size. For anyone with a large eye space, a fluffy blending brush is ideal. if you have a smaller eye space, a smaller, finer-tipped brush is preferable.

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