To press on face powder and lock foundation in place. Look for one that is roughly the size of your hand. It should be washed by hand weekly or biweekly and should last for six months, or more. A good puff is worth the investment since it will create a smoother finish to the face; it would also be washable so it should last up to six months. Good quality puffs are available at better drug or department stores.
Wedge-shaped, to smooth or blend in foundation. Buy a bag of latex ones (available inexpensively at most drugstores) and use each for about a week, then throw out.
Larger, denser sponges (found at department stores)are also excellent and washable. Natural sea sponges are not a good option, since they tend to absorb too much foundation.
A short brush, cut full and square for a clean sweep of color.
A small, flat brush which is gently rounded to a point.
A medium-full, round brush. It is tapered at the sides to allow for more controlled blending and usually has a long handle.
Bristles are quite firm and are clipped at an angle to allow for clean, even application of shadow to the brows’ coarse hairs.
I prefer metal ones that are angled at the end (as opposed to the pincer-point models). Note: This is a lifetime purchase, so don’t scrimp here.
A LA CARTE TOOLS
The nonessentials that you may want to try once a month, or once a year.
A big, fluffy brush to be used with face powder.
A narrow, firm brush works best (synthetic bristles are preferable here).
It should be tapered to aflat head.
Similar to a concealer brush except smaller. It should be firm and small. Look for a retractable version or one with a cap for cleanliness and portability
A scissorslike apparatus with rubber pads that closes on lashes and causes them to turn up. The most basic curlers are the best option.
CONTOUR EYE BRUSH
Slightly wider, fatter, and firmer than the shadow brush. Its tapered edges allow center bristles to position shadow at corner of eye.
There are two other a la carte brushes (not pictured) that I quite like. Admittedly, they are specialty items. But if they sound useful to you, they are probably worth the investment.
BRONZING POWDER BRUSH
A fat, full brush to be used with a dark powder for an overall glow.
It usually has a short, thick handle.