Make-up artist Leonard Daly on why you need great brushes, and how to make them last …
If you have a good set of brushes, you can make any make-up look good. The key to great make-up is blending, and you can’t blend amazingly if you don’t have good brushes. As we get closer to gift-buying, it’s useful to know which ones are worth the cash. Though actually you don’t necessarily have to spend an obscene amount of money to get great-quality brushes – there are so many brands available now that use more affordable synthetic fibres to create high-quality, high-performance brushes.
My preference would have always been a natural fibre brush, as I feel that they blend the product better, and they last a lifetime, but now, advances in the manufacturing of synthetic fibre make it almost impossible to tell the difference between a natural and a synthetic fibre brush. I have some brushes since the start of my career as a make-up artist over 20 years ago and they still perform as well now as they did then – and I put my brushes through a lot. I shampoo them after every single use (not just during pandemic times), and on set I would regularly use a spray disinfectant on brushes to make sure they are sanitary.
THE BEST IRISH BRUSHES
When it comes to make-up brushes I’m super fussy – I want them to feel nice in my hands as well as perform. Make-up artists always make the best brushes, and there are two Irish brands that are really killing it at the moment:
Nima Brush, set up by make-up artist Niamh Martin more than eight years ago, has a brush collection called Nima’s Love, featuring three sets, each with brushes for different areas of the face: there’s an eye kit, complexion kit and an everything kit, with the brushes you need for a quick full face with no fuss. Each kit costs €34.99, or all three for €95. Available online at www.nimabrush.com or nationwide at selected retail outlets.
Beauty superstar Paula Callan recently launched her Artistry range of make-up brushes, and they will fundamentally change how you do your make-up. Made with ethically sourced natural fibres, these brushes feel like angel hair. Using a brush of this calibre makes doing your make-up easier and will help it last longer. Investing a good brush is a one-time investment – if you look after them, they will last forever. Paula’s collection is inspired by artist brushes and there are 14 in the collection, all of which are multi-functional. The full 14-piece set costs €265; there is an eight-piece set for €120 and all the brushes can be bought individually, from €6; there are some neat brush cases too. Available online at www.paulacallanartistry.ie.
I recommend shampooing your own brushes once a week. Right now I am using an antibacterial dish soap – something like Fairy Liquid; you really don’t need to buy a brush shampoo, it’s completely unnecessary. When shampooing your make-up brushes, always keep your brush at a 45-degree angle, never letting water get into the metal part. Never scrub the hair too hard – if you gently move the brush in the figure of eight around the palm of your hand this cleans the brush best while preventing the hair from breaking. Dry your brushes by resting them on the side of a counter, never on top of a radiator, as the heat destroys them.
I recently discovered an Irish brand of brush cleanser that I have completely fallen in love with, by Ella & Jo (€20, at www.ellaandjo.ie). The Squeaky Clean Brush Cleanser smells citrussy and actually conditions your brush while keeping it clean. This is great news in an instant brush cleanser as the majority of them are just full of alcohol and really dry out your brushes. Perfect for inbetween shampooing.
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