Belfast Telegraph

Make-up masterclass: 5 tips for choosing perfect brushes

Northern Ireland beauty expert Paddy McGurgan offers his top tips on finding the perfect make-up brushes.

By Paddy McGurgan

Behind every great make-up artist is an even greater set of make-up brushes. These tools are the most important part of my make-up kit. And, despite the fact that I have more than 1,000 brushes, I still need, want and buy more.

Why spend on brushes? Because beauty tools equal better results. When you invest in some good brushes expect an even more beautiful finish.

Here are my top make-up brush sets for your Santa list.

1. When it comes to brushes, I really love to shop around and, I have to admit, I'm not loyal to one brush brand in particular as I love experimenting with different styles, shapes and types. First up, I recently had a shop around Superdrug and found these beautiful and bargain brushes from Lottie London.

Take your make-up tools on your travels with this extra-cute, mini brush set from Lottie London. Made mini so they are easy to fit in any beauty bag, these brushes pack the same level of pigment pick-up and super soft, even application as their full-size equivalent. And the kit comes complete with mini brow brush, smudger brush, eye-shadow brush and perfect powder brush.

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  • Lottie London, Tools on Tour, £7.99, Superdrug

2. Next up is my own 15-piece brush set which I created. In this are two foundation brushes, large powder brush, small angled powder brush, concealer duo fibre brush, large fan brush, flat eye-shadow brush, small black eye-shadow blending brush, white eye-shadow blending brush, small bullet brush, angled eyebrow brush, lash fan, eyebrow groomer, lash spoolie, and lip brush and holder. This is the ultimate brush roll which usually costs £132.50 but is now £80.

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  • Paddy McGurgan Make Up Pro Store 15-Piece Brush Set, £80, Make Up Pro Store

3. Northern Irish make-up heavyweight Ciara Daly has just released a new limited edition collection of make-up brushes. The Chaos Collection has 14 brushes in a leatherette bag. Ciara's brushes are high quality and easy to use, making them the perfect gift for beauty junkies.

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  • The Chaos Collection by Ciara Daly, £99, ciaradalymakeup.com

4. Expect a variety of brushes made from natural and synthetic fibres from Sleek. These top tools are neatly stored in a travel-friendly pouch contained within a make-up catcher that prevents the pouch and handbags from getting messy. The brushes are very soft and blend beautifully on the skin.

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  • Sleek 7-Piece Brush Set Multi, £12.99, Superdrug

5. A compact yet comprehensive set of four brushes for eyes and face, including a large face powder brush, a flat top buffer brush, a soft crease blending brush and a flat eye-shadow shading brush. Made with synthetic hair for flawless application and blending, and finished with majestic glitter handles.

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  • Obsession By Revolution Glitter Collection, £16, Boots

6. Featuring 12 ultra-luxe pearl-gold brushes - each of which feature high-shine stiletto handles - this is a go-to collection for make-up mavens on the quest for total face perfection. With every eye and face tool you could hope for, including contour and fan brushes, in a powder pink faux leather case, this contains everything you need to master any make-up look.

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  • Iconic London Ultimate Face Set, £75, iconiclondoninc.com

5 tips for choosing perfect brushes:

  1. Always use a brush soap to maintain and clean your brushes. My favourite is Barbara Hoffman Soap £10, makeupprostore.co.uk.
  2. Ensure you have at least one brush for each aspect of your make-up, for example, foundation, loose powder, bronzer, eyebrows, eye-shadow. This will mean you achieve a cleaner finish to your make-up and a sleeker look.
  3. When buying brushes always try out a tester. Look for hair fall out, bristle strength and the softness of the brush too. This will be a good indicator of how well they will last.
  4. Check online reviews of brushes you are thinking of purchasing for a first-hand customer reaction and unbiased overview.
  5. Pick good quality synthetic brushes as they will help to lift the product and place them on the face without fall-out. Poor quality tools will look overtly plastic and 'fake' whereas good synthetic brushes look similar to natural hair. If you find yourself wondering if it is real or synthetic then this is a good sign.

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