What’s in your makeup bag? Mine is full of brushes. I use them for everything. For my eye shadow, my powder (hate putting powder with anything else than a brush!), my other powder (what, everybody needs an extra touch of bronzer okay?), for my blush (what, everybody needs an extra touch of pink all right?), actually, everything. I don’t really like touching make up with my hands, I guess.

So I love them, don’t wash them often enough (come on, are you really washing them every night like Brandy told us to do?)(I don’t even wash them every month!)(Woops did I just say that?)(Yes I did…) and most of all, I LOSE them. All the time. I don’t know why. That and socks. All the time.
I always lose my best, chic brushes and then the most hideous one, that old one from Monop’, all grey and chipped and depressing and losing hair on my face*, resurfaces, of course.
And I have to try to do everything with that old dirty brush. And to put on my eye shadow with a stupid q-tip. Misery.

*Which may or may not have led to situations where I’ve had someone zoom in on my cheek with a horrified look : “I think a long black hair is growing on your face, Garance!” “You’re growing a beaaaaard!”.

So I was wondering. If I had to choose a few essential brushes, which ones would they be? What’s a girl to do? Ask Alice, that’s what. She gave us a breakdown on all the makeup brush essentials…

What are the basic brushes you should have?

A fluffy brush for concealer and base. I love to use a crease brush, it kind of looks like a big bushy tail. That I love using it to apply a hard concealer or Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage or a creamy base. You can also use it to brush on something like a Touche Éclat. It almost makes you feel like you are airbrushing your face with. It’s very very cool, it’s my favorite kind of brush. It’s very gentle and very clean. If you use a brush like this, it really deposits the right amount. [Alice uses Smashbox Crease Brush #10]

A brow spool brush is essential and a big lovely powder brush and that would be it for me, everything else you can do with your fingers. I love anything by Hakuhodo. If you’re going to get a powder brush spend the money, get an amazing brush and it will last you years.

What about for eyeshadow?

A small version of the same crease brush I recommended for the foundation and concealer is great. I think the fluffy, round ones are much easier to find your crease than say a flat brush that requires a little bit more control. I think something that is round and soft helps you feel the shape of your eye.

And a lip brush?

Tom Ford, Shu Uemura and Laura Mercier do good lip brushes. It’s really about personal preference because I like to apply lipstick with my fingers. It really depends on the user. It’s only an essential if you want your makeup to be really sharp.

What products should you always apply with a brush?

The only ones I can think of is powder and mascara. Everything else you can actually figure it out with your fingers.

Can you use the same brush in different products?

You can, but you just need to wash it off a bit with your hands. Don’t grab your bronzer brush and then try to do a soft white powder. If it’s clean, then totally. The first brush I gave you is a perfect example, I use a large eyeshadow crease brush for foundation.

How should you care for your brushes?

Wash them with a nice mild shampoo, like something for a baby. Wash them very gently, squeeze them out and lay them out or put them into a glass for them to dry. By the morning they will be dry. I would do it once a week, depending on your usage. Don’t let them get dirty because first, dirty brushes give you breakouts and second, dirty brushes don’t really work, they don’t apply the products nicely.

What about the brushes that come with products? Are they worth using?

Definitely. I think it’s about experimenting and having fun with them. You can do great shapes with brushes.

PS: The gorgeous brushes in this photo are from Laura Mercier!