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Beauty Question: Can I use paint brushes as makeup brushes?

Posted Oct 17 2008 6:10pm

D. writes:

I was in a craft store recently and noticed that some of the paint brushes seemed a lot like makeup brushes.  They were just the right size and texture, and if the handle had been a bit different and they had been in a cosmetics store, I wouldn’t have believed they were paint brushes.  Is there any difference between paint brushes and makeup brushes?  And since the paint brushes are so much cheaper, is it OK to use them on my skin?

Hi D.!Thanks for your email!  Here’s the deal with makeup brushes: they’re a waste of your money.  I know most makeup artists will take me to task for saying that, but the reality is: unless you’re being professionally photographed, are a total makeup diva, or are the kind of girl who studies herself for hours in the mirror, picking apart imperfections, brushes really aren’t going to make much difference.  And with the way most makeup brushes are priced, they’ll bleed you dry.  Honestly, you can do a pretty good job with your fingers, plus some cotton swabs and makeup sponges, especially when it comes to eye makeup and foundation (which looks more flawless when applied with brushes–good for, say, your best friend’s wedding or a gala dinner–but much more natural and melt-into-your-skin-y when you use the old digits.)  The only things you absolutely, positively need a brush for are powders: blushes, setting powder, mineral foundation, etc.  And in that case, forget the local hardware store–yes, the paint brushes are cheap, but even though the texture of the bristles  seems similar to what you’d find from Bobbi Brown, the makeup won’t go on your face seamlessly and you’ll end up looking spackled and blotchy–and head instead to CVS, Target or Sephora.  You can buy a blush or powder brush for just a few dollars, and while it might not be as luxurious as the much pricier offerings from Shu Uemura or Trish McEvoy, let’s be real: if you’re not being photographed for the cover of  Vogue  or broadcast in HDTV, nobody will be able to tell the difference!

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