For many years I wondered how to achieve that polished, air-brushed finish, you know, the kind you see on models and celebrities where the foundation is so seamlessly worked into the skin that it makes you wonder if the person is wearing foundation at all.
Well, the key, as I discovered some time later, is buffing brushes. For the most part, I still use a flat foundation brush to apply foundation and concealer to my skin, but I use a buffing brush to even it out and work the product into the tell-tale areas - such as jawline, hairline, the nose and the neck.
Gentle circular motions working outwards is the best way to buff product into the skin.
Another great thing about buffing brushes is that they work with all formulas of foundation, be it cream, liquid or powder. What should you look for when purchasing? Ideally, you want one that's really gentle on the skin - Fuschia's Jumbo Buffer Brush is among the softest I've come across. But there's a density and stiffness to it, too, allowing for expert precision.
It's a personal preference, but I tend to favour buffing brushes with longer handles - such as Blank Canvas's Flat Top Buffing Brush, as it avoids your fingers hitting your face and potentially upsetting your make-up.
If you're looking for a one-does-all product that gives custom coverage, I'd recommend Smashbox's Telephoto 3-in-1 Face Brush, as it has three different dials. The first dial works as a standard foundation brush, ideal if you want sheer coverage, the second dial is more hard-working and the third acts as an excellent buffing brush.
One or two uses of Sigma's Flat Top Kabuki Brush and you'll know why it's favoured by a heap of leading make-up artists.
Sadly, Real Techniques Expert Buffing Brush can only be purchased as part of a four-brush set, but honestly, it's still so worth getting as the accompanying brushes are pretty darn good too!
Deta jumbo buffer brush €30
Fuschia, available from their stores in Pavilions SC, Swords, and Scotch Hall Shopping Centre, Drogheda Soft on the skin, particularly brilliant at applying mineral foundation.
f20 flat top buffer brush, €13.99
Blank Canvas Cosmetics, available from blankcanvascosmetics.com
A brilliant and well-priced product. Ideal if you're a buffing novice.
f80 flat top kabuki brush, €19.95
Sigma, available from cloud10beauty.com
A joy to use. Also, it's made to last and mine is in perfect nick a year on, despite sometimes twice daily use.
Expert Buffing Brush, €24.99 (part of a four-piece set)
Real Techniques, available from selected Boots stores nationwide
Works with all types of foundation and leaves a seamless finish.
Telephoto 3-in-1 Face Brush, €44.50
Smashbox, available from selected department stores nationwide
Genius little wand that offers three different settings for three different levels of coverage.