That kitten eye you’ve been too shy to try? It doesn’t need to be so scary if you apply it with the right brush. And the same goes for so many other summer makeup trends, from the ultra-bright lip to the bare complexion. We asked the pros for their top tool picks to help you master each. So take out your beauty notebooks. Makeup artists Tasha Reiko Brown and Wendy Karcher are here to school you on their kit essentials.
THE SUMMER TREND: ULTRA-BRIGHT LIPSeen at: Jason Wu
The tool: Your finger
The neon lip may just be this year's biggest beauty trend. You might be on the fence about how bright to go, but Reiko Brown’s tool of choice will help you ease into it. “The best way to apply a bright lip is with your cheapest makeup tool: your finger," she says. "Just swab the color straight from the tube onto your ring finger.” Why the ring finger? “It applies less pressure than your other fingers, and you want the color to be diffused," she explains. "The soft edges keep the color from looking too harsh and make bright lip hues more wearable.”
THE SUMMER TREND: A SUNNY FLUSHSeen at: Blumarine spring 2012 ready-to-wear show
The tool: Finishing brush
Even if you’re not lounging around on your yacht, this summer you can look the part! Cheeks spiked with peach or bronze blush mimic a day spent sailing, minus the negative effects associated with UV rays.
To get this look, Karcher skips the bronzing brush and instead chooses a finishing brush. “It’s great for buffing the skin so you can have an even, diffused finish,” she explains. She favors the Hakuhodo Kokutan Finishing Brush L. Its blue squirrel hairs make it soft and its synthetic taklon hairs help it to pick up and deposit product precisely. “This brush is very dense yet soft and allows you to build color gradually by buffing the skin,” she says.
THE SUMMER TREND: KITTEN EYESeen at: Dolce & Gabbana spring 2012 ready-to-wear show
The tool: Arced liner brush
A soft variation of the more dramatic cat eye, the kitten eye can take your makeup look from meh to sexy in one little swoop.
Liquid product is one way to get this trend, but many makeup artists recommend eyeliner novices test the waters with gel or cream liner and a liner brush, which allow for easier precision. "The Smashbox Arced Liner Brush #21 turns a kitten-eye newbie into a seasoned pro,” Reiko Brown says, adding that the brush’s tilted angle allows for more control and “makes the application more like a drawing action than a painting action, which tends to feel more familiar to most people."
THE SUMMER TREND: SEAMLESS SKINSeen at: Hervé Léger by Max Azria spring 2012 ready-to-wear show
The tool: Synthetic foundation brush
Will flawless skin ever go out of style? We think not. But with each passing year, the makeup methods to attain a natural look become increasingly more intricate.
You will be applying either liquid foundation, tinted moisturizer or BB cream for this sheer look. As such, Karcher recommends using a foundation brush with synthetic hairs. The synthetic hairs won't soak up the liquid, which helps eliminate streaks and product waste. Karcher swears by the Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Foundation Brush #002. “It’s a particularly soft brush, which allows you to blend effortlessly and layer without irritation," she says. "The brush is dense and round at the end, giving you control similar to a sponge application with a finish that looks like airbrushing.”