The Right Tools
The flawless face you show to the pageant judges starts with natural health, but it requires a certain amount of camouflage as well. Because your makeup plays such an important role, you want to know what to use, and how to use it.
The proper tools are as important as the proper cosmetics. In fact, they can make the difference between a polished, professional look, and one that's a little rough around the edges. At every makeup counter, you'll see dozens of brushes in different shapes, sizes and materials. Here's a little guide to tell you what brush does what job best.
1. Oversized, natural-hair brush in an oval shape: Dust loose powder over your face with this soft, jumbo brush. Then, shake off excess powder and go over your face with long, soft strokes to blend powder properly.
2. Large, dense, natural-hair brush in a rounded-angle shape: Use this brush to contour with blush and define your cheekbones.
3. Large, flat oval brush with synthetic bristles: This brush applies liquid or cream foundations smoothly, and the synthetic bristles stand up to oil-based foundations. Start at the center of your face and blend outward for a flawless finish.
4. Small, wide, soft, natural-bristle brush: Use it to apply base eyeshadow.
5. Small, soft, round brush: This natural-hair brush contours the eye crease and also can "erase" makeup mistakes.
6. Pointed oval brush: You can do many tasks with this brush -- smudge pencil eyeliner, blend shadow liners, line your eyes with liquid or powder liner, even use it to apply and blend concealers.
Before you invest in brushes, look at them carefully and hold them in your hand to get the feel of the brush. In most cases, buying individual brushes works best. Often brushes sold in sets are not as well made as those sold separately, and you can select the brushes you need and will use.
In addition to high-quality brushes, you're going to need good sponges to create the perfect look. Here are some suggestions for sponges that will work well.
1. Large, oval sponge: A good shape for applying foundation. Be sure to purchase a sponge that stands up to oil-based foundations.
2. Small, oval sponge with diagonal sides: Use the different surfaces for blending and smoothing foundation over the contours of the face.
3. Teardrop-shaped sponge: Blend concealer, foundation and contouring powder with this convenient shape. Also good for blending eye shadow colors.
4. Small, diagonally cut sponges with curved corners: These agile little sponges clean up mascara smudges, smooth concealer under the eye and do other small tasks that require precision work. A final helper, pre-moistened facial wipes are great for "emergency" touch ups.
With these tools you'll find creating your "pageant perfect" makeup look will be a lot easier and a lot more effective.
Ernie McCraw is director of beauty education for Sally Beauty Company, the world's largest distributor of professional beauty products. A licensed cosmetologist for more than 30 years, he is a frequent contributor of beauty advice to newspapers and national fashion and beauty magazines.
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