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No matter how long you’ve been doing makeup and no matter your skill level, a makeup brush is an investment. It’s a commitment – you’re saying to yourself, ‘yes, I will use this brush improve my makeup’, whether that be cutting down on time or adding a bit of extra finesse. But for a lot of people, there’s something that scares them into leaving their brushes-to-be at the altar, never looking back but always wondering about what could have been. Whether the reason be not knowing how to use the brush, the price tag, or worrying about how long the brush will last (which is very long if you read our guide on cleaning your brushes), MECCA MAX is coming to help you write your vows. Their range of quality brushes – all 100% vegan and cruelty-free – are ready to make your routine easier and help you achieve your makeup goals, whatever they may be. And to ensure you feel confident in your latest engagement, I’m passing on my years of in-store makeup experience with this guide of how to use eight of the brand’s most popular brushes.
If you’re a makeup brush commitment-phobe, this how-to is just for you. Read on to get my best tips and tricks for using MECCA MAX’s brush range to make your makeup dreams a reality.
How it works
To me, nothing feels better than waving a softer-than-soft, fluffy-as-heck powder brush in circles all over my face – it’s genuinely therapeutic. This brush gently diffuses translucent powder or powder foundation all over your face with an airbrushed finish thanks to the large domed shape of its bristles. Straight out of the box, I like to spend a few minutes firmly pressing the brush into the back of my hand and moving it in small circles to fan the bristles out slightly as this will help you get the most diffused effect when applying product to your face.
What to do
Pick up your powder product by swirling the brush in it, then lightly tap off the excess before applying. If you’re using the powder to set a liquid foundation or BB/CC cream, it’s best to pat the product all over with the brush first to set the liquid without moving it around and losing coverage, then follow through with circular motions to buff it all out. This is especially important with concealer as going straight in with swiping motions will undo all the hard work you’ve done. You can use the same technique to get coverage with tinted powders by patting where you need the most coverage first then blending in circles outwards. There are enough bristles spread out to make sure that there are no visible edges once it’s all buffed to perfection.
I also love this brush for achieving a lightly bronzed look, and you can use it for this in two different ways. For a truly natural sun-kissed look, get a light amount of bronzer on the brush and gently dust it over any areas where the sun hits – bridge of the nose, forehead, cheekbones, etc. Or, for a gentle contour, wave the brush with bronzer around your forehead, under your cheekbones and under your jawline so that it would look like the shape of the number ‘3’ from the side. Either way, the shape of the brush will diffuse your bronzer flawlessly so that you have no obvious tell-tale lines – you’re just naturally glowing and sculpted.
My final tip: try pinching the head of the brush to fan out the bristles and use that to wiggle bronzer back and forth into the hairline (this makes sure there’s no obvious end to your bronzer or powder foundation).
This brush is a very similar shape to the MAC 168S Large Angled Contour Brush, which is a particular favourite of mine and something you’ll find in the kit of most makeup artists. The reason it’s so popular? Nothing is better at carving out cheekbones than this brush. The angled tip applies product exactly where you need it by depositing the most product in the deepest hollows of the cheekbone while the rest of the bristles diffuse the edges for a seamless finish. Similarly to the powder brush, I recommend spreading the bristles a bit before you first use this brush to get the best diffusion.
To get an airbrushed contour, pick up your powder contour shade (or a natural blush for a softer effect) with the brush and gently tap off the excess. Tap the product onto the underside of your cheekbone with the tip of the brush pointing into the hollow of your cheek, starting at the hairline and working your way in. If you imagine a line coming down from the tip of your brow, you shouldn’t bring your contour in any further than that point. Then, without adding more product, swirl the brush in small circles against the underside of your cheekbones to blend out all the edges.
You can also use this brush for highlighting! Just apply your highlighter in the opposite direction; start at the tip of the cheekbone with the brush flipped over so it hugs your cheekbone from the top, then blend upwards towards the hairline. The result – supermodel snatch cheekbones in a flash.
Blush is honestly one of my favourite parts of makeup and I will make no apologies for that. If you love blush as much as me, this brush is a necessity. It’s the perfect size; wide enough the gently diffuse your blush for a seamless finish but dense enough to keep it concentrated in the right area and not simply wash away. And of course (you guessed it) I recommend spreading the bristles out a little when you take this brush out of the box to make sure you’re getting that airbrush effect.
With your favourite powder blush, swirl the brush in the product to pick it up and tap off the excess. Pat the blush onto the apples of your cheeks, making sure not to get it too low or it’ll seem to drag your face downwards. Then swirl the brush in small circles outwards to blend, bringing it up towards the hairline and not too far into the centre of the face. Without picking up more product, buff the excess from the brush onto the tip of your nose and onto your chin. This unifies the colour of your face to give it a supernatural flushed look.
This is a brush that confuses a lot of people in terms of technique. But don’t worry, I’m here to explain – using it in the right way will give you sheer to medium coverage with an airbrush finish that is truly seamless. This brush has a mix of bristles: short black bristles that are denser for building up coverage and longer white bristles that buff the edges.
The best way to take advantage of this design is to dot your liquid product on your face with a finger or pump the foundation on directly concentrating on where you want the coverage, then stipple the brush to work it in. If you’re picking up the product with the brush, you clog up the longer bristles with product and that’s what will leave streaks. Tap the brush on your face in circular motions, using more pressure on the areas you need coverage so the shorter black bristles will apply more densely then circling out and getting gradually lighter with pressure. Finally, use very light swirling motions all over the face so that just the longer bristles are touching, buffing in the product without streaks or obvious edges.
You can also use this brush to diffuse cream or liquid bronzers, highlighters and blushes using the same technique! Just apply that cream product directly to the area you want it to be most concentrated (like apple of the cheeks for blush or tip of the cheekbone for highlight) and stipple it out with the brush to seamlessly blend it with your base.
One more thing – I love love love using this brush to apply skincare with just the longer bristles – it’s an at-home facial!
Not even exaggerating, I have a million brushes like this in my kit. It is the most useful brush to have as it blends eyeshadow like a dream, both powder and cream. The rounded tip of the brush and gently domed bristles make it near impossible to end up with harsh lines and unsightly edges. You can blend out the edges of shadows after they’ve been applied or use the brush to apply it directly – whatever your preferred style, this brush helps you achieve it to the highest standard.
Try picking up a matte shade with this brush and tap off the excess, then move it in a windscreen-wiper motion through the crease focusing on the outer corner. Then, without adding product, start to circle the brush in wider motions up and out towards the brow bone, diffusing it as lightly as possible. This will give you an effortlessly contoured eye in literal seconds – add on some mascara and you’re good to go!
Another great way to use this brush is if you’re apply a shimmer shade to the lid. Swipe the shimmer (liquid, cream or powder – it all works!) directly onto the lid with a finger or brush, then use this brush in small circular motions just on the edges of the product. This should diffuse those edges for a blended, smoky look without ruining the shadow’s intensity on the lid.
If I had to pick a song to describe this brush, it would be The Best of Both Worlds by Hannah Montana (don’t act like you don’t have a sneaky dance when you hear it, I know you do). One side of this double-ended brush is a blender similar to the Soft Shadower but with a slightly angled tip. The other side is a flat shading brush with a dome tip that can densely apply shadows to the lid, inner corner or brow bone. Their powers combined make this the most useful eye brush in your arsenal – a must have for your makeup bag.
For a simple yet effective glam eye look, start by diffusing a matte shade through the crease in the exact same way as described above. Then use the flat end of the brush with a complimentary shimmer shade (liquid, cream or powder – again, whichever you prefer!) to apply it directly to the lid on patting motions.
If you’re using a powder shimmer, try spraying the brush with a bit of setting spray to make sure it picks up a good amount of product and that it applies strongly on the lid. Finally, use the blending end again without any product to diffuse the edges of the shimmer shade you just put down. Super easy eyes for any occasion, done in under a minute.
With concealing, the goal is to get the most out of your product through correct application. You don’t want to put on so much that it looks cakey, but you also don’t want your blemishes to show through. This double ended brush is the way to achieve said goal. The tapered end is great for reaching difficult spots and has a pointed tip that can densely apply concealer while still giving at a lightly blended edge. Then, the rounded end makes that finish completely seamless and is the ideal way to apply under eye concealer. It’s a two-for-one coverage combo that makes concealing so much easier.
For spot concealing, pick up a small amount of your concealer on the pointed tip of the tapered end and dab it directly onto the spot. Continue dabbing until the product is slightly worked into the skin and the spot look well covered, then dab in very small circles outwards. Finally, take the rounded end of the brush and buff the edges of the concealer in circular motions just to diffuse out the edges so it’s completely seamless with your skin.
The rounded end is also incredibly useful for getting rid of pesky under eye bags. Just pick up a small amount of concealer with that end and buff it in circles under your eye – it’s that simple. You can use this same technique for any wider area on the face that needs an extra wash of coverage. For example, if your nose gets particularly red just use the rounded end of the brush to buff concealer in circles over the redness, then gently diffuse the edges out. This should cover that redness with no issues and make sure there’s no obvious edges where the concealer ends and your foundation begins.
This dense eye brush is ideal for achieving a smoky liner effect. The bristles are short and compact in a flat shape that can glide perfectly along the lash line and gently smudge out cream or powder products.
If you apply an eyeliner pencil directly to the lash line, you can use this brush to work the product in between the lashes and make sure there are no gaps by using small wiggling motions back and forth. You can also wiggle along the outer edge of the liner to diffuse it slightly for a smoky look. Without adding more product, you can then use the excess left on the brush to gently shade the outer third of your lower lash line and give it some definition.
This brush is also great for actually applying eyeliner with, either using a gel pot like Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner or any dark eyeshadow. Start with a small amount of product on the outer corner of your upper lash line and work your way inwards, using small swiping motions for gel or tapping motions for eyeliner. The result will be a smudged, lived-in look similar to the most recent eyeliner trends on the runway.
Don’t forget that once you’ve purchased your brush, cleaning it properly is a must for ensuring it stays fresh and gets the finish you want for as long as possible. Check out our guide for cleaning your brushes and makeup sponges here.
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