Fingers work in a pinch, but for a fresh and flawless finish experts prefer using a natural-hair makeup brush to apply liquid foundation. "A sable hair foundation brush truly allows for the most seamless application," says Tim Quinn, celebrity makeup artist and Giorgio Armani creative director.
How it works: Squirt one pump of foundation on the back of your hand. Swirl the brush -- we like Napoleon Perdis Artist Foundation Sable Brush ($68, napoleonperdis.com) -- through the foundation and then apply it, starting from the center of your face and blending out to the hairline and jawline.
A blush brush, like Maybelline’s version ($5.99, ulta.com), is essential for scoring that just-pinched pop of color on your cheeks.
How it works: Swirl a light dusting of powder blush onto the brush and then onto the apples of your cheeks.
Bonus tip: “I love using a brush with liquid or creamy blush for a sheer wash of color that adds dimension and depth,” Quinn says.
This brush (best with synthetic bristles) is ideal for tiny touch-ups under the eyes, along sides of the nose, and over red spots or breakouts.
How it works: It’s simple -- just put a dab of concealer on the back of your hand, swirl the brush (one to try: Smashbox Precision Concealer Brush; $20, beauty.com) in the concealer and then put it onto trouble spots. “Keep a few of the brushes on hand,” Quinn says. “They also make great lip brushes; add dimension along the lip line by applying a hint of concealer slightly outside the lip line.”
Your eyeliner will go on straight every time with this brush -- even if your hand gets shaky when you try to apply liner! “This brush is great for precision lining, especially under the lower lash line,” Quinn says.
How it works: Steal Quinn’s technique by first using the brush to gather pigment from an eye pencil. Then softly swipe the color where you want it to go. The result is a modern, smudgy look that works day or night. Try Sephora Pro Flat Liner Brush ($16, sephora.com).
Most pro makeup artists will tell you that the tiny sponge applicator that comes with your shadow just doesn't cut it. For shadow, the experts swear by a shader brush, like Sonia Kashuk Tools Shader Brush No. 23 ($9.19, target.com). It's the easiest and fastest way to apply shadow flawlessly.
How it works: Spritz the end of the brush with a little bit of water and then swirl it into a pot of powder or cream shadow. Swipe the brush onto your eyelid for gorgeous, dreamy dimension. Blend well and voila!