Reader, I owned a Brita water pitcher for an entire year before I realized I was using it wrong. I just thought that every time I used it to pour water, a little bit was supposed to spill out onto the floor. This was just my reality! I was used to it! And then a friend came over, took the top off, turned it around, and suddenly I could make a glass of water without looking like I’d been sitting front row at the Flipper show.
I found myself in a similar situation when I attended a makeup master class with Katie Jane Hughes a couple weeks ago. I went into it thinking I had my makeup routine pretty down-pat—I like a clean sponge for my complexion makeup, and then use my fingers for the rest. Lipstick is a hands-free, swipe-and-go deal. If I need to blur it a little, or correct any smudges, I use my fingers… and often end up with wonky lips and stained fingertips. But it’s all par for the course, right? Part of it? Just an average day in ol’ Lipstickville? Right???
And then I watched Katie gently buff color onto her model’s lips with a big, fluffy brush. I felt like she had picked up her entire kit and conked me on the head with it: Should I be using a brush to apply my lipstick? It had literally never crossed my mind before. “You use a brush for your lips when you’re trying to get definition, or an intentional smudged, fluffy mouth,” says Katie, and the two looks cover a lot of ground.
Her first technique tip: lip brushes are good, but eye brushes are actually better. “Any little fluffy, dense buffing brush meant for the lash line is really good to do that blurred lip edge with,” she explains. Then just swipe on your lipstick as you usually would, and use the brush to make light strokes at the edges of your mouth until you get a soft effect. For definition, Katie recommends an angled eyeliner brush. “Especially on the longest, straightest edges of the lip,” she tells me, “it’s amazing to get that perfect line. Just load the brush up with your lipstick, and break it down into segments.” She suggests sweeping your brush from one corner of your lip to the middle, and the other corner to the middle, and then filling in the rest.
What I had originally thought of as a step that would make lipstick harder actually made it easier—not only would a brush keep my hands clean, but it also ensures more precise, seamless application on the first try. And keeping your brushes ready for daily use is easier than you might think, too. When you’re done, just rub the brush along a microfiber towel to break down any excess pigment. “If I’m just going from one red to another red, or something like that,” says Katie, “I don’t wash my personal brushes after every use.” It’s as simple as makeup can get, but potentially life-changing.
I guess it’s all to say: you never know what tiny tweak is going to make your life immensely easier until someone blows your mind with it. And often the solution is more obvious than it seems. Katie, you’ve sold me.
Photo via ITG