When it comes to make-up, I am not a big brush lover. Ditto blenders, sponges, sculptors and mitts. Convenience and speed is my aim and faffy tools only slow me down, plus I hate the thought of cleaning them. I am very much of the Marian Keyes school of thought that life is too short for a lip brush.
However, as of last month, this statement now comes with a caveat. I have found and fallen in love with a short-bristle, flat-topped brush that has notably improved my foundation game. It's by MAC and it's called 130 Short Duo Fibre Brush.
I first picked it up when I started using the new (and very brilliant) Clinique Even Better Glow foundation. A fuller coverage than my summer tinted moisturisers, I was advised that a brush would help give a more natural, seemless finish. With an eye roll, I went home and slapped it on with my fingers – a satisfactory end result. But, out of interest, the following week I parked my brush-related prejudices and whipped out the MAC number. Squeezing a blob of foundation on to the back of my hand, I spread it over my nose, cheeks, chin and forehead with my fingers, then blended and "buffed" (swirling the brush in tiny circles) it into my face. The result? A perfectly even, smooth and, dare I say it, flawless mug. I got two compliments on my skin that day and have used it every morning since.
The secret to the success of MAC's foundation brush is the short, densley packed, flat-ended bristles, which enable the all-important buffing motion. This means you can work the foundation into your skin, achieving a natural finish. Plus, the small brush head is easy to control and allows you to get into creases and crevices. As well as foundation, you can also use the brush to apply your cream blusher, highlighter and bronzer.
As for cleaning? A necessary evil, I'm afraid. Every two weeks or so, squirt a bit of washing-up liquid or shampoo into the palm of your hand, dampen the bristles of the brush and swirl them into your palm. Rinse and repeat until the water runs clean, then leave on its side to air-dry.