Beauty Queen: 'The 187 foundation brush blows everyone away. It's like instant Photoshop'

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The Independent Online

Seated under the bright lights of a catwalk show, my colleague peered at my face in the unashamedly forensic manner that fashion types often use to assess one another's appearance during fashion week, then delivered her verdict: "Your make-up looks good – very dewy." However, my reply – that I applied it with a foundation brush – elicited a rather horrified, "Ooh, get you," at such an apparently high-maintenance technique.

A foundation brush might seem like an unnecessary piece of kit, the preserve of the kind of perfectionists who put Polaroids on their shoe boxes, or something invented by cosmetics companies to peddle another product or use up some goat hair. Actually it's the easiest, quickest and, more importantly, the most polished and natural-looking way to apply liquid foundation. The finish is truly a Damascene revelation.

The best brushes I've found – and cheap ones just don't have the same effect – are by Mac, in particular the Stippling brush, £28 (or number 187; brushes don't get cute names in the way lipsticks do). It has short and long hairs that push the foundation right into the skin, and create an air-brushed look. Fortunately I'm not the only person to get excited about it, as the Mac make-up artist Martina Luisetti says: "The 187 blows everyone away – it's like instant Photoshop. Most of our customers are new to foundation brushes but are really impressed with the results."

To use one, she suggests pumping a lentil-sized amount of foundation on to the hand, dabbing the bristles into it, then gently buffeting them across the skin in a fast, fluid crosshatch motion, as if sketching, before the liquid dries. With a "cat's tongue"-shaped brush – as she says fellow Italians call the flat, round-tipped brushes – (Bobbi Brown also does a good one, or try Mac's 189, even though it's intended for powder), or a square-ended style you need to blend from top to bottom and outwards from nose to ears.

However, in order to prevent bacteria from breeding on the damp brush you should clean it regularly – Luisetti recommends around every three days. Perhaps that's where the high-maintenance aspect comes in.