If you find you do an okay job at your makeup, but it never looks as smashing as you’d like it to, could it perhaps be the tools you’re using? While it’s true that they’ve got the training and hours and hours of professional work and not to mention innate talent and skills, professional makeup artists also know what tools are essential to doing a fantastic makeup job. So we polled some of the top in the biz to find out what are their makeup-tool mainstays.

Beauty essentials #1: Angled eye shadow brush

We’re assuming you know well enough not to use that the spongey little applicator that comes with eye shadow palettes. But if you’ve only got a regular
eye shadow brush, you need to get yourself to the makeup brush aisle for some shopping.

Max Herlant, international makeup advisor for Yves Rocher swears by an angled eye brush for its versatility. “You can use it to apply an eye shadow the same colour as your
kohl or eye pencil,” he says (this method will help it last twice as long, he adds). An angled eye brush can also be used to soften your eyebrows once you’ve filled them in. Herlant says you can also use it on your lips. “If you apply too much lipstick, you can easily correct it with an angled brush,” he says. (Just make sure to use a clean one, obviously).

Beauty essentials #2: Shadow shields

If wearing eye makeup is your “thing,” then you’ll want this product pronto, says Andrea Claire, a celebrity makeup artist based in Singapore. These self-adhesive crescents catch any eye shadow that trickles down underneath your eye area (“and that will age you as powder will accentuate fine lines,” says Claire).

Beauty essentials #3: Powder brush

While you’re picking up an angled eye brush, get yourself a
powder brush, too, to add to your arsenal. Herlant uses it not only for powder but for blush, too. “For a natural, flushed look, I like to dab a bit of blush with the powder brush on the apples of the cheeks. This gives a really nice effect, more natural than applying the blush outwards from the apples of the cheeks towards the ears.”

For more on what beauty tools you should have in your makeup kit, read on to the next page…
Beauty essential #4: Flat-top sculpting brush

Contouring one’s face can be a tricky skill to get the knack of. Make your job easier with the right brush for the job. Claire says you need one with just the right amount of bristles, that’s gentle but with the right amount of stiffness for sculpting the cheeks. (Note: she also likes to use it to blend bronzer, blush and highlighter.) Her personal fave? The one from Sonia Kashuk.

Beauty essential #5: Spooley (aka clean mascara wand)

“I love getting more than one use out of a product,” says Vanessa Jarman, a makeup artist with Rimmel London. “Next time your mascara gets old and you’re onto the next, clean the wand of your old mascara,” she says. Jarman uses the spooley to brush
eyebrows up and to comb through lashes if they need extra separation after applying mascara.

Beauty essential #6: Scotch tape

Yes, you read that right. Good old adhesive tape has a spot in your makeup kit. “It’s the best for lifting off too much glitter or glitter from the night before that just clings to life,” says Claire. She says you can also use tape as your guide for a wing-tip or cat’s-eye liner.

Beauty essential #7: Eyelash curler

“It’s my number one tool!” gushes Jarman. “They are so impactful and perfect for whether you’re wearing mascara or not. Your eyes can always have that open,
doe-eyed effect with just a simple curl,” she says. MaryAnn Richardson, a makeup artist currently based in London, England, also swears by eyelash curlers. She suggests running your curler under hot water to heat up the lash curler before curling your lashes for an even better result.

Beauty essential #8: Foundation brush

It’s time to replace you tried and true paddle brush with a stipple-style foundation brush. With a paddle brush, it can take longer to buff in the product for a natural effect and you can end up using more product and layering on too much foundation, she says. “With a stipple foundation brush, your skin is buffed and the foundation is worked into the skin, creating a beautiful canvas for any makeup.” And if you happen to still be applying your makeup with a sponge, quit it. You’re not only wasting makeup, but it can take longer to achieve the blended look and feel you want.

Read more:
The best eye shadow brushes
Waterproof mascaras that stay put
10 classic foundations and concealers