Empowering Every Woman to be Beautiful

Tools of the Trade - Kabuki Brushes

Two years ago, during the Christmas holidays, I received a notice from the post office. There was a box waiting for me. I shoved out into the freezing cold amidst the mass of crazy shoppers rushing to and fro. Worst yet, I was going to the post office. Crazy shoppers inevitably become crazy mailers.

A line of not-so-cheerful people (all clutching boxes) snaked out into the hallway almost to the front door. A postal worker yelled directions over the murmuring crowd. "LINE SIX IS NOW OPEN!"

After an hour wait (I kid you not), I received my little brown box. Back at home, I grabbed a butcher knife and hacked open the box to get at the round jars inside. MAKEUP!

It wasn't just any makeup. It was my first intro to mineral makeup. A (then) new line sent me all of their foundations to sample - in full sized portions. I swiped a color that looked like my skin tone across my hand. It was...sparkly. Hmmm. Why would foundation have sparkles in it?

A few days later, I tried a beige color on a model. This time the foundation wasn't sparkly, but it was HEAVY. The color sat on her skin like Crisco. And did I mention I found it very challenging to "eyeball" the color.

After more than a decade of doing makeup, I can look at a woman and name a brand and the exact liquid foundation in that brand that will match her skin tone. Couldn't do that with minerals. They didn't look anything on the skin like they did in the jar.

It was humbling to spread color after color on a model in search of the right fit. I grew frustrated and shelved the minerals.

One day a few months later, another makeup artist asked me to cover a television shoot she couldn't do. "Oh, and it's in HD - You can do makeup for HD, can't you?"
I stopped in my tracks. Um, yeah. I guess. Why is it any different? I didn't ask that at the time, but my mind was reeling.

I jumped on the computer and did some research on High Definition Television. Oh, boy. This was going to be a whole new challenge. I called another makeup artist and asked for her help. Her first suggestion was, "You need to use mineral makeup to get the right amount of coverage, but have a light hand so you don't see it so much."

I pulled out those minerals I'd tossed in a drawer and began to practice. No matter what I did, it looked thick and scary, like Dracula's makeup. The day of the shoot, I was so nervous. I was working on a political commercial. My client was a guy AND he had a prominent birthmark across his forehead.

I'd worked with him before and it had been fine, but the stakes were higher now. A male politician should never look like he's wearing makeup, but I needed to cover the birthmark and even out his skin tone. HD shows everything.

I took much longer than usual to do his makeup. So much so that he asked what was I doing. When I explained the whole HDTV aspect, he was grateful I was working so hard to make him look good.

It all worked out great, but afterward I kept wondering if I could make this easier on myself next time. The answer of course, was yes - a whole heck of a lot, in fact.

The tools I was using weren't at all what I should have had for mineral makeup. Sponge wedges and blush brushes don't do powdered minerals justice. When I finally got my hands on a Kabuki brush (pictured here), everything changed.

With it's short handle and fluffy bristles, it's the perfect application tool for minerals. The hairs don't grab huge amounts of powder, so there's less going on the skin.

I like to tap my face gently with the brush and swirl it around to get a light, see-through coverage. Then, if necessary, I go back over areas that need more coverage - but still, with a very light touch.

The end result is a beautiful, flawless finish like I did on our model above.

Are you currently using minerals? What brand? What is your application technique?