Makeup Brush
Credit: Courtesy

As someone who has long applied makeup with her fingers, an arsenal of brushes is essentially foreign to me. I own exactly three of them—and one is the brush that came with my Urban Decay Naked 2 palette ($54, I just didn't consider them necessary. But in the era of contouring, I was falling behind. Then I learned about the double-ended contour brush by Make Up For Ever ($53, Not only did it step up my contour game, but, because it has two sets of bristles, I’ve also found it useful for other makeup applications, as well. Check out the trio of ways I put this tool to the test.

On one end of the brush, the bristles are arranged in a round shape; on the flip side, they lay flatter and are cut at a slight angle. “The slanted side gives a precise application,” says Lijha Stewart, Make Up For Ever’s Director of Artistry and Education. “The slanted side has wavy fibers, which pick up and distribute more pigment,” so it’s best for applying bronzer to create shadows and break up flat face panes. I use this side to target my temples, the sides of my nose, and along the bottom of my cheek bones. Then, I use the round side, which is fluffier, to apply translucent powder over my face and blend the darker areas into my skin for a natural, seamless finish.

Faking a Flush
The round, fluffy end of the brush is essentially a blush brush. “Softer, fluffier brushes generally work best with powder-based products,” says makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor. I use this side to swirl blush onto the apples of my cheeks before switching over to the angled side to swipe highlighter onto the tops of my cheekbones.

Hiding Dark Circles
While I think I’ll always apply foundation with my fingers, I found that I like this brush a lot for blending concealer. I dab liquid concealer under my eyes and use the angled side of the brush to stipple, then swipe the product from the inner corners of my eyes outward toward my temples. Next, I blur any edges with my fingertip. I love that this brush allows for a more smooth blend, so I’m not left with bright white half-moons under my eyes.