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Pro Tips for How to Apply Your Makeup Without Brushes

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Kate MurphyGuest Blogger
July 26, 2016 · 3k Views

A good makeup brush is like a magic wand with the power to make you look amazing even if you are not feeling your best. It is an essential part of any good beauty arsenal. But there are several scenarios that could leave you without access to your favorite brushes– you forgot to pack them for a weekend getaway, you received an unexpected invite to an evening event after work, or there simply wasn’t enough room in your bag for extra items.

The situation can feel a little like getting caught in the rain without an umbrella. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Here are tips from beauty experts for how to apply your everyday makeup without brushes and tools.

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1. Concealer and Foundation

Source: Style Craze

This may come as a surprise, but it’s actually ideal to apply foundation with your fingers because the heat of your hands warms up the cream for a seamless finish. Using your ring finder, start by tapping concealer under your eyes and flare outward. Then tap foundation around your nose with your ring finger and brush it out diagonally. Lastly, use both hands to blend. For maximum coverage, try Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Foundation.

2. Contour

When you find yourself without a brush, skip the tinted bronzer, and use a foundation that is 2 to 3 times darker than your original shade. Use your thumb to apply the cream down your cheekbone and continue to blend in a downward motion. Then use your pointer finger to apply the cream down the bridge of your nose and continue to blend in a downward motion. Next, apply the pigment close to your hairline going from temple to center on both sides using your pointer finger and middle fingers. Check out Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation by Make Up For Ever.

3. Highlight

Source: Painted Ladies

Use your middle finger to apply highlighting powder between the contour lines on your nose and blend down. Next, apply highlighter just above the apple of your cheeks and blend in a C-shape around the eye. Starting at the highest part of the arch above your brow, apply highlighter and blend up. To make your eyes look more awake, tap a small amount at the inner corner of each eye. What to make your lips look fuller? Lightly dab highlighter on your Cupid’s bow. Brighten your face using Rainforest of the Sea Skin Twinkle Lighting Palette by tarte.

4. Blush

Blush will give you a healthy dose of color and can be easily applied without a brush. Start by using your ring finger and middle finger to make circular motions on the blush palette. Using small circular motions, apply the blush to the apples of your cheeks and blend up toward your temples. For a radiant glow, try Clinique Cheek Pop.

5. Eyeshadow

Source: The Small Things Blog

An eyeshadow a few shades darker than your natural skin tone will work to contour your eyes. Using your ring finger, apply the eyeshadow to the creases of your eyes. Blend the pigment well by using small circular and tapping motions. Check out Buxom’s Single Eyeshadow Bar.

6. Powder

Powder is going to set any areas that may have been missed by foundation or highlighter. Use your ring and middle finger to apply. You’ll also want to use powder to avoid shiny looking skin. For full coverage, check out bareSkin Perfecting Veil by bareMinerals.

7. Eyeliner and Mascara

Source: WikiHow

Tools are a given with eyeliner and mascara. Apply these products as you normally would.

8. Lipstick or Lip Gloss

Some of us like to wear a bold lip during the day. Not a problem – a bold lip can be achieved without any tools. Instead of regular tube lipstick, experts suggest using the liquid version because it is easier to manipulate. Begin by dabbing the pigment on the inner parts of your top and bottom lips. With your ring finger, use tapping motions to spread the color to the outer corners. For a classic look, check out Always on Matte Liquid Lipstick by Smashbox.

Don’t panic the next time you get caught without your makeup tool kit. Just follow these protips and your beauty game will be next level. Brushes not included.


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Kate Murphy is a native of Pennsylvania. After receiving a degree in art history, she moved to New York City to test the waters. She enjoys writing about art, culture, fashion, design, and travel. In addition to writing, Kate works with artists, leads, street art tours, and moonlights as an illustrator.