Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Perfect Blend

Makeup artistry is all about blending, blending, blending.  With every stand-out era in makeup cosmetics, especially starting in the 1940-50s with the birth of contouring, getting that subtle and effortless blend has been simpler to fine-tune with the tools made available.

Last year, every single practicing and up and coming makeup artist I knew swore by a good quality stippling brush as opposed to basic concealer/foundation/powder brushes or triangular sponges when it came to smoothing out makeup.  While it is still very much used and a staple in most kits, early this year, we came to know about Sonia Kashuk blending sponges, which have been all the rage ever since.  So both tools seem to tackle multi-purposes as well as problem areas for those that came before them; the question is, which one takes the cake (or perhaps blends out the cake)?

I've decided to literally split my face in two and do 4 steps in makeup application using the stippling brush on the left side and the blending sponge on the right.  With skin prep done, I will be applying the following: 1) Max Factor Erace Concealer in 01 Natural
2) Max Factor Second Skin Foundation in 045 Warm Almond
3) Max Factor Facefinity Powder in 03 Natural, and 
4) VMV Skin Bloom Blush in Satin.
I suppose 1 point per step would be fair. May the best tool win.


For concealer: Easy, breezy blending. A few circular swishes and concealer is in place under eyes and side of the nose.
For foundation: A few dabs directly to and from the brush and this side of my face has a natural, light application of foundation 1
For powder: Again, minimal movements and the foundation is set with powder. 1
For blush: I still somehow prefer the use of a standard blush brush first for a more precise swipe on the cheekbones, but blending-wise, no problemo .5

Total score out of 4: 3.5/4


For concealer: The tip of the sponge emulates a finger so this was pretty great, especially for the hard-to-reach spots around the nose 1
For foundation: I had to use the tip again to dab dots around this side of my face before rolling and patting the sponge around to spread and blend. Aside from taking a bit more time to get even application, the end result was fine .5
For powder: Pat, pat, pat, and done. 1
For blush: When allowing the tip to face downward, the shape of the sponge actually follows the shape of the cheekbones so a few light rolls and I had a soft blend.  I just had to make sure not too blend it out too much to the point of erasure. .5

Total Score out of 4: 3/4

Nope, I did not end up with a lopsided face

Alas, the stippling brush wins by a hair (well, more like multiple duo-fiber hairs).  A very small difference, which I'm not even sure is a permanent stand considering the learning curve between the two - I've used the stippling brush for sometime now whereas my use of the blending sponge was fresh. So I'd say, both tools are fantastic and revolutionary in their own right. You can get a lot of use out of both with respect to steps in putting on makeup and with respect to time (unlike regular sponges, Sonia Kashuk's can be cleaned and reused).  I guess there's a reason why the sponge has gotten so many rave reviews and there's also a reason why stippling brushes have not left vanity kits.

Now, you may be wondering why I ended my makeup process with blush.  That is because I had to give notable mention to the best shadow blending tool that I've ever come across.  Voted as one of the best eye makeup tools of 2011 by InStyle, is the MAC 224 blending brush.

Voted as one of the best eye makeup tools of 2011

I won't even go into the science of this brush, but instead I will just tell you that it works like a magic wand on eye contouring, smokey eye build-up, and blending of 1 color into the next. Just a few back and forth sweeps takes away harsh demarcation and gets you the subtle transition between 2 shades like so:

 Started with harsh creases (yes, I did it extra obvious for picture purposes)

But smoothed out into fine contours

Makeup can definitely be tricky, but every trick has a tool and a technique and I hope that my being my own guinea pig helps all of you out in the slightest way.  With practice, practice, practice and worthy paraphernalia; you can all achieve the perfect blend.


  1. Great tips! Thanks Wakeup Makeup!

  2. definitely getting the Mac brush :)

  3. nice! very helpful! thanks!

  4. Monique Jaramillo-SeñeresJune 24, 2011 at 3:09 AM

    @Kriska-Yes! One of the best brushes I've ever gotten :)

    @Mi2-Thanks for reading. Is this Mimi Au BTW?

  5. i really love to put on makeup but i really don't know the right strokes and techniques. this is really informative. thanks for the tips.

  6. Monique Jaramillo-SeñeresJune 24, 2011 at 4:18 AM

    @Dang-Glad to be of help. Maybe I'll get to do your makeup sometime. Hehe.