I’m one of those people who considers skincare a true investment. As a result, my beauty cabinet is overstuffed, and every available surface in my bathroom is covered with different pampering-products . . . with prices ranging from a $4 tube of St. Ives® Facial Scrub to a $105 bottle of Sunday Riley® Good Genes.
Unfortunately, my budget doesn’t exactly lend itself to the excessive spending habits I’ve developed for the sake of my skin. There are some products that I refuse to part with — like Odiele Rose Serum, which clocks in at $125 a bottle — but when I can, I find ways to cut costs. To do this, I integrate more affordable products into my routine that still feel as luxurious (and work as effectively) as formulas from the counters of Barneys.
That’s why I was intrigued when I discovered a Skincare Brush Set from Sigma® Beauty ($55). The lineup boasts six different brushes, with which you’re meant to apply your skincare products. The tools are designed to be used with moisturizer, serum, eye cream, two different types of masks (clay/mud masks and gel-textured formulas) and a spatula for custom blending.
The first time I used the brushes — with Neutrogena® Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum ($24), E.L.F. Illuminating Eye Cream ($10), and Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream ($10) — I felt like I was giving myself a $200+ facial. The controlled application allowed me to put the products precisely where I wanted them on my skin, and the soft, silky bristles made my face feel like it was being brushed by actual angels. Plus, the entire process cost me under $100, and could be repeated time and time again.
Not only do the tools make me feel like I’m in the hands of a professional esthetician, they actually make my products work more efficiently, too. "The benefits to applying skincare using brushes is mainly for even coverage of product onto the skin,” says NYC-based celebrity esthetician Georgia Louise, who is responsible for the luminous complexions of Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett. "We [facialists] use brushes because we are often mixing two to three serums in one application, and the brushes allow the products to go on a lot smoother.”
When it comes to using brushes to apply products — which is now an essential part of my regimen — Louise notes that there is an art to achieving the correct technique. "I like to apply serums and masks using a crisscross method to ensure you get full coverage; starting on checks and working clockwise,” she says. In particular, she recommends applying excess serum, waiting two to five minutes for maximum absorption, and then wiping it off as a tissue.
These tools are also an excellent way to ensure you’re using more costly products sparingly. "If you have expensive cream masks, use a mask brush as to use way less product and apply evenly,” says Louise. She also prefers brushes for applying any sort of chemical peel products, like Drunk ElephantTM; T.L.C. Sukari BabyfacialTM; ($80), so there’s no risk of irritating your hands.
When it comes to applying eye creams or moisturizers, though, she believes that it’s best to do things the old fashioned way. "There is no harm as long as your hands are clean! Using your hands or fingers is the best way to mold and sculpt into the skin as your natural body temperature can really warm up and push the product into the skin better,” she explains. Similarly, it’s important to clean your brushes after every use. While the bristles of the Sigma set of tools are antimicrobial, washing them will ensure you aren’t rubbing bacteria onto your face.
As someone who doesn’t always have the resources to pamper myself with an expensive facial, I now swear by skincare brushes to make a $50 dollar routine feel like a $500 one — and my budget is much better because of it.
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