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Applying makeup is something that is completely unique to each individual. Face shape, skin color, skin type, and many other aspects come into play when it comes to applying the perfect makeup. Though this is true, there are some things that are universal no matter what your personal preferences and skin types. In some instances, it is important to look at the individual properties of the product when applying rather than the individual properties of the person applying the makeup. Many people struggle with the age old question, brushes or fingers, which will get the best finish. The answer is to look at the product being applied.
For shadows that are powder it is always better to use a brush. Using fingers in a powder product will upset the natural composition of the product, changing it completely. For instance, if you have a powder shadow and you apply it with your fingers, you may get streaks, smudges, areas with too much or too little product and much more. The natural oils on your fingers do not bode well with powder products. For cream shadows, however, it is almost always better to use your fingers. The heat from your fingers can help to warm up the product for a smooth application. In addition, you can control the amount that is on your eyes better with your fingers than you can with a brush.
For face products like foundation, blushes and bronzers, the same rules apply. With a powder product, it is always better to use your brushes to ensure an even application with smoothly blended edge and even disbursement of product. With cream products it is almost always better to use your fingers unless you are using a medium bristle buffing or foundation brush so that you can control the application. With liquid foundations, you can use either a brush or your fingers depending on what amount of coverage you want. If you want a sheer coverage, use your fingers; for a fuller coverage, use your brushes.
For lips, unless it is in a pot or tin and you have no other way of applying it, you can use your fingers. You want to use a brush or applicator for dark colors to keep from staining your fingers. With a clear balm, it does not make much difference what you use to apply.