When a bunch of Chanel makeup brushes showed up to the office in a sleek black vinyl travel case branded with its iconic white lettering, I spent the day on the verge of tears and was finally excused early. It’s nothing new: Every time a Chanel package arrives at the office, the screams that come from the editorial corner of the third floor sound like what might happen if say, Glossier’s neighbor Rihanna popped in for a visit (who is rumored to be selling her penthouse on Lafayette—please don’t leave us, Rih!).
I might be exaggerating but the point is that I managed to get my hands on this brush set. I don’t deserve it, I know. You’re thinking, What’s a nice girl like you going to do with all those professional-quality brushes? Fair question, mate. I’m not a professional. I’m not a vlogger. Not even close. I’m a fully amateur, 20-something New Yorker with a penchant for pretty things. But even though I’m not an expert, I do have to get the makeup on my face somehow. With the full set of ideal tools (not to mention they're beautiful, since it goes without saying), I feel like I can do a lot more than I once could. So, I can tell you exactly what I’m going to with them. And I will right now:
I’ve got countless holiday parties coming up (I swear, my invites will be here any day now), so while foundation is not my everyday, is going to make an appearance as the first step in each of my holiday beauty looks. It’s a “serum” foundation, meaning it’s lightweight and blendable, but with full coverage—just in case I wind up in front of a camera flash. To apply, this brush is perfect in that it makes me feel like I’m literally painting my face on. Romantically, though, like an Impressionist might. It’s got a nicely grippy handle with a flat, slightly stiff head of hairs that blends foundation into a rich matte finish.
Next up is another foundation brush built for application of either liquid or powder products. My routine calls for concealer next, so I’ll use it to apply (neither liquid nor powder; oops) under my eyes, on the sides of my nose, along my jawline. Once that’s finished, I’ll use it to gently blend all the edges together and smooth anything that’s still visible. Hi. No, I’m not wearing any makeup. Why do you ask?
I’m a powder girl; always have been. I’ve got one of those narrow faces that doesn’t look as good shiny, so a quick dusting of a light finishing powder makes me feel secure and complete. Chanel pairs well with the holidays and also with more Chanel, so I’ll be applying this with the Powder Brush all over for a, uh, natural finish.
An outlier simply because it does not fit into the travel case with the rest of my brushes. No matter; it’s retractable! This one’s for the blush. I’m typically drawn to a pale pink or a rusty kind of red with my blushes, but the holidays put me in a mood for something different. is the current winner—a matte, rose color that almost fringes on bronzer in its finish. This I’d pair with a classic, smudge-y, grey-and-brown smokey eye and a nude lip such as . is another good blush: it’s a deep, mauve-y plum color, which I think would look nice between a heavy eyeliner and lip gloss.
Here is your golden child of the set: A stiff brush shaped like a felt-tipped marker and meant for applying cream eyeliner- and eyeshadow-pots. Delivering in the smooth application department. Chanel does eyes better than anyone, so this time I’ll be going full ‘60s with , making a thick, lustrous black wing along the top lash line. Can’t forget the salmon-y pink lip, white highlight, blue eyeshadow, and bright pink blush with this look.
Last—but there is no least, only Chanel—is this brow definer and groomer. Brush up with the spoolie end. Draw with the “definer” end. Cap them to keep them clean and safe. Finish with (in Black for me, please!).
Photographed by Tom Newton.
Still feel like a beginner? There's a makeup guide for that.