Any time you've seen a picture of Kylie Jenner and thought, "Wow, her makeup looks amazing," you probably had Ariel Tejada (who you might know as @MakeupByAriel) to thank for that. The makeup artist is responsible for an overwhelming amount of her best beauty looks from Instagram, Kylie Cosmetics campaigns, and red carpet events (in fact, Tejada regularly refers to her as "his muse"). As he tells Allure, a huge part of being able to pull a look off as successfully as he does is having the right tools on hand.
"Brushes make or break your makeup look… because if you're using brushes that are a little too prickly or stiff, they tend to move the product that you've already placed on the skin," Tejada says over the phone. "It is just making your makeup process that much harder."
He's not the only one with this outlook; legendary makeup artist Bobbi Brown concurs: "I can't emphasize enough that the right tools are as important in getting the look you want as the actual makeup itself," she previously told Allure.
With the help of Morphe, Tejada just created his dream line of makeup brushes, which you'll be able to buy for yourself come May 27. The Morphe x MakeupByAriel brush collection includes 19 brushes and one blending sponge, available to purchase via two different sets, designed and curated for the face and eyes by Tejada himself.
We know, that's a lot of makeup brushes. We handpicked some of the collection's standout items, what they do, and their meaning below. He had a hand in every little detail of each one, including their tapered beige handles and ultra-soft bristles.
As Tejada explains, this two-sided brush is a staple in his kit. "It's a brush that doesn't leave my kit, and it's so important to me," he explains. The flat-ended side is what Tejada uses to carve out the bottom side of clients' eyebrows, which he normally does first in his makeup routine. It's also great, he says, for any cleanup in areas like the lips. "The other side of the concealer brush is a proper concealer brush."
This double-sided brush also represents a really difficult period of time for Tejada. When he was 19 and had just moved to Los Angeles to fulfill his dreams of becoming a makeup artist, Tejada was "living a double life" during his occasional visits to his conservative hometown, who didn't feel comfortable about his sexuality. "I had to wear baggy clothes and baggy sweatpants and disguise that," he recalls. The two different sides of the brush embody the two lives he lived at that time between his old and new home.
The A16 brush is named for the first time Tejada did Kylie Jenner's Met Gala makeup in 2016. "This brush correlates back my signature look and how it was a defining moment in my career," he explains. "The brush is meant to either define your eyebrows, or have a really snatched winged liner, or to have a precise highlight down the bridge of the nose — anything that has to do with defining details, this brush is your go-to."
Tejada calls the A22 his lucky charm with good reason. "Without realizing it, this brush really took my artistry to another level," he says, "Blush can subtly transform a look, and this brush allowed me to make slight shifts in my blush technique that creates that Signature Ariel Complexion."
Attention to detail is a non-negotiable for Tejada, especially when it comes to setting makeup for the long haul. Enter the A14 brush, perfect for putting powder in the small nooks and crannies where it's most needed, like under the eyes and around the nose. "I use this brush for almost every step of my makeup application; it really is a makeup artist's best friend," he says.
As we mentioned earlier, you can only access these brushes via two different sets: the Signature Eyes Set, which includes eight brushes (like the A19 and A16) and retails for $48. The other is the Signature Looks set, featuring 12 pieces for the face and eyes (specifically, it includes 11 brushes and one mint-green makeup sponge) and retails for $98.
At the end of the day, as long as your makeup routine becomes just a little bit simpler with either set, Tejada will be happy. "Not everyone gets to afford a professional makeup artist that comes to their house to do their glam, but if I could make your process that much easier when you're doing it at home, then that's exactly what I wanted to do," he says.
The Morphe x Ariel collection will retail for $49 to $98 and will be available beginning May 27 on morphe.com.
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