"Brush Priming" Is the Latest Makeup Hack Dividing TikTok, So I Tried It

POPSUGAR Photography | Ariel Baker
POPSUGAR Photography | Ariel Baker
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I'll be honest, I don't know if there's any advice that Katie Jane Hughes could give that I wouldn't follow. Known for her ability to create incredibly dewy makeup looks, she's worked with people like Hailey Bieber, Ashley Graham, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. All of this is to say that any tip that this makeup artist shares is treated like a tiny piece of gold to me.

However, I recognize that not everyone may feel the same and nowhere was that most apparent than in the comment section of one of her most recent TikTok videos. In it, Hughes explained to her followers how to "prime" their brushes to properly apply foundation, a technique that she has become synonymous with. To combat any issues blending your base products, she recommends taking your makeup brush and swirling it around in your foundation to thoroughly coat the bristles in formula. She typically uses the hack with liquid or cream products, but it can also work for powders, as well.

Comments on the video ranged from people insisting that the technique is wasteful to others saying it worked perfectly for them. With such mixed reactions, I had to try it for myself.

Does Brush Priming Actually Work?

Hughes mentioned that the technique works with a foundation that is slightly "off" in color, so I opted for the Makeup by Mario Surreal Skin Foundation ($42) in the shade 20N, which is a bit darker than my natural complexion. I also opted to use the Jones Road Everything Brush ($40) to blend.

POPSUGAR Photography | Ariel Baker

Following Hughes's video, I pumped some of my foundation into my hand and swirled the bristles of the brush around in it. I won't lie, the process felt a little counter-intuitive as it appeared I was blending the foundation into my hand the more I swirled, but I kept going. To my surprise, when I went to buff the foundation onto my skin, not only was there a good amount of product on the face, but the coverage level was not at all compromised.

After one pass, I still felt like there was too much product left behind on my hand, so for the next test, I did sort of an upward scraping motion to make sure I was getting as much as possible on my brush. That's when the magic happened. Not only was I able to cover a larger surface area because there was more product in the bristles but I also felt it helped give me a smooth, even finish.

POPSUGAR Photography | Ariel Baker

Is Brush Priming Worth The Hype?

I would definitely say that there is some merit to brush priming — the results of my experiment speak for themselves. However, there are a few things I'd do differently in the future when using the technique. First, instead of my hand, I'll be using either these Danessa Myricks Single-Use Makeup Hand Palettes ($15) or a traditional stainless steel plate to get the job done. I don't like putting foundation on my hand because without fail, I forget it's there and end up getting makeup everywhere. (And that's exactly what happened after I finished my makeup.)

POPSUGAR Photography | Ariel Baker

Second, I'll be using a more flexible and fluffy brush to apply my foundation. Though it's pricey, I have adored the Westman Atelier Blender Brush ($125) ever since I started using it about a year ago. I recommend using a higher-quality brush for something like this because the swirling motion can actually be really hard on the bristles of the brush itself and the ferrule, which is the metal part between the hairs and the handle. Still, if you're looking for something more affordable, the NYX Multipurpose Face Brush ($17) could also be a good option.

All in all, I'll definitely be using this hack moving forward to give myself the skin-like makeup application that Hughes seems to achieve so effortlessly. It's easy to do, and pending a few adjustments, I can't recommend it enough to try.