Guide To Makeup Brushes And Their Uses

Newbies to makeup as well as initiates may sometimes have difficulties to pick a makeup brush. The shape, the material it is made of, the brand, the price, all of this is matter to thought. I hope to answer some questions and provide some help through this guide.


Why should I use brushes ?

It seems fundamental to me to first explain why you should perhaps consider using makeup brushes in the first place.

Your first tool is your hands, and you may achieve good results with them, but brushes help tremendously getting the job done. I have personally realized a foundation brush distributed more evenly my foundation on my face, which meant less product used, and no cakiness.


Different makeup brushes mean different shapes, the smaller the area you’re working on, the smaller the brush should be, and your fingers may be too big to achieve the eye look you wanted. Makeup brushes are also more hygienic, you wouldn’t want some stranger to touch your face and maybe transfer some bacteria. This is why makeup artists always use brushes. You may also want to preserve your products by not adding some of your body’s natural oils by putting your fingers directly in them.


Essential face brushes : a foundation brush, a concealer brush, a blush brush.


Face Brushes

Foundation-Brush.png Concealer-Brush.png
Foundation brush. The end can be round or square, it doesn’t really matter. Its purpose is to apply foundation, you can also use it to blend the streaks it may leave. Concealer brush. It is small in order to apply concealer in the areas that need more coverage than foundation can provide. The end can be round or pointed. Concealer is usually a creamy product, which is why concealer brushes have synthetic bristles.

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Duo fiber brush. This is also called a stippling brush. You can use it to apply powders, or your foundation by stippling it (gentle tapping movements, like you are dotting foundation on your face). Large powder brush. A powder brush should be quite large, have lots of bristles and be round. The handle can be short or longer, it’s a matter of personal preference. It is used to apply powder over large areas, which is very important to set your liquid products such as foundation.

Blush-Brush.png Large-Contour-Brush.png
Blush brush. It should be of the size of the apples of your cheeks when you smile. It is used to apply blush but you can also use it to apply powder. It should be fluffy and round. Large contour brush. It is used to apply contour powder on your face in order to shape it. It can also double as blush and powder brush.

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Kabuki brush. It is small, have lots of fluffy, soft bristles. The small handle allows more control. It is used to apply powder on your face. It is mostly used to apply mineral foundation using the buffing technique. Makeup sponge : although this isn’t per se a makeup brush, i have decided to include it in this development. It comes in various shapes, round, square, triangle. They are used to apply creamy products, as well foundation (or to blend it). They tend to absorb some of the product you are using, and they can be difficult to wash.

Flat-Shader-Brush.png Large-Paddle-Like-Fluff-Brush.png
Flat Shader brush. It is used to apply eyeshadow all over your lid. It is usually small,and has a round tapered end. The bristles should be quite firm. For loose or mineral shadows you will prefer synthetic bristles for that reason. You may find different sizes, pick one that matches your eye. Large, paddle-like fluff brush. More versatile, used to apply powders on the eye or the face.

Angled-shading-brushes.png Eyeliner-brushes.png
Angled shading brush. It is used to apply and blend eyeshadows. If you have trouble working with flat brushes, try an angled one. Eyeliner brush. It is used to apply eyeliner, or for precision work. They are fine, pointed and the bristles should be firm in order to draw a steady line. They can be very thin according to the level of precision you desire.



Eyebrow and Eyelash Brushes

Lash-Brush.png Lash-comb-brush.png
Lash brush. This is used to comb your lashes which helps having a good mascara application. You can use it to comb your eyebrows too. Lash comb and brush. This is another tool you can use to comb through your eyelashes and brows.

Lip Brush

Lip brush. This is used in an around your lips. Usually compact or synthetic Used for application of lip products such as lipstick, lip gloss, and lip balms.  

Where to Start


# Where to start ?


We have tried to compile a short list of what is usually considered to be essential brushes, those you will need no matter what. But always consider your needs first. Other things to consider are the bristles. For creamy products or minerals, you will prefer something stiff like synthetic brushes. For the rest, natural bristles are good. Keep in mind natural bristles are also more expensive. Nowadays synthetic brushes are equally as soft. Brushes come in full size or travel size. The travel sized brush will have a smaller handle. Although it is meant for travel, if they feel more comfortable in your hand, don’t hesitate to use them daily. Do not feel constricted by the brand, or the size of a brush collection. The need for more brushes will come overtime, but keep in mind you only have two hands and one face to work with. At some point, you will reach a time you feel you have enough brushes. People making videos on the internet sometimes happen to be makeup artists, with a need for more brushes than the regular makeup addict. You do not have to break your piggy bank either. Some brushes can easily be duped by artist brushes, an obvious example is the liner brush, get a #000 at the art store, you will save lots of money. An artist brand to consider is Loew Cornell. Less expensive brands (listed as examples only) can be Sigma, e.l.f., Crown, Sonia Kashuk, EcoTools, and so on. The price tag doesn’t guarantee the quality of the brush, or rather, you can find good quality brushes for a reasonable amount. Compare prices and look up at reviews to see which are worth investing in. My own bunch of brushes is a good mix of items from different, more or less expensive brands.

Taking Care Of your Brushes


Taking care of your brushes is very important, it will ensure a longer shelf life and avoid bacteria growth. For that, you will need to clean them on a regular basis. The ideal solution is to wash them after each use. However, it can appear tedious when you only have 5 minutes to apply your makeup before rushing to work or drive the kids to school. At least try wiping any excess off with a clean tissue. With extra 30 seconds, grab a bottle of brush cleanser, spray some on your brushes and wipe everything off them with a tissue or towel. Using a brush cleanser is really neat as it quickly removes any makeup off the brushes, it sanitizes them, and they dry fast. Depending on your use, every week or so do a deep cleansing with shampoo, regular shampoo is fine. You can also apply a tiny amount of conditioner on your brushes. Let them dry on a clean towel and then store them.



Storing your brushes is a good way to keep them neat and to protect them. You certainly don’t want dust on them. You can keep them in a brush holder, a drawer, or in a brush roll. Take good care of your brushes and they will work well for you for a long time.

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