A Beginners Guide to Makeup Brushes
When it comes to makeup brushes, you will come across every shape and size. Flat, poofy, round, pointy- you name it. And while it may not seem like it makes a huge difference, the type of brush you use picks up, puts down, and blends pigments each in their own way. Having a hard time getting that perfect smoky eye or that intense highlight glow? Make sure you are using the correct brush! Keep reading for a quick beginners guide to every makeup brush in your collection
First, let's start with our base. The secret behind obtaining a flawless complexion has more to do with than just the foundation. Using the right brush is a game-changer.
When in search for a foundation brush, there are a few things to look for. Make sure the head of the brush is medium in size, dense, and almost flat on top. We love the Marc Jacobs Buffing Foundation Brush (pictured) for its compact bristles. This allows for the foundation to be buffed and blended seamlessly.
I’m sure you've heard of the makeup sponge. It essentially is a cute little egg that applies and blends foundation, concealer, and even liquid contour. I prefer makeup sponges that have both a flat and pointy end so I can really get into the creases under my eyes and on my eyelids. The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is my go-to. You can even pick up powders to set your concealer with this sponge! The only downside to any makeup sponge is that they absorb a lot of product. This all depends, of course, on the material and quality of your sponge.
Hide pesky breakouts and blemishes with a concealer brush. You can also use this brush to cover up inner corner dark spots or to perfect your cut crease. Concealer brushes usually have flat and short bristles, and typically come with a round or angled head. The Morphe M421 Mini Concealer Brush is great for starters and pros alike. (Plus it's only $5!)
Set your face for excellence with a powder brush. Applying powder over a liquid foundation or concealer helps prevent your makeup from getting oily or sweating off. Look for a large brush with soft and compact bristles. You should be able to pick up translucent, pressed, or loose powder and effortlessly pat it into the skin. We recommend the Hourglass Finishing Brush No.7 to get the job done.
***Pro Tip: For use in smaller areas, pinch the brush to make a fan shape. Pinching it also allows for this brush to double as a blush, bronzer, and highlighter brush.
Adding definition and shape to your base can make your makeup go from bland to total glam. Be sure to use the right brushes to highlight and draw out your natural features.
Contouring is a great way to add depth to a flat face. These brushes typically come in both angled and flat shapes. Use the flat side for cream contour or to draw out the line that you would like. Buff it out and add bronzer with the angled side. This will feather out any harsh lines. Repeat under the cheekbones, on the jawline, and along the temples with the Tarte Slenderizer Bamboo Contouring Brush.
Personally, I like to keep my blush light so I go for a brush that isn’t super dense. If you like darker and heavier blush, there are plenty of blush brush options with compact bristles. Either way, a blush brush should be round, fluffy, and most importantly, soft! The EcoTools Precision Blush Brush is a great affordable option, made to work with all formulas.
Highlight is a fabulous way to show off your cheek and brow bones. Most highlight brushes tend to be fan-shaped and very light. The fan shape allows for control, no matter the size of the area that you are highlighting. Remember that highlight is buildable, so a thick brush is not usually ideal. Check out Sephora's own PRO Highlight Brush #87.
While a perfectly feathered out smokey eye does take a lot of practice, the brushes you use make a huge difference. Spend less time stressing and more time perfecting with these brushes that will help you get your desired look.
The first step to most eye shadow looks is applying a nude base color. Fluffy brushes, as I like to call them, tend to be bigger, not as compact and well, fluffy. These brushes are great for laying down color all over the lid, or for blurring the edges of a shadow. The Patrick TA Eyeshadow Brush (pictured) and Makeup Forever 242 Large Blender Brush are lovely examples.
To get an effortless fade, a blending brush is a must. This is the largest category of eye brushes but they normally have the same characteristics. Look for a brush that is medium in density- not too thick but not too light. The brush head itself should be medium in length as well. The IT Brushes Shadow Brush #107 along with Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Plush Eyeshadow Brush 240 (pictured) make a faultless pair.
This is the brush that, in most cases, gets taken out of the package and is never touched again. A smudger brush is used to add dark pigment along the lash line as a faux “eyeliner” or to very precisely place brighter pigments. This brush gives you the ability to introduce deep shades to the lid without losing control. Pick up the Charlotte Tilbury Eye Smudger Brush (pictured) or the BH Cosmetics Smudger Fan Brush for a more economic option.
Putting down a medium toned shade along the crease can really make your eye pop. Make sure your crease brush isn't too small or too big, and not too firm or too fluffy. You want to look for an oval shape that is tapered at the top. This brush will get into small places easily without creating harsh lines or dragging the pigment. We suggest the Marc Jacobs Synthetic Crease Brush.
***Pro Tip: Need another use for your crease brush? Apply highlight to the brow bone and cupids bow with it! Areas like this may be a bit easier to cover with a brush of this size.
The secret to achieving an eye-catching wing is in the brush! You can use a liner brush on both gel and cream liners. This is also a really simple way to apply liquid or metallic glitter along the lash line for a totally rockin’ cat eye. The Morphe 217 Bent Liner Brush delivers a precise and smooth finish.
Whether you strut bold or natural brows, getting them to look effortless and similar is so hard it could almost be a party trick. Take a peek at these essential brushes to slay the brow game.
Angled Brow Brush
When using a pomade or dip brow product, it is easy to end up with rectangles as eyebrows. Avoid this look with an angled brow brush. Look for a small brush with firm bristles and a tapered edge. By creating short hair-like strokes your brows will go from bricks to natural looking twins. Pick up the KVD #70 Pomade Brow Brush for just $18.00.
Groom your brows with a brow spoolie! I like to use mine to brush through my brows both before and after I apply product. This allows me to shape my brows just how I like them, as well as to brush out any excess product. You can usually find a spoolie at any drug or even grocery store. Try out the E.l.f Brow Wand for just $2! Keep one in your car, at the office, and in your purse for on0the-go brow touch ups.
***Pro Tip: Use a brow spoolie to remove clumps of mascara or to separate your eyelashes!
Lining your lips makes the lipstick itself stand out more and stay on longer. It gives you a guide of where to put the product and of how much you would like to over-line your lips. Stop trying to do this with thick and bulky applicators. Instead, look for a petite flat lip brush. We recommend the Clinique Lip Brush for an even and clean application.
Remember that makeup takes a lot of practice! Having the correct brushes is only a fraction of it. To learn how to care for your new brushes, check out our How to Keep Makeup Clean article.
Be sure to support small business brands during this time! Read our brand review on Zoreya Cosmetics and their stunning brushes. You won’t regret it- I promise!