Using a makeup brush when applying makeup can help you get a much better finish and application, but there are so many to choose from and it can be overwhelming to figure out what kind of brushes you need. Many brush kits include lots of brushes that you’re just not sure how to use and what product they are supposed to go with. So here are some tips on the more common and most useful makeup brush options.
You really don’t need to use a foundation brush if you don’t want to, for a liquid foundation. Fingers are perfectly fine. But if you don’t like getting foundation under your fingernails or just prefer to use a brush here are some options.
Flat Tapered Liquid Foundation Brush
This is the traditional style of foundation brush. The brush is designed to get foundation into hard to reach places like under the eyes and around the nose. It’s a good all rounder but be careful of it leaving streaks, finish with downward strokes for the best result.
Stippling Duo-Fibre Brush
These will get you an airbrush finish, but take longer to apply the foundation. They are good for sheer coverage and also can be used to apply bronzer, powder and highlighters.
Flat Top and Buffing Brushes
These are my favourite brushes. They give you an airbrush finish but are fast and easy to use. Use small amounts of foundation at a time and build up the coverage. I prefer to put the liquid foundation on the back of my hand then dip the brush in and buff the foundation into my skin, adding more foundation as needed.
This is the best for sheer coverage, if you start with the sponge slightly damp, you’ll waste less foundation as not as much gets absorbed into the sponge. Like with the Flat Top and Buffing Brushes start with the foundation on the back of your hand.
Ideal for a mineral powder foundation. You can have short or long-handled versions with a slightly domed head. The bristles are densely packed so good for distributing powder foundations.
Flat Concealer Brush
These are made from synthetic fibres that are densely packed and are good for a cream consistency of concealer.
Concealer Buffing Brush
This is good once you have applied the concealer to blend it in (though you can also use your fingers to pat in the concealer)
Fine Point Brush
Particularly good for spot concealing exactly where you need it (where your fingers are just too big and clumsy).
A good general blush brush for applying blush all over the cheeks.
Better for smaller faces and applying blush or bronzer to the hollows of your cheeks for a more sculpted cheekbone.
These are good for applying a highlighter to the cheekbones (as well as brushing away any errant eyeshadow fallout) or excess powder.
Contouring Brushes – Small Tapered or Angled
These are good for highlighting, using bronzer.
Fluff or Shader Brush
This is a larger head fluffy brush that may also be called a Lay Down brush – you use this to put your light eyeshadow (or highlighter colour) all over your lids. It doesn’t need to be precise. It’s basically flat with a rounded top and fairly dense.
Domed Crease Brush
This is my favourite crease brush, the one I use to add a second colour into the crease as it fits easily into the crease and gives you a more precise application.
Domed Blending Brush
It’s made to blend colours together, is fluffy and rounded.
Fine Tip Liner Brush
These are one option and are great for applying a cake liner or gel liner. They come in both angled and straight options.
I love these for applying a shadow as an eyeliner, it’s a much softer look than using a pencil or crayon (particularly as you mature).
Great for grooming brows. I just use an old, clean mascara wand for this. Brush over your brows once you’ve applied your eyebrow powder or pencil.
These are made from a coarser hair and are good for grooming your brows and adding brow powder.
A lip brush is not essential, but are really useful when you get to the bottom of your lipstick and there is still some left (and it’s your fave colour) but not enough to just apply from the tube.
Lip brushes are slim and fine and normally have a flat finish.
Caring For Your Brushes
Regular washing and cleaning is particularly important for foundation brushes and brushes used with wet products (concealers, creams etc.) Just wash your brush with soap and warm water, or baby shampoo, making sure to hold your brush so that the water doesn’t get in the ferrule (that’s the metal part that attaches the bristles to the handle) as if you get water inside the glue will start to disintegrate and the bristles will fall out. Squeeze the excess water out of your brush and dry either lying down or hanging down (there are great brush racks like this one that I use).
Good Not Stupidly Expensive Brushes
I’ve tried a bunch of brushes over the years and some of my better experiences are with Eco Tools (Australia, USA) and Zoeva (Australia, USA and UK) brushes. Both are vegan (synthetic) as it costs a lot to get high-quality natural bristle brushes, and these days, the synthetic brushes are excellent. Plus synthetic brushes are cruelty-free.
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