Beginner’s guide to make-up brushes

Beginner’s guide to make-up brushes

Make-up brushes are a lot like fancy cutlery – there are a lot of them but you may only know what one or two are actually for. And unfortunately with make-up brushes you can’t just start with the smallest one and work your way in.  There are so many brushes and so many uses that it can be quite daunting and hard to know where to start.  But once you learn it’s definitely worth it, so let’s begin with a list of the most common make-up brushes and their uses. 

Foundation Brush

As the name suggests, this brush is designed for applying liquid foundation. Foundation brushes have tightly packed bristles of varying lengths to help achieve a smooth, non-streaky finish. You can apply foundation to your face and then use the brush to spread and blend or alternatively apply your foundation directly to the brush and then apply to the face, starting at the nose and working your way out. I find the second method uses less product and allows for a more precise application.  If you’re not sure whether a foundation brush purchase is worth it, consider the following points:

1. It’s more hygienic.

2. It applies your foundation more evenly and precisely.

3. You don’t waste any foundation on your fingers.

4. You don’t have to wash your hands afterwards.

Powder Brush

The powder brush is one of the largest make-up brushes and has a wide variety of purposes. It is soft, full and rounded, allowing it to easily pick up powdered products. You can use it to distribute powder evenly to large areas, such as the face, neck and décolletage. Simple pat the brush into your powder product, dust off any excess and apply using sweeping and circular motions. If you’re a big fan of bronzer, this brush is a must.

Stippling Brush

A stippling brush, also known as a duo-fibre brush or skunk brush is a multi-purpose brush that is most commonly used with liquid foundation, blush and bronzer. The black bristles are tightly packed together and usually made out of animal hair. Poking out above these are the white bristles, generally made from synthetics.

The flat, circular, feathery head provides lightweight and buildable coverage that won’t remove any of the make-up you’ve already applied, so it’s perfect for layering. Intrigued by this funky looking brush? So were we! You can read more about how to use it in our stippling brush blog.

Concealer Brush

This brush may be little, but when used correctly the impact it makes can be huge. We’re always told to pat in concealer not rub, but this can be difficult when applying with your fingers. Use this brush to gently pat on your concealer for smooth and flawless coverage. Whether it’s dark circles under your eyes, spots or discoloration, this nifty little brush will give you more control over those annoying imperfections. 

Blusher Brush

That’s right you guessed it, a blusher brush is used for applying your blush. The blusher brush is made with fine, gentle fibres with a soft rounded head. It’s ideal for applying powdered colour to the apples of your cheeks and blending it up along your cheekbone. Don’t forget to smile so you can locate them better!

Contour Brush

Remember that handy blog about contouring and highlighting? Well this is the brush that can help you achieve it. The slanted bristles are intended to mimic the angle of your cheekbones, so it’s perfect for blending, highlighting and shading using a bronzer or illuminating powder. 

Eye Base Brush & Angle Eye Shadow brush

There are many different types of eye shadow brushes, but these two are the most commonly used. The eye base brush is used to apply colour to your entire eyelid. It’s wide, flat and short, with a bevelled edge to allow smooth application without pulling on the eyelid. Once a base colour has been applied, the angled eye shadow brush or contour eye shadow brush is then used for layering colour and creating hard lines along the eyelid crease. 

Smudger Brush

Sometimes found on the other end of an eye pencil, a smudger brush is ideal for softening hard lines and creating a smoldering look. The dome shaped bristles are shaped to fit perfectly into the crease of the eye and is a must-have for creating smokey eyes.

Lip Brush

A lip brush is a great way to achieve a perfect line when you don’t have a lip liner handy (or can’t find the right colour). The sculpted tip of the lip brush allows for precise application and lining of the lip, while the short and firm bristles gives flawless overall coverage. It’s also a more hygienic way to apply lipstick if you tend to share with housemates, friends or sisters.

Recommended brushes:

1. Lancome Foundation Brush

2. Natio Powder Brush

3. ARTISTE Stippling Brush #17

4. Bobbi Brown Concealer Brush

5. The Body Shop Blusher Brush

6. MAC Large Angled Contour Brush 168

7. GLO MINERALS Eye Base Brush

8. Natio Angle Eye Shadow Brush

9. ARTISTE Rounded Smudge Brush #29

10. Avon Retractable Lip Brush

Do you use make-up brushes to apply your make-up? What is your hero brush?


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Comments 3

  1. So many of these I haven’t got and have thought about purchasing. But a lot of the times if you’re on a budget you can definitely use one brush for many other uses. Of course it depends on what you’re using the brush for because a lot of the times you’d have to clean it if you’re using a powder brush for blush and powder etc

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