10 Different Types of Makeup Brushes You Must Own
Using the right makeup tools is an important part of creating a flawless look. Especially with mature skin…what worked before might not work as well anymore. Is anyone else noticing that? A good makeup brush collection is a must-have for any makeup lover. They’re a hygienic and easy way to apply your makeup. And (this is SO key) they can also help you blend your makeup well. There are many different types of makeup brushes that are made for specific areas of your face, which can make the buying experience a challenge. In today’s post, I’ll share the ones you actually need, how to use them, and some key tips for protecting your makeup brush investment!
Taking Care of Makeup Brushes
Before we dive into the 10 types of makeup brushes I use and love, let’s tackle a few housekeeping items. When is it time for new brushes? How often should you clean your makeup brushes? And, what’s the best way to store them?
Replacing Makeup Brushes
If the bristles are stiff or misshapen, or your brushes are shedding like crazy, it’s time for replacements! A soft, clean brush will make ALL the difference in smooth and flawless makeup application.
Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes
Which brings me to…cleaning. Why is this something so many of us put off? It’s really SO simple. Put a little bit of your facial cleanser or gentle shampoo in the palm of your hand with some warm water. Lightly (I mean lightly!) swirl your brush in your hand, then rinse with cool water until the water runs clear. Gently squeeze off the excess water. Finally, reshape and leave your brushes on a towel to dry. That’s it. No huge production here. They might need some gentle re-fluffing and shaping but otherwise, you’re good to go. Most makeup artists suggest cleaning your brushes once per month.
Storing Makeup Brushes
Once you’ve invested in nice makeup brushes, you want to take care of them! While it might be tempting to throw them in a drawer or pack them into those little brush slots in your makeup bag or box, that’s not the most sanitary option and they’re more likely to get damaged. I recommend storing your makeup brushes in an upright brush holder where they have plenty of room to breathe and won’t get crushed. You can also store them in a roll-up brush organizer. This will keep them covered up and will be useful when you travel too!
Let’s kick things off with the most important makeup brushes to have in your arsenal…face brushes! If you are on a budget, or slowly replacing/building your collection of makeup brushes, I highly recommend investing in good-quality face brushes (even more so than eye brushes). Face brushes cover the most surface area and really have a huge impact on getting that coveted flawless finish.
1) Foundation Brush
A foundation brush is one of those I just can’t live without! Especially as we age, our skin can become thinner and be more prone to fine lines and wrinkles. As your skin gets more sensitive, you’ll want to avoid tugging and pulling and treat it with a little more TLC. A luxurious foundation brush will buff the product into the skin. You’ll want a universal foundation brush that’s great for different types of makeup like liquid foundation, cream, and powders too. It will help you achieve a finish that is both precise and even. The denser the brush, the better…so more product goes on your face, versus the brush (you don’t want to waste any product!)
2) Concealer Brush
A good concealer brush can make ALL the difference in application. This is something I’ve discovered just over the last couple of years so it’s a semi-recent “must-have” brush for me. I consider a concealer brush a “face” brush more so than an “eye” brush because concealer can work for color correcting on your forehead, nose, cheeks, AND under your eyes. I recommend using it as a stippling brush in a patting motion so as not to smear the product over the skin but to gently push it into the skin. This will make for a more natural, less cakey finish.
3) Powder Brush
When it comes to powder brushes, bigger is not necessarily better. Especially if you prefer to only use powder to set your under-eye concealer rather than all over your face. How you use powder will dictate which type of powder brush you need. I typically apply it strategically where I need it most…along my forehead, bridge of my nose, and under my eyes. If you are applying pressed or loose powder all over, a fluffy brush with soft fibers will give you the most natural look. Here are a few powder brushes in various sizes and a cool dual-end one for all-over AND precision swoops!
4) Bronzer Or Contour Brush
Do you all remember those thin fan brushes that were used back in the day to apply bronzer? I feel like the bronzer brush has evolved since those were introduced likely due to the popularity of contouring and the updated application method. Since many bronzers are now creams and liquids, a larger bronzer blush will buff and blend creating a softer finish. I use my bronzer brush as a contour brush too. And while I typically will apply a cream highlighter or highlighter stick with my fingers, you can also use it as a highlighter brush. Who doesn’t love a great multipurpose brush?
5) Blush Brush
A blush brush is a must for buffing out those cream or powdery blushes. It does all the blending for you! You want your blush to be a “kiss” of color on your cheeks. A fluffy angled contour blush brush will give you a lighter application even if you have an accidental heavy-handed application moment.
If you’re looking for a quick makeup tutorial, I share my 5 minute no-fuss makeup routine in this post.
Makeup Brushes For Your Eyes
As we age, the skin on our eyelids, under, and around our eyes tends to thin. There are also fun things like dark circles and hyperpigmentation to contend with too. These are the 5 eye makeup brushes I use on the regular.
6) Eye Shader Brush
This brush is one you’ll use to apply eye shadow all over your lid. If you turn it so that the tip of the brush is facing your eye, you can also use it to pat shadow onto your lid. You can use this one brush to apply eye shadow from the lash line to the brow.
7) Eyeliner Brush
If you’re like me and sometimes prefer to skip traditional eyeliner and use shadow liners instead, this brush is a must-have. The angled brush makes it easy to wing out shadow and line your eyes both along the lower and upper lash line. You can also use an angled eyeliner brush to apply lip liner (no need for separate lip brushes). I also recently saw a beauty hack on YouTube where you can sweep an angled eyeliner brush over a mascara wand and apply the mascara to your lash line…kind of like a gel eyeliner. Haven’t tried it but, I’m intrigued!
8) Pencil Brush
A pencil brush is great for precision and blending…and it’s a multitasker! You can use it to pack eye color into the crease of your eye, outer or inner corners, or along your lash line and then blend it out. It’s also great for perfecting a smokey eye. I even use this brush to apply contour around my lips when I want to make them appear fuller…a makeup artist trick!
9) Fluffy Blending Blush
This might be my favorite eye brush of all time. Just when you think you have your eye makeup nearly perfect, use this brush to blend it all together. It should be light and fluffy and effortlessly blend out any excess shadow and your crease color. It’s great for undoing mistakes and it’s that brush you might not know you needed…until you try it!
10) Eyebrow Brush
And last but not least, the eyebrow brush or spoolie brush. I use this to tame my eyebrows and fluff them up after applying eyebrow gel. Whether you have thin or super on-trend fluffy brows, this is a great tool for making sure every hair is in place. Many are double-sided so you can use one end to brush and fluff and the other end to create hairlike strokes with a gel or cream-based product.
More Makeup Brushes To Love
Dual End Brushes
These dual-end brushes are multitaskers, space savers, and great for travel.
Makeup Brush Sets
Lastly, I wanted to share some excellent makeup sets with you. If you are in need of an overall haul, starter kit and not just a new brush or 2, I highly recommend these sets.
Do you use a must-have makeup brush that I may have missed? Please share in the comments!
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