Makeup Brush 101: Understanding the Different Types and Uses
Updated September 6, 2023.
Whether you're a makeup novice or a seasoned pro, the right set of makeup brushes can make all the difference in achieving a flawless finish. Believe it or not, using the appropriate brush for specific tasks can elevate your makeup game significantly.
I remember starting my makeup journey with just a large bronzing brush and an eyeliner brush. Fast forward to today, and a basic set of quality brushes allows me to effortlessly create my signature look.
In this article, we will be exploring which types of makeup brushes you should have in your vanity and how to use, store, and clean them.
Understanding the Different Types of Makeup Brushes and Their Uses
Navigating the world of makeup brushes can be overwhelming, especially with the variety of shapes, sizes, and materials available.
But don't worry, the essentials can be broken down into three main categories:
- Face brushes
- Eye brushes
- Lip brushes
When it comes to face brushes, keep in mind the type of makeup products you use because some makeup brushes are multi-purpose:
- Foundation Brush (Kabuki or Buffing Brush): The brush has a flat-top design and dense bristles for smooth and even application of foundation, perfect for achieving full-coverage looks.
- Powder Brush (Tapered Face Brush): The brush has large, fluffy bristles that evenly distribute loose or pressed powder. It is versatile and can also apply blush or contour and set the under-eye area.
- Blush Brush (Angled Design): The angled design of the blush brush allows for precise blush and contour application, defining and sculpting cheekbones, making it a staple in any makeup brush set.
Eye Makeup Brushes
Some eye makeup brushes are are flat-shaped and come in various sizes, making them ideal for applying the base color on your eyelids. Depending on your technique, these brushes can also be used for blending. They are a must-have for anyone who loves playing with eyeshadow.
- Blending Brush: The soft and fluffy bristles of these eyeshadow brushes allow for a seamless blending experience. The quality and material of these brushes are crucial for optimal performance.
- Angled Liner Brush: To improve your eyeliner application, use small strokes and a light hand to build up the product gradually for a smooth line.
Lip brushes may resemble eye or concealer brushes, but they are designed with fine, tapered bristles specifically for the precise application of lipstick or lip gloss.
These brushes are smaller and more efficient, making them ideal for detailed work on the lips. If you struggle with shaky hands, a lip brush is a must-have tool to achieve that perfect pout.
How to Use Different Types of Makeup Brushes
The order in which you apply makeup is a personal choice. I prefer to start with my eyes, but you can tailor this routine to fit your own preferences.
With these steps, you'll be well on your way to mastering the art of makeup application.
Starting with the Eyes
Before diving into the rest of your makeup routine, it's essential to start with the eyes to set the stage for a stunning look.
Here's how to master eye makeup using various brushes:
- Concealer Brush: Apply a thin layer of concealer to your eyelids as a base to make your eyeshadow pop.
- Flat Eyeshadow Brush: Apply eyeshadow to your eyelid. For a light wash of color, swipe it on; to intensify, pat the eyeshadow on.
- Blending Brush: Use this brush in a swiping motion to blend the edges of your eyeshadow. To deepen the look, apply a darker shade in the creases.
- Angled Liner Brush: Finish the eye look by applying liquid liner or dark eyeshadow along the lash line. You can also use this brush to fill in sparse brows with eyeshadow that matches your natural color.
Moving on to the Face and Lips
After perfecting your eye makeup, it's time to focus on achieving a flawless complexion and luscious lips. Here's your step-by-step guide to using face and lip brushes for a complete makeup look:
- Foundation Brush (Flat Top): Use this brush to evenly apply foundation all over your face. Its flat surface allows for an even distribution of products.
- Concealer Brush: Spot conceal areas on your face and under your eyes if needed.
- Powder Brush: Apply a light layer of face powder to set your makeup.
- Tapered Blush Brush: Add color to your cheeks, and if you're feeling adventurous, to your nose as well.
- Highlighter Brush: Apply a light amount of shimmery shadow or highlighter to the tops of your cheeks and brow bone for added dimension.
- Lip Brush: Outline your lips with this brush as a guide, and then fill them in with your lipstick.
Caring for Your Makeup Brushes
Proper care of your makeup brushes is crucial for both hygiene and longevity. Neglecting this aspect can lead to skin issues and a shorter lifespan for your brushes.
How to Store Makeup Brushes:
- Brush Holders or Cups: Storing your brushes upright in holders or cups is more hygienic than keeping them in makeup bags.
- Avoid Damp Environments: Make sure to store your brushes in a dry, well-ventilated area to prevent any unpleasant odors or bacterial growth.
Cleaning Makeup Brushes
To ensure the longevity and hygiene of your makeup brushes, regular cleaning is a must—here's how to do it right.
How to Clean Makeup Brushes
Maintaining the cleanliness of your makeup brushes is not just a matter of extending their lifespan—it's also crucial for your skin's health.
Here is what you need to know about cleaning:
- Frequency: Brushes used for liquid products should be cleaned every 2 days, while those used for powder makeup should be washed weekly.
- Cleansers: Use gentle brush cleansers or mild soap to clean your brushes.
- Technique: Wet the bristles, lather with cleanser, rinse thoroughly, and reshape the brush before letting it dry.
What to Use to Clean Makeup Brushes
Choosing the right cleaning solution for your makeup brushes is as important as the cleaning process itself. The right cleanser can effectively remove makeup residue, oils, and bacteria without damaging the bristles.
In this section, we'll explore various options you can use to keep your brushes in tip-top shape.
- Commercial Solutions: These are formulated specifically for brush cleaning and are generally very effective.
- Gentle Shampoos or Baby Soaps: These are mild enough to clean without damaging the bristles. I personally stumbled upon this method and found baby shampoo to be quite effective.
- DIY Brush Cleansers: You can create a DIY cleanser by mixing olive oil with dish soap. Simply rub your brushes gently on the palm of your hand to massage the makeup off.
Brushing Up Your Beauty Routine
Understanding the different types of makeup brushes, their specific uses, and how to properly maintain them is crucial for anyone looking to enhance their beauty game. Remember, the art of makeup is not just about the products you use but also the tools you apply them with.
If you're looking to expand your brush collection without breaking the bank, consider subscribing to the Klever Beauty Box. For just $29 a month, you'll receive 8 full-sized beauty products, including makeup brushes, all of which are vegan and cruelty-free.