Makeup Brushes Guide: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

If you’ve ever witnessed a professional makeup artist unpack their arsenal of brushes, it cannot be very safe. What are all those different makeup brushes for, and what makeup brushes are used for what? To help demystify the dizzying array of makeup brushes on the market, we’ve put together a makeup brushes guide with everything you need to know. Here are the makeup brushes and uses that we’ll break down for you:

For all over: foundation brush, concealer brush, powder brush, kabuki brush

For cheeks: blush brush, contour brush, fan brush

For eyes: eyeshadow brush, eyeliner brush, brow and lash brush

For lips: lip brush

Try the IMAGE Skincare BEAUTY Flawless Foundation Brush, which has an angled brush head designed to hug the contours of your face. If a sponge is more your style, you can check out the Sigma Beauty 3DHD Blender, which lets you stipple and blend either cream or liquid foundation with ease.

Concealer Brush

A concealer brush has a small brush head with densely packed bristles to smoothly and precisely apply cream or liquid concealer under your eyes, onto blemishes, and anywhere else you’d like to camouflage redness or discoloration.

Try the Youngblood Luxe Precision Concealer Brush. This hand-made, artist-quality brush features an angled tip of synthetic fibers that’s just right for applying concealer everywhere, from the inner corners under your eyes to the creases around your nose.

Powder Brush

A powder brush has a large, dome-shaped head of fluffy bristles to distribute powder across your face softly. When loading powder onto your meeting, you’ll want to hold it perpendicular to your powder compact–as opposed to on an angle–to evenly coat the bristle ends before gently dusting it all over your face.

Try Koh Gen Do Powder Brush, which has supersoft synthetic bristles that work well with either loose or pressed face powder.

Blush Brush

A blush brush is smaller in size than a powder brush but also has fluffy bristles and a round head. You can use it to apply powder blush to the apples of your cheeks, and it can also work well for dusting on bronzer as well.

Try the RMS Beauty Skin2Skin Blush Brush, which boasts two kinds of bristles for an expert application of blush. Supersoft white bristles dust on just the right amount of product, while a layer of denser hairs below helps blend to create a natural look.

Contour Brush

If you’re into contouring, you’ll want to have this brush in your makeup kit. Most contouring meetings feature a slanted brush shape and dense bristles to sweep bronzing powder in just the right spots along your jawline and cheekbones.

Try the Sigma Beauty F40 Large Angled Contour Brush, which features antimicrobial bristles made from synthetic fibers and a handle made from responsibly sourced wood (pictured above). You can pair it with the Sigma Beauty F05 Small Contour Brush to buff and blend your powder contour for the perfect finish.

Eyeshadow Brush

For professional-level applications, you’ll want to upgrade from those teeny-tiny travel brushes that come included in eyeshadow palettes. Eyeshadow brushes come in an array of shapes and sizes, from rounded to angled. A round, oval-shaped brush works well for sweeping shadow across your lid, but you’ll want to use a tapered brush to apply shadow to the crease.

Try the Osmosis Colour Oval Shadow Brush to apply highlighter to your brow bone or sweep color across your eyelids (pictured above). For a smoky eye look or brushing shadow into the crease of your eyelid, the Osmosis Color Contour Shadow Brush has a pointed brush head for precise application.

Eyeliner Brush

If you’d like to try the sleek, long-wearing look of gel eyeliner, you’ll need an eyeliner brush, which has a long, thin handle and an even thinner brush tip. All you have to do is open up your eyeliner pot, load some color onto your brush, and exhale as you line your eyelid to help keep a steady hand.


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