50 Types of Makeup Brushes and Their Uses - Your Complete and Comprehensive Guide
The thing about makeup brushes is not all makeup enthusiasts seem to know all of them, much less know how to use them correctly. You'd think, "Well, as long as it does the job, then it's fine." But then you're missing out on all the great benefits of using the right type of makeup tool for the job.
Are you using your makeup brushes the right way? There are at least 50 types of makeup brushes and their uses vary from each one. You may already be familiar with some of these brushes, although makeup newbies and professionals alike could easily get overwhelmed by the sheer number of the makeup brushes alone.
It's easier to apply makeup products when you're using the right types of brushes. They may take more spaces in your makeup kit, but using different brushes means that you can play with different finishes. Using different strokes, even the same types of brushes can give you very different looks.
While they may not look the same, foundation brushes usually have one goal: to help you achieve a smooth, flawless look. So whether you're looking for a photo-finished, full coverage look or a lightweight, "no-makeup" look, these brushes should help you get the job done.
Foundation should never be applied directly on to the skin. You can use the back of your hand to hold your foundation. You can also use a makeup palette, especially if you're mixing more than a single shade of foundation to better match your skin tone.
1. Angled Foundation Brush
An angled foundation brush is used for both smoothing and buffing. The angle of the brush is used to get the product on to the crevices of your face, while the short bristles are used to work the foundation onto your skin.
The goal of using a foundation is to ultimately make it seem one with your skin. This means the best way to apply a foundation is it doesn't look like you're wearing one. Angled brushes tend to be dense so they can pick up more of the product as well as help in buffing the product onto the skin.
Not using an angled foundation brush might mean you're missing some parts of your face. While it may be easier to use paddle brushes or makeup sponges, it is easier to miss spots like the sides and the underside of your nose when using these tools. What makes it even more difficult is when you're using cream or liquid foundation that easily dries.
These are best used with low coverage foundation, but may be used to apply high coverage foundation as well.
2. Stippling (Dual Fiber) Brush
Stippling brushes are used with liquid foundation to create a light, airbrushed foundation effect. These are also known as dual fiber brushes because of their appearance, which has lighter fiber bristles at the tip, and darker, denser bristles at the root of the brush. Skunk brush is another fun name for it.
To stipple your face, put cream or liquid product onto the back of your hand. Gently tap the brush multiple times on to the product so that the product works its way into the white bristles. Use the same gentle tapping motion to work the product on to your skin.
Never use a stipple brush to swipe foundation on to your skin. You're going to have streaks in your foundation because the top of the brush has a light, almost feathery texture. Use only small, circular motions and gentle taps. Almost the top part of the brush should be moving.
A stippling brush is best used for cream and liquid makeup, be it foundation, concealer or blush. They are also used for body makeup to help create a seamless second skin look.
3. Tapered Foundation Brush
Foundation brushes are usually much smaller than powder brushes, and the tapered foundation brush is no exception. The tapered shape allows for the application of full coverage foundation.
To use, put foundation on the back of your hand or on a makeup palette. Use circular, blending motions to work the product on to the brush. If you're mixing foundation, make sure that they're blended well.
Swipe the foundation brush and start on the areas that need more coverage. The swipes should be light and downward so it looks more natural, but you may go sideways when applying foundation on the forehead. You rarely ever need upward strokes when using a foundation brush.
Tip: Applying foundation on the eyelids is a great way to keep eyeshadow on better!
To blend the foundation, use only dabbing motions using the tapered brush. Do not pull or tug the skin. Dab the brush to more effectively hide scars, bruises and blemishes.
The generic tapered brush is more commonly used for powder-type products, but a tapered foundation brush may also be used for liquid foundation. The tapered shape also allows for application on the contours of the face, like on the sides of the nose and under the eyes.
4. Oval Brush
The large oval brush is meant for applying foundation all over the face. The smaller ones may be used for contours and blushes. They gained popularity because of their shape and handles, but now they're also popular because they're quite economical to use.
Oval brushes are dense, which means that they almost act like a solid applicator. Solid or denser applicators usually use less of the product because even powder-type products tend to settle on the top of dense brushes rather than at the bottom of them. Not only do they use less of the product, this also makes them easier to clean.
For foundation application, start with the T-zone. Put some foundation on the back of your hand and lightly dab some of the product on the paddle brush. With upward strokes, apply the foundation on your nose and forehead. On your cheeks and chin, use circular strokes. Make sure you also apply and blend the foundation on your jaw and neck.
Don't put too much product on the oval brush as this could push the product deep into the brush, making it harder to clean.
Also known as the paddle brush, the oval brush is a unique-looking makeup tool used for applying and blending liquid and powder-type foundation, blush and contour.
5. Buffing Brush
Buffing is a technique used for smooth, natural foundation application. Buffing brushes are quite commonly compared with stippling brushes, though a combination of both the buffing and the stippling technique is employed by many professional makeup artists worldwide.
You must have noticed by now that there is a huge difference between makeup worn in photos and videos, and makeup worn in real life. A lot of factors ride on how well your makeup looks in photos, while a whole different set of factors weigh in on your real-life look.
For example, stippling your foundation will make it look amazing in photos. It gives full coverage, and works with most skin types. It takes a lot of time to work it out though. And of course, stippling brushes use dabbing motions.
Unlike stippling brushes, buffing brushes are used with circular motions. Smaller circles make for better coverage, while bigger circles make for sheerer finishes.
6. Powder Brush
A powder brush is used to set your foundation or knock the excess off. It can be used to apply powder foundation as well, but probably not in the way you're thinking of.
The right way to apply setting powder is to use a powder puff. You can use the powder brush to brush off the excess powder. If you're using a powder brush to apply the powder, make sure you're not dragging the brush across your face. Lightly push the brush on your skin and rotate it slightly in place. This way, you're not moving the foundation. Powder won't sit well on oily skin. Use a blotting paper so you'll get a more even finish.
However, powder foundation may be used as base as well. Get some loose or pressed powder on to the brush, and then give the brush a light swipe over the skin. The powder brush must be large and full so application is even.
7. Flat Top Kabuki Brush
Kabuki brushes originate from Japan, where theaters of the namesake have been traditionally popular since the 16th century. Before performances in Kabuki theaters, actors would don on bold, intricate makeup using large, dense brushes we now have come to know as Kabuki brushes.
Traditionally, Kabuki brushes are round, but they now come in different shapes. Flat Kabuki brushes are used to evenly apply foundation. They can also be used to set makeup using loose, mineral powders. Flat top Kabuki brushes also tend to give better coverage than Kabuki brushes of other shapes, which make the flat top ones perfect for applying foundation.
For liquid foundation application, get some of the product on the tips of the Kabuki brush. Dab the product on to your skin. Use small, circular motions to evenly distribute the product, working from the middle of your face and outwards. Be careful not to tug and drag your skin. Don't forget to blend in the product on your neck and jaw line, and remember to move fast if you're using a full coverage foundation or concealer.
Concealer makeup products are used to hide scars, acne marks, dark spots, dark under-eye circles and other blemishes. Usually worn over foundation, concealer are usually of the cream and liquid types. Concealer products don't only come in skin-tone shades. Some are called color-correctors, so don't be surprised to see red, purple, yellow and green concealer.
8. Flat Top Concealer Brush
Flat top concealer brushes are small brushes used to apply concealer under the eyes and spots and blemishes all over the face. Flat top brushes are dense, and are perfect for both applying and blending in makeup. Their denseness ensures that the product is applied to the face instead of staying or, worse, getting deep into the brush.
The trick in applying concealer is to always start with foundation. Most foundations have medium to full coverage, and could easily blur out most blemishes. If some blemishes get past your foundation's coverage, that's the time you use a concealer. You also use a concealer to lighten dark under-eye areas.
An oil-free concealer product is best used over color-correctors. It's easy to be heavy-handed with concealer especially if you're trying to cover up the color-corrector. However, you need to go light and build from there so it doesn't cake up easily.
9. Precision Concealer Brush
This type of brush allows for precise application of concealer, whatever the type may be. It helps to cover up small spots that just are not possible with larger brushes. This brush is usually small and dense so it easily picks up a lot of the product. A precision brush is also mildly tapered.
To apply concealer using the precision brush, you need to load the product on both sides of the brush. Draw a half circle or an inverted triangle under the eyes, starting from the inside and swiping outward. Then instead of a brush, use a slightly damp sponge like the Beauty Blender to blend in the concealer. This is to prevent the concealer from creasing.
A half-circle, under-eye concealer that overlaps with foundation on the cheeks will also help highlight the cheeks. The less the amount of the product you put under the eyes, the less it tends to be creasy. Putting on foundation under the eyes can make it cakey, which will not look good both in photos and in real life.
For other parts of the face, simply get some concealer on the brush, dab it on the area, and blend it in with a sponge.
10. Buffing Concealer Brush
It's a common problem to get makeup creases under the eyes. While some have prominent folds under the eyes that make creasing almost inevitable, there are brushing techniques that can help you avoid creasing altogether. Using a buffer concealer brush is one way to get rid of this problem.
After putting on a concealer, immediately set the concealer using a little powder. Putting on too much powder makes it crease as well, so you have to be careful and put just the right amount. The buffing concealer brush helps you get rid of excess makeup powder and blends in the powder as well.
A trick to getting rid of creases is to buff and go over the creases again using a clean brush. Creases are more common if you have oily skin, so it's best to always bring some blotting paper to get rid of excess oil.
Another thing you could be forgetting is primer. Primers are used to fill in those wrinkles and pores and other gaps on the face.
Contour and Highlight Brushes
Wearing contour is not easy. It can look very unnatural to wear these darker shades, especially if you have a round face. You can easily see the difference between a sculpted face and a dirt-smudged one, and there's a lot of work that goes on to ensuring you don't have the latter. Contour makeup usually goes on the hair line, cheekbones, sides of the nose, and jaw line.
Highlighting, on the other hand, gives your face a radiant glow. It brings out certain areas of the face to draw attention to them or "highlights" them. Highlighting makeup goes on areas adjacent to the areas with contour, and you usually see them on the forehead, cheeks, bridge of the nose, chin and Cupid's bow.
While there's certainly a number of people who apply contour, highlight and blush at the same time and then blend them all together. The right way should be highlight, blend, contour, blend, blush and, finally, blend. This way, you're not mixing the dark shade of the contour and the light shade of the highlighter and essentially just blending yourself a new foundation.
Highlight and contouring go hand in hand, so most contouring techniques involve highlighting techniques of some sort.
11. Oval Nose Contour Brush
Most oval brushes come in sets, with the oval nose contour brushes being some of the smallest ones in the pack. Contouring the nose gives the illusion of having a straight, thin, and button-like nose. It's like having undergone a nose job without surgery!
Contouring the nose actually depends on the type of nose that you have and the illusion you wish to achieve. Nose contour usually goes on the side and under the tip of the nose to chisel out the shape. It's best to go light and then build because it's hard to take out the excess once you've put it over your foundation.
An oval nose contour brush is thin, small, and is perfect for putting and blending in fine contour lines. Cream and powder contour foundation maybe applied directly to the skin. For cream contour, make sure that you always wash the brushes after every use as the cream could harden the bristles if they dry on the brush.
Nose contour (or any contour for that matter) is not required though, and can be skipped altogether if you wish.
12. Flat Contour Brush
This brush is used to apply and blend contour powder makeup. With sweeping motions across the face, use a flat contour brush to create the illusion of higher cheekbones, slimmer nose, and a more sculpted face.
Flat contour brushes are made from synthetic fibers because they need to be very soft. You use this brush to create sharp contour lines. Go over the top of the contour line with a clean blush brush and use small circular motions to blend. If you're going to use the same flat contour brush to blend, start on the bottom and use soft, swiping motions.
By blending only the top half of the contour line, you can achieve a soft contour on your cheekbone while maintaining the sharper contour for the jaw. On its own, a flat contour brush can seem very intimidating. Used with other brushes, however, they can give better definition to your face.
13. Angled Contour Brush
An angled contour brush is specifically designed for easy application of contour powder to your cheekbones. The tip of the angled brush is to help draw a straight, contour line, while the smaller bristles are used to blend out and make the contour look more natural. The higher end of the brush also takes more of the product so it should go near the ear.
If anything, you don't want your contour to get darker as it draws nearer to the middle of your face. Contour should only go as far as the outer edge of your eyes. Going farther from the outer edge of your eyes and you risk looking almost theatrical.
Blush brushes and contour brushes may sometimes look the same, but blush brushes are usually bigger. The denser bristles near the top give you more control over your contour, while the looser bristles make it easy to blend your contour. They can be synthetic or natural, though most people would go for the synthetic ones. Many large brands that do produce synthetic brushes are cruelty-free and vegan (meaning that they don't test their products on animals, and their brushes are not made from animal hair).
14. Fan Highlighting Brush
Highlighting is not as precise an art as contouring. There are lots of different brushes that you can use, and one of these is the fan brush. The fan brush is the perfect brush for those who tend to be heavy-handed with highlight powder. The bristles of this brush is thin, fanned and evenly distributed to allow for sheer and buildable application.
With highlighter powder that is two to three shades lighter than your foundation, use the fan brush to apply highlighter high on your cheek. Paired with proper contour makeup, this actually gives you an instant face lift effect.
A fan brush may also be used to redistribute powder products when you get too heavy-handed with them. Just make sure that you're using a clean one so you don't add more of the powder. You can also use it to apply face masks and peeling masks. Because of the shape of the brush, you'll tend to use just the right amount you need to cover your face.
15. Small Tapered Highlighter Brush
If you know what you're doing with highlighter, this is the brush for you. The small and tapered brush is much denser than a fan brush so it picks up much more amount of the product, giving you a more concentrated glow.
The smaller the brush, the better control you have in the application. The more tapered it is, the better it is in getting and blending product in hard to reach areas. A more tapered shape means that you can use it to set your concealer and even apply highlighter on the length of your nose and on the inner corner of your eyes. You can also use it for highlighting your Cupid's bow and setting your concealer under the eyes.
For powder makeup application, use a back and forth dusting motion. For cream and liquid makeup application, use outward and upward strokes and make sure that there aren't streaks. It's also important to pick a small tapered brush that is both soft and stiff so it applies makeup better and that, most of all, it doesn't shed!
Blush and Bronzer Brushes
Unlike foundation, highlighter and eyeshadow brushes, there doesn't seem to be many choices for blush brushes. There are a lot fewer brands with a series of blush brush and for good reason. Most highlighter and contour brushes do well as blush brushes, so people tend to use the same brush to apply blush makeup. You might notice that some of these blush brushes can actually double as highlighter or contour brushes.
The trick to applying blush is to always consider your face shape. For example, you can slim down a round or full face with blush makeup applied between your contour and your highlight. Ideally, the blush should go at the intersection near the edge of the eyes and the tip of the nose and up towards the top of your ear.
It's a bit different for people with angular, square or rectangular face shapes. You need to apply the blush in a way that it brings out the cheekbones so your face appears more rounded. To do this, start applying blush on the apple of your cheeks and swipe up in a slightly curved motion towards the ears.
For an oval or narrow face, the blush needs to create the illusion of having a broader face. Apply the blush on the apple of your cheeks in a circular motion, then lightly swipe upward in the direction of your ears rather than on top of it.
16. Small Blush Brush
A small blush brush needs to be soft and dense so it could pick up more amount of the product. For this type of brush, you need to apply blush in a circular motions to evenly blend them out. You also have to be careful when using bright-colored blush with this type, because it easily deposits color onto the skin.
The small blush brush makes it easy to apply blush on any face shape and size. Its size also makes it easy to apply blush right where you need it to, and you can't say the same for those large, fluffy powder brushes. This is why it's also known as a precision blush brush.
This brush can be used to apply brush on the apple of the cheek, also known as the rosy glow technique. Like with any other makeup, it's best to start light, almost sheer, than go really bright on first application. A small blush brush will allow you to build and blend color beautifully.
Start on the apple of the cheek. If you can't find it, smile. It tends to be on the middle of your cheek, just below the middle of your eyes.
You also might want to consider the handle of the brush you're going to use. Unlike excess setting powder, excess blush powder is much harder to dust off. You need your blush brush to have a light, balanced handle so you have more control over the brush.
17. Domed Blush Brush
A domed blush brush is your go-to if you're looking to get a soft, almost airbrushed blush look. It should be dense at the base and fluffy at the tips, so while it could get a lot of powder product in one swipe, a few taps of the brush will allow you to apply just the right amount of blush to look natural.
It isn't as precise as a small blush brush, but it is better and easier to blend makeup using a domed brush. It's typically used to apply blush high on the cheekbone rather than at the apple of the cheek. It's also the best brush to use if you're going for bright-colored blush colors because of the fluffy tips. You're going to have that naturally flushed look even with a bright blush because of both the shape of the brush and the placement of the blush.
With contour and highlight, blush is almost like an embellishment - something that's additional rather than necessity. You need to remember to blend, be light-handed, and not be dependent on the fluffiness of the brush bristles and their tendency to apply softly.
18. Stippling Blush Brush
A stippling blush brush is also used for the rosy glow technique. This means that the blush goes right on the apple of the cheeks rather than above or beside it. As you know by now, the stippling brush is used for air-brush finishes. It is one of the blush brushes that could double as a foundation brush, or vice versa!
Though the stipple brush is more commonly used for liquid and cream applications, the technique to get a rosy glow from the brush is quite simple. The stipple brush needs to be firm, with the white tips being naturally lighter. You just need to lightly dab and tap the powder onto the apple of your cheeks, just below the middle of your eyes. The most popular colors for this technique are rosy, pinkish and peach colors for a natural flushed look.
This is a great technique for people with narrow face shapes because it cuts the face horizontally and draws attention to the middle of the face rather than to the length of it.
19. Fan Blush Brush
Contour is a precise art, highlighting not so much, and blush sits right in their middle. This is why a fan brush can be used to apply your blush as well. The fan blush brush looks like it's one of the trickiest brushes to use, but using it is actually quite easy.
When using a fan brush for your blush, make sure that you also use a highlighter. A combination of the two will make your face look smaller, and will draw attention to your eyes rather than to the length of your face. Other blush brushes can be unforgiving when it comes to shimmer blushes. With a fan brush, you can get away with shimmer blushes and highlights because it applies them so sheer that you almost look glowing from the inside.
Soft fan brushes can sculpt around the eyes so you can do a curved sweep rather than just going back and forth. You're not dusting excess powder off. Fan brushes are great at applying straight blush and highlighter lines (which are perfect for pictures) but you might want to use another blush to blend these lines out if you're opting for wearable makeup.
20. Angled Bronzer Brush
This next makeup brush is the brush you use to give your face a sun-kissed, after-beach glow. You have to consider your skin tone when choosing a bronzer. The placement of your bronzer is important too, and that's where the angled bronzer brush comes in. The angle of the brush makes it easy to find the apples and the hollows of your cheeks.
Bronzer Guide Based on Skin Tone
Bronzer Color and Application
Fair, light skin (with pink undertones)
The go-to bronzer should be a mosaic palette of light pinks and light tans. This color combination prevents you from looking like you just had a bad fake tan. Use the angled brush to get some color on the apples of your cheeks and blend upward and outward towards your ears.
Medium skin (with yellow undertones)
Look for a bronzer that sits between a blush and a bronzer. You have to watch out for light pinks because these colors can make you look like you need to get out under the sun, rather than you’ve just gotten out of it. Apply your bronzer wide to your cheeks and evenly blend to fake your sun-kissed glow.
Medium deep skin
You can get away with a shimmer, almost-highlighter for your bronzer. It’s also better to use cream or liquid highlighters for your skin tone.
You might want to consider a highlighter for your bronzer. Don’t forget to prep with moisturizer to bring out your fresh, dewy skin.
21. Kabuki Bronzer Brush
Kabuki brushes have lots of uses. And while they're mostly used for foundation and setting powder, there are Kabuki brushes intended for applying your bronzer. A denser Kabuki brush would work better with liquid or cream bronzer. A fluffier one should work better with powders. A fluffy brush can take liquid and cream products deep in their bristles. These will harden when dried, and can make cleaning a hassle.
The size and fullness of a Kabuki brush works with bronzers because it gives you a full application. You don't need to apply bronzers as precisely as you would, say, an eyeliner. A bronzer may take up a large area of your cheeks depending on your face shape and skin tone to give you that soft, after-sun glow.
You can apply bronzer on the areas where you usually put contour, though you don't need to be as precise. You can also put bronzer on your nose, connecting to your cheeks for that natural-looking flush.
It's easy to see why lip brushes become almost forgettable. Aside from being quite small, it's easy to forget a lip brush when you're used to just putting on lipstick straight from the tube, or when your lip tints already have wands and rollers. It's an entirely different thing, however, when you're trying to go for fuller lips.
A portable lip brush, also known as a retractable lip brush, is the brush you want if you're on the move. After use, you can just retract the lip brush, put it in your bag and you're good to go. You'll be cleaning it at the end of the day rather than every end of each makeup session. Most types of lip brushes have retractable versions.
22. Tapered Lip Brush
The tapered lip brush is the standard lip brush. It is the most widely used lip brush anywhere, and this is what most people imagine when they hear the phrase "lip brush".
To use a tapered lip brush, load both sides of the brush with the lip product. This could be lipstick from the tube or from the pot, crème products, or lip gloss. Hold the brush flat and start applying the lip makeup on your lower lip, following your natural lip shape.
Depending on the amount left on the lip brush, you might have to put some more of the product on the brush again. This is why it's important to prep and clean your lips before using your lip brush and to not "wet" your lips with saliva before application. This could cause contamination and can make your lipstick to go bad.
This is a problem with lip tints and creams with their own wands, especially organic ones. They expire faster than non-organic products because they contain fewer preservatives. In any case, it's better to apply less and build with each application, than apply more and then take it away.
A tapered lip brush is also the best brush to use if you want to apply a lip scrub. This small, precise brush can help you apply the scrub without it being too harsh on the lips.
23. Angled Lip Brush
An angled lip brush makes it easy to get into the corners of the lips. It's the more preferred type of lip brush if you're looking for precise application of bold colors. The angle of the lip brush is actually similar to that of an angled eye liner brush, and the latter is sometimes used even by makeup artists as their lip brush.
Both dark and bright colors must be applied precisely as these colors draw attention to the lips. The slanted angle of the brush allows you to create perfect lip lines and Cupid's bow. Choose a soft brush that follows your natural lip shape. If the color doesn't bleed into the skin, you can ditch the lip liner when you use your angled lip brush. That's how precise it can be.
The easiest way to get a sharp Cupid's bow is with an angled lip brush. To do this, just place the slanted angle on one side of the bow and glide down. Do the same on the other side of your Cupid's bow.
24. Square Tipped Lip Brush
When you need full and even application for your lip products, reach for the square tipped lip brush. This brush is best used with lip products with dry matte finish. The square tip allows you to evenly apply your lip makeup from the corner to the fullest part of your lips. Matte lip products usually clump and cracks when too much is put on the lips. When applied lightly and evenly, it leaves the lips without cracks so your lips don't look dry.
You might not spend a lot of time on your lip makeup but, like other precision brushes, you need to find one that feels balanced on your hands.
To prevent matte lip products from cracking on the lips, make sure that you exfoliate beforehand with a lip scrub to remove dead skin. Matte products tend to dry your skin, so treat your lips to a good moisturizer at the end of the day when you remove your makeup.
Eyeliner, eyeshadow, eyebrow, eyelash makeup and other eye color cosmetics are some of the most popular export products of the US. Eyebrow makeup is especially getting more in demand these recent years. These and more are reasons why there are so much more brushes for eye makeup than any other kind of makeup.
The lids and the skin around the eyes are thin, and these are very sensitive areas for many people. This is why most eye brushes have soft and fine bristles.
25. Angled Eyebrow Brush
An angled eyebrow brush lets you apply a more solid stroke of brow makeup. It can be used to fill or shape your brows and, depending on its thinness, can also be used to create hair-like strokes
To define your brows, dip the angled eyebrow brush into cream, powder, pomade or gel brow makeup, and start to draw a line underneath the brow. With the product remaining on the brush, draw a line along the top of the brow. Be careful not to draw too near the nose.
People usually have thicker brows near the edge of the face than they do in the middle, so the lines you draw don't have to be of the same length. Using the same brush, blend the bottom line by flicking up towards the top line. Blend the top line by flicking down.
If you're using cream or gel, you can set your brow with brow powder. A gel and powder combination is more popular, but you can also set your brow with matte eyeshadow makeup. Another way to get more natural-looking brows is to draw them on using an angled eyebrow brush and then blend them in using a spoolie.
26. Eyeshadow Stamp Brush
The eyeshadow stamp brush actually does what you think it does, and it's not for the faint of heart. They're small and stubby, and the compact bristles pick up a lot of pigment so you can deposit an insane amount on your lids. It quite literally "stamps" a solid color of eye makeup and, for a beginner, it's not easy to work with.
Not to be confused with eyeshadow stamps (which stamps on a gradient eyeshadow), this stubby brush is a great brush to master. This is a great brush for when you need bright, solid colors if you're creating edgy, editorial looks, and for when you need deep, dark colors if you're trying to go for heavy black smokey eyes.
The stamp brush is not a must-have for every makeup enthusiast. However, it is the go-to brush if you're filling in your lids and you don't have that much time to build. That said, the eyeshadow stamp brush is not a brush you use on its own.
27. Medium Eyeshadow Brush
It's the first eyeshadow brush you should learn how to use if you're an eyeshadow newbie. The medium eyeshadow is used to start an eyeshadow makeup base. You can pat it on the eyelid to deposit color, or sweep it around to blend it out.
The trick to getting great eyeshadow is to blend, blend and blend! There's probably no such thing as going overboard with blending your eyeshadow. Even those going for the trendy cut crease look will somehow find a way to incorporate a blended eyeshadow because not doing so can make it look like you're not even done with your makeup yet.
The medium eyeshadow brush is also known as the all-around eyeshadow brush or the eyeshadow sweep brush. It can be used both to fill and to blend eyeshadow. This means it can be used on its own, which makes it great for travelers who don't have much space on their makeup bags.
28. Eye Contour Brush
The natural contour of your eyes is what this brush is made for. The eye contour brush has a slight angle and a slight fan that makes it great for applying eyeshadow on the edges and socket line of your eyes.
The contour of the eye is found on the edge of the eye socket. You only need to apply eyeshadow on this edge and blend out from there. This is where the angle of the eye contour brush comes in handy.
Dip the tip of the brush onto the eyeshadow powder, and apply it on the contour. You could mess up the application if you used a wide brush for this. If you don't have an eye contour brush, a small, tapered one could work as well.
Sweep the brush in (and only in if you're applying) and make sure that you don't go farther in than half of your brow. Then, with a few flicks and sweep to clean the brush, go in again to blend. This time, use a back and forth sweeping motion to thoroughly and softly blend the shadow. Use your bone to guide your brush.
29. Eyeshadow Blender Brush
Even celebrities make the mistake of going out with unblended eyeshadow. It's not a crime but, if you can avoid it, why wouldn't you? An eyeshadow blender brush makes it easy to diffuse the colors on your lids. This brush has long bristles (for an eye makeup brush, that is) and a domed shape so that it becomes naturally fluffy at the tips even though it's dense at the base.
This fluffiness is then translated to soft, photo-ready eyeshadow with a few minutes of thorough blending. This brush can be used to sweep, tap and swirl the product into your creases and lids. Swirling and tapping with the blender brush will give you a more intense color. Sweeping will diffuse the product and help you blend more easily.
Layering eyeshadow is usually done with the lightest colors or the mid-tones first. Deeper colors or contours must only be put on once the lighter colors are all diffused and blended in. You blend once again after you get all the desired colors on your lid. If your blender brush is a little flat, turn it sideways when you're blending.
30. Flat Blending Brush
The great thing about a flat blending brush is that you can use it on both small and large areas of your eyelids. It is a versatile brush that can be used to apply and blend eyeshadow, concealer and highlighter. They have denser bristles than your run-of-the-mill eyeshadow blending brush, though not as dense as an eyeshadow stamp brush.
A flat blending brush may be domed or tapered. Both work great on the crease and on the actual eyelid. They also work great on blending those harsh lines you get when you get too excited applying your eyeshadow. Both shapes can pack a lot of color because they're both dense.
Another use for the flat blending brush is for applying highlighter on the brow bone. Doing so lifts your brows and highlights your eyes. It further draws attention to your eyeshadow, so you want to make sure that they're perfectly blended.
31. Dual-Fiber Finishing Brush
After you've done with your shadows, you may sometimes find that any other regular brush couldn't give you the soft, airbrush finish you want. And if there's one thing a dual-fiber brush is good for, it's for soft blending! Dual fiber finishing brushes are used to give your eyeshadow a softer finish.
With circular motions, blend your eyeshadow using only the white tips of the dual-fiber finishing brush. This helps soften the color without smudging your lids. Though it's a bit difficult to master, learning to use this brush or any dual-fiber brush for that matter can help develop your eyeshadow blending techniques.
Whether you're going for a soft cut crease, a cat eye, or a blown out eye look, finishing with this brush will make the colors softer and the gradients blend better. It might take you more time if you're using this brush to apply eyeshadow rather than just blend it, but it's the best one to use if you need to build color slowly but surely.
32. Small Tapered Blending Brush
Any tapered brush aims to deposit or diffuse makeup onto creases and other hard-to-reach areas. The same goes with the tapered blending brush. Because of tapered tip, this brush makes it easy to deposit and blend eyeshadow on the creases of your eyes. The tapered tip can also help you precisely apply highlight on the brow bone.
The tapered tip of this brush gets into the crease to deposit a more intense color, while the shorter bristles deposit a softer color on both sides of the tapered tip. Using the tapered brush saves you a bit time because you won't need to blend and diffuse as much as if you've used any regular eyeshadow blender.
Apply the lightest color on your lid. Buff and blend this color first before moving on to add another shade. If you're blending more than two different shades together, remember to use a clean brush to soften any harsh edges. This brush is better used with powder makeup.
33. Dense, Rounded Blending Brush
The dense, rounded blending brush may not be a staple for many makeup beginners, but it's the go-to brush for those who love cream eye products. It can be used to apply your primer, blend your shadow stick, and even prep your eye with concealer.
Whether you're blending eyeshadow sticks or smudging eye liners, this is the brush for you. Its bristles can easily blend heavy cream products when most eye brushes are meant for powder makeup application. The bristles of most blending brushes are designed to pick up eyeshadow powders and deposit them to your skin. These are also usually soft and fluffy.
On the other hand, this dense, rounded blending brush is more suited for cream makeup. It's more firm and dense than your regular blending brush. Its bristles are also shorter, so you have better, more precise control over your blending. The dense, rounded blending brush is almost similar to the smudging brush.
34. Domed Blending Brush
To make sure that your shadow doesn't have any harsh lines or edges, you go for the domed blending brush. Domed blending brushes can have short or long bristles. Those with long bristles soften and diffuse eye makeup so you can have a perfectly blended shadow. Those with short bristles give you better control on the blending which is good if you're not going for a wide application.
With sweeping back and forth motions, use this brush on the lid and natural creases of your eye. You can use this to apply and blend simultaneously. It is the perfect brush when you're looking to get smokey eyes.
Different eye shapes need different makeup treatment. Someone with hooded eyes might not look good in an eyeshadow meant for someone with monolid. However, the one thing their eyeshadow should have in common is that they should be well-blended. Whatever shape of eyes you have, a domed blending brush should help blend your powder makeup.
35. Cut Crease Brush
Cut creases are some of the most recent makeup trends that took the world by storm. There doesn't seem to be a single, major YouTube makeup vlogger who has not tried and worn a cut crease. Achieving a cut crease calls for a very precise application, paired with a very thorough blending of your eyeshadow. This is exactly what the cut crease brushes are for.
Different brands carry different shapes and sizes for their cut crease brush. Some even have them as a set, because getting a cut crease requires not one but several eye makeup brushes. What is generally considered as cut crease brushes are actually angled eyeshadow brushes or tapered eyeshadow brushes used to place that precise concealer and eyeshadow line that "cuts" the crease from the lid.
Cut crease brushes are meant for both eye powder and cream concealer makeup. Unlike soft blending brushes that blend and diffuse color, you need a firm cut crease brush that draws and contains color to achieve the perfect cut crease.
36. Wing Liner Brush
The winged eyeliner may be a bit much for a makeup novice, but the right brush can make all the difference. The difficulty of winging a winged eye is evident in the number of guides and tutorials in getting it right. You can freehand it or you can use a guide. The only thing you can't do is hurry.
Putting on eyeliner is one of the last steps on your eye makeup routine, and getting it wrong could mean ruining your makeup and starting again from scratch. Most people use gel liners because they dry easily and they don't move once dried. It would be hard to erase dark eyeliner without erasing everything around and underneath it, so you need to be extra careful to avoid making a mistake.
If you're looking to get a perfect winged eye, you might want to invest in a good wing liner brush. A wing liner brush is a wide, dense, angled brush that looks quite similar to an angled eyebrow brush. It is a thinner brush than an eyebrow brush though. A good wing liner brush can easily apply cream, gel, powder and liquid eyeliner.
37. Bent Fine Point Eyeliner Brush
The bent fine point eyeliner brush is easily the most recognizable brush in any set, not only because of its bent appearance but also because of its fine point. This eyeliner brush has a very fine point that is used to draw the thinnest, most precise lines. The fine point also lets you deeper into the lashes so you can apply a solid lash line.
The bent angle of a fine point brush makes it easier to apply eyeliners without straining or numbing your hands. The bent brush lets you rest your hand comfortably on your face as you're doing your eyeliner. Using the bent liner brush for the first time can feel different on your hands, but it's something you will get used to after the first try.
You can use the angle of this brush to tight-line your eyes, and drawing on cat eyes is a breeze! The best part about this brush is that the line is already there. You just need to cover the brush with the product of your choice, and you just need to find the right angle and dab it on.
38. Smudging Eye Brush
The smudging eye brush is a short, dense brush that you use to smudge eye makeup of thicker consistencies. It's quite similar in appearance to a dense blending brush, but this one is meant for smudging along the lash lines instead of on the creases.
Smudging your eyeshadow is very different from blending. Just like in art and painting, blending is when you soften the line between two different shades or more so you don't see where one color ends and the other begins. Smudging is more commonly used to soften out a darker or denser color to emphasize a lighter color close to it.
The smudge brush is the perfect brush to use for smudging pencil eyeliners and heavily pigmented eye shadows. Apply the eyeliners on your upper lash line, and smudge the liner with the smudging brush. This diffuses your liner and gives you a soft-focus look. Do the same for your lower lash line, but use a smaller smudging brush, also known as a precision smudging eye brush, to smudge and diffuse the smaller area underneath your eyes.
39. Eyebrow Concealer Brush
The eyebrow concealer brush is used to conceal and clean up the look of your brows. It lifts and makes your eyes look brighter. It helps draw attention to your eyes and your perfectly drawn brows. It helps hide those few, stray brow hairs that you don't want to pluck or thread.
Eyebrow concealer brushes are small concealer brushes that are meant to precisely apply and blend concealer and highlighter on small areas such as under the brows.
After you've done your brows, load one side of the brush with concealer. The brow concealer can be a lighter shade than the rest of your foundation so it acts like a highlighter even on its own. Apply the concealer, following the contour of your brows. Don't be afraid if you've put on more than you need to. You can blend it out with the clean side of your brush.
You can also use a brow concealer brush to apply foundation above your brows. This brush gives you great control, keeping your brows on fleek!
40. Pencil Brush
What all pencil brushes have in common is that they have a pointed tip. Some are more pointed than the others, but they will all surely have a pointed tip, and that's why they're called pencil brushes in the first place. Pencil brushes may also have different levels of flexibility depending on the brand, so these are things you would want to consider.
When you push a brush onto your skin and it doesn't bend and flex as much, it makes for a great applicator brush. You will have a more precise application because the brush stays in that part of the skin where you're pushing it.
In contrast, a more flexible pencil brush makes for a great blending brush. The pointed tip will deposit a denser coloration on the contour of your eyes, while the shorter tips beside it will diffuse that coloration around that contour.
41. Flat Liner Brush
The thin, flat liner brush is the brush for tight-lining and getting color onto your lash lines. It also doubles as a brush for putting eyeshadow or concealer below your eyes. It needs to be firm for a more precise application, and it should work with cream, powder, gel and liquid makeup.
To get cream or gel products into firm brushes such as this one, sweep the products on both sides of the brush. Loading both sides of the brush helps it keep its shape. For pressed powders, tap and push the brush to make sure the powders are loaded into the brush. Give the brush a flick or a tap on the back of your hand to get rid of excess powder.
To apply, dab the brush repeatedly on your skin to build color. You can also use short, back and forth sweeps to tightline. A good flat liner brush has a soft tip for comfort and firm bristles that do not separate.
42. Mascara Fan Brush
When you want to wear mascara but you don't want others to know that you're wearing mascara, you have to apply the least possible amount that would give some definition to your lashes. This is how the mascara fan brush was born.
The "no makeup" makeup trend has probably given birth to a lot more makeup products than you've expected – the mascara fan brush being one of them. This strange-looking brush deposits less color than most mascara wands, and is the brush to use when you want natural-looking lashes that are, of course, not natural!
Using the fan mascara brush sounds strange when you first learn of it as well. Basically, you'd be transferring mascara from the mascara wand to the mascara fan brush. Sweep the fan brush on the wand with crisscross motions to prevent the mascara from clumping.
For natural-looking lashes, use the brush to apply mascara from the length to the tips. For fuller lashes, use the mascara fan brush as you would a mascara wand.
Spoolies are generally used to brush your eyebrows up and away from the middle of your face. You do this to your natural brow shape before you start putting on your eyebrow makeup. They're also used to soften up harsh brow pencil lines to make your makeup look more natural. Like most other brushes in this list, the spoolie brush has a number of uses that you may not know about.
Many people use spoolies to get rid of mascara clumps. They're especially effective when they're denser than the wand you use to apply your mascara. Spoolies help separate the lash hairs, so your mascara has more surface area to hold onto. They make the lashes look naturally heavy.
You can also use a spoolie to clean up a sleek ponytail. If you have hair sticking out where there shouldn't be, simply spray on some setting spray onto the wand and gently comb the stray hairs down. The spoolie is also a great alternative to combs when laying down baby hairs.
44. Mascara Comb
While you can use a spoolie to separate your lashes, a mascara comb does this more effectively. Mascara combs come in so many different shapes, but the most popular one remains to be the brow brush and lash comb combo.
Mascara combs can have plastic bristles, but those with metal bristles are more currently in-demand. Lashes with mascara also seem to glide better between metal combs, making them easier to separate. Metal bristles are also great for separating falsies; it makes them look more natural.
Make sure that you use a clean one every time. You can clump up your mascara if the comb you're using to separate has leftover mascara too. You only need to wipe them with cleansing pads to clean them, so this shouldn't be an issue.
Bonus: Mascara Wands
Yes, there are different types of mascara wands. These little brushes can be made of synthetic, hair-like bristles, and they can be made of rubber, plastic or silicon too. Each type of wand tries to achieve something different, and it all depends on the shape of each wand.
45. Lengthening Mascara Wands
This brush is great for lengthening your lashes as it coats and separates them at the same time. However, length is about the only thing this brush could give you. This is not the brush to use if you're looking to get fuller-looking lashes. It's a great brush for those with already full lashes.
46. Curling Mascara Wand
The curved shape of the curling mascara wand curls the lashes naturally. This means that you can achieve a curled lash look even without your handy curler! The shape of the wand allows you to deposit more mascara on the roots than on the tips of your lashes. This helps your lashes keep their curl.
47. Volumizing Mascara Wand
It's possibly the first mascara wand you've ever tried because the classic mascara wand is a volumizing one. It's a straight, stiff and thick brush that heavily coats the lashes for instant volume. The denser the brush, the more product it can pack and the more it can deposit to your lashes. You have to be careful though as it's quite easy for mascara to clump with a dense, volumizing brush.
48. Skinny Mascara Wand
You're probably wondering what this mascara wand is good for, and the answer is really simple. The skinny mascara wand's brush is only as thick as the wand itself, if not at times even thinner. This is the wand you should use if you have thick but short lashes. The bristles of this wand are more evenly spaced to separate the lashes.
49. Ball Mascara Wand
A ball mascara wand can have one or three balls on the wand. Each ball is guaranteeing coverage for your lashes. A ball-tipped wand will ensure that the few lashes you concentrate on will be covered from their roots to their tips. The three-ball wand gives you heavy, dramatic lashes.
50. Micro Mascara Wand
If you've ever found it hard to coat your lower lashes, then you probably haven't used a micro mascara wand. This wand has a really small brush that you can use to easily coat your lower lashes which are usually less full than your upper lashes.
Caring For Your Brushes
It's easy to justify splurging on makeup brushes, though most of the time you won't even have to. A good makeup brush will last for years with proper care.
Cleaning your brushes can be done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and the frequency actually depends on how often you use it. For brushes that are used daily, you need to clean them every week. If you use liquid or cream products with your brush, you might want to use a brush wipe after you use them to prevent the products from stiffening and possibly permanently damaging your brush.
When washing with water, you need to keep water out of the base of the brush. Getting water on the base can damage the brush and set the bristles loose. You don't need to fully submerge the brush in water when cleaning. You just have to check and see how deep the makeup has gone inside the brush. If you're cleaning with running water, don't tilt the brush up against the water as this can permanently deform your brush.
Do not swirl a firm brush as it could ruin its shape. The trick here is to use the same motions when cleaning as when you're actually applying makeup. If you notice your brush having a different shape after cleaning, smooth it out with your hands and try to get it back to its original shape. Lay them flat and air-dry your brushes on a flat surface. Leave them for 24 hours to fully dry.
Natural brushes are naturally soft, they pick up a lot of product and they flow freely. However, they are more difficult to maintain. Made from various animal hairs, natural brushes have cuticles that can trap product and clog the base, making them harder to clean.
Going vegan and cruelty-free on your brushes is quite easy. Lots of brands from all price ranges have gone and made their brushes synthetic and turned their brands vegan and 100% cruelty-free. Synthetic brushes are now made so soft that you'd almost doubt if they're actually natural.
There you have it - 50 types of makeup brushes and their uses. You don't have to be a professional makeup artist to use them, but with a lot of practice you might as well be on your way!
Putting makeup on is an art. The makeup is your paint, the face is your canvas and the brushes are, well, your brushes. There are still many different tools out there that can help you achieve different looks, but starting with the brushes is always a great idea. Learning the tools of the trade can set you apart from the others or, if you're simply a makeup enthusiast, help you apply your makeup on more beautifully.
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