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What Makeup Brushes Do I Need?

Putting together your basic brush kit and not sure which brushes you actually need? Have no fear, my lovelies, I got you sorted.

First of all, do you even need makeup brushes? In short, yes. I could literally spend hours explaining and demonstrating how the right makeup brush allows for a much better application of nearly any makeup product you can possibly think of, but just trust me when I say, yes. Yes, if you want to put on eyeshadow, blusher or gel eyeliner, you absolutely will benefit from using a good brush instead of a little rubber applicator or, God forbid, your fingers. (Seriously? Applying eyeliner with your fingers? Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see that, just probably not on myself.)

The question is, which makeup brushes are essential?

Foundation Brush


While some prefer to put liquid foundation on using their fingers, there are definitely downsides to this method. Foundation, more than probably any other makeup product, needs to be spread evenly, so that it doesn’t look patchy and makes your skin look baby smooth. If you find that warming up your foundation up makes it go on better, you can put some on the back of your hand and then pick it up with a brush.
makeup brushes
You could either pick up a classic foundation brush shaped like a paddle and use it to apply your liquid foundation moving from the center of the face outwards (remember there’s tiny, translucent hair on your face that you probably don’t want to make more prominent). Most people however prefer the alternatives, like a good buffing brush that will work the foundation into your skin, or a great stippling brush that creates an almost photoshopped look by blending the product flawlessly and covering large pores. These are also your best bet if your favourite foundation comes in the form of a mousse, mineral powder or a compact cream.

Tip: With the exception of powder, most base makeup products will require a brush that’s made of synthetic fibers.

stetcePowder Brush


There are two basic functions to a powder brush: Either you use it to put the powder on, or to knock off the excess after you’ve applied powder using a different tool, usually a sponge or a powder puff. In both cases it logically follows that a good powder brush should be both fluffy and dense, but not to the point where it would take off too much product.

Don’t forget to make sure that the fibers are soft, but not too fine. If your powder brush is too rough, it will scratch your face, if it’s too soft, it won’t be able to pick up enough product and transfer it to your skin. That’s also why powder brushes should be made of either natural hair or high-quality synthetic hair that the tiny particles of a powder product will easily stick to. If you need to touch up your powder during the day, find a good retractable powder brush.

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Concealer Brush


Need to cover those pesky dark circles under your eyes? Apart from choosing the right concealer, you’ll also need the perfect tool to apply it with. The most commonly used concealer brushes basically look like a miniature foundation brush and are made of the same material.

Since concealer tends to be thicker in consistency than foundation, it also needs to be warmed up and spread well in order to look natural. Try my favourite trick and use a combination of a concealer brush and your fingers: either apply your concealer with a brush and blend it in with your fingers, or the other way around, depending on what type of product you’re using.

stetceBlusher Brush


Your choice of a blusher brush of course depends on whether you’re using a powder or a cream blusher. Once again, the rule of thumb says to pick a synthetic brush for cream products and a natural one for powders, however there are exceptions. You can definitely find very well designed synthetic blusher brushes that will excel at applying a powder blush.

In terms of shape and size, don’t choose a brush that is too densely packed, otherwise it will be difficult to distribute and blend the product. When it comes to blusher, light application is always key. It’s far better to be careful and add just a little bit at a time than to go all out and likely end up with a smear of red on your cheek. Size-wise, a blush brush should cover about half of your cheek. A smaller brush is not practical and requires more skill, a bigger one will make precise application way too difficult, and we most certainly don’t need that.

Eyeshadow Brush

There are so many different types of eyeshadow brushes that we could discuss them for weeks, but let’s just stick to the basics for now. You need a brush that will allow you to both put the eyeshadow on and blend it out. Choose an eyeshadow brush that is round but somewhat flattened, with soft bristles made of natural hair.

For eyeliner application, start by buying a thin slanted brush that will be excellent for tightlining as well as creating an elegant eyeliner flick. A typical basic eye brush kit usually includes both eyeshadow and eyeliner brushes.

Eye Brush Cleaner


Unless you want to risk infection or deal with makeup brushes that don’t perform the way they should, you’re going to need to clean them regularly. If you wear makeup almost every day, your brushes will need a good wash in mild shampoo about once a week, but that’s obviously not enough. A spot cleaner in spray form is an amazing thing to keep at hand for

Spot brush cleaners normally contain alcohol, which means they disinfect as well as clean. The drying process will only take from a few seconds to several minutes, depending on the size of the brush.

It might sound tedious, but the better you take care of your makeup brushes, the longer they will look like new and help you achieve your favourite look quickly and without the need to improvise.