Hey guys! On this post, we’re going to learn everything you need to know about makeup brushes: their types, uses, techniques and how to clean them. Let’s get started!
DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored by any of the brands mentioned.
I’ll start this post by saying that even though a brush may be intended to be used for an specific thing, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be used differently. What I’m sharing with you are they main uses; remember that the makeup world has no rules, so just have fun with it.
TYPES OF BRUSH BRISTLES
First, we’re going to learn the different types of brushes, by this I mean if they have synthetic or natural hair bristles.
If we’re talking about synthetic brushes they’re a man-made fiber. Natural hair bristle brushes can be made out of different materials, but they’re typically made out of animal hair; also, they are made of different types of animal hair, sometimes the brand specify it. It can be horse hair (which are actually the cheapest ones when it comes to price because they are very harsh), goat hair (which are usually white in nature but they can be brown or black too), or even squirrel hair. Some brands, have a logo that certifies that there were no harmed animals in the process of gathering the hair; they basically gathered it by brushing the animals. Always make sure to check that information on the brand’s website.
The way you realized that a brush has natural hair bristles is by feeling it or, if you look closely, you can actually see that they’re natural hair, they are also really matte; synthetic bristles are more glossy. Both types of bristles can be dyed, so the color doesn’t really matter; so, don’t think that just because a brush has white bristles it’s made from goat’s hair. But just as it happens to your hair, when you dyed it, it can be more dry and that compromises the cuticle of the hair.
I don’t think I should mention it, but just in case: if a brush has natural hair bristles it means it’s not vegan, so, for you vegans out there, always be sure to ask or search on the brush brand’s website what the brush is made off. Also, have in mind that because a brush is vegan does not mean that it is eco-friendly, either.
The difference between these two types of bristles comes not just by its texture or shape, but also by the application it gives. If we’re talking about natural hair brushes they tend to lose their shape quite easily; instead, synthetic bristle brushes will always have the same shape.
When it comes to application, synthetic bristles brushes tend to apply cream products much better than natural hair bristle brushes, because these last ones don’t pick up the product really well. Just think it this way: when you apply an oily product on your hair, it just sucks it, the same happens with natural hair bristles brushes. If you put on foundation or a creamy product on it, the bristles will just suck it and you’ll be wasting lots of your product. That’s because, just as your hair, these types of bristles have a cuticle on them, and have cells on the outside that form kind of a shingle pattern as they’ve been layered (sometimes they’ve been up as much as 12 layers deep), which helps on grabbing the product and retain it. Also, they have moisture on them, which attract more product to it. Instead, synthetic bristle brushes will just pick up the product and apply the exact amount of product directly to your face, it won’t be sucking any of the product.
On the other hand, natural hair bristle brushes apply powder products better, for example like a powder foundation, a translucent powder or even blush. The bristles will apply the powder directly on your face, which can also have a problem, because now a day makeup companies tend to make very pigmented products, so just be careful on the amount of product you are picking with the brush. You can also find a dual fiber brush, which means that the brush is made out of synthetic and natural hair bristles; in this case, these types of brushes are good for applying foundation or cream products, and that is because the top bristles make sure that it is leaving the application streak free, and the natural hair is making sure they pick up the product.
Finally, if we’re talking about the price pint, natural hair bristle brushes are significantly more expensive than synthetic brushes.
When it comes to foundation application, I’m not really fan of using a brush fir foundation (a prefer the beauty blender), but because this is a post dedicated on brushes, I’ll review some of my favorites. A Foundation Brush usually looks like this:
It is usually flat on the top, so it can apply your foundation without leaving any strikes. One of my favorites is the Makeup Geek Foundation Stippling Brush, this brush is really soft and nice. It is a synthetic bristle brush, so it doesn’t absorb too much of the foundation. Another amazing Foundation Brush is the Zoeva No. 110 Face Shape brush, it is a small foundation brush that is great to correct any mistake you’ve made with your foundation, it has a dome shape and it is densely packed.
A concealer brush is really important if you want it to really cover up your black circles. They could be like these ones:
You just pad down the product until it looks evenly blended.
The Powder brushes look some sort like this:
This type of brushes is going to distribute the powder really well on your face, always remember the type of bristles that the brush has. Now let’s talk about some of my brands when it comes to use powder brushes and its specific place of application.
- Face Powder: When you use a face powder it’s for setting up your foundation, to prevent it to melt on your face and help it stay where you initially applied it.
Some brands a recommend to use for a face powder are the It Cosmetics All Over Face Powder Brush (it is really soft on the skin, it can be used for powder or even bronzer; a great tip to use it, because it is so big, is that after you’re done applying all your makeup you just pick up the clean brush and swirled it around your face to blend everything together), another great face powder brush is the Makeup Geek Face Buffer Brush (it is not just affordable but really soft on your face, it is a synthetic brush so it doesn’t suck a lot of the product).
For setting up your concealer underneath your eyes there is no better brush then the Wayne Goss No.2, it is a soft brush made out of blue squirrel hair.
- Contour: When you contour your face, it is intended to create shadows on it, so you are kind of hiding some of the areas to make your face look more contour and with dimension. This are the kind of brushes I like to apply contour:
An amazing Contour Brush is the Nars Ita Brush, it has the perfect shape to really cut you chick bones and it gives you the most amazing contour, it is also great for contouring the nose.
- Bronzer: A bronzer most be applied where the sun natural hits your face, so it gives you a natural bronzed look; some bronzer brushes look like this:
One of my favorite brushes for bronzing up the skin is the Nars Yachiyo Kabuki Brush: it is a really soft brush and it distributes the product really well, so you don’t end up having a brown stain on your chick, instead it made it look nice and blended. Another favorite of mine is the Hoola Bronzer Brush by Benefit, it just has the perfect shape, and it blends the bronzer amazingly!
Another amazing Brush for Bronzer is the Makeup For Ever 134 Brush, this is a synthetic brush that’s cut wavy so it helps to grab on the product you’re applying, it is designed to be used on powder and not creamy products.
- Blush: When you use Blush, it is intended to give your face some life and color, by providing a natural look, so your face will look healthier. The Blush brushes usually look like this:
Some Blush Brushes I recommend are, for example, the It Cosmetics No.227 Flawless Brush (this is a synthetic bristle brush, it has kind of a taper tip that helps you get on the apple of the chick, so your going to focus the product where you want, it also blends the product really well); if you’re looking for a more natural blush application the Bobbie Brown Blush Brush is amazing: it is a natural hair bristle brush, so it will sick in some of the product giving you a more natural look. Another amazing Blush Brush is the Sonia Kashuk Tools No. 29, it has the perfect shape to really rose up your chick on the right spot without taking the color where you don’t want it.
A highlighter Brush looks like the ones in the picture, and they are intended to be used on the parts of the face where you want that extra radiance and glow. They could look like these:
The first brush is amazing for your chicks highlighter, the one in the middle is great for your nose and inner corner (teardrop), and the last one is great for your forehead and chin.
One of my favorite highlighter brushes is the Morphe M501, it is amazing for you chick highlight or your forehead, it blends the product amazingly. Another great Brush for highlighter is the Wayne Goss No. 15 is another amazing brush for highlighting your chicks, it’s a natural hair bristle brush (goat’s hair); it’s a really soft brush and it blends out the highlighter amazingly.
When it comes for inner corner highlighter I really like the Morphe E33, it is a really small brush, so it gets right on that inner corner; it is also great for applying concealer on specific spots on your face, for example when you have discoloration or pimples.
This tools are made to define your eyebrows and even brush them, as well as your lashes. They look like this:
The ones of the sides help you to brush your eyebrow’s hair, so you can see the actual shape of your brow. The one of the middle is used with a gel eyebrow product, or even a brow wax, to help you outline your brow. My favorite Brow Brush is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, it has a double tip end, one has the brow product and the other one has a brush for brushing up your eyebrows.
First, when it comes to apply eyeshadow there are so many techniques, these are the two basics: you can apply it with circular motions, or you can go back and forth with brush (on a windscreen wiper motion).
Also, the eyeshadow application will always depend on how you hold your brush: if you hold it near where the bristles start, it will cause a lot of pressure on the brush and the application will be really intense and harsh, it can easily cause a messy look; but if you hold it on the middle part of the brush, or even near it’s end you’ll have less control on it and that way you can build your color up.
- Crease Brush: Your crease is the most import part of your look, because is were you would traditionally start with your eyeshadow application. A good brush for the crease is going to be the fluffiest and biggest brush you have to apply eyeshadow. They look something like this:
This Brush is the Morphe M441 Pro Firm Blending Crease Brush, it blends your eyeshadow like a dream! It also can be the MAC 224 or the Sigma e-40, they’re exactly the same brush, with the difference that the Sigma brush is way cheaper than the MAC. They’re both very fluffy and have kind of a dome shape at the tip of the brush, with the most volume of bristles at the base and in the center. When you press it down your hand you can see how much it expands, which means it’s really fluffy. This crease brush is intended to be used for the lightest color you’re using for your eye look, and it will be used as a transition color (which means that the other colors you’re going to use will fade into that transition color and blend easily). Remember that the crease brush should be appyied on the highest crease of your eye, the space you leave between the crease and your eyebrow totally depends on you.
Another amazing brush is the Makeup Geek Effortless Crease Brush, it is fantastic for grabbing your transition color and it distribute the perfect amount of color on your crease, because of its wide shape.
- Blending Brush: A blending brush looks like this:
Your blending brush will help you blend together all the colors you have on your eye look, so it doesn’t look harsh or patchy. I recommend that as you apply the eyeshadow you blend it, so you don’t have a hard time blending all at the same time later on, which will be really difficult and could mess up the look. The intense of your blending depends on you and the look you’re going for. For me, Morphe Brushes has one of the best blending brushes iut there, they are soft and blend like magic! The one from the image is the Morphe M433 Pro Firm Blending Fluff Brush.
- Pressed/Packing color Brush: This brushes look like this:
This kind of brush is intended to pack the color on your eyelid, so the way you use it is by pressing the belly of the brush onto the eyeshadow, tap out the excess and then you press it onto your eyelid. This brush can be used with powder eyeshadows (make sure to wet the brush so you get a better application and a more intense pigmentation) and cream eyeshadows (for this synthetic brushes are the best).
One of my favorite Packing Color brush is the Makeup Geek Pencil Brush, it is amazing for packing color on your lower lash line. It really focuses the color where you want it, also if you want to go for a smokier look you can use it to really blend carefully your eyeshadow.
Another great brush for packing on color is the MAC 242, it is nice and slim, so you don’t get color everywhere.
- Precise Brush: This is how a precise brush look like:
The precise brush is mostly used for specific parts of your eye where you want to apply your eyeshadow, for example: you want to cut your crease using some concealer, so you need a really defined and tiny brush to do it.
When it comes to eyeliner, there are brushes that are for gel eyeliner and others for liquid eyeliner:
The MAC 208 Brush is one of my favorites to apply gel eyeliner, it can get the sharpest wing without creating too much thickness. It is a really petite and slim brush you can really work out your eyeliner. This brush is also great to apply gel liner to your brows, to shape them basically.
To apply liquid eyeliner, I really like the Sigma E10 Eyeliner Brush, it really grabs the liquid product and it applies it without leaving any patchiness.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR BRUSHES
Cleaning your brushes every now and then is really important, because they can accumulate bacteria over time. What I use to clean my brushes is Makeup Wipes, Coconut Oil, Baby Shampoo and Liquid Alcohol.
First, I rub the Brush on the makeup wipe to get out as much as I can, then I took some coconut oil and rub it on the bristles on the brush until it’s totally coated with the oil. After that I put on some baby shampoo and then I rub it on my hand until its completely clean. Once I do that with all my brushes, I pour some liquid alcohol on a container, and I put the brushes in there for about 20 minutes. Then I took the brushes out and I dry them. I do this cleaning routine every weekend.
WHERE TO STORE YOUR BRUSHES?
I like to store my brushes on these containers:
There are so many types, for example like these ones:
If you’re traveling a bag like this is really useful, because it saves lots of space! Also some brush sets came with a special protector that’ll prevent the brush from getting dust.
And there you go guys, everything you need to know about makeup brushes! I hope you like it, let me know on the comments what you think.
Until next time, Chao! -Hily