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Makeup Brush Guide: Types Of Makeup Brushes You Should Have

August 24, 2020 By

With so many types of makeup brushes on the market, from a blush brush to a foundation brush — it can be difficult to know which ones to use, and how to use them correctly. But the right combination of makeup brushes and the right amount of practice can go a long way towards achieving a flawless finish.

Let’s explore the world of makeup brushes and how to use each of them the right way.

How To Use Different Types of Makeup Brushes

One great way to learn about makeup brushes is to purchase makeup brush sets or kits that contain several key brushes. That way, you have everything right there in front of you. Plus, you’ll spend less than if you were to purchase them all individually. You can find a nice brush set online, at your nearest beauty store or even at some convenience stores. 

Here are the most essential makeup brushes to have on hand (and how to use them).

How To Use A Foundation Brush

A foundation brush is a great tool for liquid foundation as it allows for a quicker, more precise application than your fingers. It’s also more hygienic. Here’s what to do:

1. Make sure that the brush is clean, as any leftover foundation from yesterday can give you a cakey appearance. It’s best to use a daily brush cleansing spray after each use and wash your brushes with warm soapy water once a week. 

2. Begin by dotting the foundation evenly, all over your face.

3. Then, blend with your foundation brush in circular motions until your entire face looks evenly covered and seamlessly blended in. 

3. Finally, take a damp makeup sponge and pat it over the blended foundation for an extra smooth finish (and to pick up any excess product).

How To Use An Eye Shadow Blending Brush

Here’s the thing about eyeshadow – if it’s not blended properly, it can end up looking patchy, overdone, or like a child put it on. So, an eyeshadow blending brush really is an asset to your makeup game.

There are many types of eyeshadow blending brushes. Keep things simple by selecting: 

  • A flat, dense shadow brush to “lay down” shadow onto the lid and,
  • A dome-shaped, fluffy shadow brush for blending. 

You could also invest in a good tapered blending brush or a small, pointed eye shadow crease brush. Both can help soften shadow into the eye crease and the lash line.

To use an eyeshadow blending brush:

1. Apply a primer to your eyelids to help the shadows “pop” and stay put all day.

2. Always start with the lightest shade first, on the inner half of your lids. Properly blend this into the lid before moving onto the next shade, and continue to do this with all shades you’re using. 

3. To soften your shadow, blend in a sweeping back-and-forth motion (much like windshield wipers) along the crease.

4. Darker shades are best used in the crease and/or the outer corners of your eye. However, whatever shade you choose, you’ll need a medium-tone transition shade between your lightest and darkest tones to help blend them seamlessly.

How To Use A Bronzer/Blush Brush

A good bronzer or blush brush will have long, fluffy bristles. This helps to evenly diffuse the powder pigment. A fluffy brush actually picks up less product, which is what you want for avoiding the “clown look” with bronzer or blush. 

Here’s how to use a bronzer or blush brush:

1. For bronzer: Sweep the brush across your cheeks very lightly for a subtle glow. You can add more, but for a natural look, it’s best to start slow and build. You can also sweep bronzer across other parts of your face that the sun naturally hits (like your nose and forehead).

2. For blush: Lightly swirl the color in a circular motion on the apple of your cheeks and then along your cheekbones. 

How To Use A Powder Brush

A powder brush is used for setting powder. It’s favored by those who suffer have oily T-zones or those who need their makeup to have more staying power. These brushes usually have very fluffy bristles (like a blush brush). To use a powder brush:

1. Pick up a little loose powder on the brush, then tap off the excess. Now, dust it across your T-zone or all over to set makeup. 

Note: Be careful if you suffer from dry skin, as finishing powder may stick to dry patches and enhance the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

How To Use A Contour Brush

Makeup contouring is the technique used to enhance or change the shape of your face using specific highlighting and shading effects. 

A contour brush can come in many forms, but it commonly has a sharp, angled slant cut into the bristles. The more blunt the slant, the better for sharp contouring. A softer slant will give more subtle effects. To use a contour brush:

1. Take your contour brush, sweep it into the powder, then tap off any excess. 

2. Glide the brush back and forth on the place that you’re contouring. So, if you’re trying to define your cheekbones, you’d gently sweep the shading powder back and forth just below your cheekbones.

How To Use An Eye Liner Brush

Some people swear by an angled eyeliner brush for a cat’s eye. It’s not for the faint of heart if you’ve never used this technique before. But with some practice, it may well become a favorite. Here’s what to do:

1. Dip your brush into your eyeliner (liquid or gel).

2. Imagine a thin, diagonal line from the outer edge of your eye toward your brow. Along this imaginary line, place a small dot where you’d like your “wing” to end.

3. Next, take your angled eyeliner brush and, using small strokes, draw a line from the corner of your eye to this dot.

4. Now, you’re going to go back the other way. Draw a little line in the middle of your upper eyelid, close to the lash line. Then bring the eye liner back to meet this little line.

5. Finally, you’ll be left with a gap between the two lines – your wing – which you can now color in.

For more help on how to achieve the perfect winged eyeliner look, check out this article.

How To Use A Lip Liner Brush

A lip liner brush can give you much better precision and control than the pointy end of your lipstick. It may also help your favorite shade last longer, as you’ll be using less product to get the desired result. 

Here’s how to use a lip brush:

1. Start by blending out your lip liner for a softer look. 

2. Then, begin at the center of your lips with your lipstick brush and blend lipstick outward toward your lip line. Use the tip of the brush to better define the bow of your lips and those hard-to-reach corners. 

3. Accidentally colored outside the lines? Wipe off your lip brush and dip into some concealer to cover any mistakes around your perfect pout. 

But Wait, What’s A Kabuki Brush?


The kabuki brush has become a beauty hit, so you’ll hear its name crop up often. A kabuki brush is a makeup brush with a stubby, short handle. It has fluffy, dense bristles and a rounded shape. 

A kabuki brush is primarily used to apply loose powder-based products, though it can be used for liquid foundation. 

The overall size of the kabuki brush helps to cover larger areas quickly. The density of its bristles pick up more product, making it an excellent choice for medium-full coverage. 

To use a kabuki brush:

1. Pick up the product on the tips of the bristles.

2. If you’re using the brush to apply powder, tap off any excess.

3. Swirl and buff in a circular motion (as opposed to the swiping of a normal makeup brush) to evenly diffuse the product across your face.

Types Of Makeup Brushes: Knowledge Is Power

You don’t need to be a makeup artist to achieve a flawless makeup finish. It’s all about understanding your tools and getting plenty of practice. 

If it feels like overkill to own a bunch of different makeup brushes, know that it’s not always necessary. As long as you have the key brushes down, you’ll be set for perfecting your own makeup in no time.

Learn More:
-How To Achieve The “No Makeup” Makeup Look
-How To Remove Makeup Properly
-5 Unique Lip Gloss Techniques Inspired by Makeup Artists

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