Confused on the multiple makeup brush shapes and sizes on the market? How to use them? You’re not the only one. Here’s a really simple guide to makeup brushes that will up your makeup game from 0 – 100.

Foundation brushes

foundation brushes When it comes to foundation application, it isn’t one-size-fits-all. Foundation brushes come in different shapes, bristles, sizes and they deliver different finishes. The trick is to know which brush is best for the formula of the foundation you’re working with.

Buffing brushes are perfect for full coverage because of how firmly packed the bristles are. They blend cream and liquid products into the skin seamlessly, providing a streak-free application. They come in different shapes and sizes – dome shaped, flat top, angled. The defined ones blend products into those creases and crannies of the face that are hard to reach.

[How to identify it: Firmly packed bristles, usually made of synthetic fibers – the more the merrier]

[How to use it: I recommend spreading the foundation around your face, then working it into your skin using gentle dabbing motions till everything is blended out.

Flat foundation brushes are perfect for evenly spreading out liquid and cream base products. They can also be used to lay the foundation or concealer before blending out with a beauty blender/sponge. They provide full coverage too.

stippling foundation brushesIf you’re going for a more natural, airbrushed, “I woke up like this” kind of finish, then stippling brushes is the way to go. They can also be used to apply tinted moisturizers, blushers and other cream products.

[How to identify it: two-toned duo fiber silky bristles]

[How to use it: Apply the foundation where needed and blend out using small circular motions]

Concealer brushes

concealer brushesThink of them as mini-buffing brushes. They’re usually packed with lots of bristles that allow an even finish when used to blend out concealer. The small size makes it perfect for precise application in all those little corners of your face like under the eyes, around the nose. Of course, their use isn’t restricted to concealers alone; they can be used to apply foundation in the areas mentioned above. The multipurpose flat concealer brush can be used to clean up the brows, lip edges, correct wing liner mistakes and a lot more.

Powder Brushes

Powder brushes,bronzer brushPowder brushes may have different shapes due to aesthetics or multipurpose use, but the main thing to look out for is fluffiness. The fluffier, the better; because it allows the powder to be distributed evenly without looking cakey. Depending on the shape and size, they could also be used to apply bronzers and blushers.

Sculpting Brushes

contour brush, blush brush, bronzing brushAs the name implies, these are the brushes you need to snatch those cheekbones and perimeters of the face. They come in various shapes and sizes, each designed for a particular application style.

Similar to powder brushes, blush brushes are soft and fluffy but more defined in shape to allow diffusion of color on the apple of the cheeks. The shape of the angled contour brush makes it to fit perfectly beneath the cheekbones and add dimensions to the face.  This type of brushes can be used multipurposely – for blush, bronzers and contour powders. The slim dense brush is great for placing cream contours in the right places and for blending as well.

kabuki brush, fan brush, tapered highlighter brushTapered Brush

The dome shape of this brush makes it multipurpose. It can be used to add/dust setting powder under the eyes or to apply highlighter along the cheekbones. I know you’re probably thinking isn’t that what fan brushes are meant for? Yes! but these apply highlighter even better (in my opinion). Finally the more tapered, the better.

Fan Brush

You might have ditched your fan brush for highlighter application but that doesn’t mean it has no place in your makeup application anymore. Did you know you could place a fan brush under your eyes to catch fallout from eye shadow application? Yeah, now you do; you’re welcome. Your fan brush could also serve as a finishing brush (the big fan brush), to dust off excess powder and blend the face together so you don’t have any harsh lines.

Kabuki Brush

This versatile brush is packed with soft, voluminous bristles and can be used to apply bronzer, powder, blush or as a finishing brush to blend out all products together.

Eye brushes

eyeshadow brushes guideLet’s be honest, unless you’ve mastered the art of eye shadow application or have watched hundreds of makeup tutorials on YouTube, eye shadow brushes can be overwhelming to work with on first sight. The key is to understand the basics and where they are placed. As you master eye shadow application, you’ll understand that the rest are for ensuring fine details in an eye makeup look.

An eye shadow blending brush is usually long and fluffy, and it is used to diffuse transition colors to give a soft blend rather than having demarcations in an eye shadow look. The round shape gives a more blown out application while the tapered/angled one allows you define the crease at the same time. Crease brushes are usually smaller than blending brushes. They are used to contour the crease and softly blend the edges while at it.

A flat eye shadow brush, which is usually made of synthetic fibers, provides high level of coverage when used to apply eye shadow to the eye lid space. The smudge brush is used to smoke out the lash line (top & bottom). It is great for softening the edges of colors in a detailed manner. Another alternative for this is the pencil brush, which is also great for detailed highlights to the inner corner of the eye and the brow bone.

A flat angled brush serves not only as an eyeliner brush but also for filling the brows with gels/powders. A beginner’s must have for creating a wing liner! It can also deliver precise lipstick application. The pointed fine tip brush is great for creating the thinnest of lines. More arm stamina is needed when working with it though. A spoolie keeps your eyebrow hairs groomed; it can also be used to declump lashes.

lip precision brushLip brush

This one is a must have for makeup artists! It enables the most precise lipstick application while preventing contamination. It comes with a little price though – patience. Any flat brush with a fine pointed tip will pretty much do the job of a lip brush.

[Read more: Essential Makeup Hygiene Tips]

That’s it! You don’t need to accumulate all the makeup brushes you don’t need (36 pieces brush set with 10 similar brushes, I’m looking at you); except you just feel like and have the coins to splurge.

Now that you know what you need and how to use them, level up your makeup game by shopping my favorite brush set including a cosmetic bag for N11,500. Shop here.



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