Guide to Make-Up Brushes

A bad workman always blames his/her tools. True. But when it comes to make-up, having the wrong tools or simply not using the right ones with the right products can work against you. So here’s a list of make-up tools you should have in your kit – some are must-have’s and some are nice-to-have’s. Either way, if you aren’t already using them, I guarantee that when you do, it’ll transform your make-up look.

To start with, it is important that you invest in good quality brushes. Unfortunately this comes at a steep cost but, if you know what you are looking for, perhaps you can shop around for bargains. They should feel nice and soft when they touch the face. The ones that are made of hair should ideally be made of real hair, and for the ones that are synthetic, they are no problem to find. Also, you need to test them to see how much hair is lost when used. A sign of a good quality make-up brush is one that loses very little hair. Trust me, if you buy good ones they will last – I bought mine 8 years ago and am still using them – they still feel like new.


Foundation Brush
This should be made of synthetic fibres with a flat shape, often tapered. The bristles should be compact but the brush shouldn’t feel stiff.These brushes work best with liquid foundation and are more economical than using a sponge. Due to how much the sponge absorbs, you end up with a lot of product waste which can be pretty expensive.

Blush Brush
This should be made of hair and the strands should be loosely formed into a rounded shape that is tapered. The taper helps to create a streamlined look with the make-up and as it is made of hair, it should only be used with powder.If you use a cream blush, I would always advise to reconsider. Powder allows more control and blends in more naturally.

Powder Brush
Loose powder is an age-old trick used to absorb oils and to seal the make-up in place without compromising or smudging the make-up under it. An ideal powder brush will be made of natural hair and will look very similar to the blush brush except, it will be much larger and not tapered.

Eye Shadow Brush
Much like blusher, powder eye shadow is the best type to work with. And it is worth investing in good quality eye shadow – it will last for a long time, you will need very little and the effect will be true to its colour. Cheaper eye shadows tend to brush off the eye lid as you apply it.

If you do use powder eye shadow, an eye shadow brush will create an even finish and you won’t need to use much of it. Do not use your finger tips! You compromise the quality of the eye shadow as you mix it with the natural oil from your hands, and you will not get an even enough finish.

The eye shadow brush is made of real hair too, and forms a small rectangle. The bristles should be compact but not stiff.

Blending Brush
The way make-up artists achieve that perfect eye shadow lies in the art of blending which is why, although many haven’t heard of a blending brush, it is the dark horse of the make-up kit that is very useful.Again, assuming you are working with powder eye shadow, it should be made of hair and should form a small but elongated rounded shape. Unlike the eye shadow brush, the bristles should be quite loose but in shape.

Lip Brush
This is the most undervalued brush – mainly because by using it, lip stick takes a lot longer to apply than when applying straight from the tube. It should be thin, usually tapered to a flat point, compact, and made of synthetic fibres.

The additional brushes in your kit are luxuries that can help you use little tips and tricks when applying make-up.

Fan Brush
This is great for wiping away powder without smudging anything underneath. As the name implies, it is shaped like a fan, and is made of hair.

Some have some protruding bristles in which case, can be used to seperate the lashes.

Socket Brush
This is a great tool for eye shadow, particularly when creating the smokey eye look or if you want to define the eye shadow. It is made of hair, again, based on the assumption you are using powder eye shadow, and should be used to smudge and line the socket line of the eye lids.

Eye Liner Brush
This brush is made of hair, is very thin and very small and sometimes tapered. It is a great tool for applying eye shadow in a fashion to line the lash line.

Its thinness means that accuracy can be achieved and having it in your kit gives you more flexibility if you want to add subtle colour to delicate areas of the eyes, or to create a softer look than what eye liner achieves.

Copyright@Sumantha Dutta. All rights reserved.

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