makeup brushes guide and 7 must haves

A simple guide to Makeup brushes with 7 must-haves

I am going to start today by telling a short story. Since high school, I was always fascinated with makeup, I bought this 24 makeup brushes set from Amazon and why the 24 one because I thought the more the better. But the problem was even after getting them I didn’t know how how to use them and eventually ended up using my fingers to do my makeup.

With time, I did my research and learned about each of them. One thing I realized during this whole process is we don’t need a whole lot of brushes. There are some basic ones that we must own to create a perfect blended make-up look. So if you want to complete your collection with a minimum, I have got all the info that you need. 

Fact:  I was watching this tutorial by Bobbi Brown on Masterclass where she said she is someone who uses the warmth of her clean hands and fingers to blend and melt makeup into the skin many times.

Like a carpenter is very particular about his tools. It is very important for a makeup artist to choose the right makeup brushes for a perfect blend and flawless makeup application. Using the wrong brush can completely throw off your whole look. Makeup brushes are integral to achieving a flawless, airbrushed look that’ll help you face your day with confidence.

Make-up brushes not only come in a wide range of sizes and numbers, but also different materials, bristle shapes, lengths, and density. There are makeup brushes that are specifically made to target certain areas of the face so in case you don’t know which one to use where it won’t place the product where you want it or apply it in the right way. Makeup brushes can be your very, very best friends—albeit kinda tricky to decode.  But worry not, go ahead, we have distilled the options down to the most useful and multi-use tools in the below section to make you pro about make-up brushes.

Types of Makeup brushes

Tapered Foundation Brush


How to recognize it: This type of makeup brushes are typically dense and can be pinched flat (like a paintbrush) or full, rounded, and dome-shaped 

When to use it: Absolutely necessary for powder foundation though may be optional if you are using liquid or cream foundation. Some people use a sponge in the case of liquid foundation.

Which is better: Go for a dense synthetic bristle makeup brush for liquid formulas and to get more coverage and natural bristles (more porous) for powder foundation

How to use it: Start in the middle of your face (cheeks and T-zone) and blend your foundation outward in smooth and even strokes. Take care to prevent harsh makeup lines around the edges of your jawline and hairline.

Extra Tip: Dip your brush in warm water then gently squeezing out the excess before using it.  You can also use cold water If it’s hot and you’re prone to sweating. The water helps in an even coat of foundation and keeps the brush from absorbing any of the foundations—saving you money since the brush won’t soak up any of your makeup. 

Angled Contour brush 

Angled contour makeup brush

How to recognize it: These makeup brushes are Slightly angled cut brushes with soft fibers

When to use it: To achieve angular, defined cheekbones and facial structure. It can be used for  applying blush, bronzer, or highlighter

Which is better: Select the one that’s smaller than a face brush but bigger than an eye brush. It is advised to opt for an angled contour brush that has soft, dense bristles, as this will allow you to add product with minimal fallout

How to use it: Contouring makeup brushes help in giving you the fine precision control over the angles. Take your contour brush and swirl it into your contour powder, tap off the excess and then gently glide the brush back and forth below your cheekbones to emphasize you’re natural contours. If you are looking for an even more chiseled look, reload the brush and swirl it under your jawline and along your hairline as well.

Powder brush

powder makeup brush

How to recognize it: An extra long brush head with a slightly rounded tip 

When to use it: These makeup brushes are used to blend a variety of powders like loose powder or pressed powder. This can also be used for blushes, bronzers, highlighters, matte powders, and more.

Which is better: Look for one with high-quality hairs to ensure smooth application without irritation

How to use it: Use a light amount of powder onto the brush and just swipe it on your face with a running hand

Concealer brush

Concealer makeup brush

How to recognize it: Concealer makeup brushes are similar to your foundation brushes but a much smaller one with a precisely pointed tip lets you target any flaw with ease

When to use it: This type of brush is used to hide blemishes and discolorations. These are very useful for applying product to areas where you can’t use a bigger brush like underneath the eyes, on either side of the nose, or over a blemish

Which is better: Go for a synthetic brush because concealers generally come in cream or liquid form

How to use it: Instead of placing the foundation first onto the brush and then onto your face, apply the concealer directly on your face (whichever part which you want to conceal) and then blending it in with the brush. This is an optional brush. I personally do not use it and use a beauty blender instead.

Fan brush

fan makeup brush

How to recognize it: Fan makeup brushes are easiest to recognize. No wonder, you can easily recognize a fan brush by its shape – shaped like a fan

When to use it:  They are used to apply highlighters. They can also be used to dust off excess powder fallout from your eye shadow working as a  mistake-corrector. Gently brush away the extra flecks of color with the fan brush. You can also use it to diffuse color for e.g you can mellow out dark blush by fanning away the intensity.

Which is better: It is good that you select a one whose hairs are ultra-soft, light and delicate bristles for an all-over, even application and a delicate application of the powder

How to use it: Start by swirling your brush over a highlighter, tap off the excess, and then lightly blend the brush over the tops of your cheekbones, brow bones, Cupid’s bow, down the bridge of your nose, and anywhere else where you want to highlight. Once done lightly sweep the brush wherever you need to brush off any fallout from your other products.

Extra tip: If you wanted an even brighter highlight, spritz your brush first with a setting spray or water to enhance the pigment payoff.

Powder eyeshadow brush

powder makeup brush

How to recognize it: These makeup brushes are typically flat, rounded at the tip, and dense, so they can pick up a bunch of powder or cream for a concentrated color payoff

When to use it:  Powder brush is a must to pack on the pigments to get your lids a ton of colo and an even layer of color on your eyelids. It can be used for applying eye shadow primer as well

Which is better: A general eye shadow brush is a small and dense one.

How to use it: Simply dip the brush into the shadow, tap off excess, and pat or press the product onto your eyelids, gently swirling the brush around the edges to blend them out. For a more pigmented effect, better pick up of glittery pigments, and to deepen the opacity of eyeshadow, you can also mist your brush with a setting spray or water like you did for highlighter.

Blending brush

blending makeup brush

How to recognize it: These makeup brushes are known for featuring wide, flat bristles and a slightly tapered head. They have soft and fluffy bristles

When to use it:  It is a must-have if you’re applying more than one eyeshadow. The better the blending brush better is your eye look. As MalvikaSatlani says in her tutorial you must follow the golden rule: blend, blend, and blend always.  An eyeshadow blending brush blends out the powders for a really sheer and diffused finish

Which is better: Use a fluffy blender eye make up brush to get a natural gradient of colors

How to use it: Making a windshield-wiper motion swipe thefluffy bristles into the crease of your lids to diffuse the eyeshadow. Swirl it around the edges of your eyes when blending multiple shades on top of one another

Brow brush with spoolie

brow makeup brush

How to recognize it: These makeup brushes are usually double-sided, one side you will find a spoolie and on other, there will be a small angled brush

When to use it:  To get you a bold, clean, and defined brows look. . The angled brow brush is used for applying all kinds of brow products and lets you enhance, smooth, and shape your brows. Spoolie is used for grooming your brows and ensuring a polished finish. In case you feel you have got some extra product on your brows, you can easily swipe off it with help of spoolie

Which is better: Mostly it is a good idea to get one which has spoolie and brush both but you can have them individually also. I always use the 3-in- 1 from miniso. 

How to use it: First, use the spool to straighten and form your brow shape.Then, use the brush side to apply your brow product in short strokes, making sure to come to a defined point at the ends. Follow the natural shape of your brows rather than forcing them into unnatural forms. Alternatively you can use the brush for combing, taming, and de-clumping your lashes but just make sure the spoolie is clean first.

Other useful make-up applicators and brushes

Beauty blender 

Beauty blender

These aren’t technically makeup brushes, a beauty blender sponge is a must-have product if you are a makeup lover. They are lightweight, easy to use, and super soft. Blenders are generally flat and oval or teardrop in shape. The blender does not absorb anything, meaning that you’re not wasting precious products.

It is multipurpose, it applies foundation like a dream. Use a damp sponge in a pressing motion If you have a lot of texture due to dry skin. It will press the foundation into the skin and not brush up any additional texture. You can use it as a primer applicator, and blend blush, bronzer, and highlighter.

You can use the tip of the Beauty Blender in smaller areas like applying highlighter to your cupid’s bow or shimmer to brow bones. If you’re using dry powder, simply pour some of the product onto the lid and dab the sponge directly in the product. Just make sure you re-moisturize the sponge as it can dry out during the application process.

Kabuki brush

Kabuki makeup brush

This type of makeup brushes were made famous by Kabuki Japanese drama theater. This is most commonly recognized by it’s short, chubby handle and very dense, firm, flat, or dome-shaped bristles. A synthetic kabuki brush can be used to apply liquid foundation, cream blush, or body makeup for medium-to-full coverage. They are super dense and are perfect for packing on superfine powders or mineral foundation for a fuller-coverage finish. 

Stipling brush

Stipling makeup brush

These makeup brushes are the opposite of the kabuki brush. This type of makeup brush is known for its duo fibers, which means the brush is packed with two different kinds and lengths of bristles to make the brush more compact at the base and finer toward the top. It’s not a dense brush, so it’s perfect for blending in cream products. They provide light coverage and can be used When you want a softer foundation application or a more airbrushed effect.

Extra tip: Always hold the brush by the very end, giving you virtually no control over the brush. Then, dot or lightly stamp the brush along your face repeatedly to distribute it onto your skin.

These are some of the makeup brushes you must own but there are many other brushes available in the market like Blush brush for using blushes, smudge brush for smokey eyes, pencil brush, flat shader brush, eyeliner brush but I think all of that can be managed with our current set only and some of the things we don’t even need brush like I don’t use for eyeliner. I hope I was able to cover all the basics needed to know for purchasing makeup brushes.  Do share your feedback here or in the comments. 

Happy learning 🙂

Makeup brushes
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