Hands up if you’ve been overwhelmed looking at the myriad of makeup brushes out there. There are so many kinds of various shapes and sizes, it’s no wonder that many beginners get intimidated.
Are makeup brushes really necessary?
Why are there so many different kinds?
What are they for?
While a lot can be done with our fingers, some makeup brushes can be really useful for the application of certain makeup products. This post aims to talk about the various kinds of brushes out there in hopes of demystifying the complicated world of makeup brushes.
So let’s dive into it.
In my opinion, there are mainly 4 categories for brushes. They are face, cheek, eyes and miscellaneous brushes such as those for the brow and lips.
Face brushes mainly include foundation brushes, concealer brushes and all over powder brushes.
Foundation brushes help to blend foundation into the skin. Usually buffing brushes work great. While the fingers can be used to help blend foundation into the skin, I do find that foundation brushes make it a lot quicker and the chances of streaks are much lower (especially if you buff in a circular motion).
Concealer brushes are really up to personal preference. Currently, I personally prefer to use my fingers to apply my undereye concealer as I find that the warmth of my fingers help to blend the product in better. However, for larger areas, a tapered concealer brush could be useful.
Powder brushes are something I think everyone should have as powders can’t really be applied with your fingers. Sure, some powders come with their own sponges but that can result in quite a heavy and uneven application. Powder brushes help to disperse the face powder evenly to help set your makeup without adding a thick layer, resulting in a more natural finish.
As blushes, bronzers, contour powders and highlighters are mostly in powder form, I do think having at least one cheek brush will help tremendously. Cheek brushes, as the name suggests, are mostly used to apply products onto the cheeks, such as blush, contour, bronzer and highlighter.
There are angled cheek brushes out there and I do like them. They help to apply the blush along the cheeks really nicely. Quick tip, you can pinch the bristles together (so they become flatter) and apply your contour powder below the cheekbones and highlighter on your cheekbones. Just make sure to really wipe off any excess product beforehand! Thus, one brush can be used in various ways!
There are many other kinds of cheek brushes out there, but they are a good to have and are not completely necessary.
I used to be all about eyeshadow application and I’ll admit, brushes helped me out tremendously. Without them, my looks would not be possible. Powder eyeshadows are really a challenge to blend with just our fingers or with those puny applicators that come in eyeshadow compacts. Hence, I do suggest investing in a few for your collection. I won’t focus on them here as I had previously written a whole post on them before. You can read my post on the 4 essential eye brushes here.
However, side note, blending brushes are very important. There are two kinds – tapered blending and fluffy blending. It doesn’t have to be really expensive, but do choose ones with soft bristles so it’s not uncomfortable when you blend! I shared some of my favourite affordable eye brushes here too.
I’m going to group eyebrow and lip brushes in this category. Personally, for daily makeup purposes, I rarely ever touch these. I mostly use them when I do makeup on clients when I freelance.
Brow brushes (otherwise known as a spoolie) can be useful in brushing out truly brows before filling them in. They are also good for separating the lashes before mascara application.
Lip brushes are wonderful in achieving a crisp and sharp line during lip product application on models. However, for personal usage, I do think these are not necessary at all. Applying lipstick straight from the bullet works perfectly fine and many liquid lipsticks now come with doe foot applicators that work great.
So which brushes should you get if you are a makeup beginner?
If you’re starting right from scratch, here are my personal recommendations.
For the face, I would actually recommend getting a beauty sponge (like the popular beauty blender instead) instead of brushes. This is because a beauty sponge, especially those in a tear drop shape, are truly multipurpose. You can apply foundation, concealer and powder (yes, powder!) with it. It is also much easier to use as the sponge has a lot more leeway than a brush. So in terms of investment, I do think getting a beauty sponge is worth the while. I do recommend the beauty blender or the miracle complexion sponge from real techniques. They work equally well for me!
However, if you’re not into beauty sponges, I would recommend getting a buffing brush and a powder brush. Check out brands like Zoeva and Real Techniques, as they are quite affordable.
For the cheeks, I’d go with an angled cheek brush (preferably with synthetic bristles, so that you can also use it with cream or liquid blushes and bronzers). These work well with applying blush and bronzer, and you can pinch it to apply contour and highlight!
For the eyes, I’d go with a blending brush (tapered or fluffy, depending on the amount of lid space that you have) first. If you have more of a budget, I’d suggest a pencil brush too, for precise application of shades.
The others are not completely necessary in achieving a basic makeup look. So start with these and then once you’re comfortable, go ahead and get brushes for more specific purposes.
I have a Makeup Brushes 101 video class on Skillshare, which you can check out here. In this video class, I talk a lot more about the different kinds of brushes as well as show you examples so you can see the various shapes and bristles of the brushes. If you are interested, you can get 2 months free of Skillshare premium here! I do use skillshare really often to learn about calligraphy and watercolour painting, so I do think it’s worth a look (and don’t forget to watch my classes while you’re on it to! Shameless self promotion, I know hehe).
What are some brushes that you cannot live without?
Hope this post helps! Till then,