There are so many different make-up brushes out there, how do you know which brush to use for contouring? Which one for applying blusher? The best foundation brush? Here’s our definitive guide…
MAKEUP BRUSHES FOR YOUR FACE
Tapered foundation brush:
The gently tapered edges and flexible bristles make this the brush for using with liquid and cream products. Work in downward strokes for the most natural-looking finish.
Rounded foundation brush:
Bristles are densely packed, so they pick up and distribute foundation evenly – whether it’s liquid, cream or powder – and the dome shape helps the bristles to blend in the product as it’s applied.
Use this to apply liquid or cream blush or contour products. Its layered bristles give a soft, airbrushed effect, and are particularly good for gradually building up colour.
Flat concealer brush:
The perfect brush to cover larger parts of your face, especially the under-eye area. Use one side to apply product, flip the brush over and use the other side to blend it in.
MAKEUP BRUSHES FOR YOUR CHEEKS
This is a smaller version of the big fluffy powder brush with loosely packed bristles that have a slightly pointed tip to help with precision application of powder blush to the apples of your cheeks. If you’re using cream blush, opt for a stippling brush – the flat edge is ideal for gradually building up colour.
This needs to feel heavy duty, so look for something that’s domed with densely packed bristles that enable you to cover larger areas with bronzer, such as your forehead, cheeks and collarbones.
This should be about the same size as a blusher brush, but with a slightly angled end, which is designed to fit into the hollows of your cheeks, for contouring and sculpting.
This is smaller than a blusher brush, with bristles that shouldn’t be too dense and with an end that should be slightly tapered to help you highlight and contour your face. This is the perfect shape for applying powder highlighter to the tops of your cheekbones, down your nose and on your Cupid’s bow.
With a short handle and short, dense bristles, this is great for swirling all over your face once you’ve applied blusher, bronzer or powder, to give a pixel-perfect finish.
This is the makeup artist’s secret weapon, a multipurpose brush that can be used to sweep away eyeshadow fallout, blend any harsh lines around the jaw area or the cheekbones, diffuse or break down colour if too much product has been applied, or even use to apply a face mask.
MAKEUP BRUSHES FOR YOUR EYES
All-over shadow brush:
This is usually the largest type of eyeshadow brush, with short, flat bristles that can be used to blend eyeshadow if you don’t have a blending brush, or apply base cream or powder eyeshadow.
The slightly longer, loosely packed bristles in this brush make it best for blending powder eyeshadow. Working it in circular motions over your entire eyelid will help to buff the product in and soften any harsh eyeshadow. This type of brush is also good for applying highlighter to your brow bone.
This specialist brush tends to be small with short, tightly packed bristles. It’s the perfect tool for smudging out pencil eyeliner on both upper and lower lash lines, and can also be used to smudge cream or powder eyeshadows for creating a smoky eye. Some smudge brushes have a slight point, for adding definition to the creases of your eyes and for applying eyeshadow in the inner corner of your eye.
Angled eyeliner brush/eyebrow brush:
The bristles are short and tightly packed with an angled edge to help you draw a straight, precise line. This is the perfect brush for applying gel eyeliner, for doing a cat eye, for applying a darker shade of eyeshadow along upper and lower lash lines to add definition or to colour in short hair-like strokes for your eyebrows.
MAKEUP BRUSHES FOR YOUR EYEBROWS
This is a spiral brush with stiff bristles that work to tame unruly brows. It also helps to disperse any pencil or powder product that’s been applied, which will give a more natural finish to your brows.
MAKEUP BRUSHES FOR YOUR LIPS
Bristles are short and firm to help keep application precise and controlled. Start by sketching the outline of your lips, then colour in the centre for a perfect pout.
This is smaller than a regular lip brush, with fewer bristles and a tapered point. It softens lip pencil lines and allows for precise application of lipstick – making it brilliant for using around the Cupid’s bow area.