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A guide to 7 makeup brushes that are investment-worthy

Among a plethora of makeup brushes and the various bristle types available, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to cutting down your list of essential makeup brushes. Use this guide as a shopping list, to find out what all these strange bristles are for, or for all the makeup application tips.

Top must-have makeup brushes

makeup brush
Image: Courtesy Unsplash

Beauty Blender

Makeup sponges provide an airbrushed, streak-free finish. They’re also popular among makeup artists and YouTubers. Sponges, with their rounded and smooth shape, won’t leave any odd lines or stray bristles behind, and their damp surfaces help sheer out heavy full-coverage foundation, concealer, or cream blush for a natural no-makeup-makeup finish.

How to use a beauty blender:

To get the most out of a sponge or beauty blender, soak it with running water and squeeze out the excess.  This wetting technique not only keeps your sponge from soaking all of your foundations but also helps you blend your makeup as smoothly as possible. Stamp and stipple cream products throughout your face using the sponge’s broadsides and use the sponge’s tip to reach nooks under your nose and eyes.

Eyebrow Brush

You’ve probably seen and brushed your brows with a spoolie or comb before, but a dual-ended eyebrow brush is really useful since it has flat, blunt, and angled bristles to help you draw individual brow hairs using brow gel or powder.

How to use an eyebrow brush:

Shape your brows with the spoolie side first, then use the firm, slanted bristles side of the brush to fill in sparse brows with eyebrow powder. If you’ve overfilled your brows, you may use the spoolie brush to comb over them later and remove some of the makeup to soften them. Alternate uses include lash combing, taming, and de-clumping—just make sure the spoolie is clean.

Bronzer or Blush Brush

To uniformly disperse your powder pigments, use a bronzer and/or blush brush with long, fluffy bristles and a dome shape. The more fluff there is, the less product it will pick up which is ideal when you want just a wash of colour.

How to use a bronzer or blush brush:

When it comes to bronzer and blush, the technique you use in the brush is nearly as essential as the brush itself. To apply bronzer, sweep the brush in a “3” pattern from your forehead to your cheekbones, then back out and down to your jawline. For blush, softly swirl the product on the apples of your cheeks and blend it up into your cheekbones.

Highlighter Brush

The shape of your highlighter brush is entirely dependent on the amount of glow you prefer. To make even a cheap highlighter seem super-bright and opaque, use a long, tapered brush, a fan brush with exceptionally long bristles, or a brush with short, dense bristles for a more diffused effect.

How to use a highlighter brush:

Swirl your brush into a powder face highlighter, tap off the excess, then delicately sweep and blend the brush over the tops of your cheekbones, brow bones, Cupid’s bow, and anywhere else light naturally strikes your face. Wanted a brighter natural glow? To boost the pigment payoff, spritz your brush with a setting spray first.

Pencil Brush

A pencil brush can do it all: smudge out your eyeliner, push eyeshadow directly into your lash line, blend perfectly beneath your lashes, and so on. When your other brushes are too large or too fluffy, reach for this stiff, dense, tapered brush, especially if you’re going to do a smoky eye or any hazy, blended-out shadow.

How to use a pencil brush:

After you’ve applied your eyeliner, smudge it out with the pointed tip of the brush. Alternatively, instead of eyeliner, use the tip to smoke out your eyeshadow below your bottom lashes. When applying deep pigment, you may also target smaller regions around the eye, such as the inner and outer corners.

Flat Eyeshadow Brush

The use of an eyeshadow shading brush is key for applying an opaque, even layer of colour on your lids. These brushes are usually flat, rounded at the tip, and dense, allowing them to gather up a lot of powder or cream for a concentrated colour payoff.

How to use a flat eyeshadow brush:

Pat or press the eyeshadow into your eyelids after running the brush over the product, carefully swirling the brush over the corners to smooth them out. To deepen the intensity of a powder pigment or glittery eyeshadow, spritz your brush with a setting spray beforehand. Keep these makeup brushes on hand if you want to get incredibly sharp cut-crease eyes.

Eyeshadow Blending Brush

An eyeshadow blending brush, as the name suggests, blends out the powders for a truly seamless, diffused finish—basically, the smoke behind a smokey eye or the trick to a natural-looking shadow. These makeup brushes are noted for their tapered design and soft, fluffy bristles, which help you achieve a well-blended look.

How to use an eyeshadow blending brush:

Swipe the fluffy bristles into the crease of your lids with a windshield wiper motion to apply eyeshadow for a diffused effect, and swirl it around the edges of your eyes to transition between colours or mix various hues on top of one another.

All Images: Courtesy Shutterstock

A guide to 7 makeup brushes that are investment-worthy

Anushka likes to write about fashion, beauty, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she likes to make her Pinterest boards come to life.


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