June 30, 2010

BRUSHES 101!!!

This is a comprehensive list of the various types of makeup brushes (both natural hair and synthetic) available for purchase.  I have included a picture and description of what each brush is used for. This post is for all the women who didn’t know what brush to buy or for those who have received a brush set but didn’t have a clue what all the brushes were used for. Hopefully this article will clear up the confusion and put you on the road to a more beautiful and blended face! 

Foundation Brush
A synthetic brush that allows you to create a flawless finish in either spot application or total coverage using cream or liquid foundation.

Stipling Brush
The synthetic Taklon hairs allow you to use it with wet and creamy or dry products like compact foundation or bronzer for flawless complexion.The two levels of bristles let you layer product and determine how sheer or heavy you want your coverage to be.

Concealer Brush
A small synthetic brush that you use to apply and blend cream concealer, eyeshadow base, and/or cream eye color.

Mineral Powder Brush
Ideal for buffing and blending loose and/or pressed mineral powders to achieve a smooth and flawless finish to the skin.

Powder Brush
A large rounded and soft brush that distributes loose powder for a flawless, finished look.

Designed to apply an even dusting of bronzer, powder or blush with a single sweep.  Also ideal for using with mineral makeup.

Fan Brush
Used to “finish” the face - for dusting excess powder from the face and/or for adding powder highlighter.

Blush Brush
A slightly domed, mid-sized brush that accentuate the apples of your cheeks with a soft wash of color.  Can also be used to apply bronzer.

Angled Blush Brush
Perfect for contouring (use color 2 shades darker) and highlighting (use color 2 shades lighter) the face.

Brow/Lash Comb
Use comb to separate lashes after applying mascara. Either side can be used to shape and define the brow line.
Angled Brow Brush
Use with brow powder or pencil to soften, shape and define the brows.
Crease Eye Shadow Brush
Use to build depth to the eye. Apply color in crease area using a windshield wiper (back-and-forth) motion to achieve depth and definition. Tapered shape allows you to easily add darker shadow colors in the crease.  Lays shadow on and blends it at the same.
Large Fluff Eye Shadow Brush
One of the most basic brushes.  Use it to set concealer under eyes and around the contours of the face with loose powder. Can also be used to apply a wash of color to eyelids. 

Medium Fluff Eye Shadow Brush
Shade lid and brow area with powder color and highlighter. Use it to sweep a basic neutral shade across the eyelid.
Smudger Brush
Soften liner color for a smoky effect. You can use with either powder shadow, cake liner or pencil and then use a fluff brush to swipe off excess to create the smoky look desired.
Flat Eyeliner Brush
Place against lash line and tap across eyelid to easily line eye without drawing.
Medium Eye Detailer Brush
Designed for smudging and softening liner or placing color on lid and outer corner of the eye.
Mini Eye Detailer Brush
Apply shadow along lower lash line or smudge pencil liner for a softer look. Ideal for applying precise color to outer corner of the lid.
Lip Brush
Synthetic brush for smooth and precise application of all lip products (lipstick, lipgloss, lip balm, etc.). It’s best to use a retractable lip brush for your handbag so it doesn't dirty your makeup bag or other cosmetics.

Brush Recommendations:
 ADesign – great resource for synthetic brushes in a range of styles and shapes, especially for professional Makeup Artists.
Japonesque – high quality brushes at slightly discounted prices from department stores.
Sephora – wide selection of brushes from a variety of cosmetic companies.
M.A.C. Cosmetics – huge array of brushes for the professional and the consumer.

Discount Makeup Brushes:
Essence of Beauty at CVS
Sonia Kashuk at Target

Please feel free to drop me a note if you still have any questions regarding makeup brushes.


  1. Great post. People are still going to ask you what each brush is used for though. I did a similar, very detailed post abt this and a video


  2. Hey Kim,

    Thanks for your comment. I like the idea of providing my Reader's a reference for makeup brushes even if they still ask questions. The more you ask, the more you learn in my opinion.

    Thanks for being a Subscriber to Karen's World of Beauty!

    Karen (aka MakUpDiva)

  3. Thanks Karen for this terrific list. It created a lot of discussion on our end. I mean we all wear make up everyday and even have a few nice brushes, but this list really makes the whole "brush" issue less mysterious. Our favorites? The foundation and stripling brushes.

  4. I have to say that organic cosmetic brushes are a lot better for blending and you can carefully build up makeup rather than spreading it on thick.

  5. Everyone has a right to their own opinion but as a working professional Makeup Artist all brushes are not created the same. Organic brushes aren't necessarily any better than natural hair brushes...it depends on the brand and the quality of materials used to create the brush. If your makeup looks too thick it could not only be your brush that's the problem, it might be your application technique.

    Karen (aka MakUpDiva)