Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About Makeup Brushes

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Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About Makeup Brushes

Posted on December 01 2017


We’re always excited to try the latest makeup trends and tricks.


There are plenty of tools available to help us perfect our look - sponges, blenders, and brushes.


Brushes, in particular, can be a little overwhelming.


There are so many options available with different sizes, shapes, and purposes.


It’s hard to keep track of them all and what they can do.


We know they’re useful, but how they can improve your look, exactly?


How do you use them?


Why are there so many options?


We’re here to clear up any confusion so you can become a pro with makeup brushes.


Let’s get started.


The History of Makeup Brushes

Brushes have been used for thousands of years - cavemen used them to paint their walls.


And, they really haven’t changed much.


Archaeologists even found makeup from 164,000 years ago in a South African cave.


Evidence has also been found that Ancient Egyptians used makeup brushes, dating back to sometime after 1500 BC.


A city in Japan, Kumano, is widely known for its manufacturing of brushes for over 180 years.


They really are a beauty staple.


Cleaning Your Brushes

Before we dive into the different types of brushes, we need to stress the importance of cleaning them.


According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Anisa International, 39 percent of women clean their beauty tools less than once a month.


22 percent admitted to never cleaning them at all.


Makeup residue, oil, bacteria, and dead skin can collect on your brushes, leading to breakouts or even infection.


We all hate pimples, but the good news is some can be avoided - if you clean your brushes frequently and properly.


How to Clean Your Brushes:

1. Rinse the bristles under lukewarm water and keep them pointed at a downward angle.


2. Swirl bristles onto an antibacterial bar of soap, or one that is made for washing the face, until nicely lathered. Baby shampoo or soap specifically made for makeup brushes can also be used. Put a small amount into your hand, lathering in the same fashion until sudsy.


3. Rinse the soap out of the bristles with lukewarm water.


4. Gently squeeze out any excess water and reshape the brush head to its previous shape.


5. Let the brushes sit overnight on a dry towel. Repeat the process every couple of weeks.


Note: If you find that the bristles are thick and firm with makeup residue, try swirling them in a small amount of olive or almond oil, working the oils into the brush fibers. Rinse, and begin the cleaning process above.



Benefits of Using Makeup Brushes

Why should you use makeup brushes?


We’ll summarize here:


- Easy to control

- Limits messiness

- Buildable coverage

- Even application and blending


Natural vs. Synthetic Bristles

There are two types of bristles to choose from: natural and synthetic.


It comes down to personal preference and how they can help you achieve the results you want.


Natural bristles are made out of animal hair, often from squirrels or goats.


The bristles are super soft and have a cuticle, which helps with texture, picking up product, and blending.


They’re particularly good for lifting and absorbing powder formulas and blending them with your skin’s natural oils.


They’re also durable and move freely.


We recommend using a cruelty-free brand.


Synthetic bristles are human-made, usually from nylon, polyester, or other fibers.


They can come in various colors, depending on the brand’s aesthetic.


Unlike natural bristles, they don’t have a cuticle, so they won’t trap makeup.


This means less absorption, and therefore, using less product in the end.


Synthetic bristles gravitate towards one another, making them great for precise, smooth, and streak-free application.


If you see angled, sharply cut brushes, chances are they’re synthetic.



The bristles in our All Dolled Up Makeup Brush Starter Set are made of ultra-soft nylon that doesn't absorb product - which ultimately means using less - ensuring a streak-free application of powders, liquids, and creams.


They’re also cruelty-free and vegan.


The Handle

This is where comfort and style come into play.


You’ll find the company’s logo here and any other info about the brush, like its name or size.


Brush handles are made from wood - coated with either varnish or paint - or plastic.


Some companies make handles from recycled or sustainable materials.


The handle should be easy and comfortable to use.


Quality Matters

The brushes you use are just as important as your #makeupskills.


Even if you’re not a professional makeup artist, if you use high-quality brushes and products, your application will be better.


It’ll be worth it - after all, your brushes can last for years.


Just be sure to replace them if they’re shedding, the handle is broken, or the bristles seem to be permanently misshapen.



Application and Placement

First of all, why can’t you just use your fingers?


Well, you can, but it’s all about the product you’re using and what you want it to look like in the end.


Your fingers deliver a more concentrated application, and they’re good for products that need to be warmed up before blending.


Also, using your fingers can sometimes get messy - we recommend having makeup wipes on hand.


For brushes, less (product) is more - whether it’s foundation, blush, or eyeshadow.


Don’t be too heavy-handed; this will help you avoid cakiness.


Instead of applying everything at once, start with a little bit of product, then build up.


This will ensure a more natural look.


Brushes are versatile and good for precision, blendability, and an airbrushed finish.


How you hold the brush matters, too.


It affects your control.


You should always use light pressure, and the bristles shouldn’t bend on your skin.


Generally speaking, use light circular or sweeping motions.


The closer your fingers are to the ferrule (the silver part beneath the bristles), the less motion you’ll have.


If you want to evenly apply color, put your fingers on the center of the handle.


Pro Tip: You can turn a fluffy brush into a flat, angled brush by flattening the bristles with your hand.


Brush Shape

Oval-shaped makeup brushes are trending and for good reason.


They look like hairbrushes - but for your face.


While they seem a little odd, they help you to easily apply and blend products like a pro.


The oval shape and curve of the handle fit the contours of the face well.


They are made with more fibers than regular brushes for smooth applying, and this also means that less product gets trapped between bristles.


They cover more surface area and provide an even distribution, so you’ll get an airbrushed finish that’s free of any harsh lines.



Our Blend Party - Oval Makeup Brush Kit not only looks fab, it also helps you make the most out of your makeup routine.


Go ahead and give them a try!


Types of Brushes for the Face

Below are the types of brushes to use for powder and liquid foundation, blush, highlighter, bronzer, and contouring.


Kabuki Brush - to apply mineral powder

Powder/Blush Brush - to apply powder foundation and blush

Flat Top Stippling Brush - to apply light powder or creamy products

Angled Contour Brush - for blending and contouring

Flat Top Kabuki Brush - to apply liquid foundation

Liquid Foundation Brush - to apply liquid foundation

Large Fan Brush - to apply blush, blending, highlights, and for brushing off excess powder

Concealer Brush - for concealing a concentrated area


Types of Brushes for the Eyes

Here are the different brushes that will help you perfect your eyeshadow and eyeliner for that sultry smoky eye.


Smudging Brush - to smudge specific area of a smoky eye

Medium Blender - for blending out eyeshadows

Crease Shader - for controlled application of shadow on eye creases

Large Cream Shadow Brush (or Large Domed Shader) - for applying cream eyeshadows

Small Cream Shadow Brush (or Precision Concealer) - for applying cream eyeshadows or eyeshadow primers in concentrated/small areas

Angled Precision Brush (or Angled Lining Brush) - for filling in brows or creating a precise line to the eyes with cream, gel or powder


Brushes for the Lips

There are options for your lips, too.


Lip Liner Brush w/ Cap - for applying lip liner to the outline of the lips

Rounded Liner Brush - for applying cream products to the eyes and lips, or can be used for cream eyeliner, or applying lipstick



Our Palette Professional Makeup Brush Collection has all the brushes you need to get the look you’re going for, whether it’s bold or natural.


Whether you choose to get a complete collection is really up to you.


If you don’t think you’ll need all the brushes, pick a few players that you think you’ll use regularly.


Getting the Look You Want

Here’s how to use your brushes in an easy routine that anyone can do.


Step 1: Use the Liquid Foundation Brush to apply your moisturizer and primer.


Start with your moisturizer and wait for it to dry.


Then, apply your primer.


Start in the center of the face and work outward.


Let it absorb into the skin for 5-10 minutes.


Step 2: Using the same Liquid Foundation Brush, smooth your cream your liquid foundation.


Start at the center of your face and sweep outward to your hairline for flawless, streak-free coverage.


Step 3: Gently move the Flat Top Stippling Brush in a circular motion to blend excess foundation and to get an airbrushed, poreless look.


Step 4: Use the Concealer Brush to apply concealer to the under eye area.


Any easy trick is to draw an upside down triangle under your eye.


This shape conceals dark circles and lifts the face.


Then glide the brush in continuous movements with light and gentle pressure to blend.


If you have any blemishes or dark spots you want to hide, use the Concealer Brush to get those small, targeted areas.


Make sure the shade matches your skin tone.


In this case, less is better!


Dab on each layer at a time and slowly build for a natural look.


Step 5: Now it’s time to blend and contour.


Use the Angled Contour Brush to apply your bronzer, which should be two shades darker than your skin tone.


The slanted bristles make it easier to apply to your cheekbones and give a sculpted look around the nose and eyes.


Step 6: Use the Powder/Blush Brush to apply your blush.


Sweep it from the apples of your cheeks along your cheekbones.


Step 7: Use the Kabuki Brush to lock your look in place with setting powder.


Buff the powder in the center of the face and work outward (notice a trend here?).


Next, blend the bristles across your face to get the excess off for an even coverage that won’t show.


Step 8: Now it’s time to do the eyes. Use the Small Cream Shadow Brush to apply eyeshadow primer.


Step 9: Use the Angled Precision Brush for applying kohl cream eyeliner precisely.


Hold the brush at an angle and sweep from the inside corner of your eye along your lash line.


For the smoky look, smudge your liner with fine, upward strokes.


You can even use the brushes to fill in brows with brow powder.  


Step 10: Use the Large Cream Shadow Brush and the Medium Blender to shade in your light and medium toned gray eyeshadow and blend it into the crease.


Step 11: Use the Crease Shader for controlled application of a dark gray or black shadow on your eye creases to add dimension and depth.


Step 12: Use the Smudging Brush blur a specific area of your smoky eye.


You can also target areas around the eye, like the inner and outer corners and the brow bone.


Step 13: Use the Lip Liner Brush with cap to apply lip liner for a smooth contour.


Use the tip to define lip lines at the bows and corners.


Then, pick a lipstick and use the Rounded Liner Brush to start at the center of your lips and blend outward toward your lip line.


Step 14: Use the Large Fan Brush to brush off any excess eyeshadow or to do any final blending that’s needed.  


And that’s all there is to it.


Your look is complete!


That wasn’t so hard, was it?



Brushes should be kept away from humidity.


We recommend keeping them in a case.


This will keep them clean, help them retain their shape, and keep them from touching each other.


There are also lots of DIYs online for brush storage.



That was a lot to take in, but hopefully, we’ve increased your knowledge and your confidence about using makeup brushes.


A versatile tool, the makeup world would be incomplete without them.


They can help you achieve whatever #flawless look you’re going for.


Are you ready to build up your beauty arsenal and start using brushes in your makeup routine?


We have plenty of options available for you, including the Get it Together + Blend Party Bundle.


Happy blending!


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