A Big Sister’s Complete Guide To Makeup Brushes

You’d think choosing a makeup brush would be an easy task. Just slather your foundation onto your brush and go to town, right? Unfortunately, that’s not really the case. So if you’re still using your fingers to apply your smokey eye, you’re totally forgiven. Choosing the right brush for each step of your makeup routine can make or break your look. But with so many choices out there, it can be daunting to know which brush to use for each product. Don’t worry though, we’ve got all the info you need! Scroll down for your complete guide to makeup brushes, so you don’t have to use your fingers for your makeup ever again!

Complete Guide to Makeup Brushes title card, with a woman holding a fan brush

The Ultimate Guide to Makeup Brushes

Foundation Brush

If you’re using liquid foundation, a foundation brush is a must-have in your kit. It flawlessly applies liquid foundation and allows you to build up your coverage to your desired look. If you want a full coverage look without having to build up your foundation, look for a dense brush with synthetic bristles. Say bye-bye to foundation on your hands. Yay!

Powder Brush

If an oily T-zone is one of your concerns, setting powder is your best friend and the powder brush is your ally. Use the brush to pick up a layer of setting powder and tap off the excess. Dust it over your t-zone and any other areas you want to set in place, like under your eyes or on your chin.

Blush Brush

Say hello to the blush brush, perfect for dusting over a youthful flush to your cheeks. Lightly pat the brush over the apples of your cheeks for that “just saw my crush” look. The fluffier the brush the less product it will pick up, allowing for a natural finish.

Contour Brush

The contour brush looks kind of intimidating, but it’s actually one of the most useful tools you can have in your kit. For a sharp sculpt, go for a brush with a sharp edge and flat bristles. The flat top is perfect for contouring your cheekbones and under your jaw. A brush with a slanted edge will allow you to apply a more subtle contour, perfect for your daytime glam. 

Bronzer Brush

The bronzer brush gives the wonderful gift of applying that “just returned from vacay” look. Dip the brush in your bronzer and apply it starting from the hairline, sweeping just below the cheekbones and just below the jawline. But whatever you do, don’t forget to blend it out!

Highlighter Brush

Grab your highlighter brush and get ready to *glow*. A highlighter brush with long bristles will apply a more natural, diffused look. Whereas a brush with shorter bristles will really make your highlighter shine bright! Tap the brush into your highlighter and dust it over your cheekbones to sculpt them to perfection!

Fan Brush

The fan brush is the jack of all trades in your kit. It can really do it all! A fan brush can subtly apply bronzer, highlighter, blush, and setting powder! It can even dust off any excess powder or eyeshadow that may have gone astray.

Concealer Brush

The concealer brush is small and pointed which allows for a precise application of concealer. Use it to cover up your lack of sleep from the night before or to hide any blemishes. Or use it to define your eyebrows for a bold, defined look.

Flat Eye Shadow Brush

These brushes are typically flat and dense allowing you to pack your neutral base color. This is the brush you want to use first to apply your base from your lid to your brow bone. Don’t worry, you’ll add the color in the next step!

Eye Shadow Crease Brush

The crease brush is where the fun comes in! Use your crease brush to add a wash of color or shimmer over your base or to apply your perfect smokey eye. It’s also used for blending out your shadow for a flawless look but make sure you wash it before you blend!

Brow Brush & Spoolie

Defined, flawless brows really pull your whole makeup look together, and the brow brush and spoolie will help you do just that. The spoolie allows you to tame and shape your brows into place. After they’re tidied up, use the angled brow brush apply eyebrow powder to fill in your brows to perfection.

How Often Should you Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

Now that we’ve covered all the brushes you should include in your kit, let’s go over some important housekeeping. How often should you wash your brushes? Hint – once every few months is NOT enough! If you’re using your brushes every day, try to clean them once a week. This will not only help keep your brushes clean, but it will also help keep your skin clear. (If you’ve already broken out due to not cleaning your brushes regularly, No B.S Skin Care’s acne-fighting line is a life-saver!) Regular cleaning will also prevent product buildup and extend the life of the bristles. Plus, the cleaner your brushes, the more flawless your makeup will look!

How Should you Clean Your Brushes?

No guide to makeup brushes would be complete without discussing how to clean your brushes. Don’t stress, cleaning your brushes is easier than you might think! All you need is water and gentle soap. To wash your brushes, first, run them under warm water. Then, massage the brush bristles with a dash of soap and rinse them out until the water runs clear. Put in the same care as if you’re massaging your own hair! After they’re all clean, gently squeeze out any excess liquid then lay them down on a towel to dry overnight. P.s, how satisfying is it to apply your makeup with fresh, clean brushes!?

Girl smiling, holding cotton pads wearing a towel over her head to wash her face

For more tips on makeup, check out Makeup Remover and Cleanser: Are They the Same? and don’t forget to join our newsletter below!