These days, almost everything can be applied “using your fingertips.” Whether it’s eyeshadow, lip balm, or even foundation (sometimes), more and more people are using their ten digits—and it’s not always a good idea. Brushes are a crucial part of makeup application for several reasons, the most important one being that they allow for greater accuracy and precision, which makes a big difference in the final look.
Since brushes don’t come in a one-size fits all purposes package, I took the liberty of scouring the Internet and compiled together some of the basic brushes you might want to include in your makeup kit.
1. Foundation Brush
There are two different types of foundation brushes—one for liquid foundation and one for powder. Liquid foundation brushes have a flat head with long bristles, and are usually rounded off at the top, though you’ll find exceptions. Although foundation can also be applied using a sponge, brushes tend to give more even coverage.
2. Concealer Brush
Similar in shape to a foundation brush, concealer brushes are smaller in size because of the obvious difference in purpose. Since concealer is used to hide blemishes, these brushes usually have small, rounded tips for exact application. The size of these brushes also allow you to get to the hard-to-reach spots, like the area around your nose.
3. Powder/Bronzer Brush
Powder brushes are greatly varied, as they can come in both long and short handles, flat or round tops. Short handles, like the well-known Kabuki brush, give you greater control over application and allow you to contour your face. However, both the long and short brushes have a wide, round head used to pat powder all over your face. Powder brushes can be used for both powder foundation and bronzer. Just make sure to wash the brush if you’re going to be using it interchangeably.
4. Blush Brush
These brushes are similar to powder brushes, but are a bit more tapered to allow you to contour your cheekbones and blend the blush in. Many blushes come with their own brushes, but I find those brushes to be rather small and inefficient. However, if you’re not a stickler for the finer details, I’d recommend using a powder brush for your blush, too. Now that’s a tongue-twister.
5. Eyeshadow Brushes
Eyeshadow brushes are by far the most diverse set of brushes in all of makeup history. They usually come in three different sizes–large, medium, and small, each one serving a different purpose. The medium brush is usually used to pat the color onto the lids, and the small one is used for more detailed application, like lining your eyes. The large brush is used for highlighting, especially your brow bone.
6. Eyeliner Brush
Eyeliner brushes are short and stubby. The tips of eyeliner brushes are usually flatter than eyeshadow brushes because the application needs to be perfect. There’s not really any blending when it comes to putting on eyeliner, and although the one in the picture below doesn’t show it, slanted brushes also exist for better application. These brushes are usually used to apply eyeliner gels, since any other kind usually comes with its own applicator.
7. Lip Brush
And finally, lip brushes. These are a pretty big deal for me because I find that directly applying lipstick onto your lips end up being difficult towards the lip lines. Lip brushes are by far the tiniest brushes yet, which make sense because you end up lining and shaping your lips. With lip brushes, I’d recommend getting one with firm bristles. If they’re soft and bendy, you’re going to have a hard time controlling it during application.
And there we have it. Now when you buy brushes separately, they can cost you quite a fortune so I’d recommend buying a set. My go-to brand for makeup, Sephora, currently has some awesome deals for makeup sets. There’s a travel kit that’s currently on sale and selling for $32 and some others that I’d recommend you guys taking a look at.
Remember, what we’ve covered here is just the tip of the iceberg, but unless you’re looking to be a makeup guru when you grow up, there’s absolutely no need to buy them all. That said, have fun brushing away.