The Ultimate Guide To Makeup Brushes – Different Types And Their Uses

Written by Esha Saxena
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Makeup can be intimidating – and makeup brushes can be even more intimidating! Stippling, angled, fan and contour – which brush is to be used with which makeup product? Worry not, I am here to give you a run down on all you need to know about makeup brushes in order to survive in the big and scary world of makeup. Check out this guide on 18 different types of makeup brushes and their uses.

Different Types Of Makeup Brushes

We have listed the different types of makeup brushes and their uses below. We have also recommended two well-known brands in each category.

1. Foundation Brush

The primary function of a foundation brush is to facilitate the smooth application of your base or foundation onto the skin. Using a brush of good quality makes all the difference in the world. Opting for a wrong brush can make you appear cakey and washed over. A high-quality foundation brush will allow you to blend the foundation out smoothly so that you can buff the product into the skin, giving it the most natural look.

The two best types of foundation brushes are:

i) Real Techniques Foundation Brush

The Foundation Brush by Real Techniques has been carefully designed by makeup experts Sam and Nic Chapman. This brush is meant to layer on the foundation in a smooth and flawless fashion. It provides full coverage as the brush picks up a good amount of product.

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ii) Japonesque Foundation Brush

This foundation brush by Japonesque has tapered synthetic fibers that provide the perfect amount of pressure for the smooth application of the product over pores, crevices, and lines. The handle is small, which makes it handy and ideal for travel.

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2. Concealer Brush

A concealer brush is perfect for spot correction. As the name suggests, concealer brushes are used to even out concealers – to make the product look as natural as it can on the skin. While using a concealer brush, never blend it out. You should never move the product around, but carefully pat the product onto the skin to conceal the area.

The two best brushes for regular usage are:

i) MAC 195

The MAC 195 is a brush with flat bristles and a pointed tip. It aids in the application and blending of the concealer. The brush helps you to get to the smallest of the flaws.

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ii) Real Techniques Detailer Brush

The bristles in this brush by Sam and Nic Chapman have been precisely cut to target problem areas. It blends all your imperfections smoothly.

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3. Stippling Brush

This is another brush that you can use for your base. While the foundation brush helps you to get the product onto the skin smoothly, the stippling brush gives you an airbrushed look. If you carefully observe the brush, you would see that the ends of the brush are very light and feathery when compared to the base.

The two best Stippling Brushes are:

i) E.L.F Small Stipple Brush

E.L.F Small Stipple Brush is a synthetic brush that features two layers of soft and flexible bristles. The flat-top design allows sheer coverage, even on the hard-to-reach areas. This brush is ideal for buffing, stippling, and blending powders into the skin for a flawless look. You can use this brush for liquid, cream, and powder foundation, concealers, and cream blush.

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ii) Real Techniques Stippling Brush

This stippling brush by Real Techniques is a dual fiber brush. It contains two types of bristles of different lengths that help you achieve that airbrushed look you long for. Plus, the bristles are so soft, they feel like feathers on your skin.

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4. Angled Blush Brush

An angled blush brush enables the precise application of the blush. The angled shape of the brush allows it to pick up the product and dust it onto the cheeks ever so softly so that it looks natural.

The two best angled blush brushes are:

i) Sigma F84 Angled Kabuki Brush

This brush has been made with Sigma’s signature Sigmax fibers, which make it incredibly soft and dense, making it easy to pick up the product. The brush delivers a smooth, flawless, and high definition finish. It works great with both cream and powder bronzers.

ii) E.L.F. Angled Brush

The bristles from this brush by E.L.F. are soft and dense to help you to apply color easily in a sweeping motion. Use the brush to apply the product onto the apples of your cheeks and sweep it towards the ear.

5. Powder Brush

The primary function of a powder brush is to dust your face with loose or compact powder, without making you look like the ghost from The Grudge. A good powder brush will allow you to set and touch up your makeup.

The two best Powder Brushes are:

i) Suqqu Face Brush

The Suqqu Face Brush is specially designed to spread the powder evenly on the face. With a brush like this, looking chalky can be avoided. It picks up a good amount of the product and distributes it all over the face, making it look as natural as possible.

ii) Real Techniques 100 Arched Powder Brush

Real Techniques has made it to the list, yet again! You shouldn’t even be surprised at this point. Don’t even get me started on the Bold Metals Collection. They are absolutely gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing. This brush is from the Bold Metals Collection. The bristles are shaped in a dome so that it can sweep the product across the face smoothly.

6. Angled Brush

An angled brush has multiple uses. It can be used for brows and eyeliner. The angled shape of the brush helps to fill in eyebrows in the shape of your choice. The sharp ends also make it convenient to draw out a killer winged liner.

The two best angled brushes are:

i) Sigma E75

Sigma came up with a short, stiff brush that is cut at just the right angle to assist you in making your brows look perfect. A brush like this gives you complete control of how you want your brows to look.

ii) By Terry Angled Brush

The fine hair on the brush adapts to your style of stroke and the medium, whether it be liquid, powder or cream. It allows you to achieve that “eyebrows on fleek” look.

7. Contour Brush

Contouring is one thing that, at any cost, can not be done without a brush. And if you manage to do it, you’d probably end up looking like a clay sculpture. Quite a few people know how to use a contour brush. A contour brush will have firmer bristles than a blush brush, and a more angled tip. It is specially designed to help you target the areas that you want to contour and shape.

Here are the two best contour brushes:

i. wet n wild Pro Brush Line Flat Contour Brush

This contour brush from wet n wild features densely-packed synthetic bristles that are soft on the skin and pick up product easily. It has a sleek handle that fits perfectly in your hand to make contouring a breeze. The brush is ideal for sculpting the face, whether for contouring or highlighting.

ii) Nars #21 Contour Brush

Another excellent option is from Nars. Nars is a revolutionary when it comes to makeup, and they’ve taken the world by storm. So, we know that anything that is going to come from Nars is going to be a real winner.

8. Highlight Fan Brush

The bristles in a fan brush are specifically designed for highlighters. The bristles are spread out so that the brush picks up a small amount of the product. It is then slightly dusted on the top of the cheekbones and other areas of the face that need to be highlighted. It is best to go in with a light hand to avoid using too much product.

The two best branded Highlight Fan brushes are:

i) Smashbox Fan Brush #22

This fan brush by Smashbox is a real champion for highlighting. The brush picks up just the right amount of product and gives the perfect finish.

ii) Sigma F41 Fan Brush

The Sigma F41 Fan Brush works with cream, liquid, and powder highlighters. The light bristles of the brush help in distributing the product evenly so that the product doesn’t end up looking patchy or cakey.

9. Blending Brush

A blending brush is a must have when it comes to brushes. This is something you can’t use your fingers for. A good blending brush will help you to soften out any harsh lines after the application of the eyeshadow. The trick to the perfect eyeshadow look is to blend, blend, and when you think you’ve blended enough, blend one more time to achieve perfection.

The two best blending brushes are:

i) MAC 217

When someone says ‘blending’, the first brush that pops up in my head is the MAC 217 blending brush. You will see this brush in almost every makeup artists’ collection and in at least in one video of every single YouTube beauty icon. It’s one of those ‘must have’ items. Want to avoid looking like a raccoon when you’re trying to nail a smokey eye? Try this!

ii) Japonesque Eyeshadow Crease Blending Brush

Japonesque is a go-to brand when it comes to makeup brushes. The bristles on this brush are soft and dense, which is a good combination if you want your eye makeup to look flawless.

10. Eye Liner Brush

You know those Instagram video tutorials of piercing winged eyeliners? Yeah, well they didn’t do that with just any brush. You need a particular eye liner brush in order to reach that level of perfection and precision. The eye liner brush is designed to pick up and deposit the required amount of product while giving you maximum control.

The two best branded eye liner brushes are:

i) MAC 210 Precise Eyeliner Brush

It’s no surprise that the MAC 210 brush has made it to this list. Three out of five makeup artists would pull out this trusty item if they want a fail-proof way of recreating the ever dramatic winged liner look. The extra-fine tip has the perfect length and density for lining the eyes.

ii) Real Techniques Silicone Eyeliner Brush

At this point, you should have expected this brush to pop up. Honestly, everything by Real Techniques deserves a notable mention. This brush has the perfect length and density for drawing out the eyeliner style of your choice. It works well with liquid, gel or cream liners.

11. Eyeshadow Brush

An eyeshadow brush helps you to apply eyeshadow, whether it be in the form of cream or powder, smoothly and with precision onto your eyelid. A good eyeshadow brush will pick up a decent amount of the product and will allow you to pack it onto the eyelid with minimal fallout.

The two best types of eyeshadow brushes and their uses are:

i) Bobbi Brown Eye Sweep Brush

ii) Sephora Pro Shadow BrushIf you’re looking for a good brush that will pick up a good amount of color, check this out. The brush helps you apply the product onto the eyelid and makes it appear highly pigmented. It works extremely well when dealing with heavy glitter.

Apply eye makeup like a pro with the Pro Shadow Brush by Sephora! The bristles are just the perfect texture for both packing and blending out eyeshadow.

12. Bronzer Brush

A bronzer brush is rounded and distributes the product evenly. A big fluffy brush for bronzing helps you achieve that natural, sun-kissed look.

The two best branded bronzer brushes are:

i) Ecotools Bamboo Domed Bronzer Brush

The plush, round head of the brush lets you create a natural bronzed look as though you have just returned from a vacation from the Maldives! The bristles are incredibly soft and light synthetic, and the handle is made from bamboo. EcoTools prides itself in being cruelty-free and environment-friendly.

ii) Real Techniques Retractable Bronzer Brush

A fantastic option for when you are on the go, the Retractable Bronzer Brush by Real Techniques lets you retract and cover the brush so that it can fit in any bag. The brush consists of two bristle types that help you blend like a pro.

13. Lip Brush

Most of the times, we either use the doe brush that comes with the lip products or apply them directly. However, if you want precision and perfectly lined lips like you see in makeup tutorials and photo shoots, a lip brush is a must.

The best branded lip brushes are:

i) No7 Lip Brush

Perfect for on the go, this brush is retractable, which means that you can carry it around in your bag. The bristles are carefully assembled to help you attain the perfect lip makeup look.

ii) Real Techniques Retractable Lip Brush

This one by Real Techniques is also a retractable brush. Ideal for lip stains and lipsticks, the bristles are quite firm to give you the precision required to obtain a neat result.

14. Mascara Brush Or Spoolie

You might know how to pick the best makeup brushes, but how about a brush for your lashes or brows? Of course, you can use the wand that comes with the product when you purchase it, but if you are extremely specific on how you want your lashes to look, then a mascara brush is the way to go.

The two best mascara brushes are:

i. Tbestmax Store Disposable Mascara Wands

These disposable mascara wands are perfect for the hygiene-obsessed and are sold in a pack of 300. These spiral wands are colorful and fun with bendable brush heads to help you achieve flawless eye makeup without any hassle.

ii) Sephora Disposable Mascara Wands

Containing 12 disposable silicone wands, these brushes are of different types that suit certain needs. There are brushes exclusively for lengthening, volumizing, curling and defining. Pick a brush of your choice, use it, and throw it away. This lets you avoid all the mess and keeps your mascara clean and hygienic.

15. Blush Brushes

Unlike the angled blush brush, this one is not angled. This is somewhat like a powder brush, but more rounded and compacted to pick up the pigments of the blush. The bristles are designed to allow blending so that there are no harsh lines.

The two best blush brushes are:

i) Sonia Kashuk Domed Blusher Brush No. 29

The brush is dome shaped, which makes it ideal for swirling the brush across the cheeks.

ii) Illamasqua Blusher Brush

The bristles are incredibly soft and can be used for cream, liquid, and powder blushes. The short bristles are there for precise placement of product, and the longer bristles make it easy to blend the product. The brush is hypoallergenic and suitable for all skin types.

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16. Eyebrow Brush

A pair of well-defined brows can enhance your appearance and help you instantly achieve an aesthetically pleasing look. Also, defined brows frame your eyes and highlight your best features. A slanted liner brush, also known as the angled brow brush, is used to apply eyebrow filler. An eyebrow brush or a spoolie brush is used to tame and shape brows after filling them in.

The two best eyebrow brushes that are perfect for daily use are:

i) EcoTools Brow Shaping Duo

This eyebrow brush set from EcoTools includes two brushes to effortlessly style, define, and maintain flawless brows. Use the angled liner brush to apply your brow product or gel and use the spoolie to comb and smooth out stray brows. These brushes are soft, yet firm, allowing the bristles to pick up and distribute product evenly.

ii) Keshima Duo Eyebrow Brush

This professional 2-in-1 brush accommodates an angled brow brush on one side and a spoolie brush on the other. Its firm bristles are perfect for shaping, defining, and grooming your eyebrows. This brush is made with synthetic hair and high-quality materials. It is lightweight and has a long wooden handle to make the job of brow grooming easier for you.

17. Kabuki Brush

Ever wondered what a kabuki brush does? A kabuki brush is usually used to apply loose powder on large areas of your face. Due to its size and design, the brush blends your powder foundation super evenly on your skin and creates a very natural-looking coverage. You can also use this brush to blend, buff, or stipple liquid or cream foundations for a far more natural and sheer coverage than what you achieve with a regular foundation brush.

Take a look at our best picks down below:

i) Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush

If you’re looking for a high-quality kabuki brush at a reasonable price, this one from Real Techniques takes the cake. Its made of synthetic bristles and can be used along with all kinds of formulas.

ii) Too Faced Kabuki Brush

Too Faced’s kabuki brush looks and feels slightly fancier than the Real Techniques brush. It is also retractable and housed in a sleek pink case. It is made with teddy bear hair, which is a super soft, exclusive, and luxurious fiber that grabs and blends pigments for more pro-like application. Its synthetic fibers apply wet and dry formulas effectively.

18. Makeup Sponge

Ladies, makeup sponges are a game changer. If you use them right, your skin will look like that Instagram filter you love come to life. You’ve got to wet your makeup sponge, squeeze out excess water, and then apply your foundation by gently tapping it onto the skin. Next, blend it in using patting motions. Results? It creates an airbrushed finish, and your skin looks incredible.

These makeup sponges are totally worth trying:

i) Beauty Blender

The OG makeup sponge of our times or the Beauty Blender grows to about twice its size when wet. It absorbs minimal product, so your favorite foundation lands on your face and not your sponge. When wet, its soft material provides an even, smooth blend and bounce. Its large, rounded side ensures quick application while the contoured tip offers precision.

ii) Fenty Beauty Precision Makeup Sponge

This 3-sided, latex-free makeup sponge from Fenty Beauty by Rihanna is perfect for applying and blending a variety of formulas. You can use its slanted edge for controlled stippling, the rounded end for all-over buffing, and the mini-moon edge for targeted coverage (like your under eyes.) No matter the formula – cream, liquid, or powder – this sponge allows you to customize your coverage seamlessly, every single time.

There, you have it! These are the different types of makeup brushes that you need to know about to know what you’re doing when it comes to makeup! So, now that you know how to use makeup brushes, be the flawless diva that you are.

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