There is nothing wrong with following a minimalist approach when it comes to applying your makeup with things like blending sponges and your fingertips; however, makeup artists will stress the importance of using the right makeup brush for applying your look, and not just pulling a random one out of your collection. According to Bina Khan, makeup artist and co-founder of Just B Cosmetics, there are three things to look for when scouting a new brush: “Think about the shapes you want to create, the density of product you want to lay down, and err on the side of softness,” the pro says. “That’s going to give a blurred, soft, blended finish to whatever you do.”
Using a makeup brush is the quickest way to achieving a pro-level finish, says Khan. And makeup artist Jamie Greenberg, who has worked with everyone from Kristen Stewart to Tracee Ellis Ross, adds that, “The softness of the bristles will determine how well the product applies. Natural bristles, which are made with hair from animals, may hold color a little better than synthetic ones. Synthetic bristles are usually either nylon or polyester, and they can last longer since they’re made to withhold makeup and usage. They’re also a lot easier to keep clean.” All things to keep in mind when you’re picking up a new tool, but it also helps to know which shape is going to work the best with your choice of product.
Because there are so many brushes on the market, to help you filter through the wide selection, TZR curated the below list of brushes to use with different types of makeup products on different areas of the face — all with guidance from the pros of course. Say goodbye to cakey, streaky, and uneven makeup days.
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Best Makeup Brushes For Foundation
When applying foundation you can either choose between a powder brush or a foundation brush. If you are using powder foundation, the experts recommend a soft, fluffy powder brush as it will prevent picking up excess product (which can be tough to blend).
Foundation brushes on the other hand, can be flat or round and have densely packed bristles to buff and blend products smoothly. They are great for cream formulas and to achieve fuller coverage.
Stipple brushes are also ideal for acne-prone skin, as the softer texture won’t irritate the skin and the dense bristles will help you achieve maximum coverage.
Best Makeup Brushes For Concealer
For concealer, brushes should be densely packed to blend your product easily and tend to be smaller to get into those hard-to-reach places (undereyes, sides of nose, or over a blemish) with precision.
Best Makeup Brushes For Eyeshadow
A crease brush is shaped to fit the curve of the eye, meaning it’s rounded slightly and can help create softer definition with eyeshadow. According to Greenberg, this style of brush can easily blend both cream and powder eye shadow, and can even be used for concealer, contouring, highlighting — anything small and controlled.
Best Makeup Brushes For Eyeliner
Eyeliner brushes can include smudgers, flat brushes, and angled brushes. Flat brushes will allow you to achieve a crisp eyeliner look and smudgers will help work in the pigment and blend. You can use these precise brushes to add a pop of highlight to your inner eye corners as well.
Best Makeup Brushes For Blush
For washes of blush color, Talia Cich, executive director of education at Anastasia Beverly Hills, recommends selecting a bigger brush to create sweeping motions from the apple of your cheek towards your ear. This type of brush will work for both cream and powder formulas and will help to easily blend the product into your skin for a lit-from-within effect.
Best Makeup Brushes For Bronzer
Bronzer brushes can be round or oval in shape to help add a subtle sunkissed effect to your complexion. “[They] are great for powder products and gives you just the pop of color you want,” Greenberg adds.
For more concentrated application, Khan encourages an angled contour brush with soft bristles for minimal fallout. “Contour brushes tend to be small and round with densely packed bristles to blend product into perfection” the expert tells TZR.
Best Makeup Brushes For Highligher
Highlighter brushes come in multiple shapes and sizes. They can appear in fan-like brushes that can apply a light wash of powder or a cone shape to keep the product concentrated to a smaller area.
Best Makeup Brushes For Eyebrows
For all your favorite pomades, powders, and waxes, invest in an angled brow brush for the perfect polished finish. “For brows, you want a thin angled brush so you can mimic individual brush strokes,” says Khan. With an angled brush you can shape and fill in your brows and control your liner and eye shadow with this. It’s the perfect tool for a cat eye.
Best Makeup Brushes For Lips
Although you apply your lipstick directly from the tube, lip brushes can be used for flawless color and seamless outlining of the lips, with its paintbrush-shape. Not to mention lip brushes are great when it comes to building color or mixing colors — something that’s hard to do with multiple lip tubes without staining the formula. Using a lip brush also gives you way more control over the intensity and shape of your lipstick.
According to Greenberg, a general rule of thumb is that condensed brushes are for more concentrated color, while fluffier brushes are for more dispersed color. You can follow the above guide for seamless and well-blended makeup, or you can experiment on your own to find out what works best for you, your skin, and your products.