October 24, 2016 Diana Crisan Face

How to Use Every Makeup Brush in Your Collection, According to a Pro Makeup Artist

Just like long division, makeup brushes are confusing AF. But, unlike long division, we actually need them. With dozens that look exactly the same, but serve completely different purposes, how’s a gal to know what’s what? And once you identify a blush brush from a contouring brush, the next big question we ask ourselves is: How do I use this thing?! Well, lucky you should ask.

Pro makeup artist Diana Alba shows us exactly how to use each essential makeup brush—so we can stop being confused, and start highlighting with the right brush.



Foundation Brush

Flexible bristles and gently tapered edges make this brush perfect for applying and blending liquid and cream foundation formulas. Start in the center of face and use outward strokes for the smoothest, most natural application.


Concealer Brush

The flat rounded tip makes blending around the contours of the face a breeze. Use to apply concealer to under-eye circles, around the nose and spot treat to conceal any breakouts.


Powder Brush

Loosely packed bristles make for one big, fluffy brush with a rounded shape. Use it with loose or pressed powders, to set your foundation and concealer. Focus on the under-eye area, nose, chin and forehead. Just tap off the excess before using sweeping motions to brush it across the face.

Contouring Brush

Angled brushes with stiff, densely packed bristles are used for more controlled contouring. Start from the forehead and work your way down, across the cheekbone, and along the jawline.


Blush Brush

Using a tapered powder brush for precision, apply blush to the apples of the cheeks, and use short strokes to dust powder out toward the hairline for a draping effect.


Highlighting Brush

Small, tapered brush heads with soft bristles are ideal for applying highlighting powder to the cheekbones, forehead, nose and inner corners of the eye.


Eyeshadow Brush

Use a flat brush to pat or press eye shadow directly to the eyelid. The small, dense bristles allow for easy layering, so you can pack on the pigment if desired!


Blending Brush

A fluffy blending blush works to buff eye shadow into the crease, and diffuse color to create a natural (or smoldering) finish to any eye look.


Eyeliner Brush

For your sharpest cat eye yet, use a pointed eyeliner brush with a gel formula for an ultra smooth and thin application that’s tight to the lashline.


Eyebrow Brush

Dip your flat, angled eyebrow brush into a tinted brow pomade and outline the desired shape above and below the natural shape of your eyebrows. Then fill them in with the same brush for #BrowGoals everyone will envy.


Lip Brush

Line lips with a lip liner similar to the lipstick shade you’ll be using first. Then use a lip brush to fill in lips for an ultra-precise application. No smudging or feathering here!



Did this makeup brush guide help settle any confusion? Share your own application tips with the rest of us below!



    About the Author: Diana creates on-trend beauty content for Makeup.com readers. She stays up-to-date on the latest beauty news and product launches and tests every makeup item that comes through the door. As an employee of L’Oréal, Diana writes stories about beauty products across the entire brand portfolio.