Beauty Q&A: How Do I Use Oval Makeup Brushes?

March 29, 2018
By: Marisa Petrarca
Beauty Q&A: How Do I Use Oval Makeup Brushes?

If you’re new to the oval makeup brush world, you might be intimidated by their unfamiliar appearance or their steep price tag (looking at you, gorgeous Artis Elite Mirror Ten Piece Brush Set). Chances are you’ve heard of Artis Makeup Brushes, the brand that brought the oval makeup brush to life and thus, set the standards mighty high for competitors to try and make a product that rivals its quality.

What makes these oval makeup brushes unique is that they’re designed to mimic the way your fingers move across your face — so putting on your makeup or skincare products doesn’t feel awkward (even though its unusual shape looks like it would be). They’re constructed to fit comfortably in your hand and to specifically cater to self-application. Unless you have a personal MUA on call to do your makeup every morning, we think you and your makeup will benefit.

“Designed by Matthew Waitesmith, an accomplished artist, photographer, and lifelong innovator, Matthew’s inspiration came from training tens of thousands of makeup artists over 30 years. He was a pioneer in recognizing that the entire category of beauty tools was based on an artist-touches-canvas premise — someone applying product on someone/something else,” explains Jeremy Adelman, Founder & Managing Partner of Artis. “He asked himself, how different is the experience when the artist is the canvas? The answer: a totally different beauty paradigm. He brought his disruptive perspective to the process of self-application, to create a new category of beauty tools.”

While figuring out which brush to use when seems like the trickiest thing about oval makeup brushes, it’s actually the simplest. “They’re meant to be multifunctional. Simply match the size of the brush with the area of your face you want to apply to,” Adelman explains. “Generally, large oval brushes are used to apply and blend foundation, powder, bronzer, blush, moisturizers, serums and sunscreen, while small oval brushes are used to apply and blend concealer, contour, powder, blush, highlighter, eyeshadow and eye cream.”

Fast Facts About How to Use Oval Makeup Brushes:


1. Start by picking up a very small amount of product.

2. Pick up product with just the tips of the brush for powder or dot onto your skin first for liquids and creams.

3. Glide the brush back and forth in circular motions while using light pressure.

4. Remember to clean your brushes.


1. Use hard pressure.

2. Apply liquid products directly onto the brush.

3. Stipple, buff or bounce.

4. Wait until there’s build up on your brush to clean it.

To see how to use the brushes IRL, check out this video from Jackie Aina: