A Guide to Every Face Makeup Brush You Could Ever Need

October 04, 2019
By: Diana Crisan
A Guide to Every Face Makeup Brush You Could Ever Need

Excuse us while we geek out for a moment, but nothing excites us quite like the thrill of brand new face makeup brushes. Pristinely clean and those soft bristles. Swoon. You may or may not share our same enthusiasm for beauty tools, but if you’re in the market for face makeup brushes, it’s important to know what you need. The options are plentiful. Let us help you with our all encompassing makeup brush guide, ahead. 


Tapered Foundation Brush:Yves Saint Laurent Foundation Brush
Flexible bristles and gently tapered edges make this brush perfect for applying and blending liquid and cream foundations for a streak-free finish. Start in the areas of the face that need the most coverage, and use downward strokes for the smoothest, most natural application.


Rounded Foundation Brush:IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Plush Paddle Foundation Brush

The densely packed bristles pick up and distribute product evenly. The round, domed shape allow the bristles to blend as they brush. The result is an even, flawless finish for any liquid, cream or powder foundation.


Flat Concealer Brush:
NYX Professional Makeup Prime and Conceal Brush

The flat, rounded tip makes blending around the contours of the face a breeze. Use it to apply concealer to under-eye circles (and into the bridge of your nose), and then wipe it clean with water and a tissue and blend out.


Precision Concealer Brush:
Urban Decay Pro Detailed Concealer Brush

This concealer brush is smaller and comes to a point allowing for more precise application. Use it to conceal blemishes or small imperfections and to clean up the lines after applying a bold lip color. Or, dip the brush in cream highlighter and apply just below the brow bone for major glow-factor. The packed bristles make it easy to stay close to hairs under each arch.


Powder Brush:
Lancôme Powder Brush #1

Loosely packed bristles make for one big, fluffy brush with a rounded shape. Use it with loose or pressed powders, just tap off the excess before using sweeping motions to brush it across the face.


Blush Brush:
IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe French Boutique Blush Brush #4

This is a more compact powder brush that can be used to apply cheek color. Smile to locate the apples of the cheek and use short strokes to dust powder out toward the hairline.


Angled Brush: 
Urban Decay Pro Contour Definition Brush

The angled shape allows for more precise shading. Softer, fluffy angled brushes are great for applying blush, bronzer and highlighter. Angled brushes with stiffer, more densely packed bristles can be used for more controlled contouring.


Stippling Brush: 
Urban Decay Diffusing Highlighter Brush

This brush provides the lightest application of pigment for a sheer finish. Use it to dust on finishing powder or powder blush. Or, use a stippling motion to evenly press cream brush onto the cheeks. It can also be used to achieve a soft, airbrushed effect when used as a foundation brush.


Fan Brush:
NYX Professional Makeup Holographic Halo Micro Highlighting Brush

The soft bristles and flat, fan shape of this brush make it the ideal tool for gently sweeping on highlighting or bronzing powder for that soft-focus effect. The brush shape allows for a perfect contour, too. Apply color flatly into the crevice below the cheekbone for a chiseled look or use it clean to sweep away excess product or redistribute powders without disrupting the rest of your makeup. 



Don't just throw your makeup brushes loosely into a makeup kit. Not only can the top get crushed and distorted, but also a serious amount of germs live deep in the depths of your bag and can rub off onto anything in close proximity. Instead, stay organized using these seven rules of brush storage. The simple suggestions will make your brush display accessible, pretty and most importantly, safe. 


How to Wash and Dry Your Makeup Brushes

"I suggest using a gentle shampoo like the baby variety to wash the brushes one to two at a time," says makeup guru Stevi Christine. Make sure the word "gentle" is clearly printed on the label to avoid harsh chemicals that can loosen the glue holding the bristles in place. Softly scrub the lathered up brushes in the palm of your hand and then rinse thoroughly until the water stream runs clear (a sign that dirt and makeup have made their exit). "Then lay them flat on a paper towel to dry overnight. Do a touch test before use, as your larger brushes can take a bit longer to dry," she adds. 


Here’s How Often You Should Wash Your Makeup Brushes 

The golden rule of washing brushes is to do it once a week. However, should you skip a week, don't sweat it. "At the very least, wash them once a month!" Christine stressed. Re-using gunk and dirt-ridden brushes not only causes breakouts, but they can introduce other nasty skin reactions and allergies to your complexion. Plus, the buildup of color on your brushes means that the shade you intend to apply to your face may not be what you actually get. Cleaning them regularly means a clean face and true colors.

How to Know When It’s Time to Buy Replacement Brushes 

You can't generalize about a brush's expiration date. "Look at them as individuals as they need to be replaced at different times. Some of the bristles are gentler than others and will start to flatten sooner," Christine added. Though you may be attached to a makeup brush you've had for years, if it smells, sheds, separates or is flat, toss it immediately. If nothing stands out, do a brush check once or twice a year to make sure they're not past their prime.

Read More:
How to Pick the Best Makeup Primer for You and Apply it Like a Pro
The Best Pink Lipsticks — According to Your Skin Tone
BB Cream vs. Foundation: Which One Is Best for Your Skin?