Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Brush Basics

I know that some of you are confused when it comes to makeup brushes. After all, there are SO many of them! While all of them have their purpose, you obviously don't need 100 different types of brushes to accomplish your look.

This post will highlight brush basics, i.e.; types of bristles, uses, etc. I will also compose a list of my bare minimum basic brushes that I think you need to accomplish different looks!

First thing's first, let's start with the basics...
Synthetic VS Natural Hair

Both types of brushes have their purpose and it's important to know so you can get the best results!

Synthetic Bristles:

Synthetic Brush bristles are made of a blend of nylon, acrylic or polyester filaments. These brushes are generally best used for Creams and liquids because they don't absorb too much of the product and they are so easy to clean!
Cream shadows
Cream Blush
Gel/Liquid liners

Natural Bristles:

Natural Hair brushes are made up of squirrel, pony, and/or badger hair. Each have different textures-- Squirrel is very soft while badger is more firm-- These are great for powder products as they pick up and hold the fine powders very well, making it easy to transfer.
Eye shadows
Setting powders

Creating a brush set
I will tell you, MAC cosmetics has 36 different brushes! So I understand the dilemma of trying to pick out the brushes you need. Here is a quick low maintenance guide of brushes...
*For the sake of ease-- I just plucked photo samples of the brushes from MAC's website here. There are LOTS of great companies that make brushes, this was just easiest for me to grab photos :)*

Shadow brush: Having a flat shadow brush is great for packing on shadows.
Having one tightly bound brush is great to pack on color beneath the brow, or on the lid.

*TIP* Natural hair brushes that are tightly bound, hold pigment really well-making it ideal for packing on product, while natural hair brushes that are loosely bound, don't hold as much color and are better for blending.

Blending brush: You need a blending brush! This one is really important-- As Peg from Edward Scissorhands would say, "You must blend and blend and blend!" Blending is key! To create a fluid, more natural look, blending colors and shadows together is so important!

Angle Hair Brush: This brush is SO useful! I use it to apply eye liner, create a smokey look, fill in my brows-- It's so good!

Big Powder Brush: To set your makeup with a powder, you'll need a fluffy brush! This is great for applying a light dusting of powder, or if you apply setting powder with a sponge/puff, using a fluffy brush to tap away excess is perfect for preventing a super cakey look.

Blush Brush: If you have a decent sized powder brush-- not monstrous- you can probably use that also as a blush brush--see rounded blush brush below--But, if you have a few extra $$$ I suggest buying an actual blush brush. I prefer a fluffy domed shape brush.

*TIP* Layering blush in soft light layers is better than packing it on. It's always easier to add than to take away!

Foundation Brush: There are a lot of ways to apply foundation-- hands, sponge, kabuki brush, dome foundation brush.. the list goes on! So this brush is only necessary if you prefer to apply your foundation with a brush.
Foundation brushes are typically synthetic so they don't absorb too much of the product. I often use a standard flat foundation brush to apply the foundation, and then buff it in with a damp sponge.

Concealer Brush: A smaller version of the foundation brush. Another synthetic brush that is often small enough to get in tight places-- under the eyes, around the nose-- If I'm not using my fingers, I use this brush.

Lip Brush: A lip brush is essential for creating flawless, show stopping lips! I think a lip brush is especially important if you are playing with bold lip colors, because if you are, you really need to make sure they are drawn on perfectly.

Here are a few brush sets that I think are pretty close to ideal in a range of prices :) 
Most Expensive to Least expensive
Too Faced Sephora $65

Sephora Brush Set for $39

Essence of Beauty sold at CVS for $10

**Combine the two Eco Tools sets for a full face 12 piece set at $20!**

I think cleaning brushes is EXTREMELY important!
I will create a full separate post on how to properly clean your brushes.

In the meantime, I do have an older post that lightly touches on how to clean your brushes and how to make your own spray cleaner for between uses.
Check it out HERE.

I hope this guide was helpful and that it gives you a good understanding of what these basic brushes do!



  1. All of these brushes look INCREDIBLE!!! WOAHHHH
    xoThe Beckerman Girls