Columnists,Lorraine Cattell,Fashion & Beauty,Main Slider l by Lorraine Cattell l 15 Oct 2019     - 1047

Essential Makeup Brushes and How to Use them

Every woman who uses cosmetics regularly should invest in a good set of quality makeup brushes. Not only do they enable you to apply makeup quickly and easily, but they also help products go on smoothly and evenly, creating a more flawless finish. Ideally, they should be made from high-quality synthetic materials instead of animal hair and not tested on animals.

Foundation Brush

A high-quality foundation brush with straight flexible bristles will ensure a smooth application of makeup onto your skin and over pores, crevices and lines. Start by dotting the powder foundation onto your forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin, and then use the brush to blend it in evenly over your entire face. (For liquid makeup, opt for a sponge instead of a brush).

TIP: To prevent harsh makeup lines around the edges of your jawline and hairline, slightly dampen the foundation brush with warm water.

Kabuki Brush

A kabuki brush is usually used to apply loose powder on the body and face. Due to its size and design, the brush blends your powder foundation or shimmer smoothly on your skin and creates a very natural-looking coverage. You can also swirl this brush to blend, buff, or stipple liquid or cream foundations for a far more natural and sheer coverage than what can be achieved with a regular foundation brush.

TIP: Dip your kabuki brush into the powder and spread evenly across your face, being careful not to press too hard so as to avoid spoiling your blush and highlighter, etc.

Concealer Brush

A concealer brush covers imperfections, acne and dark circles under the eyes, and it's ideal for targeting small specific areas that you want to be concealed. When using a concealer brush, apply a small amount of product to the desired area, and then lightly dab onto your skin until it blends in with your foundation. Concealer brushes are also great for sharpening and cleaning up messy eye makeup or lipstick bleeding.

TIP: For a more realistic even finish, dab the tip of the brush into a tiny amount of concealer and gently pat the brush onto the skin to conceal the area.

Powder Brush

After applying your base, you may want to set it or touch it up later with a layer of loose powder to help your makeup stay in place throughout the day. Powder brushes are usually very large and fluffy with a domed shape to disperse the powder lightly over the face. You could get away with applying brush or bronzer with this type of brush.

TIP: Tap off the excess powder on the brush before applying it and swirl in circles or sweeping strokes over your face.

Fan/Highlight Brush

Fan brushes are great because of their multi-use functionality, for example, applying highlighter, bronzer or as a mistake-corrector. They have very thin bristles that can even be used as an applicator for sunscreen, lotions and other skincare products too.

TIP: When you've applied too much eyeshadow and flecks of pigment are everywhere on your face, you can use a fan brush to gently brush away these extra flecks of colour.

Blush Brush

A blush brush is similar to a powder brush but smaller, to brush the cheeks. Some have a slight angle to them for a more precise application as this allows the brush to pick up the powder and dust it more softly without leaving harsh lines.

TIP: Always start your application of the blusher with a small amount on the apples of the cheek and then sweep the brush out blending towards your temples.

Contour Brush

Contouring is a great way to give your face a naturally sculpted look, but you need a good brush to do it. A contour brush is about the size of a blush brush, but it has very dense, angled bristles that will create a precise contour application allowing you to follow the natural curves of your face. This brush can be used with either powder or cream contour products.

TIP: To apply the contour and to emphasise the hollows of your cheeks, use a dark colour which is a contrast to the 'highlight'. Then gently glide the brush back and forth towards your temples, along your hairline, the sides of your nose and under your jawline for a sharp sleek look.

Eyeshadow Brush

This kind of brush is used to apply eyeshadow smoothly to the top of your lids whether it be in the form of cream or powder.

TIP: For the best results, mist your brush with a setting spray to deepen the opacity of a powder eyeshadow.

Eyeshadow Crease Brush

This brush is used for applying eyeshadow to the crease of your eyelids. Start by putting a small amount in the creases of your eyelids, focusing more towards the outside of the eye.

TIP: Run the colour back and forth to create a defined line, and then slowly start to blend the colour in with your lid colour.

Eyebrow Brush

An eyebrow brush or a spoolie brush has flat, blunt and angled bristles for shaping, defining and grooming your eyebrows. It can also be used for de-clamping your lashes.

TIP: Use an eyebrow brush to fill in sparse brows with eyebrow powder, then comb through your brows to soften them if you’ve filled them in with too much product.

Eye Liner Brush

Out of all the different types of makeup brushes, one of the most essential is a good sharp liner brush to achieve an ultra-precise cat-eye shape. Although you can achieve a good smokey eye with a pencil liner, it's hard to get a clear, defined wing shape without using a brush. An eyeliner brush that is slightly angled works well with gel or liquid liners.

TIP: The wing should follow the curve of your eye instead of sticking straight out, and you may also want to apply liner to your bottom lashes using the brush if you are creating a very intense eye look.

Lip Brush/Liner

Lip brushes can make applying your lipstick much easier by helping you get a crisp, defined line. They are very small and thin, with a layer of sleek bristles that act like a paintbrush. This brush can also be used to blend two lip colours.

TIP: Start by applying a lip liner in a colour similar to your lipstick to get a clean line and use the brush to paint in your lips.


To wash your brushes, use a gentle cleanser or baby shampoo to rinse out the makeup from the bristles. Work the cleanser into the bristles with your fingers and then swirl the brushes one at a time in a bowl or on the back of your hand to remove the makeup. Rinse and repeat as many times as needed and lay them out to dry on a paper towel and use your fingers to reshape them. Wash them regularly to prevent bacteria from forming.


Lorraine Cattell

Lorraine Cattell (Eyre) is a renowned international British Fashion Journalist. Her articles & interviews appear regularly in magazines & online across the globe.


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