What you need to know when buying makeup brushes

A guide to buying makeup brushes

We’ve put together a helpful guide to buying makeup brushes. Image via Adobe Stock.

Makeup brushes are a must-have for any makeup user but they can be incredibly varied and there are so many to choose from. Often, professional makeup artists will have a huge selection of makeup brushes, but for the average makeup wearer, a small selection will do the job just fine. There are many different variables to take into account when purchasing makeup brushes, so we have put together an easy guide, so you can get the best brushes for your money and needs. 

How many brushes do I need? 

Any makeup artist would tell you that seven is the magic number – they are:

1 – Liquid foundation brush

2 – Powder brush

3 – Blush brush

4 – Eye shadow applicator

5 – Blending brush

6 – Concealer brush

7 – Lip brush

What do they all do? 

Once you have your seven makeup brushes, it’s pretty important to know what they do – here is a simple guide.

1 – A Liquid foundation brush is designed for achieving flawless foundation application. There are many different foundation blushes and they really come down to personal preference, but they generally have dense bristles packed together to give a smooth application. Have a play around to see what the best fit for you and your skin is.

2 – A powder brush is for setting powder to set your makeup look into place. These brushes have light, fluffy bristles and are designed to pick up loose powder products and lightly dust them over the face.

3 – Blush brushes are similar to powder brushes, but they tend to be cut on an angle, so you can sculpt your cheeks.

4 – An eyeshadow brush is used for applying eyeshadow and is much smaller and finer than the foundation, blush and powder brushes. Again, there are many options, so find one that fits well for your use.

5 – A blending brush is great for blending products into the skin. These brushes can be dense and rounded or fluffy and tapered. They are used for blending cream or powder products into the skin.

6 – A concealer brush is made for applying and blending concealer in. They usually come with densely packed bristles and a flat, tapered head for easy application.

7 – A lip brush is used for applying lip products, helping to achieve a fuller and plumper look.

Synthetic vs. Natural?

Natural makeup brushes are made from real animal hair and tend to be more expensive than synthetic brushes. They hold pigment better than synthetic brushes and create a softer, more natural look on your skin. However, some people choose not to purchase natural brushes due to ethical reasons. Because natural makeup brushes are made from the hair of animals, it is important to research how the products were made and if they were made ethically.

Synthetic brushes are made from man-made fibres that mimic animal hair. Often the synthetic fibres are dyed and baked to ensure they do not degrade from makeup and solvents. This makes them easier to clean as pigment does not absorb or get trapped in these fibres. They are also better at applying concealers or layering powders since they hold up more solidly to makeup. They are also best suited for those with animal fur allergies.

Quality over quantity

When choosing makeup brushes, it is often better to spend more money and get fewer brushes than to spend less and get more for your money. Quite often cheap brushes and brush sets are not made very well and will degrade very fast or not be great at applying product. It can be best to avoid purchasing brush sets for this reason, as often, you will be buying brushes you might not use, that would otherwise not be purchased on their own.

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