Makeup Brushes and How to Use Them

Buying a set of makeup brushes can be a little overwhelming, but this guide makes figuring out which one to use with what beauty product a cinch.

Any makeup artist will tell you that in order to get the most out of the products you buy, you need the right makeup brushes and tools. Just take a look in their kit—you’re bound to find at least 40 different makeup brushes meant to be used with everything from concealer to eyeliner. But how do you figure out what makeup brush is for what? It might seem like a makeup brush set comes with way too many things, but there is a pretty specific use for each tool. Whether you’re applying liquid foundation, powder blush, bronzer, gel eyeliner or highlighter, there’s definitely a handy tool that’s meant just for its application. Read on to find out what types of makeup brushes you need to better apply your favourite products and make the most of that brush set.

Makeup brushes for your face

Foundation brush: If you love liquid foundation, this will be your new favourite makeup brush. A foundation brush typically has shorter, more tightly packed bristles, so you can blend your makeup without streaks or patchiness. Either apply your foundation directly to the brush and work your way from the centre of your face outwards or dot the foundation on your face and blend it in with the brush. Try it with L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation.

Concealer brush: Kind of like a mini version of a foundation brush, this one also has really short, tightly packed bristles, but it’s extra-small so you can get into the curves of your face and cover smaller blemishes. You can also use a concealer makeup brush to apply your concealer under your eyes to cover any dark circles. Use it with L’Oréal Paris True Match Original Concealer.

Kabuki brush: This is one of the more unusual makeup brush names—it’s named after the kabuki style of Japanese theatre, where actors wear a lot of heavy makeup. It’s big and fluffy, which makes it perfect for applying powder makeup, like bronzer or setting powder, because you can dust it on without disturbing any cream-based or liquid makeup underneath. It’s perfect for L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation.

Makeup brushes for contouring

Angled brush: This one is similar to a foundation brush in both size and bristle count, but, as the name suggests, the bristles are cut on an angle. That means this is the best of all the makeup brushes for applying contour powder or cream, like L’Oréal Paris Infallible Shaping Stick Foundation in a darker hue, below your cheekbones and on the bridge of your nose. You can also use an angled makeup brush to apply cream blush to the apples of your cheeks.

Fan brush: This is probably the prettiest brush in your makeup brush set, thanks to its super-fanned-out bristles. Use this one to apply your highlighter after you’ve finished contouring your face with your angled brush. Because the brush is so thin and fanned out, you can gently dust your powder highlighter on right above your cheekbones for a soft glow or layer it on for more impact.

Makeup brushes for your eyes

Blending brush: If you only have one eye makeup brush, let it be this one. This brush, which is similar to a kabuki brush but smaller and with slightly more packed bristles, will help you precisely apply eyeshadow to your crease or all over your lid. As the name suggests, you can use it to blend different eyeshadow colours together on your lid, too. You can also use this makeup brush to apply highlighter along your brow bone or above your lips on your Cupid’s bow. Use it with L’Oréal Paris La Petite Palette Eye Shadow.

Angled eyeliner brush: If you have an angled eyeliner brush in your makeup brush set you can use it in a ton of different ways. Dot a little of your liquid eyeliner onto the back of your hand and use this stiffer brush to more precisely trace your line. It can also be used for applying gel eyeliner and for transforming any eyeshadow into a liquid eyeliner. Dip your angled eyeliner brush into a little water and then into your eyeshadow and tightly trace your lash line for a custom eyeliner look.

Smudging brush: Use this makeup brush right after you’ve traced your liquid eyeliner. As with a concealer or foundation brush, the bristles are more tightly packed, so you can use it to soften your eyeliner into more of a smoky look. You can also use a smudging brush to apply highlighter to the inner corners of your eyes or along your brow bone.

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