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How and When to Use Makeup Brushes

As if makeup wasn’t confusing enough (there are products for problems we didn’t even know we have, after all), there’s the millions of brushes to decipher, too. Lip brushes, eye shadow brushes, brushes for concealer, foundation and different blush brushes, are just a few of the smorgasbord of options out there! It’s enough to make just about anyone’s head spin. The thing is, makeup artists all swear by different things! Some swear the best way to apply foundation is with a brush while others swear nothing beats using your fingers. So what kind of makeup brushes should you have in your beauty arsenal? Here are some of my favorite picks.

Keep: The Eyeliner Brush

The eyeliner brush is one of my absolute favorite tools. Yes, you can apply liner with an eyeliner pencil, but an eyeliner brush is perfect for using different eyeshadow colors and creating a smoky or softer look. Plus, you can easily play with the intensity of the eyeliner by dipping the brush in just a bit of water. It will make your eyeliner more extreme and defined and will perfectly coordinate with your eyeshadow. If you’re looking for one to add to your makeup bag, try Urban Decay’s Good Karma Liner Brush. 

Toss: The Lip Brush

Between all of the fabulous lipstick and lipgloss options out there, a lip brush isn’t exactly a necessity. Sure, there are a few lip stains that would require a lipstick brush, but for simplicity’s sake, it’s much easier to grab something that you can swipe on easily and keep stashed in your purse for quick reapplication.

Keep: The Powder Brush

Whether or not you are a foundation girl, you should always finish with a loose or translucent powder to set your makeup. The best way to do this is with a big, loose powder brush which will help you dust us on as much or as little powder as you need. Unlike a pouf, a brush will help you more evenly distribute the powder so you don’t end up with uneven spots on your face. Too Faced cosmetic’s Powder Pouf Brush is one of my go-to favorites.

Toss: The Foundation Brush

Love foundation? Leave the foundation brush behind! It actually ends up absorbing a lot of the liquid in the bristles instead of on your skin. Sponges are meant to be only used once and can harbor a lot of bacteria if not tossed after every use. Use your fingers to pat a few dots on your cheeks, forehead and chin and then blend the foundation into your face for even coverage.

Keep: The Blush Brush

Unless you are using a cheek stain, a blush brush is an absolute must! You should have a few to choose from, depending on what you are looking to achieve. A blush brush with an angle, for example, is great for cheek contouring and a soft, rounder brush is great for dusting color on the cheeks. Keep a few in your arsenal that you can use with your favorite colors.

Toss: The Concealer Brush

Just like the foundation brush, the concealer brush is also one that can be tossed. Sometimes, using a brush can lead to cakey results and can make it hard to apply concealer in small areas around the eyes. Instead, use your fingers to gently dip into your concealer pot (MAC’s Studio Finish SPF 35 is one of my favorites) and dot underneath your eyes and then blend. If you are finishing off with a powder to set the concealer, use a brush.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing