Makeup Brushes

By Lisa Johnson

Have you ever gotten new makeup that came with a brush you had no idea what to do with? Many people shy away from using makeup brushes because they feel like they are too messy, too complicated, or just because they have no idea what do with or how to take care of the brush.

Brushes were actually made to make our lives easier. They were designed to help us enhance our makeup and even make the process more enjoyable. The brushes allow us to create exotic looks and blend color in a way that had never been achieved with the disposable applicators. Although quality brushes may be an investment in the beginning, with proper care they can be a near-permanent addition to your makeup bag as they last for many years.

Makeup brushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The main factor to look for is the quality of the hair or fibers of the brush. Brushes come in two types, real hair and synthetic fibers. There is a purpose for both in a makeup bag. The real hair brushes are usually made from animal hair such as mink, squirrel, horse, raccoon, ox, sable, and even goat. The synthetic brushes are usually made from taklon, nylon, and plastic. The real hair brushes are mainly used for applying dry products while the synthetic can be used for liquids and creams.

The care of brushes is extremely important for extending the life of a brush and for the health and safety for you and your client. It’s very important that all brushes be cleaned with either a medical grade brush cleaner and a shampoo made for brushes. Brushes are to be cleaned after every use or after every client. Each brush needs to be cleaned and allowed to lie flat to dry in order to keep the glue bonds together between the brush and the handle. The brush should never be allowed to dry upright because the water will drip down weakening the glue bonds and causing the brush to separate from the handle. Before using a brush again it must dry completely.

How or what you use your brush on is really up to you, but here are a few tips for brushes that may be giving you a little trouble!

Foundation Brush

Foundation brushes are usually made of synthetic hairs or fibers. Their primary purpose is to apply liquid or cream foundation in an even streak-free manner. You aren’t using your hands to apply the foundation so it is more sanitary and usually less wasteful.

Concealer Brush

Concealer brushes are similar to a foundation brush. They are made of synthetic fibers and made to use with a liquid or a cream concealer. They are smaller than a foundation brush to allow for reaching smaller areas without tugging or pulling of the skin. They are also better for sanitation purposes and cutting waste of the product.

Powder Brush

Powder brushes can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A good powder brush will be a real hair brush that is loosely packed so the brush is able to blend powder over the desired area. The brush is made for the basic purpose of applying loose or pressed powder in a light application.

Blush Brush

A blush brush is considered very similar to a powder brush. The shape of the blush brush can vary from flat on top to tapered. They are all designed to achieve the same contouring of the cheek area. Blush brushes are made of real hair and also packed loosely to allow for the loose or pressed blush to be applied in a lighter application and then blended.

Fan Brush

Fan brushes can be made of synthetic or real hair. Synthetic fan brushes are made to apply liquids, creams, or gels to the skin. The real hair fan brush is made to be more of a clean-up or highlighting tool. It is packed loosely so you are able to wipe any excess powder type of product from the face. It works very well when wanting apply a shimmer powder or a highlighter.

Eye shadow brush

Normally, eye shadow brushes will be made of real hair. They come in many shapes and sizes. The 3 main types of shadow brushes are contour, angle, and blending. Contour brushes are tightly packed brushes that are used mainly for depositing color. They can, however, be used for some blending. Angled brushes can be loosely or tightly packed. They are also used to blend and deposit color. The last major type of brush is the blending brush. This brush is packed very loosely to allow for lightly moving color and blending color together.

Eyeliner brush

Most eyeliner brushes are synthetic brushes. They are made to make small lines near the lash line. The brushes can be used with liquid, cream, powder, or gel. The also vary in size and shape. You can find these brushes in tightly packed, angled, pointed or flat topped shapes.

Lash and Brow brush

Lash and brow brushes are usually synthetic or plastic brushes. They are used to add color to brows or to tame brow hair. The lash end is used to separate lashes before and after mascara is applied.

Lip brush

Lip brushes are usually synthetic fibers. This brush is used to outline or fill in lip color. They are angled or flat on top. These brushes are great when wanting to use the bottom part of a lipstick.

How you choose to use each brush is entirely up to you. Brushes were intended to make our lives easier when it comes to makeup. The key is to be creative, have fun, and try different brushes to achieve your desired look.