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A Guide to Makeup Brushes for the Face

Here we look at makeup brushes for the face and cheeks. It includes brushes for foundation, powder, blusher, concealer and loose mineral makeup products. We look at the size and shape of the bristles and have some tips for using them.

Purpose: To define and contour with loose and pressed powder blusher, shaders, highlighters and bronzer.

Shape: A blusher brush is smaller than a powder brush but similar in shape. It should have soft and flexible bristles with a rounded dome shape – this helps create soft diffused makeup. There are also angled versions of the blusher brush – these are good for creating a more defined blush contour.

Tips: Get get blusher in the right place by smiling and put the colour on the apples of the cheeks. Avoid going in towards your nose further than the middle of the eye, as that makes you look flushed (unless creating a period look when it was fashionable to do so!).

Concealer Brushes

makeup brushes for the face and concealing

Purpose: To apply cream and liquid concealer to cover blemishes, red patches, skin discolouration, and under-eye darkness. Pressed powder foundations or loose minerals can also be used in the same way to conceal these areas.

Shape: Concealer needs to be applied precisely to the target area, so concealer brushes have firm and dense bristles with a tapered end. It allows you to use the tip for precise application to tiny areas of skin. The bristles are flat and usually made with synthetic hair.

Tips: You only need to apply a small amount of product directly onto the target area, especially when using a highly pigmented product. Soften the edges away onto the surrounding skin. Remember to set a cream concealer with powder by gently pressing a little powder into the cream.

Flat Top Brush

Purpose: This multi-purpose brush can be used to blend and smooth out foundation, apply blusher, bronzer and powder, and apply mineral and pressed powder foundations.

Shape: A large circular brush with a bluntly cut flat top. The hairs are soft and flexible.

Tips: After applying any foundation, gently swirl this brush over your face to really buff, blend and even out the application. Apply mineral, powder and pressed powder foundation with short circular strokes all over your face.

Foundation Brushes

Purpose: To apply any cream or liquid foundation to the face and body. A foundation brush should distribute foundation evenly over the skin and blend without leaving brush marks. You can also use it to apply face masks. It’s not essential to have a foundation makeup brush – a damp makeup sponge works just fine, but it is all down to preference.

Shape: A medium-sized, paddle-shaped brush usually made with synthetic bristles. The bristles have firmness with a bit of flexibility, allowing them to bend around facial contours. The bristles are densely packed and taper to a chiselled edge.

Tips: Work the brush into a small amount of foundation. Starting from the centre of your face and working outwards, use a circular buffing motion all over. Use the tip of the bristles to get into all the nooks of the face. Remember to blend the foundation down the jawline onto the upper neck to prevent a hard edge.

Kabuki Brush

makeup brushes for the face

Purpose: To apply powder mineral foundation products and buff them into the skin for a flawless finish.

Shape: The Kabuki brush is a distinctive short, fat brush full of soft bristles that are domed (a bit like a shaving brush).

Tips: First, decant a small amount of loose mineral powder into the pot’s lid. Then swirl the Kabuki brush into the loose powder, tapping the excess powder back into the lid. Use large, sweeping and circular movements to apply the product and keep swirling over your face until the coverage is even. Build coverage layer by layer rather than going in heavy the first time.

Powder Brush

makeup brushes for the face and powder

Purpose: To dust loose or compressed powder over the face to remove shine and set the foundation. Also, it will remove any excess powder (in particular after using a powder puff to set the foundation). It is handy for applying shimmer or bronzer powder products to the body.

Shape: The powder brush is the largest makeup brush for the face. It has long, soft and fluffy bristles in a rounded dome shape. The bristles should pick up and distribute powder evenly. It should also remove excess powder without removing anything else.

Tips: To apply a little powder, gently swirl your brush in the powder once or twice, tap away any excess (don’t blow on it) and sweep it over your face in large circular movements. Keep the brush moving over your face until the powder is evenly distributed and there is no visible excess. If you use a powder puff to apply powder, sweep away the excess powder with a clean powder brush.

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3 thoughts on “A Guide to Makeup Brushes for the Face”

    1. This is the most helpful site I’ve found!
      Just got a whole set of make-up brushes from a friend for Christmas and wasn’t even sure what half of them were for!
      The descritions, pictures, and tips really helped me out there, thanks!
      & Merry Christmas!

        1. Hi Ellie,
          We’re really chuffed that our site has helped you – thanks so much for letting us know. Have a fabulous Christmas, enjoy those brushes and all the best for 2013 ?

      1. I too got lots of brushes for Christmas and your posts have helped me get my head around just what I can do with each one. Thankyou for such clear info!!

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