Your makeup brush bible

makeup brush guide
Cassie Steer,-Beauty Editor

Wondering how to use the one that looks like a toothbrush? Read our ultimate guide to the tools to deploy for a flawless finish

When it comes to beauty, there’s nothing wrong with being hands on, and makeup in particular was made to be played with. But fingers have their limitations. Even the most dexterous digits would have their work cut out replicating the airbrushed finesse of a stippling brush, or the whisper of blush only a fan brush can achieve. 

‘If you’re looking to create a perfectly flawless, well-blended finish then some good quality makeup brushes are what’s needed,’ agrees makeup artist Dani Guinsberg. ‘Brushes help achieve specific looks and give you more of a pro finish especially when you choose the correct brush for the job.’

Worried you don’t know your fan from your kabuki? With a little help from Dani we decode every brush in your bag to ensure that you swoosh, buff and blend your way to makeup perfection so that foundation tide marks and highlighter hot spots are a thing of the past.

Setting brush

‘This brush allows for precision work and enables you to customise areas of the face that you want to detract shine away from, or add highlight to. You might sweep it over hot spots, like between the eyebrows, to give a dewy finish. Or dust highlighter over the cupid's bow and brow bone to enhance these areas.’

Kabuki brush

‘Traditionally flat topped with densely-packed bristles, this brush is the perfect tool for blending and buffing mineral makeup into the skin to achieve a flawless finish.’

Fan brush

‘The unique shape of this multitasker makes it the perfect choice for achieving a sheer blush or highlighter effect, or for lightly powdering the T-zone and under eye area.’

Eyeliner brush

‘Your precision go-to for crafting graphic wings and feline flicks as well as providing you with the ability to subtly alter your natural eye shape and give the illusion of thicker lashes.’

Brow brush

‘A must-have whether creating big, boyish brows or more svelte, sculpted arches. I use it to brush through eyebrow powder to create a more natural, fluffy effect.’

Lip brush

‘While there’s nothing wrong with applying straight from the bullet, a lip brush really helps to keep things neat and shaped when opting for dark or bold lip colours.’

Foundation brush

‘A flat, domed foundation brush is used to apply liquid or cream foundations and is great for getting into the smaller areas of the face such as around the nose and under the eyes.’

Stippling brush

’Great for liquid or cream foundations, a stippling brush is a duo fibre synthetic brush that offers a sheer wash of buildable coverage.’

Powder brush

’When it comes to powder application the bigger and fluffier the brush the better. This ensures the most even, light distribution of powder.’

Concealer brush

‘Shaped like a small foundation brush for super easy, gentle application under the eyes, concealer brushes are generally synthetic to ensure the product melts seamlessly into the skin or your base.’

Eye crease brush

‘Usually domed in shape, this brush will help to define the socket line and give depth to the eye area. Handy for giving more dimension to smoky eyes.’

Buff brush

‘Perfect for buffing powders, liquids and creams into the skin, this versatile domed brush is great for creating areas of high shine on the face.’

Eyeshadow brush

’Designed to be the perfect size and shape to glide gently across the eyelid, eyeshadow brushes can be used to blend different shades of eyeshadows together, or to buff out a smoky eye.’

Oval brush

‘The ultra-dense bristles and ergonomic handle make this a great brush for foundation. Apply using small circular motions that will create a dewy finish to your makeup.’

Contouring brush

‘With firmer bristles than a blusher brush, this angled version is designed to help add dimension to the face. The unique shape hugs the contours of the face and can be used to create the illusion of high cheekbones.’

Bronzer brush

‘Usually larger in size than a blush brush, a bronzer brush will help distribute the pigment in one even sweep over larger areas of the face such as across the cheeks, forehead and neck.’

Blending brush

‘My desert island brush – I’d find it impossible to live without this one. A good quality blending brush will help to give a more professional finish to your makeup. The soft, dome-shape bristles are perfect for dispersing foundation, diffusing pigments and softening hard lines.’

Makeup: Emma Miles
Hair: Tomi Roppongi
Photographer: Anya Holdstock

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