When you think of makeup, most people automatically think of the products that go on their face; foundation, pretty lipsticks and the latest eyeshadow palette. Generally, people tend to forget about the little guys working behind the scenes, which is unfortunate because great makeup application begins with using the right tools.
With so many different kinds of makeup brushes on the market, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. I mean, where do you even begin!?
For every unique brush, there is a unique purpose.
Choosing the type of brush is relatively easy, for example, you wouldn’t buy eyeshadow brushes if you never wear eye makeup, etc. However, many people look over the two basic qualities which greatly affect your make-up application and finish.
The two things to look for are:
- What the bristles are made from.
- How densely the bristles are packed.
Brushes are either synthetic or natural hair:
Natural makeup brushes are typically made out of various animal hair; usually goat, squirrel or badger. They are extremely durable and get better with every use, however they absorb moisture from ‘wet’ products, hindering the application onto your skin. Therefore, they are perfect for using with powders; setting powder, eyeshadow, blush and bronzer. As the hair is ‘real’, they are full of texture, the bristles move freely which allows you to pick up a generous amount of product and blend like a dream.
These are made up of manmade bristles; usually nylon or other synthetic fibres. The general rule is to use a synthetic brush for cream or liquid products as unlike natural brushes, these don’t have a cuticle and so they won’t absorb any moisture from the product. They are perfect for foundation, concealer, lipstick and cream eyeshadow/blush.
Synthetic bristles tend to gravitate towards one another, making them perfect for precision application.
This means how many bristles are packed into the ferrule (the metallic part that connects the handle to the hairs of the brush.)
Denser brushes hold and deposit more product in higher concentrations, whereas wispy brushes deposit less. So dense brushes are better for foundation, powder, and eyeshadow application. Sparse (less dense) brushes are perfect for blending, blush, bronzer and highlight application.
Of course, some of it is down to personal preference as some people prefer a heavier blush and therefore may want a slightly denser brush. The same goes for contour; a sparse brush is more appropriate for a light handed, natural contour, and a dense brush for a strong, chiselled look.
Sidenote – If you’ve ever applied eyeshadow with those awful sponge-tip applicators found in most drugstore palettes, chances are you ended up with what looks like a thick layer of frosting over your lid. – This is why, a dense applicator = dense application.
Do you have any favourite brush brands?