20 Different Types of Brushes for Makeup

Here are the different types of brushes for makeup that showcase their characteristics, how they are used and on what part of the face will they be maximized when used.

This is a look at a set of various makeup brushes with white handles.
  • Makeup brushes are essential tools for makeup users.
  • There is a wide variety of makeup brushes available for different makeup and places of application.
  • The brand of the brushes and materials they are made with determines the quality.

Makeup brushes are used for precision application. They help to smoothen and better blend products. There is a brush to suit different types of makeup and facial parts. The brushes come in various brands. Makeup brush bristles are natural or synthetic, and the handles are wood or plastic.

Table of Contents

Flat Dense Foundation Brush

Lancome Foundation Brush 2

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Flat foundation brushes are ideal for thicker coverage. It also gets into the tiny nooks and crannies around your nose and underneath your eyes. It provides even application and sheer finish.

Dense brushes work best for liquid foundation and help spread the foundation easily without using too much product. The flat, dense brushes have oval-shaped bristles, which help push the product into hard-to-reach areas and around the hairline without getting into the hair.

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Flat Top Loose Foundation Brush

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, color and packaging may vary

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The flat-top loose bristle brushes are typically made with synthetic materials. Synthetic brushes work best for liquid foundation. However, loose bristles are generally great for mineral and powder foundations.

The flat-top brushes are easier to sanitize and don’t absorb excess product allowing your foundation to last longer. These brushes are also fantastic for double use – you can apply baking powder by pressing it onto your skin.

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Kabuki Brush

Flat Top Kabuki Foundation Brush By KESHIMA - Premium Makeup Brush for Liquid, Cream, and Powder - Buffing, Blending, and Face Brush

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Kabuki brushes come in rounded, dense, fluffy tops and flat tops. They work excellently for liquid, cream, and powder foundations by providing even application and a smooth finish. Because of their fluffiness, you can press them onto the nooks of your features, and they blend easily.

The Kabuki brushes are traditionally known to have short handles, making them easy to travel with and store. Additionally, they are made of natural materials such as animal hair. That being said – most makeup brushes these days are made of synthetic products.

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Stippling Brush

wet n wild Small Stipple Brush, 1 Count

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A stippling brush is similar to a flat top loose foundation brush and a kabuki flat top brush. It is also used for applying foundation. You use a stippling brush by pushing the foundation into your skin in a stippling technique.

The bristles are in between loose and dense and are generally synthetic. The stippling technique helps the foundation blend into your skin better and avoids any lines or uneven application.

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Loose Powder Brush

wet n wild Powder Brush

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Powder brushes are loose and have a large surface area. That is because when applying setting powder, it needs to cover larger areas of your face at once since the powder is mainly meant to be used by stippling and then dusting form.

The powder brushes are typically soft, fluffy and are best for using loose setting powders. They do not help with coverage but are merely meant to help set your makeup and make sure everything is blended and you don’t have any harsh application lines.

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Blush Brush

wet n wild Powder Brush

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A blush brush is a soft, loose, fluffy small version powder brush. You typically apply blush on the apples of your cheeks which is a small area. Commonly, a powder blush can be used for setting powder, blush, and bronzer. However, using a smaller brush works better for more precise application and avoiding going over other areas.

The blush brush would also have a rounded top, and the bristles would not be too dense to avoid heavy application and harsh lines. Similarly, to setting powder, you apply blush in an upward dusting motion instead of spreading. This is what gives the cheekbones a well-blended, glowing pink-hue look.

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Angled Powder Brush

Mypreface Synthetic Blush and Bronzer Brush - Angled Kabuki Makeup Brush: Premium Foundation Brush Perfect for Face Contouring and Highlighting with Creams and Powders (Black)

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The angled powder brush is typically used for bronzer and contouring. Contouring does require a little more precision, and therefore the larger angled powder brushes are favorites for applying bronzer. Bronzer requires a light hand and lightweight application, or it could go totally wrong.

The angled powder brush offers a soft and smooth application. The top angle allows for a precise application, making sure to get up the cheekbones and towards the hairline without making your entire face brown with bronzer.

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Contour Brush

wet n wild Contour Brush

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Contour brushes are typically your angled or tapered bristles. They help to apply your product smoothly and precisely. They are mainly used for defining your cheekbones, with the addition of your jawline, nose, and forehead.

Some people prefer the dense angle brushes, which give a softer look, while others prefer the tapered ones. You often find professional makeup artists using a dense, flat rectangular brush for contouring because it provides more depth in contouring and allows you to better stick to the preferred area.

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Fan Brush

wet n wild Fan Brush

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A fan brush is considered to be another type of contouring brush. It is ideal for applying a highlighter on the upper cheekbones, forehead, nose, and jawline. The bristles are in the shape of a fan, and it is soft and thin, making it easy to not get highlighter all over your face. It also helps to get a softer look.

The bristles are usually made with natural materials like animal hair. You get ultra-thin fan brushes and thicker ones to suit the area you want to apply. You use a fan brush in stroking – almost dusting technique.

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Spoolie Brush

Duo Eyebrow Brush - KINGMAS Professional Angled Eye Brow Brush and Spoolie Brush (Black)

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A spoolie brush is what most people know to look like a mascara wand. They are even mistaken as mascara wands. The spoolie brush is tapered at the top and has softer bristles. Sometimes the brush will be slightly angled.

Spoolie brushes are used to stroke brush your eyebrows, neaten them, and help form their shape. It helps to give your eyebrows a more natural look. If you need a disposable mascara wand, the spoolie brush will work for that too.

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Angled Brow Brush

Duo Eyebrow Brush - KINGMAS Professional Angled Eye Brow Brush and Spoolie Brush (Black)

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An angled brow brush, much like the angled powder brush, provides precision when applying the product to the eyebrows. The reason it is angled is to avoid giving your eyebrows a prominent look and getting your product all over the place. It helps provide a softer, smoother look, which most people look for when defining the eyebrows.

The brow brush is typically used alongside the spoolie brush. After using the spoolie, you use the angled brow brush to fill in and shape the brows, and then you can use the spoolie brush again to stroke through and create softness and blend the product into your eyebrows better.

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Eye Shadow Brush

wet n wild Small Eyeshadow Brush

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An eyeshadow brush is usually known as a general eyeshadow brush, used for applying primer and eyeshadow across the entire eyelid and below the brows area. It is a brush that could work for all eye looks, and this one brush is sufficient for getting any design you want if you use it correctly.

The brush is small and stubby for working on a small area like the eyelid and soft but firm, making sure to sweep the eyeshadow on your eyelid. It can be used flat to apply the eyeshadow all over, the tip to get into corners or the crease, and at an angle to create colored patterns.

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Eye Crease Brush

e.l.f. Detail Crease Brush for Precision Application, Synthetic

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Although the general eyeshadow brush can be used for all eye makeup, it is always better to use specified brushes for specific looks. An eye crease brush will give a more defined look than the general eyeshadow brush.

The crease brush is typically smaller and more stubby than other eye makeup brushes. The reason for that is so it can get directly into the crease without messing with other parts of the lid. Crease makeup techniques require enough product to define the look, and the crease brush picks up enough product and does not absorb it. Therefore you get your desired look without extra effort or wastage of product.

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Eye Base Brush

Eye Shadow Primer Applicator Brush for Blending, Concealer, Professional Tools for Applying Cream,Liquid Shadows and Eye Primer Base with Vegan Bristles

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The eye base brush is like the much smaller version of a flat foundation brush but less dense. You would use the base brush to apply your base foundation – a lighter color all over the lid that serves as the primer foundation to allow other colors to pop.

The soft bristles allow for a smooth, light look, and the flatness helps to evenly and efficiently spread the foundation over the lid and upper eye area.  You can later use this brush to blend the whole look if you don’t have a special blender brush.

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Eye Smudge Brush

Charlotte Tilbury Eye Smudger Brush

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An eye smudge brush is similar to a crease brush; however, the smudge brush may be slightly smaller and have a rounded top. It will be soft but have fullness to it. It is smaller, so you can use it to get eyeshadow to the inner eye by the socket and easily spread the eyeshadow for a smokey look.

It picks up enough product, so a bit of dusting off first helps to avoid excess eyeshadow on your eyes, but this also helps to get the product where you need it without going over areas you don’t want it to be.

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Eye Blender Brush

e.l.f. Fluffy Eye Blender Brush, Vegan Makeup Tool, Flawlessly Applies Eyeshadow & Sets Concealer

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The eye blender brush is similar to the general eyeshadow brush but often slightly more extensive by the bristles. It will be soft and not dense so that it does not move any product away or off the eye area but rather ties the look together without leaving any harsh lines.

Most people don’t need a blender brush because they use their other existing brushes to blend their eyeshadow look. But using a specific blender brush means you don’t have to clean the brush between uses per application, and you don’t have to worry about excess eyeshadow messing up your work.

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Concealer Brush

Real Techniques Expert Concealer Brush with Ultra Plush Custom Cut Synthetic Taklon Bristles & Extended Aluminum Ferrules Uniquely Shaped (Packaging May Vary) (1542)

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A concealer brush looks almost exactly like an eyeshadow brush except that it is denser, often has a wider top, and would have synthetic bristles for easier cleaning. Concealer brushes need to work with cream, and liquid products, so dense bristles are best for staying firm and preventing the brush from absorbing too much product.

The concealer brush additionally helps prevent uneven application and lines from the product appearing. It enables you to blend your concealer well and allows you to get into the hard-to-apply areas like the inner corner of the eye and directly underneath the eye.

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Lip Brush

Dual End Lip Brush Concealer Brushes 3 Pieces Retractable Lipstick Eyeshadow Foundation Makeup Brush Tool Applicators Set (Gold, Purple, Bright Pink)

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The use of lip brushes is often neglected because lip products are easy to apply. That said, lip brushes are pretty significant in lipstick and lip gloss applications. They help with smooth application, getting into the lines and grooves of your lips, and ensuring precise lining around the edges without going over.

The lip brush will have a tapered top – long pencil-shaped bristles. That is what helps it provide a distinct and defined lip look. You can also use a lip brush to apply lip liner. Lip brushes with even application and avoids smudging.

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Gel Liner Brush

DogieLyn Eye Makeup Gel Eyeliner Brushes - Ultra Fine Bent Eyeliner Brush Angled Eye Define Pointed Round Brush Kit

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A gel liner brush is what you use to apply your liquid or gel eyeliner. Most liquid liners come with their own brush. However, with some products that come in containers, you will need a separate brush. The eye area is sensitive, and using an independent liner brush can help avoid cross-contamination of bacteria.

The gel liner brush is a thin, pointed brush typically soft but firm and made with synthetic bristles. It is shaped like a pencil nib and helps to provide precision and definition when applying your liner. While you get thicker ones, the thin ones are best for building your eyeliner to the desired thickness and shaping the corners.

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Beauty Blender Sponge

Miss Gorgeous London Makeup Sponge Set Blender Beauty Foundation Blending Sponge - Multi-colored 6 Pieces

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You are probably wondering why this is on the list because a makeup sponge is not a brush. But if we’re talking about makeup product application tools, the beauty blender cannot be left out. They come in all different shapes and forms, colors and sizes.

They are best to apply facial makeup such as foundation, concealers, blush, and powders.

They do absorb a lot of product, and if you wet it first, it works best. The best part of using a makeup sponge is the even application it gives with a smooth finish. It also helps to blend your product better, and you can use one sponge for different products.

You get smaller ones for under the eyes and angled ones for contouring. Makeup sponges are truly versatile!

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