Having the right beauty products in your arsenal is the first step to achieving your desired look, but knowing which makeup tools and brushes to use can be equally as important. For example, you’ll want to use an angled eyeliner brush to help you pull off that perfect cat eye, whereas a concealer brush is ideal for hiding blemishes with even coverage.  

We’ve made things easy and broken down all the different types of makeup brushes and what they’re used for below. If you already know a bit, use this guide as a brush-up. If you know very little, allow for us to blend you into the world of makeup brush knowledge.

Stencil Foundation Brush – By Terry

Foundation Brush: A foundation brush will give you smoother coverage than you’d get by using your fingers. To use it, move the brush in circular, buffing movements. Pro tip: Start at the center of your face and blend slowly outwards. As with all of your brushes, make sure to clean this one well and regularly.

Super Kabuki Brush – Lily Lolo

Kabuki Brush: With its flat top and ample bristles, a Kabuki brush is one of the most versatile tools out there. It can be used to apply powder, foundation, blush, bronzer and even highlighter. A great use for the Kabuki Brush? To blend all of your makeup together for a seamless look. Start at the center of your face and blend carefully outwards.

The Loose Powder Brush – Kevyn Aucoin

Powder Brush: If you like to wear powder for a matte look or to set your foundation, dip the brush in powder, tap off any excess that may be clinging to the bristles, and sweep it lightly and evenly across your forehead, nose and chin. A powder brush, rather than a sponge, will help to ensure that your powder doesn’t look cakey on your skin. You can also use a fan brush to apply color, which will spread things out a bit more evenly.

Blush Brush – Lily Lolo

Bronzer & Blush Brush: You’ll want to use a bronzer and blush brush to apply powder and cream blushes, via sweeping motions. Apply the color of your choosing to the apples of your cheeks — it helps to smile while doing so — and then blend carefully towards your ears.

The Duet Concealer Brush – Kevyn Aucoin

Concealer Brush: Dark circles? Blemishes? Use a concealer brush to apply liquid concealer. It’ll provide smooth, even coverage, and you can use the brush to blend the pigment so that it gives you a natural look. You don’t want to be left with obvious spots of pigment on your face, as they’ll only draw more attention to that which you are concealing.

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Angled Eyeliner Brush – By Terry

Angled Eyeliner Brush: If you like a more intense lined eye, invest in an angled eyeliner brush. Simply dip the brush into an eyeliner pot or eyeshadow (remember to wet the brush first) of your choice and use it as you would a pen to create a cat eye, or to define your natural lash line.

Sponge Foundation Brush – By Terry

Blending Sponge: If you use liquid foundation, a blending sponge may become your secret ally. It’ll allow for smooth, seamless coverage. To use, saturate the sponge under running water, and then squeeze out any excess water several times (first on its own and then again a few times wrapped in paper towel). This will allow the sponge to soak up some of your foundation, so you won’t be left with too much on your face. Apply some foundation to the sponge, and then blend carefully onto your skin, paying careful attention to the area around your nose, eyes and hairline.

Luminizing Powder Brush – RMS Beauty

Highlighter Brush: For a glowy look, dip your highlighter brush into your favorite highlighter, tap off any excess pigment (important), and then lightly brush it onto your brow bones, the tops of your cheekbones, and anywhere else where the light naturally hits your face.

The Neo Powder Brush – Kevyn Aucoin

Contour Brush: To blend and contour powder beneath your cheekbones for a chiseled look, use a brush with blunt bristles. Dip it into the powder or bronzer of your choosing, tap off any excess powder, and glide the brush back and forth below your cheekbones. You can also apply a bit of the color to your hairline and jawline for an even appearance and further contouring. Remember, contouring can look quite severe quickly — so be sure to build and blend.

Eye Shadow Brush – Lily Lolo

Eyeshadow Brush: Whether you’re into a natural eye look or a sultry smoky eye, use an eyeshadow brush to apply and blend color evenly. Start at the lash line and blend the color upwards towards your brows. If you’re using several colors, blend them together with the brush. Pro tip: Shake off any excess powder prior to doing so to prevent applying too much — this will also stop pigment from falling onto your face. You’ll also want to apply mascara after your eyeshadow.

Angled Brow Spoolie Brush – Lily Lolo

Eyebrow Brush: Natural brows? Full set? Well angled and manicured? Whatever your brow look is, an eyebrow brush will help to maintain and enhance their beauty. Use an eyebrow brush, dipped in eyebrow powder or not, to fill in and manicure your brows. You can even apply clear mascara to your eyebrows to keep them in place.

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