The Tools of the Trade

28 Jan

What is going to make the biggest difference in your makeup application? The right tools. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend tons of money on makeup brushes, nor does it mean go out and buy a full set.  In this post I’m going to tell you what to look for in a brush, which basic brushes you might want to buy (and which other brushes you might want to add later) and what each brush is for.

Finding Quality Brushes

Before you purchase a bush you should assess the quality by testing a few things. First check how the bristles feel against your skin (soft vs prickly), run your fingers through the bristles to make sure they don’t shed. You also want to test how the brush feels in your had. It needs to be balanced and feel comfortable to hold.

Natural VS Synthetic Brushes

Both types of brushes have a purpose in your kit. Natural bristles (squirrel, goat, pony or sable) are very soft and will offer a more diffused/natural application. These types of brushes are best for working with powder products.

Synthetic bristles are best for using with liquid, cream or gel products. They are normally stiffer that natural brushes and provide a more precise application.

Basic Brushes

Blush Brush









A blush brush should we wide enough to cover the apple of the cheek with soft bristles and curved edges. Use it for applying blush, hilight and contour colors.

Eye Blender Brush















This brush should be used for blending only  – not for applying color. You want a soft and fluffy brush to blend your shadows after application to eliminate lines of demarcation. The secret of natural looking makeup is to blend, blend, blend.

Eyeshadow Brush

There are all kinds of eyeshadow brushes but to start with you want to pick a basic brush. It should be wide enough to cover about half the lid. The shape is good for quickly and precisely applying shadows to your lid.

Powder Bush

For a powder brush you want to choose a natural hair, large, fluffy brush with a full round shape. The size and shape of the brush ensures an even application and distribution of powders.

These 4 brushes give you lots to work with.

Additional Brushes

Bronzer Brush









With soft, dense bristles and a rounded brush head, a bronzer brush will provide a smooth, even application of bronzer.

Brow Brush










This brush is used to apply powder to the brows for a fuller look. Look for a brush with stiff, short bristles cut on an angle.  A blend of synthetic and natural bristles is best.

Concealer Brush

The concealer brush is designed to precisely apply concealer in hard to reach spots like the corners of your eyes, around your nose and over blemishes. Look for a brush with stiff yet soft bristles and synthetic hairs (as most concealers are cream based).

Brush with a Dome Tip

This brush is designed for applying eye shadow to the crease of the eye for contouring.  Look for a brush with soft, natural bristles and a domed shape for precise and smooth application.Angled Liner Brush

Angled Liner Brush

This brush is used to define your eyelid with a fine line of color. You want a brush with flat and dense synthetic bristles so that it can be used with liquid, cream, gel or powder liners.

Flat Liner Brush

This brush is used for wet or dry application of color along the lash-line. Look for a brush with flat, dense synthetic bristles and a slightly rounded tip.

Face Brush (or Kabuki Brush)

A face brush is a multi-purpose brush. It can be used for applying bronzer, blush or powder or for blending everything after application (of powders). Look for a soft brush with a slightly rounded shape.

Foundation Brush

Foundation brushes are used to apply…foundation! The use of a brush provides slightly more coverage than if you apply foundation with a sponge.  Look for a brush with synthetic bristles and a full, flat shape with rounded edges.

Lip Brush

A lip brush uses firm bristles with a pointed tip to allow for prescice application of lipstick or glosses. Look for a brush with synthetic bristles.

Now these last 2 are not brushes but I consider them super important tools in my kit.

Eyelash Curler

A lash curler is designed to lift and curl your lashes. Look for a basic metal version with rubber pads. Always curl your lashes BEFORE putting on your mascara.

Beauty Blender

I will never go back to using a regular sponge after trying the Beautyblender. Designed to be used wet it provides a practically flawless application of foundation. The rounded shape prevents the dreaded foundation lines and the tapered edge is good for getting in tricky spots like around the nose and near the inner eye.


2 Responses to “The Tools of the Trade”

  1. surf9895 January 28, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Reblogged this on Fresh fashion for all and commented:
    Another guide to makeup 101. Credits go to “Tales of a Lipgloss Junkie,” who does a fantastic job of explaining the proper use of each brush. Enjoy!

  2. Jo January 28, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Very informative!! I have a few “good brushes” but I do not use them properly!! Now I know what they are for, thanks! Where did you buy the beauty blender?

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