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A brush is usually made up of handle and bristles. Handles could be made up of plastic, metal or wood.Bristles are mainly either animal or synthetic. Animal bristles pick up dry products such as powder well while synthetic brushes are better for cream, liquid products. Most people prefer animal bristles because they say it blends better, it is softer etc. After about 8 years of using makeup brushes, I can say I prefer the synthetic fibres. I know most people would raise an eyebrow, but oh well, it is a matter of preference.
Anyways straight to the business at hand, to make this easier i’ll divide the brushes into FACE, EYES, LIPS AND OTHERS.
Here we go…

(Marked brushes ** are HIGHLY recommended for your makeup kit)


Foundation brush

The typical foundation brush is usually long with flat synthetic/animal hair bristles and tapered tip. Used for foundation and concealer. Most people ask which is better between these traditional foundation brushes and beauty blenders. for me, they have entirely different uses! Beauty blenders are more suitable for blending already applied foundation.

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Powder brush(**)
Powder brushes are usually fluffy with soft, full and rounded bristles. They could be used to apply loose, compact powder. It could also be used to blend liquid foundation, depending on how soft the bristles are. The ELF powder brush has GREAT reviews as a foundation brush! Imagine that!

They also come in angled bristles, the pointed tip is used to reach inner corners of the face the round brush might not reach, also for contouring. There is also the flat top used for buffing in powder. I always advice to use a powder puff for powder, but you also need a powder brush for light applications or to dust off powder after using the powder puff.

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 Blush/Bronzer Brush (**)
These are just like powder brushes but smaller. I know most people use their powder brushes as blush brushes, in as much a they can be used for both functions, i think it is only good to have a separate brush for blush. They also come in round and angled. There also special brushes for mineral blush, i’ll talk about that in the OTHER section. The angled blush brush are perfect for contouring the cheeks, as the slanted bristles can reach deep into the hollow, creating a defined  and dimensional cheek bone

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Fan Brush

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This is also called whisk away brush. The synthetic one is mostly used for body painting while the animal bristle is used for light touches, whisk away fall outs etc It also dusts, wipes and contours powders for a flawless look and can be used to create a soft wash of colour over the cheeks, also used to  apply a touch of loose power to cover shine.

Concealer Brush(**)



This is usually a soft, flat with a pointed tip. It is usually flexible for precision application and blending. This is used for applying concealer directly onto blemishes, or under the eye. it could also be used to clean eyebrows after filling and also shape lips. A concealer brush could also double as a lip brush.


Kabuki brush(**)



Kabuki Brushes are my favourite type of brushes. I cant even begin to explain how and why i love them so much. I just know that they are awesome. From applying foundation to contour, to blush, to powder, to minimizing shine etc…I cant go out on a job without my full kabuki set. they come in powder, blush, foundation, contour, buffing, setting, pointed, finishing etc, but the beauty about Kabuki is, ONE FITS ALL. believe me!
Kabuki brush (sometimes called mushroom brush) is a makeup brush with a short stem and dense bristles. The brush head is most often rounded, though it can be also flat. Traditionally, the bristles are made of natural materials like animal hair (e.g., goat or horse hair), but most brushes available now on the market have synthetic bristles.

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The rounded typical kabuki is multifunctional and can be used for applying foundation, powder and blush.They are also really good for blending. I use them mostly for applying, blending and finishing! i.e everything. A girl has to have one of these for that flawless and seamless foundation look.
My fav kabukis have to be ECOTOOLS, ELF, ROYAL CARE. My MAC Kabuki (182), is just a blatant failure, but I wont even rant about that. I have synthetic kabukis I bought for less than N2,000 that perform better! sometimes expensive things are just all about the hype.

The smaller sized ones, called baby kabukis are mostly used for blush and bronzers, and also used to cover blemishes

Flat top Kabuki
Angled Kabuki
Pointed Kabuki

Duo fibre multipurpose brush(**)



The duo fibre brushes are also mineral brushes. They are called duo fibre because, they come with two different fibres. there’s a denser part beneath which is usually black, then the pointed less denser hairs on top which are usually white. What this does is, the white bristles pick up products, and the dense black bristles help with the application by providing support. The great thing about these brushes are they pick up LITTLE PRODUCT unlike kabukis that might soak up your liquid foundation. They also come in flat top, pointed, rounded, angled etc.  The stippling brush which is the most popular is used to achieve an airbrushed effect while applying foundation.
The pointed brush is used for contouring as well as applying foundation and concealer into the corners of the face where the regular brush might not reach.
Most brands have duo fibre brushes, but the most popular ones are REAL TECHNIQUES and SIGMA

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Eye shadow brushes are basically used to apply eyeshadows and other eye related products like eye bases and primers etc. There are so many eyeshadow brushes and each have their specific functions. Eye shadow brushes are some of the brushes I don’t joke with, or try and do the “multiple function” thing with them, because they may look similar, they actually do have specific functions

Basic/LargeLid eyeshadow brush (**)
:  These brushes are densely packed and are good for applying colour all over to the lid, or for applying primers and bases or a base colour.

ELF eye shadow brush


Blending brush(**)
As the name suggests these are used to blend eyeshadows. Blending brushes are very very very essential. They make a whole lot of difference, There are different types, there’s the tapered blending brush which usualyl has a pointed tip and good for reaching deep creases. There’s the fluffy type which is really soft and good for applying transition colors and blending two pr more colors together…one of my fav blending brushes is the ELF eye blending brush. The MAC 217 is also a good investment.

These brushes can also be used to blend under eye and brow concealer. I as a  matter of fact use my blending brushes to apply setting powder underneath the eye. for this i use my CALA crease brush and BDELLIUM duo fibre large tapered blending brush

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Angled Eyeshadow Brush:

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The angled eyeshadow brush is a small, soft and rounded angled tip makes applying shadow to the corners due to its contoured shape, in the creases, or across the entire lid easy. It’s good for shaping ,blending  smudging, also good for creating smokey eyes by intensifying the outer V. They also double as contour brushes, especially for nose contouring.

Eyeliner brush :

Best believe, eyeliner brushes are so many. There’s the flat, felt tip and angled. Now under these #, you’ll find synthetic, animal bristles, hard, stiff, dense, thin, soft etc
The flat eyeliner brush, is probably the most wrongly used brush of all time. most people just dip it into their gel liners and draw a line across their eyelid. It is called a ‘push’ brush because it meant for pushing the product into the lash line.  It is also used by pushing the eyeliner itself into the inner upper lash line. This technique is sometimes referred to as ‘tightening’ where eyeliner is applied under the upper lid line.For makeup artists that don’t know, if you ever have to do a very natural shoot or a “deeper-life”bride, this is the way to go..  An angled brush which we use for the brows is also good for drawing a perfect cat eye-line.

Tightening Eyeliner Technique
Felt tip
Flat eyeliner brush

Smudge brush – This is a short curved brush which helps in smoothing in colour along the lash line for a smoky look. The dense brushes help to blend colours or smudge lines. It is also used for contouring and enhancing the outer V

Mascara/ Eyebrow brush(**)
– This is usually a long thin brush with tough bristles. they are usually used to comb through eyebrows to keep them in place, and also blend harsh eyebrow pencil lines.



Angled Eyebrow Brush
I guess everybody knows this already! This is used to fill in your brows using a brow filler,. It is also used to apply concealer to clean up and define the brow, and also highlight the brow bone

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Eye Contour/Crease Brush(**)
You have to have this! As the name implies, it is used to contour the eyes. It can also be used for a nice smokey effect by applying colour to the crease, also to define your outer V, and to darken or add colour beneath your lash line. Like I said, YOU HAVE TO HAVE THIS. Sometimes they are called bullet or pencil brushes. depending on the size, they can also be used to apply colour into the innermost colour of the eye to brighten it up.

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Lip brushes are mostly synthetic, though there are other types of fibres out there. Just like other cream or liquid products, lipglosses or lipsticks are best applied with a synthetic brush. Like i mentioned earlier, a concealer brush can double as a lip brush depending on how stiff it is. Lip brushes can also be used to clean up lipstick stains around the lips by applying concealer onto the brush and cleaning up.

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So there you go guys, you should be able to open your brush pouches now and identify if not all but most of your brushes. Leave the finger painting to kids, and work your brushes like magicians!

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Beauty by Hairven

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  1. Thank u so….much for this article, its really amazing and it shows how much effort u put into bringing out something this nice and easy to understand. GOD bless u honey

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