The Types Of Makeup Brushes You Actually Need To Buy

Ok, so if you’ve ever fallen into the black hole that is internet makeup tutorials (aka all of us), then you’ve probably been exposed to the endless makeup brushes that those 15-year-old YouTube stars use. But which makeup brushes do you actually need? I mean, we love contouring as much as the next betch, and we also enjoy a perfect smoky eye, but do you really need a different brush for your crease, brow bone, and smudging? Not so much. Read on to find out which makeup brushes your vanity can do without, and which ones ACTUALLY need (and where to use them), courtesy of Jane Iredale’s new (and chicly designed) brush collection.

1. Eyeshadow Brush

Jane Iredale’s Chisel Shader Brush is perfect for both powder and cream eyeshadows, and can be used to lay down the eyeshadow from the lash line to the brow bone so you won’t need another brush. The densely packed, short bristles make it easy to build layers of shadow without smudging.

2. Crease Brush

A brush with long, soft bristles helps to blend a multicolored eye look so you don’t end up with streaky raccoon eyes. If you’ve ever seen someone walking around with unblended eyeshadow, you know why a crease brush is necessary.

3. Powder Foundation Brush

If you’re into powder foundations or bronzers, then a long-bristled, flat-topped brush like The Handi Brush can be used to dab on the powder, then buff out after applying. Since the bristles are so dense, you won’t lose or waste makeup in the application process.

4. Liquid Foundation Brush

If you’re a liquid foundation kinda betch, you need a large, rounded, densely packed brush like a Kabuki Brush for an application that you can buff on evenly for the best coverage. Yes, you really do need a different brush for each type of foundation. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

5. Contour Brush

If you want to properly achieve a transformation as dominant as Kim K’s, then you’re going to need a contour brush (and a lot of other work—but most importantly, a contour brush). The brush also doubles as a blush brush and is really used to enhance any/all features. Contour brushes should be of medium density and have an angled top. Those of you who still haven’t figured out how to contour can save a little money by not bothering with this type of brush.

6. Fan Brush

Ok, so you really only need this brush if you’re obsessed with highlighters. Which, if you’ve read this far into the story, odds are you take angled selfies just to get a glimpse of your glowing highlighter. There’s just something about having shimmering cheeks that makes us feel better about ourselves. A soft, long-bristled, fan-shaped brush should be dabbed into a highlighter and then spread above your cheekbones. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t believe in highlighter and thinks it’s all a scam to get us to buy repackaged eyeshadow, you can skip the fan brush.

7. Angle Liner/Brow Brush

Short, thin, angled brushes like Jane Iredale’s Angle Liner/Brow Brush will help to apply eyeliner and fill in your brows without making you look like Oscar The Grouch. So yeah, you need one of these in your stash.

8. Concealer Brush

A rounded, flat, dense brush with medium to short bristles allows you to apply and blend liquid or cream concealer evenly, and with control so you don’t end up having white rings around your eyes when someone uses the camera’s flash.

The 7 Types Of Makeup Brushes You Need And How To Use Them

Honestly, as fun and life-saving makeup can be, it can be equally as overwhelming. First, there’s perfecting winged eyeliner, putting on the right amount of bronzer, and like, somehow keeping up with a gazillion beauty devices. There are so many that exist now that I just literally can’t even. Take makeup brushes, for example. There are easily over 30 different kinds, and I can confidently tell you that I am familiar with maybe three—that’s not including if I’m even using them correctly. I can’t even remember which fucking fork is the salad fork when my boyfriend takes me out to dinner, nonetheless the difference between a concealer brush and eyeshadow brush. Since I’m a twentysomething woman gawking at how much better at 15-year-old can do their contour than I can, I figured I can’t be the only one who feels this way. I’ve done us all a much-needed favor and rounded up the best makeup brushes you should def own and how exactly to use them. Take a kabuki brush, for instance. Ya, exactly, is that what I ordered from that Japanese restaurant last night?? No, bitch, and that’s precisely why you need my help.

1. Foundation And Concealer Brush

For powder-based foundations, you want to make sure you’re using a brush with natural bristles. This will mimic the appearance of airbrushing so your makeup looks even and natural. It’s super gentle so it won’t feel like some guy’s five o’clock shadow is rubbing all up on your grill. Start by placing a small amount of your foundation on the back of your hand and working your way from the center of your face outwards. Brush in a circular motion so that it’s evenly distributed.

Tarte Airbrush Finish Bamboo And Foundation Brush

Tarte Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush

For liquid or cream-based foundations, a brush with synthetic bristles works best. You’ll achieve a full-coverage look since the dense, firm bristles will ensure your foundation applies seamlessly and streak-free. A rounded brush will allow you to blend and build on your foundation as well as perfect the smallest details. Start by gently patting your makeup and smoothing it out before applying on your face. Beginning at the center (nose, eyes, the fucking middle of your face), blend out onto the surrounding areas where desired.

bareMinerals Complexion Perfector Foundation & Concealer Brush

bareMinerals Complexion Perfector Foundation & Concealer Brush

2. Kabuki Brush

When I first heard the name of this brush, I was like WTF IS THIS… I need to have it. My makeup has never been better. Kabuki brushes are big af but v soft and easy on the face, so they rarely irritate your skin. This type of brush is ideal for loose powder-based foundations to create an even look that doesn’t look cakey whatsoever. Be sure to use a small amount at a time (because by using this, you’ll save so much in the long run) and swirl all over in a circular motion.

NARS Botan Kabuki Brush

NARS Botan Kabuki Brush

3. Beautyblender

Okay, you probs use this one by now, but in case you’re a sheltered freak like me and haven’t, you should def buy your first beautyblender now so you can see why everyone in the world is obsessed. Beautyblenders basically changed the game as we know it, because they can work for both liquid and powder foundations and still provide the most flawless look ever. It looks like an egg, feels like a stress ball, obviously we’re going to wonder how tf to use this shit. For liquid foundation, dip the pointy end first and lightly dot on your face where needed the most. With the bigger end, dab and blend. For powder-based products, dampen the larger part just a bit, making sure to squeeze excess water out before applying. Obviously.

Beautyblender Original

Beautyblender Original

4. Angled Blush Brush

Using an angled brush is v important when applying blush or anything close to a contour. If you use a round brush, you’ll end up looking like that yellow Pokemon or something equally weird. Angled bristles line up with your facial structure and create a natural-looking rosy glow. Sweep upwards along your cheekbones when applying, and on your way back down, lightly blend.

IT Brushes For Ulta: Love Beauty Fully Flawless Blush Brush #227

IT Brushes For Ulta: Love Beauty Fully Flawless Blush Brush #227

5. Bronzer/Contour Brush

In order to have a Kardashian-level contour, it only makes sense to have a fab af brush. Obviously, 2-in-1 is always better, so buying a combination brush will only make your life easier when you’re rushing to put your face on. When looking for a contour brush, you want to make sure the tip is precise, small, and round (HAHA THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID … and I’m clearly five years old, moving on) so that you can draw the bronzer along your cheekbones and nose as well as the highlighter along the center of your face. To blend in harsh lines, be sure to blend in lightly using a large, wide brush.

Tarte Bronze & Glow Contour Brush

Tarte Bronze & Glow Contour Brush

6. All Over Eye Shadow Brush

Finding the right eye shadow brush is very important so you don’t create a streaky look—or worse, an uneven smokey eye. It just looks fucking weird and you don’t want to be that person, ever. Be sure to opt for a brush with a small head and super fine bristles. You’ll want to make sure it fans enough so that you can evenly apply liquid or powder eye shadow, and layer on if you need.

NYX Cosmetics All Over Powder Brush

NYX Cosmetics Pro All Over Shadow Brush

7. Lash Comb and Brow Brush

This is def one of the most crucial additions you need for your makeup bag. The dual brush is ideal for polishing your look just before you run out the door. Use the comb end to brush your lashes after mascara to separate, de-clump, and de-spider long lashes. After shading in or using gel on your brows, use the brush end to brush your hairs into the right place so they stay looking on-point all night long.

Ulta Lash Comb & Brow Brush

Ulta Lash Comb & Brow Brush

How To Actually Clean Your Makeup Brushes So Your Skin Doesn’t Hate You

Makeup comes as second nature to a betch. We eat, sleep, and breathe it with our fave beauty vloggers and celebs. We put a new face on everyday using only the best of the best and yet, they say we’re not artistic. My face isn’t in the MoMA so, let’s be real. Who’s the one that really doesn’t know what great art is? Puh-lease. We spend forever and a day in Sephora (or on their website, same shit) looking for the next Urban Decay palette and figuring out which brush will make our contour look 10x better. A million brushes and dollars spent later seems a little ridiculous—there’s no need to keep buying new brushes. Here’s food for thought, when was the last time you actually washed a single brush? I get it, like, we already have to wash our comforter, barely worn jeans, and now, our fucking makeup brushes, too. Life is so hard. Then, we wonder WTF we’re not doing right that we keep breaking out. I’m assuming weekly alcohol binges and cheat days don’t necessarily help but, neither does bacteria build up. Vom. Do yourself a favor and grab your brushes right now, because you def needed to clean them like, yesterday. You gon’ learn today, betch.

How Often You Have To Do This Shit?

The answer may surprise you (or not): pretty fucking often. Foundation, concealer, contour, blah, blah, blah, all those facial brushes need to be washed at least once a week. So, yeaaah, you’ve been fucking up big time for awhile now. It’s okay, though. It’s never too late to start treating your face with the respect it deserves. Doing this will get rid of oil, bacteria, and nasty shit you don’t want to blend on your face.

For brushes you use around your eyes, that’s a bit more flexible, so you can wash those about twice a month. All others should be fine if you wash them at least once a month. IDK, if this sounds like too much already, just do this shit while drinking alone, Netflix-binging, or something.

How To Wash

There are a few different methods you can use to wash your brushes. The cheapest and most convenient is using lukewarm water and unscented soap. Whoa, like, who would’ve guessed. You’ll want to gently massage the bristles and put a very small amount of soap in-between. Wash thoroughly, or until you stop seeing all that shit seeping out of them, because trust me, you’ll see it. After, gently press the bristles with a towel. Reshape and let them air dry while they hang over a sink or counter. This is probs best done on a Sunday night, just before heading into bed so you have fresh brushes to work with for the following week.

1. Sephora Collection, The Cleanse: Daily Brush Cleaner. If for whatever reason soap and water require too much effort (hi), luckily our heaven on earth, aka Sephora, has several cleaners to make you feel less like a peasant. This oil-free cleaning spray in particular can be sprayed on whatever brush you want to clean so you can reuse it as much as possible. Made with fruits and other healthy shit I don’t feel like listing, the spray will condition and protect the bristles from wear and tear. Since it dries super quick, you can do this before you start your makeup for a clean slate.

2. Sephoa Collection, Dry Clean Instant Dry Brush Cleaner Spray. I quote, “like a dry shampoo for your brushes,” this thing is basically a life-saver because we all know what dry shampoo does for our own hair. This spray doesn’t require water so, you honestly don’t have to get up off the couch to use this. Just apply directly and watch it dry instantly. Since it literally takes seconds, feel free to use it daily instead of weekly. Seriously, you don’t really have an excuse anymore for not washing your damn brushes.

3. Sephora Collection, Polish Up Silicone Brush Cleansing Pad. For synthetic brushes, you’ll want something that really scrubs in areas your hands can’t manage. Here’s where this cute AF pink glove-thing comes in the picture. It’s a cleansing pad that fits in the palm of your hand—probs as close to baseball as you’ll ever get—so while your brushes are wet with soap, scrub gently to get all the gross shit off. Just rinse off when you’re finished (fucking duh), reshape the bristles to its original stance, and let them air dry off of a flat surface.

If You’re Brush Stops Looking Like A Brush:

If at some point in the near future your makeup bristles no longer like a brush but instead like drunk Barbie’s hair here:

All the washing in the world won’t help. It’s probs a sign that you should throw that shit out ASAP and get a new brush. Except this time, try washing and taking care of it, you know? You hardly need to exert energy get off the couch in order to save money, have your contour stay on #fleek, and look hotter than ever. I mean, what other incentive do you really need?