10 Essential Makeup Brushes & How to Use Them
Makeup brushes are an indispensable tool when it comes to creating a flawless makeup look that lasts all day. Quality brushes maximize the benefits of application, and they last longer than cheaper brushes. However, brushes can be a big investment, and with so many types to choose from it can be difficult to judge just which are the essential makeup brushes to own.
That’s why we compiled a list of the recommended makeup brushes, which will allow you to create everything from natural daytime looks to more dramatic nighttime looks. Plus, there’s recommended brushes from renowned Japanese Kumanofude brushes, Chikuhodo and Koyudo, and some tips on how to use the brushes.
1. Foundation Brushes
When applying foundation, using your fingers can cause oiliness and shine, while sponges absorb more foundation which uses it up more quickly. Foundation brushes and stippling brushes are the perfect solution to this problem, offering better coverage with less waste. The shape of the brush head also makes a difference, with a rounded brush head being better suited to layering and flat brush heads being better suited to lighter foundation applications. To use a foundation or stippling brush, squeeze one or two pumps of foundation onto the back of your hand, dip the brush in lightly, and then buff it onto your face in circular motions. Start from the center of the face, working up and out towards the hairline for flawless even coverage.
Foundation brushes come in both natural and synthetic bristles, the latter being ideal for liquid and cream products as they tend to soak up less product than natural hair brushes and even less than sponges. Foundation brushes come in three main shapes: rounded, flat, and angled. They’re perfect for blending and buffing foundation into the skin, creating a smooth airbrushed finish.
SHOP FOR FOUNDATION BRUSHES
2. Powder Brushes
Powder brushes are an essential makeup brush for applying powder foundation and loose powder, especially as they use less product than puff applicators. To use a powder brush, dip the head of the brush in loose powder and tap off the excess, then apply it lightly over the face in a sweeping motion, following the contours of the face. For a more natural look, stick to the T-zone and inner cheeks, leaving the outer face alone.
Fude brushes are renowned for their large, soft, densely packed brushes made with the highest grade of natural and synthetic bristles. They have the perfect density for holding just the right amount of powder for application over the entire face, and fine tips that deposit product smoothly for an airbrushed finish. Whether applying a base layer of powder foundation, or to set liquid foundation with loose powder, their is a Fude brush for the job.
SHOP FOR POWDER BRUSHES
3. Concealer Brushes
A concealer brush like the Chikuhodo RR-CO1 is an essential makeup brush for applying and blending product for flawless coverage that conceals blemishes, pigmentation, scars, and discoloration such as redness or dark circles under the eyes.
To use, apply a light liquid concealer to the under eyes to highlight and brighten dark areas and a concealer that’s the same color as your foundation to cover imperfections. Tap the concealer on with your brush and blend very gently so as not to wipe your foundation away.
SHOP FOR CONCEALER BRUSHES
4. Blush Brushes
Blush brushes have an airy and rounded brush head, which allows the color to be deposited slowly, so that it can be built up for a natural effect. The most basic application of blush is to swirl your brush in rouge and then dusting it on your face. However, the best shape and placement for blush really depends on your face shape. For heart-shaped faces, sweep over the apples of the cheeks, moving upwards towards the temple. Oblong face shapes will also want to apply rouge to the apples of the cheeks, but blend towards the nose and ears, while round faces will want to apply rouge to the apples of the cheeks but blend only toward the temples and ears and staying away from the nose, which can make the face look even rounder. Square faces should apply blush across the cheekbones, sweeping color lightly from the low to high sides to soften the strong angles of the face.
SHOP FOR BLUSH BRUSHES
5. Flat-top Brushes
Contouring can wield magical powers to help your features balance and pop. Flat-top brushes like the Koyudo BP022 are recommended makeup brushes for more precise control and an airy touch against the skin.
Use a flat top contouring brush to apply bronzer by sweeping pigment under the cheekbones, around the sides of the forehead close to the hairline, and along the jawline for definition.
SHOP FOR CONTOURING BRUSHES
6. Medium Eyeshadow Brushes
Medium-sized eye makeup brushes generally have less airiness than large eyeshadow brushes, and can be used to apply all-over color to gives lids a smooth finish and more intense pigment than fluffy brushes, as well as to add definition your eyeshadow, such as applying bold pigments an working in the crease of the eye.
For applying all-over color, press the pigment onto the eyelid below the crease rather than with a sweeping motion to prevent color fallout, particularly when working with bold or vibrant pigments. For crease work, dip the tip of the brush in eye shadow, tap off excess product, and apply pigment into the crease working from the outside edge of the eye inward along the crease.
SHOP FOR EYESHADOW BRUSHES
7. Blending Brushes For Eyes
In addition to your main eyeshadow brush, you’ll want a fluffier blending brush to create a seamless finish, such as the such as the Mizuho CMP527 and Chikuhodo Z-11. These work with both cream and powder eyeshadows.
Use a light sweeping stroke for blending shadows from the inner to the outer edge of the eye, but the tip of the brush for working in the crease, working from the outer edge inward.
SHOP FOR BLENDING BRUSHES
Smudging brushes are essential for smudging out eyeliner but are also practical for packing intense color onto the lids, pressing eyeshadow along the lash line, and for softening harsh lines.
Use a smudger brush with a gentle rubbing motion similar to an eraser, taking care not to wipe any of the pigment away.
SHOP FOR SMUDGING BRUSHES
9. Brow Brush & Spoolie
Brow brushes and spoolie wands are essential makeup tools for defining lashes and taming unruly brows an creating a beautiful brow line.
Use the spoolie wand or the comb side of the brow brush to comb your brow hairs up away from the nose before grooming or filling them in with brow powder. The spoolie can also be used after filling in brows to soften any harsh lines for a more natural look.
SHOP FOR BROW BRUSHES & SPOOLIES
10. Lip Brushes
Lip brushes are a useful alternative to applying lipstick straight out of the tube that allows a more accurate application and prevents smudging, which is essential especially when applying bold lip colors.
To use, apply lip color with a brush from the center of your lip, blending outward towards your lip line. Then use the tip of the brush to define the cupid’s bow (that dip at the middle of your upper lip) and the corners of your mouth. Adjust the amount of product and pressure to get a more defined line or a softer line for a more natural look.
SHOP FOR LIP BRUSHES
Having the right makeup brushes that are fit-for-purpose ensures the best application possible for all of your makeup needs. Make sure you have these recommended makeup brushes from Chikuhodo and Koyudo in your collection!
Browse FUDE BEAUTY's full collection of Japanese makeup brushes