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Makeup Brushes Explained: Different Types of Makeup Brushes and Their Uses

21 November 2023
Makeup Brushes Explained: Different Types of Makeup Brushes and Their Uses

Makeup Brushes Explained: Different Types of Makeup Brushes and Their Uses

If you don’t know your foundation brush from your blusher brush, you’re in the right place. Achieve that flawless finish every time with our ultimate guide to the different types of makeup brushes and their uses.

Foundation Brush

A foundation brush is essential for all experience levels using cream or liquid foundation. Long gone are the days when you would use your fingers to haphazardly apply to your face! 

Instead, choose a brush with silky, soft bristles and a comfortable handle for easy application as you build up your coverage.

Highlighter Brush

Reminiscent of an Art Deco fan, the highlighter brush is just as fun to use as it is to look at. 

Designed to be swept across your cheekbones for that perfect shimmery glow, your highlighter brush will lift your makeup look to new heights. For more precise highlighting, we always recommend a tapered highlighter brush.

Powder and Bronzer Brush

The right powder and bronzer brush will reduce the risk of a cakey finish. Fluffy dome-shaped heads, like our large powder brush, are best for all-over products, creating a diffused and natural look.

However, if you are using eye/baking powder or blush, smaller powder brushes will create a more defined finish. 

A selection of SOSU Cosmetics different make-up brushes with blush pink handles

Eyebrow-Spoolie Brush

An eyebrow-spoolie brush can help you tame wild brows, blend eyebrow products, or give your eyebrows extra shape.

You can purchase spoolies separately but many of your favourite eyebrow products will come with a dedicated spoolie brush. Perfect for reducing cross-contamination and keeping your skin healthy. 

Blender Brush

Used to blend out and buff your eyeshadow, blender brushes come in many sizes for each step in creating that flawless eye look. 

Mini blender brushes are perfect for adding highlighter, and diffusing eyeshadow underneath your eyes, whereas crease blender brushes will create that natural diffusion along your crease line.  

Contour Brush

Made with denser bristles than many makeup brushes, a contour brush is slightly stiffer to help you sculpt and define facial features such as your cheekbones and jawline. By precisely applying and blending contour products, like powders or creams, you can create shadows and highlights, enhancing natural bone structure and muscle definition on your face and your body too.

A woman with red hair looking off to the left with hands holding a foundation brush to her cheek

Makeup Brush Dos & Don’ts: Tips & Techniques

If you’re ready to upgrade your makeup kit, here are some professional tips and tricks to help you make the most of your brushes and love your makeup every day.

Do: Invest in a good quality makeup brush set

If you want to save money, reduce product waste, and be able to create a flawless look every time, you have to invest in a good quality set of makeup brushes.

Even if you aren’t comfortable with all the different makeup brushes on the market yet, owning one or two high-quality makeup brushes will make a difference.

Don’t: apply foundation directly to the foundation brush

One of the biggest makeup faux pas you must avoid is applying your foundation directly onto your foundation brush. 

Not only will you waste more product as it’s absorbed into the bristles but you’ll run the risk of product build up which can shorten the life of your brushes.

A women with dark hair and flawless skin having shimmer eyeshadow applied using a blending makeup  brush

Do: apply makeup with brushes in gentle motions

Applying your makeup in harsh motions will not create a patchy and uneven finish, it can also damage the top layers of your skin.

This can leave it looking red and blotchy, as well as feeling irritated. Always apply your makeup lightly and with a kind hand.

Don’t: forget to wash your makeup brushes

Washing your makeup brushes is a necessary step in your makeup routine if you want to protect your skin.

By cleaning your makeup brushes as regularly as possible you can avoid harmful bacteria growth, transfer of old makeup that can irritate and inflame your skin, and unwanted skin breakouts.

Do: use a beauty blender for ultimate blending 

Foundation brushes are great but if you want that flawless, almost airbrushed finish, SOSU Cosmetics always recommends a beauty blender

Not only are they soft on your skin, they are easy to clean and store. Perfect for our low-maintenance babes. 

two peach coloured beauty blenders in different sizes. Popular alternative to different types of makeup brushes

Makeup Brushes: FAQ

What brushes do you need for eyes?

For gorgeous eye makeup, you'll want a selection of brushes; 

  • Fluffy Blending Brush: This brush is used to blend eyeshadow colours seamlessly, creating smooth transitions between shades.
  • Tapered Blending Brush: Provides precision and depth when applying eyeshadow in the crease of the eyelid.
  • Shading Brush: Ideal for applying eyeshadow to the eyelid, packing colour onto the lid for a vibrant look.
  • Smudging Brush: Used to create a smoky effect by blending and smudging eyeliner or eyeshadow along the lash line.
  • Eyeliner Brush: Perfect for precise eyeliner application, allowing for sharp and defined lines.

Our luxury eyeshadow brush collection has all of the above to help you achieve any eye makeup looks with ease and precision.

 SOSU Cosmetics luxury eyeshadow brush collection

What is a stippling brush and what is it used for?

Used to apply liquid and cream foundations, a stippling brush uses dabbing motions instead of more common swiping motions to create a seamless finish. 

Great for sensitive skin or for those experiencing breakouts who want more coverage, a stippling brush is gentle on your skin.

What are kabuki brushes for?

Commonly used to apply base products, the versatile kabuki brush features a short handle alongside densely packed bristles. 

They can be used to buff and blend your base and tanning products, as well as that final sweep to ensure all of your makeup is perfectly diffused.

How do you clean and dry your makeup brushes?

If you’re wondering how to clean makeup brushes, it’s simple. Firstly, fill your bathroom sink with lukewarm, soapy water (clarifying shampoo works wonders) and swirl your brushes gently through the water until they are clean. 

Then reshape them and lay them flat on a clean towel to air dry. Avoid damage by being gentle with the bristles and avoiding the roots.

What are the different types of foundation brushes?

Here are some of the most popular foundation brushes; 

  • Flat Brush: For applying liquid/cream foundation
  • Angled Brush: For applying to hard-to-reach areas like your nose and eyes
  • Flat-Top Brush: Used to dab or stipple in foundation
  • Dual-Fibre Brush: Features two bristle lengths for building coverage
  • Oval Brush: Can be used for both makeup buffing and skincare
  • Buffing Brush: Used to buff out product for a flawless finish

Find Your Perfect Makeup Brushes Today

Ready to experience flawless makeup, every day?

Explore our easy-to-use and high-quality makeup brushes and level up your make-up game.

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From Prep To Finish: How To Apply Your Foundation Like A Pro