Makeup Brush SetHow often have you read that makeup brushes are essential for applying makeup? It seems that every magazine, makeup artist and any friend who calls themselves a beauty blogger, sings the praises of these magical brushes. For someone who has only ever used the little sponge that came with the eyeshadow (why is it there, if I can’t use it?), figuring out what brush is meant to be used with which product is as confusing as figuring out an eyeshadow palette with more than two colors. Brushes may seem like an unnecessary expense and an extra chore (you do have to clean them) but when you get the right one for the right job, it actually makes applying makeup a lot easier.

Here are hacks on how to figure out what makeup brushes you should be using:

1. The Basics

8 Brushes you need in your makeup bag pinterest

Before we can get into contouring, blending and stippling, we need to be able to tell the difference between a powder brush and blush brush.

2. Essential vs. Optional Brushes

Makeup Brushes essential vs optional

If you have decided to splurge on a brush or two, make sure you get one that you’re actually going to use on a day-to-day basis.

3. Which Products To Use

Makeup brushes with what products

Print out this visual guide. It’s a great reference when you’re too sleepy to remember whether that cream shadow brush also works with gel eyeliner (that would be a no).

4. Where To Use It

Where To Use That Makeup Brush

You have the right brush and the right product, now all you need to do is put it on the right spot. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but not with this diagram.

5. Face Brushes

Face Brushes

Now that you’re familiar with the basic shapes, let’s get it specifics. First up are different face brushes.

6. Foundation Application

How to Apply Foundation

Don’t have a blending sponge? Consult the previous foundation brush chart to find out what you could use instead.

7. Concealer Application

Concealer Application

You’ve mastered foundation, now it’s time to use that brush to hide pesky dark circles.

8. Cheek brushes

Cheek brushes

This finally solves the mystery of why you look dirty every time you apply bronzer. Yup, you were using the wrong brush.

9. Blush Application

Apply Blush

Now you’ve go the right tools, you can sculpt some model cheekbones.

10. Eyeshadow Brushes

Eyeshadow brushes 2


Who knew such a small area would require so many brushes? There’s no need to buy 10 unless you’re a makeup artist; pick the one you’ll use the most.

11. Using Eye Brushes Together


Using eye brushes together


A simplified chart on how to combine brushes, kind of like a no-fail recipe.

12. Everyday Eye Application

Everyday Eye

A perfectly blended eye for everyday, courtesy of your new tools.

13. Eyeliner brushes

Eyeliner brushes



What to do a smoky eye with some a powder eyeshadow? Here are three brushes you can use.

14. Winged Liner Application


Winged linner brush


This angled brush makes winged eye liner look so easy that it makes me think I could pull it off.

15. Washing Your Brushes

How to wash makeup brushes

You spent the same amount of money for a makeup brush as a top, so you better take care of them.

Photo: Shutterstock