For most of us, one glance at our vanity or makeup drawer reveals countless unused makeup brushes in all shapes and sizes. From large, fluffy powder brushes to silicone blenders, there’s a whole world of helpful beauty tools, many of which go untapped in a hurried morning routine. 

The first step in making the most of your makeup brush assortment is understanding what each one is for, then getting rid of any that you don’t plan on using. Once you’ve created your core team of go-to tools, you can invest in high-quality tools you’re still missing and feel less overwhelmed when your weekly brush cleaning comes around!

Face and Foundation Brushes

There seems to be a different brush for every face product, but it’s for a good reason– build-ability and texture. The density and shape of each of your makeup brushes determine how much pigment it picks up, allowing you to get full coverage from your concealers but a more subtle, natural color from your blush. They also help spread the product in a particular way so you don’t end up with the dreaded foundation line around your jaw or muddy-looking bronzer along the sides of your nose. 

Foundation Brush

Made for applying liquid foundation smoothly and evenly, foundation brushes have short, firm bristles with a flat top. They are very dense, allowing them to pick up and disperse pigment on your skin without streaking. 

Powder Brush

Powder brushes are ideal for setting powder or translucent bases, as they have big, fluffy heads that let the powder “puff” onto your face for more even application. Just be sure to tap off the excess before you use it!

Concealer Brush

Much like a foundation brush, the concealer brush is very densely packed. Rather than having a rounded head, though, they are usually flat. This allows you to dab your product on with precision, building up coverage until spots and blemishes disappear. 

Fan Brush

Fan brushes are designed for putting highlighter down in a very light layer. The bristles are long, fanned out at the end, and incredibly thin to spread the light-catching particles across a wide area without packing too much onto one spot. 

Contour Brush

With its steep angle, the contour brush does a great job following the lines of your cheekbones, jawline, and forehead without letting your contour liquid or powder spread too far. It also does double-duty for stippling and blending, helping you achieve a more natural, sculpted finish. 

Blush Brush

Because blush is highly pigmented, blush brushes feature bristles that fall between a foundation brush and a powder brush. The rounded head and in-between density allow you to apply color more precisely without making your cheeks look caked-on or overdone. 

Eye Brushes

Eyeshadow brushes are a bit more multipurpose than face brushes, but you should still pay close attention to which colors you’re using on which brush and the overall look that you’re going for. 

For example, if you’re trying to achieve a smoky eye, you will use a fluffier blending brush more than a pigment-packing crease brush. Similarly, you might consider purchasing multiples of your blending, crease, and flat shadow brushes, especially if you like to mix up your eye look daily. Otherwise, you’ll unintentionally deposit leftover pigments into your look, which isn’t a big deal when the previous color is lighter but can spell disaster if it’s much darker. 

Angled Liner Brush

There’s a bit of a learning curve when using an angled liner brush, as it takes some practice to master the short stroking motion that creates a single, smooth sweep of pigment. If you’re trying to achieve the perfect wing or cat eye, though, it’s invaluable, as the very short, very firm bristles pick up tons of pigment and lay it back down without spreading out across your eyelid. 

Lash and Eyebrow Brush (“Spoolie”)

Spoolies are an absolute must-have! They look exactly like a mascara wand, making them perfect for unclumping lashes, but they also brush and shape your brows. Many people use them with a bit of petroleum jelly to smooth unruly hairs or add a touch of curl to bare lashes. 

Blending Brush

Large, puffy, dome-shaped blending brushes let you create a smoother transition between multiple eyeshadow colors. It eliminates harsh crease lines and helps bring pigment across the entire lid without using more product. 

Crease Brush

The small and precise crease brush gives you dark, deep color in the crease of your eyelid. It’s small and angled for maximum control, which helps prevent shadow fallout. 

Flat Eyeshadow Brush

Perhaps the most versatile shadow brush, the flat brush, has short, very dense bristles for maximum pigment pickup. It’s excellent for putting a lot of color on top of your lid and sweeping highlighter under the brow to create a more defined arch. 

Simplify Your Morning Routine at AST!

If you’re in the market for new makeup brushes or just want to learn more about using and caring for your cosmetic tools, start with the experts at Advanced Skin Therapeutics! Not only can we help you create a well-rounded set of brushes from our Jane Iredale Brush Collection, but we can also nail your cleaning routine with products like Jane Iredale Botanical Brush Cleaner or Colorescience Brush Cleaning Wipes. Great makeup starts with great skin, and with the right products, tools, and treatments, you can create a naturally beautiful canvas for your cosmetics.