Your Guide to the Many Types of Makeup Brushes

BY Dana Elizabeth Johnson · June 19, 2017

Choosing the right brush or tool for each job is so important for a perfect blend and flawless makeup application. But, with so many options, picking the right brush can be daunting. Whether you want to complete your collection or you need a full set of brushes, we’ve got all the info you need. Scroll down for more details on each featured brush.

makeup brush guide infographic



Learn More About These Makeup Brushes 

Angled Contour Brush

Great for applying blush, bronzer or highlighter, an angled contour brush is one of the most versatile tools you should have in your arsenal. With a slightly angled cut and soft fibers, this brush picks up just the right amount of powder for beautiful application.

Try: Sigma Beauty F23 

Flat-Top Foundation Brush

If you use cream or liquid foundation, an expertly designed foundation brush is a must have. The brush comes designed with a flat-top brush head which is ideal for blending foundations into your skin, aiding in preventing lines for a perfect airbrush finish. The flat top also lets you build color, so you can achieve anything from a subtle glow to a full-coverage look.

Try: glominerals Luxe Foundation Brush

Powder Brush

An extra long brush head with a slightly rounded tip allows you to precisely blend a variety of powders from loose to pressed. This versatile brush lets you apply blushes, bronzers, highlighters, matte powders and more. Look for one with high-quality hairs to ensure smooth application without irritation.

Try: jane iredale Chisel Powder Brush 

Concealer Brush

To hide blemishes and discolorations, you need a concealer brush that allows for both accuracy and the right amount of coverage. A brush with a precise pointed tip lets you target any flaw with ease. Combined with the right concealer, you’ll be on your way to gorgeous, smooth skin in no time.

Try: Kevyn Aucoin The Concealer Brush

Note: This brush is meant for very precise application of concealer. For concealing larger blemishes or discolorations, try Mineral Essence Concealer Brush.

Blush Brush

A professional-grade blush brush in a medium-full size is ideal for achieving a soft contour or natural flushed look. Make sure you look for one with high-quality hairs to evenly distribute color so you can walk out into the world with your best face forward. 

Try: glominerals Blush Brush

Fan Brush

Sometimes all you need is a light touch of color or shimmer to complete your look. Try your hand at glominerals’ Fan Brush—a delicate fan brush designed to apply a subtle amount of bronze, shimmer or blush. Its hairs are ultra-soft, delicate and feather-light for an all-over, even application. 

Try: glominerals Fan Brush

Blending Brush

If you’re applying more than one eyeshadow, you must follow the golden rule: blend, blend, blend. Featuring wide, flat bristles and a slightly tapered head, this brush lets you smooth and blend your eyeshadow for an Instagram-worthy finished look.

Try: Sigma Beauty Blending Brush

Smudger Brush

For smoky eyes or soft eyeliner looks, a smudger brush is your holy grail. This stout tool lets you apply cream and powder without streaking, pulling or tugging. Its dense fibers also let you precisely apply color for a bold look. So much function in such a little brush!

Try: Japoneseque Pro Smudger Brush

Powder Eyeshadow Brush

Enhance your eyes’ luster and shine with a firm and precise eyeshadow brush. This particular RMS Beauty brush, with its compact design and synthetic fibers, lets you take eyeshadow application to a new level. 

Try: RMS Beauty Powder Eyeshadow Brush

Brow Brush With Spoolie

Bold, clean, defined brows let you really pull any makeup look together. A double-ended eyebrow-shaping brush lets you enhance, smooth and shape your brows—while the spoolie side tames and blends. You’ll be able to achieve perfectly defined eyebrows every time with the right tool.

Try: Billion Dollar Brows Brow Brush

The Original beautyblender

While technically not a brush, a beautyblender sponge is a makeup lover’s must-have product. Lightweight, easy to use and super soft, the original beautyblender lets you apply your makeup without leaving streaks. Its signature egg shape allows you to cover and blend makeup on every inch of your face for an almost-airbrushed look.

Try: The Original beautyblender

dana elizabeth johnson freelance writer

Dana Elizabeth Johnson

Dana Elizabeth is the founder of and has spent nearly a decade as a contributing writer for numerous publications. Her work has appeared nationally and internationall... Read More >

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