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How to Choose Quality Makeup Brushes

How to Choose Quality Makeup Brushes
February 3, 2020 Ellis James

You can build your confidence with a nice makeup look. In order to accomplish that, you’ll need the right tools. Investing in a proper set of beauty tools to ensure the best makeup application possible starts with the selection of quality brushes. 

By taking the time to find quality brushes, you will be able to use them for years to come (with the right upkeep, that is).

Brushes that have been made with quality designs and materials can stand up to anything and allow you to create that flawless look.

How can you tell if a makeup brush is of good quality and the right one for your needs? That is what we are about to get into, so let’s start with what you should look for when looking for the right tools for your makeup application.

 

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What Should I Look for in a Makeup Brush?

Real Techniques Everyday Essentials


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When you’re looking for quality brushes, there are a lot of factors to look at.

Though many will just focus on the price, thinking that higher price equals better quality, that is not necessarily true. 

Many experts warn that they have experienced disappointment when thinking like this. It is more about the construction and materials used in the brush’s creation that matter most.

Let’s break the brush down into parts and talk about what you should look for in each.

Bristles

pro Duo Fiber Stippling Brush for Liquid Foundation or Contouring with Bronzer, Highlighters or Luminizers: Short & Long Bristles for Soft Blending, Buffing; Works with Creams, Powders, Minerals

Brush hairs come in two styles — natural and synthetic — and they are sometimes constructed using a hybrid of both.

Most professionals prefer the natural brush option. These brushes tend to cost more, and then there is the issue of animal cruelty. After all, natural means they come from animals, so, if you are against this, you will have to go with synthetic.

That isn’t a bad thing, though. In the old days, synthetic fibers tended to be hard and bristly. With modern technology, though, there have been vast improvements in their texture and application efficiency. 

The choice is really up to you and your budget. 

Ferrule

Real Techniques InstaPop Face Brush

This is the band that holds the bristles to the handle.

You will want to look to make sure that the ferrule is not loose. The metal should be corrosion-resistant and should be strong enough not to dent easily.

The top should be free of any sharp edges. 

Handle

EcoTools Start the Day Beautifully Kit Makeup Brush Set for Foundation Eyeshadow Blush

Different materials are used in the construction of makeup brush handles.

No matter which material you go with, the handle itself should feel comfortable and balanced in your hand.

Stay away from kitschy handles, as they tend to be uncomfortable to hold.

The material itself doesn’t matter much, except when it comes to cleaning. With wood handles, you should not submerge them in water, as it tends to damage the wood faster.

Brush Heads

These shapes are designed for efficient application in certain areas and with certain makeup.

Though there are many different types of shapes, understanding the basic ones will help you start off on the right foot.

Let’s look at a few different types and how the bristles are set for each one.

Square/Angled

The bristles are set in a narrow design with a flat or angled tip.

Eyeliner Brush Fine Angled - PRO Precision Eye Liner Makeup Brush -Ultra Thin Slanted Flat Angle - Premium Quality - Cruelty Free Synthetic Bristles - Apply Gel Powder Liquid Cream

Chisel

The bristles are set in a narrow design with beveled tips for enhanced blending and contouring.

Mr. Chiseled Contouring Brush

Pointed

For this shape, bristles can be in narrow or full design with tapered tips for detail work.

Sigma Beauty E45 Small Tapered Blending Makeup Brush

Round

The bristles will be in a full design with multiple tip options

Yoseng Oval Foundation Brush Large Toothbrush makeup brushes Fast Flawless Application Liquid Cream Powder Foundation

Learn more about using oval makeup brushes here.

Kabuki

This shape features a larger, round brush with a tightly packed head

Flat Top Kabuki Foundation Brush By Keshima - Premium Makeup Brush for Liquid, Cream, and Powder - Buffing, Blending, and Face Brush

We’ve got more on the kabuki brush here if you’re curious about this great brush!.

Makeup Brush Uses

  • Foundation

This brush should be heavy on bristles, as well as stiff.

DUcare Kabuki Foundation Brush Makeup Brushes Synthetic Buffing Stippling Professional Liquid Blending Mineral Powder Makeup Tools (Rose Golden and White)

Interested in learning more about foundation brushes? Check out how to use brushes for liquid foundation here.

  • Concealer

The bristles in this one should be packed tightly, and it should have a pointed tip.

Beauty Junkees Professional Concealer Brush: Under Eye Makeup Brush with Tapered Synthetic Bristles - Small Flat Make Up Brushes for Full Coverage and Precision Blending, Concealing, Color Correcting

  • Blush

This brush should have a rounded shape and have fine, soft bristles.

e.l.f. Flawless Face Brush for Precision Application, Synthetic

  • Contour

This one is designed with an angled, rounded tip.

e.l.f. Cosmetics Sculpting Face Brush, Ideal for Contouring and Blending, Synthetic Bristles

  • Eye Shadow

This brush should have a small tip, soft bristles, and a rounded shape.

Real Techniques Eye Shade + Blend Set Makeup Brush Kit, 2 Count (Pack of 1) - (Packaging and Handle Color May Vary)

  • Eye Liner

This should be perhaps the smallest tip in your set and should have an angled design.

BEST EYELINER MAKEUP BRUSH - Professional Gel Brushes - Premium Quality Flat Eyeliner Brush at an Economical Price! Use for Fine Lines, Very Thin Synthetic Bristles.

  • Brow

This should resemble a pipe cleaner but have softer bristles.

It can also be a two-sided brush with a comb on one end and bristles on the other.

Maybelline New York Expert Tools, Brush 'n Comb

  • Lip

The bristles on this brush should be firm and soft, and the tip should be very fine.

You can also see double-ended brushes like the one below:

Dual End Lip Brush Concealer Brushes 3 Pieces Retractable Lipstick Eyeshadow Foundation Makeup Brush Tool Applicators Set(Gold, Black, Purple)

One of the key aspects of how to choose makeup brushes is to find the best quality for your budget. Another great thing to look at is the reputation of the manufacturer. There are tons of great companies that produce high-quality brushes.

Here are a few names to keep an eye out for, as all these companies use high-grade materials and design brushes that professionals rave about:

And many more.

How to Tell If a Brush is High-Quality

Expensive doesn’t necessarily equal high quality. So, how can you tell if a makeup brush is good quality?

By using the list of considerations we gave, you should be well on your way. 

  • Look for a brush that has densely packed bristles, a nice solid handle, and a shape that works for your needs. The brush itself should move makeup from your kit to the face you are working on easily and effectively.
  • You want a sturdy brush that doesn’t lose too much makeup in the transferal process.

If you keep these guidelines in mind, you will be able to use your brushes for years to come. After all, once you find the perfect brush that delivers the vision you see in your mind, who would want to have to replace it every few months? High-quality brushes will take that potential problem away.

Final thoughts: How can you tell if a makeup brush is good quality?

There are a lot of ways to build your perfect kit, but most experts agree to start with the basics and build with individual brushes from there. In fact, if you want to start by purchasing individual brushes, there are some that feel this is the best way to go. 

If you want value in your brushes, the only thing you should be looking at is the construction, design, and materials used in it. Don’t pay attention to price unless, of course, you are working on a budget.

Here are a few affordable sets you may be interested in:

What are your favorite brushes? How do you tell if a brush is high quality?

Comments (6)

  1. Sophie Wentworth 4 weeks ago

    I’m SO fussy when it comes to my brushes, sometimes there’s only a tiny difference between two but I’ll refuse to use one of them. The weight of the handle and the bristles are so important x

    Sophie

    • Totally agree! Sometimes even the color of the bristles affects decision-making. But once you find your perfect brush there really is no letting go!

  2. Ashley 3 weeks ago

    Love this guide- a good brush makes ALL the difference in how your makeup turns out!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

  3. Lovely 3 weeks ago

    This guide to choosing brushes is very useful, love how you have broken it down.

    xoxo
    Lovely
    http://www.mynameislovely.com

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