What Makeup Brushes are Used for What: A Staple Collection

Published Categorized as Makeup Tips

A staple makeup brush collection is essential for any beauty lover. Whether you’re a full glam kind of girl or usually prefer to keep things simple, every look will need the right tools. Not only are beauty tools designed to provide a more seamless finish, they can also encourage more hygienic makeup application. Ultimately, the road to beautiful makeup is paved with brushes and blenders! In this post, we’ll talk about the staple makeup brushes you need. Read on for an outline of what makeup brushes are used for what, as well as some tips for how to choose makeup brushes.

Hi beautiful! Just to let you know, we earn a modest commission off of purchases made through Amazon affiliate links on this page. Don't worry, it's of no extra cost to you. We love the products we recommend in this post, and we hope you do, too!

Table of Contents

uses of different makeup brushes

Staple Makeup Brushes and Their Uses: What makeup brushes do I need?



Brushes for the Face: Do makeup brushes really make a difference?

The answer is yes.

To achieve the perfect base makeup, a selection of good quality brushes is of the utmost importance.

Brushes and blenders dictate how well face product – like foundation, concealer, blusher, bronzer, and highlighter – can be applied. They are, therefore, pretty integral to the look and longevity of base makeup.

An inclusive yet curated base application collection will feature around 8-10 of the following makeup brush types. While most makeup brush types are pretty self explanatory, if you’re in doubt about a specific brush then it’s definitely worth checking it out online.

The product description should outline what the brush is best used for and may even feature an online tutorial to show you how to use it.

Checking out the reviews before purchasing can’t hurt either!

All types of makeup brushes within this post are very good makeup brushes for beginners or otherwise.


type of makeup brushes


Foundation and Concealer Brush

The first step towards a beautiful base is a reliable morning skincare routine that properly prepares the skin as a canvas for makeup. Once the skin is prepped and primed, the right concealer and foundation application tools will ensure perfect looking skin.

Acne sufferers may benefit from adding a good concealer brush to their collection, as they will allow precise application over problem areas.

If you’re lucky with your skin then you probably won’t have as urgent a need for this brush but at the end of the day we all get blemishes from time to time.

Having a good concealer brush on standby definitely can’t hurt.

When it comes to foundation there are two beauty tools that your collection simply shouldn’t be without: a foundation brush and a beauty blender.

Firstly, a densely fluffy foundation brush such as the Morphe Pro Deluxe Buffer Brush (M439) will buff foundation into the skin, achieving your ideal level of coverage.

Secondly, a damp beauty blender will ensure a ‘your skin but better’ finish.

After using your brush to perfect coverage, bounce a damp beauty blender all over to achieve a natural look.

The tip of the beauty blender is also one of the best and precise ways to brighten the under-eyes by
applying a light concealer or complexion enhancer.

(Black spots on beauty blender? Click the link for cleaning tips!)

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Powder Brush

Perhaps one of the most essential brushes is a powder brush.

It will set your newly perfected skin and allow the powder to keep your makeup in place. It’s also great for top ups throughout the day if you’re getting a little oily.

Opt for super soft bristles to ensure a light touch that coats your existing base without rubbing any of it away.

The Clarins Powder Brush is a fantastic investment which works beautifully with pressed and loose powders alike.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Bronzer Brush

A great bronzer brush is a blessing, especially over the summer months.

Look for the same qualities in this as you would a standard powder brush. The only real reason to
differentiate between the two is so that you don’t accidentally bronze places that should stay lighter!

It’s likely that you’ll be a little more aggressive with your bronzer brush than your powder brush to really blend out that sun-kissed look.

For that reason it may be worth opting for a more affordable bronzer brush so that you’re able to replace it a little more often, when the bristles become a bit too hard.

The Real Techniques Powder Brush, for example, is affordable but still great quality.


Contour Brush

A contour brush will naturally only act as a staple for those who choose to sculpt their face.

Whether sculpting is part of your everyday routine or reserved for your Sunday best, a flat brush (like the 301 Bold Metals brush by Real Techniques), is essential.

A good contour brush will boast dense bristles that are shaped perfectly to chisel out those cheekbones with minimal effort.

To ensure versatility, opt for one that’s slim enough to contour the sides of the nose as well as the sides of the face. Otherwise, invest in a couple of sizes to cover all bases.


best types of makeup brushes


Highlighter Brush

Applying highlight is a simple way of adding dimension and a healthy looking glow to the
face. This is where fan brushes come in.

What is a fan makeup brush used for?

Fan makeup brushes are by far the best way to apply powder highlighter. A staple collection should probably feature a couple of sizes.

A large fan brush such as the Morphe E60 is the most effective way of highlighting the cheekbones. In contrast, a smaller fan brush proves useful when it comes to highlighting smaller sections of the face such as the tip of the nose and underneath the eyebrow arch.

ZOEVA is an affordable cult brush brand and their Petit Fan Brush helps to highlight ever so precisely. If you’re not sure where to purchase your brushes from, then big brush brands with stellar reputations like this are a failsafe option.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Blush Brush

No summer beauty look is complete without a pop of colour on the cheeks.

Blush not only helps the face to look fresher, younger and more awake, it also adds another dimension to
the face.

A great blush brush (try saying that a few times) will have soft, sparse bristles which effortlessly disperse product. The Crown C426 Tapered Duo Fibre Powder Brush is a perfect pick.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:


Brushes For The Eyes and Lips

Once you’ve perfected your base, the eyes and lips can really make or break your makeup look.

Ultimately, the number of brushes you’ll need, particularly for the eyes, will depend on what kind of looks you aim to achieve. More complicated looks such as cut-creases will need more tools, but for now we’ll focus on more simplistic staples.

Let’s have a walkthrough on eye makeup brushes and their uses.


Types of Eye Brushes: Eye makeup brushes and their uses

types of eyeshadow brushes

Eyeshadow Brush

There are several types of eyeshadow brushes. Generally, a fluffy-looking brush should be your go-to.

Opt for the right density in your fluffy brushes and they will allow strong eyeshadow application as well as perfect blending.

For quick and simple looks, you can typically get away with using just one. Having at least a couple of them within your collection is advisable though, as this will increase the chances of always having a clean brush handy.

Eyeshadow brushes are something you can almost never have enough of, particularly if you like playing around with various shades but dislike washing brushes. Despite that, the Real Techniques Eye Shade + Blend Set of two brushes is a great place to start.

It’s also handy to have some denser colour-packing brushes as well as at least one liner brush to accentuate the lash line.

If you get a lot of use out of your eyeshadow brushes, then there’s no harm in expanding your collection to reflect this. Something to keep in mind is that brush sets typically offer better value for money.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Eyebrow Brush

Only one brush is required to achieve perfect brows. To get more bang for your buck, I recommend a dual ended eyebrow tool. These typically boast an application brush on one end and a spoolie to fluff on the other.

Anastasia Beverly Hills is renowned for their eyebrow tools but they can be pretty pricey.

If you don’t fancy splurging then some brow products such as the Ardell Pro Brow Pomade come accompanied with their own great quality tool which is designed specially with the product in mind.


Lip Brush

Lastly, lip brushes.

These are entirely optional and aren’t imperative to many brush collections as most every day occasions don’t call for one. They’re relatively affordable though, so may be worth having one in your collection just in case.

They allow much more precise application than lipsticks alone which enables sharp definition. Naturally, this comes in handy when you’re wanting to really make an impact.

essential makeup brushes


Essential Makeup Brush Sets:

Why not save money and effort by investing in these premium quality makeup brush sets:


How to Store Your Brush Collection

There’s really no right or wrong answer to where you should store your brush collection. However, there are a couple of things that you might wish to consider.

Direct sunlight may have a negative impact on some bristles, so it’s best to keep them away from the windowsill if possible.

Many choose to store their brushes in pots on the dressing table, this can look great and is also handy for easy access. Showcasing your brushes in the open may leave them vulnerable to dust though, so it’s wise to store those that aren’t used as often.

The Ellis James cases and organisers are perfect for this and most even feature designated brush storage.


The Importance of A Versatile Collection

Makeup tools and techniques can make or break a look, so a staple brush collection is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment. Whether you’re starting from scratch, or just wanting to add a few more brushes to your existing collection, this article has introduced the most commonly used tools.

While every beauty routine varies, having a curated yet versatile collection ensures freedom to experiment. The best thing is that once you know which brushes are used for what, you can’t really go wrong!

This guest post was written by Soph Hearts. Many thanks for your tips on different makeup brushes and their uses. Check out her blog for more beauty tips!


By Ellis James

We design luxuriously glamorous bags, organizers and life essentials for you. At Ellis James Designs, it’s all about YOU. Your bag, Your way. Our exclusive designs are timeless, indulgent and most importantly inspired by you. What will be your first Ellis James Design?


  1. You’re most welcome Fritzie, glad to have introduced you to Sigma’s Travel Brush Set!

  2. I wanted to level-up my make-up skills, and I’ve been thinking of getting a few more brushes. I’m thinking of getting that Sigma Travel Brush Set. Thanks for the info and tips.

  3. Growing your collection’s part of the fun! You’re most welcome, Nancy!

  4. I only use a couple of brushes for makeup. I feel like I need more haha. Oooh! I need to look into the highlighter brush. Thanks for sharing!

    Nancy ♥

  5. Love this! I think brushes can be overwhelming for some because you have no idea what to use where! This post breaks it all down.

    Le Stylo Rouge

Comments are closed.