Walking through a cosmetic store can be very intimidating. There are a hundred different brushes that can be used for makeup application, many of which can be very expensive. However, you can find each of these tools at different price points depending on your budget. Just remember the adage “You get what you pay for” investing a little more money in quality will provide savings in the long run. Beyond price, there are four things you should consider when investing in brushes: fibers, density, ferrule, and handle.
Brushes are made from several types of fibers (bristles), which can be categorized as either synthetic or natural.
Synthetic fibers are animal fur free, which is what you’ll get if you decide to purchase vegan brushes. Synthetic fibers are very soft, durable, and easily cleaned. This makes them ideal for applying cream makeup. However, they tend not to hold color pigments as well as natural fiber brushes.
Natural fibers are made with animal fur. Goat hair is the most common in less expensive natural fiber brushes and tends to be coarser. You can also find more-expensive brushes made from the fur of squirrels, badgers, horses, minks, and sable. Because natural bristles are more porous, they can be damaged by using cream makeup. Therefore, natural fiber brushes should only be used with powders.
Density refers to how many bristles are found in a brush head. Brushes that “dust” powder on the face, such as setting powder and blush brushes, do not require as many bristles. Brushes designed to deposit more color, such as kabuki and eye shadow brushes, should be denser.
The ferrule (pronounced like feral) is the metal portion of the brush that holds the bristles in place. Nickel is the most durable metal for your brush heads, so stick with that.
Makeup brushes are made with different handle lengths and material. Typically, a handle is either plastic or wood. Handles come in two lengths: short and long. Shorter handles are best when applying makeup on yourself, while longer handles are desirable when applying makeup on others. When it comes to material, a handle should be durable enough to withstand pressure and balanced properly for comfort and manipulation.
Brush Head Shapes
The shape of the brush head is another potential consideration when it comes to makeup application.
The following are some examples of different types and what they’re best for:
- Round, fluffy, flat synthetic brush head: This is great for blending and buffing foundation into the skin.
- Soft, round, large natural brush head: This can be used for dusting powder on your face.
- Soft, medium-sized, dome-shaped natural brush head: With this shape, you can apply blush and bronzer to the cheek area without disturbing the foundation.
- Small, stiff, flat natural brush head: This is ideal for applying eye shadows on the lid.
- Flower-shaped, soft natural brush head: The shape works to blend eye shadow on the
- lid. It is best used in circular motions.
- Small-angled natural or synthetic brush head: You can apply eyeliner and eyebrow colors with this type. Use the natural head with powders and the synthetic head with cream makeup.
- Small, flat, round-tipped synthetic brush head: This is best used to apply cream lip colors.