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Makeup Brushes: What to Know Before You Buy

You already know that you need to use a brush to properly apply makeup but not just any brush will do. If you have ever tried to use those sad little brushes that come inside of eye shadow or brush compacts, then you know that some brushes are better than others. Buying a cosmetics brush is not just a matter of running to the drugstore and grabbing a brush that looks like it is the right size. You need to put a bit of thought into your selection or you can end up wasting a lot of money. Here are some helpful tips for choosing cosmetics brushes.

• You should always buy the best quality makeup brushes you can afford. Yes, they can be pricey but this is one case where you really do get what you pay for. Good makeup brushes are an investment. Bad brushes need to be replaced more often and can irritate your skin.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Fufi

• Natural bristles are generally better than synthetic ones. They also cost a lot more. Natural bristles are a must for large areas of the face but if you need to save some money, you can get away with synthetic fibers for any brushes that will be used with liquids.

• Pay attention to the material of the handle. Plastic is very easy to clean, which is important when you are working with liquids. Wooden handles, on the other hand, are more elegant and traditional but it can be very difficult to get stains out and these require extra drying time after washing. It’s really a matter of personal preference.

• Consider the density of the bristles in relation to the intended purpose of the brush. Stiff, tightly-packed bristles are a must for an eyebrow shading brush but softer bristles work better for applying loose powder all over the face.

• Look at handle length. Longer handles are easier to work with whereas shorter handles travel better.

• Concealer brushes can be synthetic if you are using them for liquid or cream concealer. Look for a small brush with a tapered round tip for covering blemishes and a flat, tapered square head for covering dark circles under the eyes.

• A good blush brush will be significantly larger than those that are usually included in the packaging of most blushes, yet not quite as big as a powder brush. Look for soft, natural bristles with a tapered head.

• If you are new to brushes, you might want to purchase a brush set from a reputable brand. Brands like MAC and Shu Uemura are considered some of the best. If your budget is smaller, you might want to try Sonia Kashuk or Essence of Beauty. Brush sets take some of the guesswork out of brush selection and are a great way to get a collection of useful brushes together. This often works out to be cheaper than buying them individually as well.


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2 Responses to “Makeup Brushes: What to Know Before You Buy”
  1. So I understand that brushes should be of high quality but what size brush would you recommend using for Blush or for Foundation ? should it be the thicker or thinner ones ?

  2. Olivia Ha says:

    As a makeup artist Toronto I wish to add in a few tips for the readers reading this blog post!

    In addition to more expensive is better, readers should be aware of the source of the brushes. If it’s just a brand name, you can get way better from an actual brush company that specializes in quality hair.

    For example, Hakuhodo is a japanese brush manufacturer and in my opinion the best natural hair brushes. Their ‘lesser quality hairs’ go to MAC for MAC brushes. If you think MAC Brushes are good, it’s almost the same price for even better quality natural hair brushes!

    Nowadays the technology for synthetic hairs is also pretty good. There are brands out there that make it so it’s antibacterial.

    There’s also silk lines of brushes that mimic the natural hair. They are very soft and very good alternatives that can range from $10 each brush.

    Personally I think it’s more worth it to spend more on the Hakuhodo brushes as the make is superior to even the newer synthetic brands. It however requires more maintenance and care, if you’re one to leave your brushes dirty for a prolonged time or don’t like to clean them very often or mistreat them, Hakuhodo is not for you and it’s better to invest in the quality synthetic lines so you can replace them more often.

    Hope that helps you brush lovers!

    Olivia.

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