What Makeup Brushes Do I Really Need?

Some people say that the best tools for makeup application are their fingers.

True in some cases. But let’s be honest, a good makeup brush makes a big difference. However, there are too many kinds of makeup brushes available out there, and it is just hard to decide which one to choose. What makeup brushes do you really need?

Professional makeup artist Sarah G. Best gave me some great tips in picking makeup brushes, and I would like to share all of them with you guys!

Image courtesy of Teeratas/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Teeratas/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Synthetic or animal hair?

Makeup brushes can be divided into two categories: animal hair and synthetic hair. The differences between these two categories do not mainly involve ethical issues (however, sometimes it does cause major debates about animal rights, but we are not concentrating on this topic for today), but how these two kinds of materials function.

Animal hair is better to pick up powder products. Like human hair, animal hair has cuticles covered from roots to tips. These natural cuticles and irregular crests on the hair surface can pick up any powder and pigments very easily.

Synthetic hair on the other hand, is often used to apply liquid or cream products, because it doesn’t have any follicles and it has a rather smooth surface for liquid products to glide through. Also, it does not absorb liquid or cream products like natural animal hair do, so you don’t need to worry about wasting products when using it.

** A note from Liuyi: The price for a makeup brush can range from less than one dollar to more than 300 dollars. Usually, animal hair makeup brushes cost more than synthetic hair makeup brushes. But sometimes a good makeup brush does not need to cost you a fortune. Real Techniques makes great yet affordable synthetic brushes.

Must-have makeup brush(es)?

Bobbie Brown Full Coverage Face Brush. It is a soft, synthetic, all-rounder brush for the face. It is great for liquid foundations or tinted moisturizers, but it’s also great for powder because of its shape and the tightly packed bristles.

More tips from Sarah

Brushes should be spot-cleaned everyday, every time you use them. You can buy those spray-on brush cleansers in Sephora. Just spray some cleansers on the bristles, wipe it off with some kitchen towel, and let it dry. Deep clean your brushes every week with baby shampoo and lay flat on a clean towel to keep them in their best conditions.

About Sarah G. Best:

Time in the makeup industry: 10 years

Favorite makeup look: Bridget Bardot’s look

Favorite makeup brand: Nars