May 8, 2012

{Share the Beauty} Makeup Brushes - Yes, They Do Make a Difference!

 So this week on Share the Beauty the topic is makeup brushes.

I've worked in the beauty industry for about 10 years now. I started out knowing nothing and within a a few weeks I had realized the power of the brush. My makeup looked better, my products lasted longer, my skin looked better, the list goes on. So here are some Dos, Don't and FAQs that I often get from my customers regarding makeup brushes.

What kinds of brushes are there? 

There are many kinds of brushes, and each has a different use. In general, brushes that are used for creamy products, like foundations, cream blushes, and cream eye shadows, are synthetic. Most brushes that are used for dry products, like dry eye shadows and blushes are made from natural fibers. This is because natural fibers, like your hair, absorb moisture - so if you use a brush with natural fibers it will absorb some of the product. This does not mean you cannot use a natural brush for a creamy product, but it's not as common.

A stiff brush with lots of bristles together will deliver a lot of product, but a "fluffy" brush will deliver less product, making it great for applying a thin layer of powder or a dark color to your eye crease. Remember, it's always easier to add than to take away!

What brushes do I need?

It's really up to you, I recommend everyone use a foundation brush, of which there are several different kinds (usually ones for dry powder foundations are fluffier whereas the ones for liquid foundations tend to look more like paint brushes).

In my opinion these brushes should meet all of your needs:
  • A foundation brush
  • A powder brush
  • A blush brush
  • A brush for applying color to the lids
  • A brush for applying color to the crease of the eye
 Other brushes that someone who wears makeup regularly or who likes to experiment might like are:
  •  An eyeliner brush (especially if you use liquid eyeliner - there are many shapes and sizes, my favorite is an angled brush)
  • A eyebrow brush (Again, I prefer a thin angled brush for filling in my brows and use the same one as I use for eyeliner)
  • A lip brush (I only use one when working on clients or applying a really dark lipstick)
  • Different types of eyeshadow brushes, of which there are many. I really only use 2, a flat one that looks like a paddle, and a fluffy one for creases.

Aren't brushes expensive?

Depends on the brush!

MAC brushes, which most people are familiar with, are extremely expensive! For instance, an eyeliner brush costs between $80 and $22.

However, there are alternatives. I, of course, recommend the Mary Kay Brush Set because you get one each of all the basic brushes for applying color for only $48, plus it comes with a brush organizer and makeup bag. Adding a foundation brush (for either mineral or liquid) is only an additional $10 - so for $58 you have all the brushes you could ever need, plus a carrying case for them. Mary Kay also lets you purchase brushes individually, as well.

You can also check out Sephora, as they have decent quality brushes that shouldn't break your wallet.

What are the benefits of using makeup brushes?
  • Even if you wash your hands before you put your makeup on, you're still rubbing oils from your skin on to your face. So what? Well this is going make your makeup not last as long, plus, you're putting dirt you just washed off back on to your face, not very smart, huh?
  • You'll be able to blend your shadows better and your foundation will go on more smoothly. Sponges and fingers can be streaky and patchy, a brush creates a more even surface.
  • It will make your product last longer. Brushes use very little product and apply it smoothly, unlike sponges (which absorb makeup) and your fingers (which will also be covered in makeup), a brush will deposit the majority if the product from the bottle or pan directly on to your skin, wasting very little.
  • In the long run they are cheaper. In order to prevent bacteria from growing (and then being rubbed all over your face!) you need to regularly replace your sponges almost daily.
  • I can't emphasize enough the fact that makeup just looks better! You will never be able to do all the blending and have skin that looks airbrushed using a sponge or your fingers.

How should you care for your brushes?

Some brushes can be expensive, so you want to take care of them. I take reasonably decent care of my brushes and they have lasted for years. Literally, some I have had for 10 years.
  • Wash your foundation brush most often, probably every few uses, with a disinfectant. For a quick clean I tend to use a tablespoon or so of MAC's Brush Cleaner on a wash cloth and then rub my brush over it until most of the product is gone, however, I have friends who straight up use rubbing alcohol (which is not nearly as gentle).
  • You do not need to wash brushes you use for dry eye shadow ingredients as often. Many times you can just use a tissue to remove excess powder form your eye shadow brush, however, you'll still want to occasionally clean them with brush cleaner. 
  • You should also regularly clean and disinfect brushes used on "wet" products like eye liner. Last thing you need is an eye infection!
  • If you use your brushes everyday, deep clean them once a week or once every other week. This will remove any extra product buildup - not regularly cleaning your brushes allows product to build up and dry on the bristles, eventually you will get a lot of buildup. Continuously using a dirty brush means you will be rubbing not only dried makeup and skin cells back on to your skin, but also bacteria, this will lead to makeup that looks less smooth and possible break outs.
  • This is how you should wash your brushes: You have a few options. You can use a brush cleaner, a DIY solution of water and vinegar, or, my favorite, shampoo. Use a gentle shampoo or soap (Most often I use dollar store baby shampoo, but I've also used olive oil soap). Wash only the bristles of the brush, avoid getting water at the junction between the brush head and the handle, which can loosen the glue. Reshape the bristles and lay the brushes down to dry - do not dry them upright because the water can drip down into the head and loosen the glue holding the head and bristles together.
  • If you are sharing brushes with another person, wash them before and after. Again, last thing you need is an eye infection or a cold sore!
So that's my take on makeup brushes. I think I covered pretty much everything, but please let me know if you have any other questions!

For more posts on makeup brushes check out the other Share the Beauty Posts!


  1. Thank you for re-entering blogland, I missed you. And what a great topic - brushes are so underused and under-appreciated!!

    1. Yes, people don't realize that you can have all the makeup in the world but unless you have the right tools you're never going to get that polished look so many people want!

  2. Loving this post- so informative! Thanks for linking up to Share The Beauty!


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