Make-Up Brushes 101

Studio 5 Beauty & Style Contributor Holly Stone shares a few guidelines to help you along the way.


1) Handle length

Long for perspective, short for precision. The choice is determined by personal preference but know what you prefer BEFORE you go shopping.

2) Cut

Avoid bristle hairs which are blunt from being unnaturally cut. Each bristle should naturally taper as though it was professionally cut. The way a brush is cut determines the make up technique it will perform.

3) Natural Hair vs. Synthetic

Anything powder-based should be applied using a natural hair brush. A natural hair brush will release the powder easily. Some common natural hair brushes are sable, mink, squirrel, pony, or goat. Anything liquid or cream based should be applied with a synthetic brush (acrylic or taklon). A synthetic brush is non-porous and will not absorb the product.


1) Angle Detailing Brush: This brush is designed for application of fine lines such as close to your lash line, blending and softening color edges. It also is great for applying powder to brows. Click HERE to view the Angle Detailing Brush.

2) Large Powder Brush: Look for a large, full, dome shaped brush. Can be used for loose powder or bronzer. Click HERE to view the Large Powder Brush.

3) Blush Brush: Look for full head with slight angle tapering designed for accurate definition across the cheeks and cheekbone. Click HERE to view the Blush Brush.

4) Eyeshadow Brush (dome): Look for a dome-shaped head, flat, small to medium sized with slight taper at corners. This brush is designed for placing color on eye lids and blending. By using its edge, it can be used for defining eyelid crease. Click HERE to view the Eyeshadow Brush.

5) Blending Brush: Sometime called a ponytail brush, this brush is key for when you want to lightly layer and blend color along the crease of the eye. Click HERE to view the Blending Brush.

Best Brands:

Best Economy: Sonia Kashuk (Target)

Best Mid-Range: MAC (Nordstrom)

Best Splurge: Stila (


A foundation brush is the way to go-if it is synthetic. This means the bristles are not porous and will therefore not absorb your foundation, but rather smooth it across your skin giving it an airbrushed look. You will “waste” 30% less product-making your foundation go a lot further.

Foundation Brush Tip: Look for fairly large wide, tapered, flat head.


It is important to get into the habit of regularly cleaning your makeup application brushes and tools. This will increase the life-span of your brush as well as minimize the spread of bacteria.

Wash personal brushes once a week.

1) Run the bristles of the brush under warm water

2) Apply a small amount of mild shampoo (baby shampoo or shampoo for color treated hair) to bristles and work into a light lather

3) Rinse bristles downward thoroughly under running water. Never turn brush up into the running water as this could damage the hair

4) Continue rinsing until no color leaves the brush

5) Delicately squeeze the bristles from the area base to the ends

6) Reshape the brush and allow it to air-dry

Going from one bright colored shadow to the next? For fast, immediate washing, try Cinema Secrets Brush cleaner. It is anti-microbial and dries very quickly. (

Add comment