What You Need To Know About Your Makeup Brushes

By Chelsea Becker

Having a variety of quality makeup brushes is so important for your beauty routine. You'd be surprised at how different brushes can change the way your makeup is applied - and in the end, how you look! Here are some of the most common makeup brushes - and everything you need to know about using and caring for them:

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Beauty sponge:

OK, I know this isn't a brush per say, but it does what a brush can do and more - it's a HUGE multi-tasker when it comes to beauty tools. The most common brand that makes these is beautyblender, and a common way to use the handy egg-shaped sponge is for applying and blending face makeup. Try dotting some foundation or tinted moisturizer (I blend the two) across all areas of your face, and then use the beauty sponge to lightly dab and blend the product into your skin. It'll give you an airbrushed look!

Concealer brush:

Usually firm and tapered at the end, a concealer brush is the best way to cover up any imperfections that your face makeup misses. Put a dab of concealer to the back of your hand, dip your brush into the product, and then apply to any places you need some extra coverage - like under your eyes, or over any trouble spots.

Powder brush:

A big, fluffy brush with a rounded shape - think of a powder brush as one of (if not the most) versatile brushes you can own. Use it to apply pressed powder, loose powder, setting powder, really any type of powder. It's super, super versatile. For a non-cakey look, just make sure to tap off excess product from the brush before applying it to your face. I have the Sigma F30 Large Powder brush, and I love it.

Angled face brush:

It's crazy how a little bronzer can really transform your face and overall look. To use this brush, just sweep on some bronzer and apply it to the hollows of your cheeks. I'm currently using the Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Brush, which is a great value because you get two brushes for the price of one. I use the non-angled side of the brush for highlighting my cheekbones.

Blush brush:

A blush brush is sort of a smaller version of a powder brush. It's pretty fluffy, and is great for blending on smaller areas of the face (like your cheeks!). I like to apply my blush after bronzer - just to give my cheeks a little pop. Start with swirling the brush into the blush and applying it to the apples of your cheeks in a circular motion (smiling makes this wayyy easier).

Eyeshadow brush:

You can probably guess that the intention of an eyeshadow brush is to apply shadow to your lids. Application doesn't need to be super precise - that's where a blending brush will come in - so a fluffy version will do just fine. Oh, and the fluffier it is, the more gentle it will be on your eyelids (which will help combat aging)!

Eyeshadow blending brush:

This Sigma brush is seriously awesome for blending colors on the eyelid. This is the one brush I could not live without - it's SO hard to apply and blend eyeshadows with a cheap brush for some reason. After you've applied an all-over eyeshadow color, use this to apply additional colors to your crease line and the corners of your eyelid. As you're applying, try to go in tiny circular motions while you're moving the brush across your crease line - this will really help with the blending! Maintenance: To keep your brushes - and facial skin - in tip-top shape, aim to clean your brushes once a week. To be honest, sometimes I don't clean mine for a month (or two) at a time, which I'm not proud of. Cleaning your makeup brushes isn't exactly on the top of anyone's to-do list, but here's why it should be: BACTERIA. And bacteria leads to breakouts. All kinds of bad bacteria can easily build up on your brushes, and we don't want none of that. You can find special makeup brush cleansers, but I always use my normal shampoo and it seems to work just fine. While washing, swirl the brushes in the palm of your hand to help release any old product - for the beauty sponge, just squeeze over and over while rinsing. After you've washed your brushes and rinsed them under warm water, lay them on a washcloth to dry.

Do you have any tips for cleaning your brushes? What is the one makeup brush you can't live without?