Brushes are an essential item in every makeup kit. They can sometimes be more important than the makeup itself because if you don’t have good tools to apply them, you might as well be using the worst products on the market.
You need to use good quality brushes to achieve a good effect with your makeup, and whilst it would be lovely if we could all afford to blow $70 odd dollars on a Dior Foundation Brush, this isn’t always an option.
These are a few tips that will help you to determine and to pick not a good but a great brush.
If you test a brush on the inside of your wrist, you’ll be able to get a bit of an idea of the quality of the bristles themselves. If the bristles feel scratchy, stiff, itchy, or annoying when you brush them along the inside of your wrist, ditch it.
If it doesn’t feel good on your wrist, it’s DEFINITELY not going to feel good on your face. Not only this, but when you go to apply your makeup, it will appear blotchy and uneven.
When you first test a new brush, try pulling at the bristles. A few bristles should come out and shed as this is completely normal for new brushes, but if you find the brush sheds more bristles than a few and continues to shed, you know the brush isn’t well made.
The ferrule of the brush is actually reasonably important (FYI: The ferrule is what connects the bristles to the handle of the brush, this is normally metal or plastic (metal is generally stronger). When you’re testing out a brush, try applying large amounts of pressure to the ferrule with your index finger.
If the ferrule seems to melt, move, dent, change shape or look any different after you’ve applied the pressure from your finger, give it a miss. Also, try and pay attention to see if the brush has little crimps (these are normally two little lines at the bottom of the ferrule that are dented into the metal/plastic and are the same color).
If the brush has these, it’s going to be stronger than a brush that does not have these in the ferrule. The glue used to keep the ferrule in place and join the bristles, and the handle together is not strong enough, so the indent helps to keep it in place better.
You need to be able to apply pressure to a brush. If you can’t, then the brush is simply useless. When you’re applying a particular product, you need to be able to apply a good amount of pressure (think eyeliner, brow enhancer, etc.). So try pressing down the brush on the back of your hand or try drawing precision lines on the back of your hand.
If the bristles are going in every direction or are moving, the brush will just be useless. The bristles can move anywhere from 1mm to 5mm this may not sound like a lot, but when you are doing precise work, it sure as heck is.
This is a little trick I learned and one that some of the best MUA’s in the world use. When you want to buy a new makeup brush, try balancing on it on the very tip of its bristles. Hold the brush vertically (with the bristles pointing down) on the back of your hand, then lightly bounce the brush.
This will help you to test the strength of the bristles. If the bristles have a slight bend, this is perfectly fine and normal. Still, if they splay or flatten completely, the brush will not be any good and will mess up your whole makeup application.
If a quick few of the bristles shed, this is fine and completely normal, new brushes tend to lose a few bristles at first, but any more than a few, then you’re looking at a bad brush
The brush head (the ferrule as well as the way the bristles have been assembled) should not be loose, spin easily or wobble on the handle; if they do, you have struck a bad brush.
Now, after this, you should be able to pick out a good brush a lot easier. Remember, expensive doesn’t necessarily mean quality, and inexpensive doesn’t necessarily mean bad quality. There’s probably still one question on your mind, though…
Which should I buy, Natural or synthetic brushes?
For things like foundation, concealer, and lipstick/gloss, it’s obvious a synthetic brush would be the best option as these work easier with liquid/cream products.
On the other hand, products that do not require synthetic bristles do not necessarily need to have a natural animal hair bristle used.
Most people are all caught up in Natural bristle brushes, and it’s often the first choice for many makeup artists as they do give a great application. Synthetic bristles are often not looked as highly upon.
Natural hair brushes contain a cuticle around them which helps to grab powder products easier while synthetic brushes do not, however nowadays, many companies are coming out with synthetic bristled brushes that tend to look, feel and perform just like natural animal hair brushes (except you can use them with liquid and cream brushes too!). Such as one of my favorite brands To-Ray!.
If you find that animal hair brushes work better for you, then great, they’ll be your best pick! But if you find that synthetics work better, then they are a great option too (not to mention more versatile).
Just remember, quality does not always mean the most expensive brushes.
Makeup Brushes Guide
Keshima Duo Fibre Stippling Brush
One of our favorite brushes for applying foundation – densely packed and can make any foundation look sheer and natural without absorbing too much product. Also, a full-proof contour brush under the cheekbones and to apply cream blush.
Duo Fibre Powder Blending Brush
Nobody’s perfect, and when you are in a rush and still want to look pulled together, it’s not unusual to go over the top with the blush, bronzer, contour, or even end up with cakey foundation. This brush is the easiest and most effective way to tone down over the top makeup without reaching for the face wipes.
Large Fluff Brush
You can use this brush for setting your eye shadow primer and creamy shadows. It also comes in particularly handy for contouring underneath the cheekbones and down the sides of the nose.
Precision Crease Brush
Having hooded eyelids definitely isn’t a blessing, but this brush is. This is one of the very few brushes which fits into and defines super tiny eye.
Fluffy Blending Eye Brush
These types are perfect for blending out harsh shadow lines and setting concealer to prevent creasing and mattifying a lip color.
Flat Eyeliner Brush
It’s perfect for the push & wiggle technique. It comes in handy when creating cat eyes or getting a precision lip-color application.
Precision Eyeliner Brush
This brush is the secret to achieving a good and even cat eye, it’s so precise, and you are able to create a flick easily at the outer corner of the eye!
Whilst this brush looks like a standard old typical lip brush, it has a unique shape, it’s not too round or too square, and it’s amazing at giving precise definition to the cupid’s bow.
Last update on 2021-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API