A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

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A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them
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There is a unique terror attached to attempting to seek out just the right makeup brush in a world of so very, very many. This is understandable—sure, you can tell what brushes are for, but determining the correct ways to use them is a different story entirely.

Brushes for your face, brushes for your eyes, brushes for your brows: They’re all out there, and they’re all pretty much essential for getting your makeup on just right. So, as a public service, we’ve rounded up a guide to makeup brushes you’ll want to get your hands on post haste. (And, of course, how to use all 18 of ’em.)

MORE: 11 Cheap Makeup Brushes to Buy ASAP

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  • A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

    Fan brush
    The unassuming fan brush has several key purposes: You can use it to sweep on blush, blend other makeup, clean up excess powder, and brush a light layer of highlighter along the cheekbones. (e.l.f. Fan Brush, $2)

  • A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

    Brow brush
    Necessary for filling in your brows with powder—a good brow brush should be angled so that you can tackle even the thin tail-ends. (Japonesque Pro Angled Brow Definer Brush, $14)

  • A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

    Powder brush
    The most ubiquitous of all brushes, the powder brush should be in every makeup collection—use it to apply any type of powder product. (Real Techniques by Sam & Nic Chapman Powder Brush, $7.99)

  • A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

    Eye blending brush
    The name is a dead giveaway: This brush is a must-have for blending eyeshadow into your lids. (Bobbi Brown Eye Blender Brush, $34)

  • A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

    Lip brush
    Use the tiny squared-off tip of a lip brush to get a crisp, defined line of color. (Charlotte Tilbury Lip Brush, $26)

  • A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

    Kabuki brush
    With its wide rounded bristles and super soft feel, the kabuki is perfect for applying everything from loose powders to bronzer and highlighter. (bareMinerals Full Coverage Kabuki Brush, $28)

  • A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

    Angled eye brush
    Use a small angled eye brush with gel liner or powder shadows to get a perfectly defined eye look. (Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Angled Eye Shadow Brush, $4.99)

  • A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

    Eyeshadow brush
    The tapered but soft bristles of this brush make it perfect for precise shadow application. (Jane Iredale Eye Shader Brush, $20)

  • A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

    Angled face brush
    The easiest way to add definition to your face—just sweep on some bronzer in the hollows of your cheeks using a fluffy angled brush. Perfect for applying blush or highlighter, too. (Urban Decay Naked Flushed Double-Ended Brush, $26)

  • A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

    Concealer brush
    Firm, narrow, and tapered at the end, concealer brushes are the best way to put concealer exactly where it needs to go. (MAC 195 Concealer Brush, $25)

  • A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

    Smudge brush
    Score a smokey eye with a soft-bristled smudge brush. (Laura Mercier Smudge Brush, $24)

  • A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

    Brow brush and comb
    You can use this multipurpose tool for grooming both your lashes and brows—comb through your lashes to get mascara clumps out, and use the brush to perfect your brows. (SEPHORA COLLECTION Pro Brow Comb, $15)

  • A Guide to Makeup Brushes: Every Kind You Need and How to Use Them

    Blending spongeNot technically a brush, but an essential tool nonetheless. Perfect for using with liquid foundations, concealers, and pretty much anything, it leaves skin with a smooth, flawless finish. (beautyblender, $20)

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Fan brush
The unassuming fan brush has several key purposes: You can use it to sweep on blush, blend other makeup, clean up excess powder, and brush a light layer of highlighter along the cheekbones. (e.l.f. Fan Brush, $2)

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