There is a unique terror attached to attempting to seek out just the right type of 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. From how to use a blending brush from the best brushes to use for contouring, the learning curve can seem steep.
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 makeup brush guide you’ll want to get your hands on, post haste. And, of course, we’ve included how to use all 18 of ’em.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)