Brushes can make or break a makeup look, so its imperative you choose ones that are good quality. We totally understand that not everyone has the cash to blow at MAC, Sigma, or Hakuhodo. And while there are some really great makeup brushes out there that are super affordable, one of the best places to buy cheap, amazing quality brushes is closer than you think. The art supply store. Yes, you heard us. The art store. Think about it. When you look at them, it’s easy to see that makeup brushes are modeled after artist brushes, so it makes sense that you can use them just as well!
When buying art brushes to use for makeup, there are a few important things to keep in mind. The first is the texture. Make sure you’re feeling the bristles of the brushes–if they’re too rough and scratchy, it’s obvious they’re not going to work on your eyes and face. It’s also important to figure out what kind of hairs you want for your brushes. The art store carries both natural haired bristles, which work best with powder products, and synthetic haired bristles, which work amazingly with liquids and creams. Now, if you walk in and feel overwhelmed by the selection, don’t worry–we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of 10 types of makeup brushes you can find to get you started:
1. Foundation and concealer brushes.
Any flat, synthetic haired brush that you find at the craft store will work wonders as a foundation or concealer brush. These brushes either come in a filbert shape, which is rounded at the top, or a square shape. We recommend the Simply Simmons’ Filbert brushes and Flat Wash brushes for their soft texture, array of sizes, and durability.
2. Powder and blush brushes.
A larger, fluffy brush is key for flawlessly applying powder, blush and bronzer. Luckily, at the art store there are multiple options to choose from. Once again, remember to feel the bristles to make sure they’re not too rough. We enjoy Loew Cornell’s Natural Round Mop Brush, which comes in three different sizes.
3. Quill mop brushes.
Slightly more expensive, the Isabey Squirrel Quill Mops are some of the most versatile brushes you can find at an art supply store. The soft, tapered bristles are originally made for watercolor painting, but with a range of sizes, these brushes are perfect to use for powder, highlight, or to blend color into the crease.
4. Flat eyeshadow brushes.
Loew Cornell’s Maxine’s Mop brushes are, for sure, the most popular artist brush that can be used for makeup. In four different sizes, the flat, oval shape is perfect for packing color onto the lid. And even better, the 3/8″ brush is almost a perfect dupe for the ever-so-popular MAC 239 brush. Score!
5. Blending brushes.
Fluffy, blending brushes are crucial for achieving a flawless eyeshadow look. Watercolor brushes, such as the Artist’s Loft Marseille Sable Round Watercolor Brush, are perfect to use because of the soft texture of the bristles. The long, tapered shape is also ideal for more precise crease work.
6. Pencil brushes.
Pencil brushes are excellent for precision work on the eyes, placing color on the inner corners, and shading the lower lash line. Lucky for us, the craft store carries a perfect and much cheaper alternative. Princeton’s Preferred Fix-It Brush is a pencil brush with a pointed tip that’s sturdy and keeps it shape no matter how many times you wash it.
7. Angled brushes.
To be quite honest, the art store is probably the best place you can ever purchase angled brushes from. Pretty much every brand carries a range that comes in all different sizes and bristle hairs. Art store angled brushes are perfect for shadow, liner, brows–you name it! Our absolute favorite is the American Painter Angular Shader Brush for its thin shape, precision, and ability to distribute product evenly.
8. Fine liner brushes.
Fine liner brushes are excellent for creating the perfect cat eye or doing more graphic liner looks. Almost every brand carries fine brushes for artists’ precision work. We suggest sticking to durable, synthetic bristles that flow well with the movement of your hands and keep their shape, such as Princeton’s Spotter Brush.
9. Chisel brushes.
Flat, square brushes–otherwise known as chisel brushes–are extremely versatile for makeup application. They can be used to apply concealer, shadow, smudge out eye pencils, fill in eyebrows, do eyeliner, apply lipstick–the possibilities are endless! So, we highly suggest you run out and grab a few now. Our favorite just so happens to be the American Painter Chisel Blender Brush.
10. Lip brushes.
Sharp, thin, synthetic-haired lip brushes are what every makeup artist turns to in order to create the perfect pout. The small shape is perfect for achieving clean, precise edges, while the flat bristles layer on color evenly and smoothly. When shopping for a lip brush at the art store, you have quite a few options. We suggest going with a small, filbert style brush, like the American Painter Long Filbert Brush in Size 2, because of the synthetic hairs, which clean up easily, and its ability to fit around all the contours of the mouth with no problem.