Makeup Brush 101

Ever feel intimidated viewing makeup brushes at the beauty counter?  There are so many, you don’t know where to begin and you do not know what the majority of them do, but you sure know how to clean them!  Well, I pulled in my great friend Tawni Hart, who is the East Coast Beauty Director of Nordstrom, to make sense of it all.

I grabbed 10 important basic brushes and asked Tawni to give us the low down on what they do and how they can maximize our makeup application.  So let me give her the mic:

Tawni Hart’s Makeup Brush Breakdown

1. Powder  The powder brush is always the more full, dense brush which makes it perfect for dusting loose or pressed powder.  This brush is particularly on the pricier side, but is definitely worth the initial investment.

2. Blush/Contour  Smile please!  Blush brushes are the perfect tool you need to achieve that flushy look.  With its buffed and angled edges, it deposits a little more color to the apple of the cheek.  It also can be used to contour or highlight giving more definition to the cheekbone area.

3. Concealer This small tool can become your new best friend. Typically flat, thin, and synthetic, the concealer brush allows you to layer on your cover up to help camouflage dark circles or any skin imperfections.  Spot check-CHECK!

4. Lid Color/Base  This brush is just the right size to apply your base color eye shadow whether it be a powder or a cream.  Its important to start with a color thats close to the color of your natural skin or just a hint lighter to create the perfect canvas and brighten up the eye.  Use the flat side and press for a more dense application or simply sweep across for sheer coverage.

5. Crease With its round and tapered shape, this brush is great for adding depth to the crease of the eye.  It’s best to start at the outer corner where you’ll get the initial deposit of color and softly feather your way in towards the center.

6. Blend This is one of my can’t live without brushes!  They’re typically über-soft and can be extremely forgiving for those with a heavy hand.  Use your blender brush to create soft edges when layering multiple shadows.

7. Smudge  This short stubby brush is perfect to create that smokey eye.  You can simply soften your pencil liner, or use it to add depth in the corner of the eye and close to the lash line.

8. Brow/Line  These angled brushes are used to help fill in or define those beautiful brows that shape our face.  I also like to use this type of brush for my liner when using powder.  A quick tip:  hold the brush with the point facing the outer corner of the eye and work your way towards the center.  Next, turn the brush 180 degrees and go from the inner corner of the eye to the center again. Makes for a flawless liner application every time!

9. Brow Brush  Use this dual sided brush to gain control of those unruly brow hairs.  The tougher bristles are used to shape your  brows and distribute color, while  the comb side is used to separate those flirty lashes.

10. Lip  For that girl on the go…use this retractable lip brush to easily apply color or gloss.  Using a lip brush allows you to layer lip products while being able to fill in and define that perfect pout every time.

So there you have it! Thanks to Tawni for the valuable brush insight!

Does this breakdown help your daily beauty regimen?  What brush/brushes do you always use?  Tell us in the comments below!


  1. Samantha says:

    I need foundation, so always use my foundation brush. But based on the above, I think my next brush needs to be a blending brush!!

  2. What is the brand of those brushes?