Picture this: you’re stood in front of shelves and shelves of hundreds of different makeup brushes – all different shapes, sizes and textures. All you wanted was something to apply your blusher with and now you’re confused.

The choice of makeup brushes and tools is ever increasing, with new technologies and materials being introduced. We’re fully aware of this on the beauty desk (even we struggled sometimes), so we decided to create this handy guide to help you navigate through the confusing world of makeup brushes. As long as you have this guide, you’ll be a-ok.


The bristles are flattened, with a rounded tip and slightly bendy, so that it moves easily across your face. They’re synthetic, not natural, bristles, as they work better with liquid bases. Use it to apply liquid foundation to create a smoother appearance.


Pretty much identical to the foundation brush, but smaller. Use the flat side to pat concealer under the eyes, and the edges to get to the tricky edges of your nose.

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The Kabuki is short and stout – it kind of looks like the short fat friend in a group of tall lanky brushes. The handle is short, for easier handling, while the bristles are dense and natural, which pick up powder products better. Use it with your bronzer in a circular motion.


The bristles are natural and rounded, with a fluffy texture. Use it to apply your blusher or loose powder in a sweeping motion, so that it diffuses the powder and colour.


Thanks to KK, everyone now wants a contour brush in their makeup bag. It’s similar to the powder brush, but angled slightly. This is so you can glide your contour powder along your cheekbone with precision.


A stipling brush is two-toned. Always. It will have concentrated darker bristles at the bottom, with long sparse lightly coloured bristles poking out of the top. It is a buffing brush. Use it to blend your highlighter, contour powder, foundation and cream blush. Perfect for creating an airbrushed finish.

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This is one you’ve probably nailed already, from all those eye palettes you’ve bought in the past. It has short bristles with a rounded tip. Use it to press in colour to your eyelid.


These bristles are floppy and not as concentrated as other brushes. That’s because you want to use it to blend product around your crease line and upper eye, without the colour being too heavy.


If you’re blessed with a steady hand, lucky you! The rest of the world needs one of these in their life. The bristles are sturdy, short and angled. After you’ve drawn on your eyeliner (even if it’s a bit wobbly) trace the line with this brush and straighten things up.


A funny looking brush that lives up to its name. The bristles are spread out like a fan (duh), are bendy and extremely long. They softly diffuse colour on your cheeks and are excellent for cleaning up excess powders.


This is a simple one, that doesn’t really need much explanation. Comb your eyelashes to separate them and remove excess mascara and brush your brows for a Cara Delevingne-inspired groomed brow.


Not many people opt for a lip brush, preferring the convenience of applying lipstick directly with the bullet, but the small, yet robust bristles allow you to draw on your colour for a more precise shape.