Makeup Brushes 101

Makeup artistry is no different than the traditional paint brush to canvas – you need the correct tool to achieve your desired effect! Selecting the right brush can seem daunting as they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, fiber contents, densities…AHHH! Have no fear, Blondes & Bagels has detailed out your basics for building your makeup brush arsenal below! After all, we’re friends right? And friends don’t let friends look like rodeo clowns.

We’ve used some easy examples from MAC in our list below, but you can always take our suggestions and run with it to whatever brand suits your fancy!


Flat Shader Bush

A flat shader brush is essential for every single eyeshadow look. Flat shader brushes have densely packed hairs, allowing you to press shadow onto the lid for ultimate pigmentation and staying power. Make sure to use a packing or pressing motion rather than a sweeping motion to keep color ultra pigmented and on the lid rather than as dusty particles flying through the air! MAC’s 252 is a great choice because it is medium in size (allowing you to cover more surface area) and made of natural fibers (as indicated by the golden color, MAC natural fiber brushes have textured hairs which grab better hold of your powdered products).


MAC 252 Flat Shader Brush

Tapered Blending Brush

This is my favorite makeup brush ever. The MAC 224 has literally changed my entire eyeshadow game, allowing me to artfully blend colors into my crease creating seamless smokey eyes on the reg. The perfect tapered blending brush is hard to find – you will be using this brush to blend colors into your crease and therefore need a perfect dome shaped brush that is dense enough to hold pigment, but soft enough to allow for blending. While many other brushes can easily be purchased from other brands, if you were going to splurge on one MAC makeup brush in your lifetime the 224 should be it!


MAC 224 Tapered Blending Brush

Angled Liner Brush

When it comes to liquid or gel liner (Fluidline for the win) there tend to be two camps: the fine tip liner brush or the angled liner brush. Some people find it hard to wield an angled brush (100% understandable), but I think the reward outweighs the risk here as you can also use your angled liner brush for brows – more bang for your buck!


MAC 266 Angled Liner Brush


Beauty Blender

I know I know, the Beauty Blender isn’t a brush, but in all my years as a Bare Escentuals and MAC artist I have to admit no brush creates the same natural and beautiful skin finish as a makeup sponge. Brushes are used to paint makeup onto the top of the skin, while sponges allow for makeup to be pressed into the skin for a more natural finish. I also love that makeup sponges are used with water (you dampen the sponge before applying), simultaneously hydrating the skin and again creating a more natural look.


The original Beauty Blender

Contour Brush

Let’s chisel those cheekbones! Not all of us are blessed with Gisele’s facial structure (my mom keeps telling me I’ll love my cherub shaped face some day), so we fake it ’till we make it by carefully contouring! Contouring like a pro involves a lot of steps, but the casual way to define your features can come as easily as popping a good contour brush into some bronzer and sweeping it tactfully in the right places. Use MAC’s 109 Small Contour Brush as a reference for size with the smaller dome allowing you to really get into the hollow of your cheek and the bridge of your nose.


MAC 109 Small Contour Brush

Angled Blush Brush

The shape of your blush brush can come down to preference – I find that an angled brush works best as it follows the natural shape of the cheekbones (upwards!). By sweeping color from the apples of the cheeks and up, I can elongate and skinny up that aforementioned cherub face of mine. MAC’s angled 168 is actually marketed as a contour brush, but I find the brush itself is too large to really get into the finer details of contouring and prefer it for blush instead.


MAC 168 Angled Blush Brush

That’s it! Six simple brush types and you’re well on your way to some major master makeup artistry!

xoxo Blonde

All original images sourced from Nordstrom

*Blondes & Bagels uses affiliate links. Please read the disclaimer for more info.

Comments are closed.