The 8 Essential Makeup Brushes You Need—and How to Use Them

Let's face it: Makeup brushes can be super confusing.

Makeup brush kits come with so many options—and to the untrained eye, many look similar or the same. So which ones do you actually need to get glammed up? We've curated our list of the essential makeup brushes you need, and how to use them. You'll be surprised how much better your makeup looks when you know how to use your brushes properly!

Keep reading for our eight essentials below.

Powder Brush

A powder brush is the biggest brush of the bunch. It has long fluffy bristles that are soft, and its purpose is to distribute loose powder (mainly setting powder) evenly across your face. You should dust off your brush before applying product to your face so you don't apply too much and use light sweeping motions to apply powder so that it doesn't get cakey. This step is important if you're going for an all-day, long-wear look or if you like to control shininess in specific areas.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by WYCON Cosmetics Malaysia (@wyconcosmetics.malaysia) on

 

Blush Brush

Smaller than a powder brush, a blush brush is dome-shaped and has medium-length soft bristles. This brush allows you to apply more concentrated color than a powder brush, which makes it good for applying powder with pigment like bronzer and blush. Just make sure you start with less product and build with a light touch so you don't end up looking like a clown.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Beauty Junkees Beauty Tools (@beautyjunkees) on

 

Contour Brush

A contour brush is typically angled and has shorter, more dense bristles that allow you to apply more product with less fallout. This is great for contour because you want to target a specific spot, versus all-over even coverage like with a powder brush. This brush should fit underneath your cheekbone.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Joscosmeticslondon (@joscosmeticslondon) on

 

Fan Brush

For the ultimate powder highlight glow, you need a fan brush! These brushes are perfect for applying highlight, while also helping clean up any fallout on the face. Fan brushes are shaped like a fan (hence the name), and have super light, feathery bristles so that they effortlessly dust highlighter over your cheekbones.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sarah Redzikowski (@beautybysarah) on

 

Concealer Brush

Short and dome-shaped, concealer brushes are the MVPs of makeup brushes because they allow you to get concealer in those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of the face. These brushes are a bit firmer and help deliver and spread concealer underneath the eyes and face. It's important to get an antibacterial brush because it does come in contact with pimples from time to time.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by JUNGSAEMMOOL Beauty (@jsmbeauty_) on

 

Flat Eyeshadow Brush

There are basically two types of eyeshadow brushes you need—one being a flat eyeshadow brush. This kind is fluffy, but not too fluffy, and its purpose is to spread eyeshadow seamlessly across the lid and blend out.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The OwnYourBeautyBlog (@so_snatched) on

 

Crease Eyeshadow Brush

The other eyeshadow brush you need is a crease brush, which is smaller, more pointed and firmer. This shape allows you to apply and blend eyeshadow in the crease of the eye with ease. It's also great for doing a drop shadow on the lower waterline or getting to the inner corners.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Cult Beauty (@cultbeauty) on

 

Brow Brush

When it comes to the brows, a brow brush is your BFF. These angled brushes are firm and look like a mascara wand. Brushing your brows prior to applying brow product allows you to see where you need to fill in holes, and then brushing after application makes for a super natural look.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Soapbrows (@soapbrows) on

 

Wondering why a beauty blender didn't make the cut? HERE's the reason.