The complete guide to makeup brushes. What they're called and how to use them.

When I first started using makeup I owned about three brushes. I used all three for multiple products and hardly washed them. I figured if the makeup got from the pan or bottle onto my face than that was good enough! As I’ve grown older and more knowledgeable about makeup, my collection of makeup brushes has grown. I now know that each one has a specific purpose and place in a makeup routine. That’s not to say that you can’t break the rules and use a blush brush to apply highlighter (*gasp* THE HORROR!). However you’ll find that your makeup goes on much easier when you use the right brushes.

Last week I posted about my makeup starter kit, so I figured I’d follow it up with a guide to makeup brushes. I know I could’ve used something like this when I was first starting out, and I hope it helps you too! Keep in mind that these aren’t strict rules, just strong suggestions on how to use your tools. If you’re looking for makeup brushes that are good quality, but that won’t break the bank, check out e.l.f. and Real Techniques!

Real Techniques Buffing Brush

Name: Buffing Brush

What It’s Used For: Blending foundation and other cream products.

Real Techniques Pointed Foundation Brush

Name: Pointed Foundation Brush

What It’s Used For: Blending foundation or concealer. The point makes reaching small areas easier.

e.l.f. Powder Brush

Name: Powder Brush

What It’s Used For: Applying setting powder and bronzer

e.l.f. Stippling Brush

Name: Stippling Brush

What It’s Used For: Applying foundation and cream highlight, bronzer, and blush

Real Techniques Contour Brush

Name: Contour Brush

What It’s Used For: Contouring the cheeks or setting the under eyes with powder

e.l.f. Angled Blush Brush

Name: Angled Blush Brush

What It’s Used For: Applying blush or bronzer. Also good for contouring.

e.l.f. Blush Brush

Name: Blush Brush

What It’s Used For: Applying blush and highlighter

e.l.f. Crease Brush

Name: Small Blending Brush

What It’s Used For: Blending eyeshadow in the crease

e.l.f. crease brush

Name: Crease Brush

What It’s Used For: Applying eyeshadow to the crease

Real Techniques Fluffy Crease Brush

Name: Fluffy Crease Brush

What It’s Used For: Applying eyeshadow to the crease

Real Techniques Blending Brush

Name: Fluffy Blending Brush

What It’s Used For: Blending shadows together

Flat eyeshadow brush

Name: Flat Eyeshadow Brush

What It’s Used For: Packing eyeshadow onto the lid of the eye

Liner Brush

Name: Liner Brush

What It’s Used For: Applying gel or cream eyeliner

Smudge Brush

Name: Smudge Brush

What It’s Used For: Smudging out cream and gel eyeliners either on the lid or on the lower lash line

Detail Brush

Name: Detail Brush

What It’s Used For: Applying eyeshadow to specific parts of the lid

Eyebrow Brush

Name: Angled Brow Brush

What It’s Used For: Applying eyebrow pomade


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Audrey Knizek


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I’m an idiot when it comes to makeup so I NEEDED this!! I now can figure out what I’m using on my face for the better!
Jordan xx


Omg YES to this guide! I’m so bad with makeup brushes, I just name them by how they look lol I’ve saving this guide for later 🙂


Such a nice guide. It’s great for beginners in makeup 😀


Love that you included a lot of Real Techniques brushes here! The quality is SO good for the price!


By far the best brushes out when you compare quality to cost!


Thanks for the guide, always useful! Love the variety of brands you’ve included


This is a very informative post! I needed to read this because I have a few of these brushes and now I know how to use them better!
xo Debbie |


So glad I could help you out 🙂


YESSS thank you! I’m clueless when it comes to brushes and it just seems overwhelming when you’re in a store. Thanks for breaking it down and making it so simple!


You’re very welcome!! There are so many brushes it’s hard to know what they’re all used for!

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