What Types Of Makeup Brushes Do I Need?

The world of makeup brushes can be a confusing and bewildering place, with so many different types of makeup brushes available – and more seem to be arriving all the time! HQhair are here to help you navigate this bristle-y mystery and find the top 10 essential brushes you need in your makeup kit.

Foundation Brush

First things first, everyone needs a good foundation brush. Look to the Pixi Full Cover Foundation Brush with its densely packed synthetic bristles to apply your foundation smoothly and evenly. Expect professional results and a flawless finish with no visible brush strokes. However if you like your foundation on the lighter side, why not try a makeup sponge like the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. Use it wet or dry and build up the coverage as much as you want, the contours of the brush make it really easy to get into those nooks and crannies around the nose and under your eyes. Applying foundation doesn’t get much easier than this.

Blush Brush

Blush is a perfect pick me up for a dull complexion, but applied incorrectly and you can end up more ‘clown’ than ‘classy’. Avoid going OTT by using a proper blush brush, like the Inika Vegan Blush Brush, and go lightly at first – you can always add more if you want to. Focus on the apples of your cheeks (the bits that perk up when you smile) and blend out towards your ears.

Concealer Brush

Whereas a foundation brush is great for getting your makeup on your face quickly and easily, a concealer brush is needed to add a little extra coverage wherever you need it. Use the Daniel Sandler Concealer Brush to dab concealer on blemishes, disguise dark circles and cover dark spots. The smooth taklon bristles are shaped just like the tip of your little finger to give you precise application and great results.

Eyeshadow Blending Brush

There are so many types of makeup brushes for eyes that it can be hard to know where to start; liner brushes, shadow brushes, crease brushes, smudge brushes… the list seems to grow all the time. While you might be tempted to just use your fingers, it can’t be denied that professional tools really do make a difference to your makeup. If there’s one brush you need in your kit, it’s a good blending brush, and this Angled Blending Brush from Look Good Feel Better is ideal. The angled, flat-head tip fits the shape of your eye perfectly and it’s soft bristles help to buff and blend your eyeshadow effortlessly. Plus with every Look Good Feel Better makeup brush sold, a donation will be made to the Look Good Feel Better charity to help support those suffering with cancer.

Brow Brush

Bold brows are back and it looks like they’re here to stay. For super-groomed and natural-looking brows, fill in any sparse patches with a brow powder and brow brush such as the Make Up By HD Brows Angled Brow Brush. HD Brows are renowned for their precision approach to brow-styling so you know this brush will be up to the job. It’s firm, angled bristles are perfect for getting right in between the hairs to deposit powder and create the exact brow look you desire.

Bronzer Brush

A little light bronzing can give you healthy glow like you’re just back from a holiday but too much can leave you looking grubby and mismatched – it’s all in the application! A lovely big bronzing brush like the Japonesque Safari Chic Bronzer Brush has a domed shape and lots of super soft bristles to blend away any harsh lines and is great for bronzing your neck and décolletage too. Plus the cool animal-print means this brush will take pride of place on your dressing table.

Highlighter Brush

A light dusting of highlighter can take your makeup from average to amazing. Use a tapered brush like the NARS Yachiyo Kakuki Brush and sweep your chosen highlighter across the tops of your cheekbones, along your brow bone, and on the very tip of your nose. You will instantly add more dimension to your face and add brightness to your complexion.

Contouring Brush

If you’ve ever wanted to try contouring, but have been worried about where to apply your makeup or how much to use then the Real Techniques Sculpting Brush is an absolute must-have. This brush has been specially designed to fit snugly into the hollows of your cheeks and apply your contouring shade exactly where it’s needed. Use it with cream or powder makeup and give yourself a sculpted look that Kim Kardashian would be proud of.

Lip Brush

Lip brushes are often overlooked in an everyday makeup routine, but they can make such a difference to your lip colour. They’re most important when applying really bold shades like rich reds or bright pinks, because the narrow brush tip allows you to apply your lipstick carefully and create a clean crisp line around the edge of your lips. A lip brush is also essential for more creative styles like the ombré lip; you can use the brush to help blend lighter and darker shades. Don’t forget you could also use a lip brush to mix and blend different lip colours to create your own unique shade. The Real Techniques Retractable Lip Brush has the added bonus of being retractable, so you can load it up with your favourite colour, pop the lid on the brush and then carry it with you to reapply when you need it.

Powder Brush

The mother of all makeup brushes is undoubtedly the powder brush. There’s nothing like finishing off your makeup with a dusting of setting powder on a big luxurious brush and there’s plenty to choose from at HQhair. We like the Amazing Cosmetics Velvet Brush, which has 100% wool bristles that have been hand shaped and hand cut for a professional look and finish. Use with a loose or pressed powder to set and finish your makeup.

Brush Cleaner

Of course your brushes will only perform well if you take care of them, and that means cleaning them regularly. It needs doing once a week (or once a month depending on how often you use them) so it can be a bit of a chore, but it’s completely necessary to prevent your brushes deteriorating, or becoming breeding grounds for bacteria and other nasties that could cause breakouts or sensitivity in your skin. Use a mild soap or facial cleanser such as the Dr Bronner Organic Hand & Body Shikakai Soap, squirt a small amount into your hand with a little water and swirl your dirty brush in your palm until the water runs clear. Be careful to keep your brush pointing down to prevent water or soap seeping into the furrule where it can loosen the bristles. Gently squeeze out any excess water and allow your brushes to dry naturally and voilà – they’ll be as good as new!

Over to you – which makeup brush can you not live without? Do you clean your brushes regularly? What makeup brushes are on your wish list?




I'm often referred to as 'the nail girl' because I love nail art - I have over 200 bottles of nail polish at home! But I love all things beauty; especially anything neon bright or packed with glitter. Growing up, I was a bit of a nerdy kid, so playing with colourful makeup or wacky hairstyles became my creative outlet - so it's great that this has become my job! You'll spot me at the bar, probably wearing sequins, drinking a Singapore Sling.

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