Pro tips to ‘brush’ up your makeup skills

  • Snigdha Ahuja, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 20, 2016 07:55 IST
It’s great to keep your vanity case updated and full of the right tools. (Photo: IStock)

Your makeup products and palettes are always only as good as your brushes! While you might see a variety of makeup brushes at a professional salon, it’s great to keep your vanity case updated and full of the right tools.

Can you tell between a kabuki or a dome brush? Did you buy the on-trend beauty blender but don’t know how to use it? Do you spoil your eye-makeup by using the wrong size and type of brush? Well, no more. Here’s your guide to makeup brushes and sponges.

From precision bristles for on-point eye makeup to a buffing brush to blend in your blush — pick up the right ones to perfect your makeup.


Here are some basic brushes to ace your face and lip makeup and contour.

1. Stippling brush: The brush usually has a head with two types (and colours) of bristles with a blunt top. You can use the brush when you are using a large amount of face product including powders for a polished finish. You can even apply your foundation using the brush as it’s known for giving a high-definition coverage.

2. Lip defining brush: When it comes to defining the lips, a variety of brushes can be used to apply and blend-in the lip colour. You can go for a tapered top, or a blunt one as shown here. The bristles are soft but stick to the lip colour to help in its application, along with helping in smoothening out sharp edges of a lip pencil.

3. Fan brush: As the name suggests, the bristles of the brush fan-out to create the shape. This one’s a multi-purpose brush and can be used to contour the face (highlighting cheekbones with a dark foundation with a slanting movement) and even to buff and blend your foundation. The fan brush can also be used to create shadow under the chin and the jawline with a dark toned foundation because of the distributed bristles and the sharp shape.

4. The Toothbrush: You must have seen this one across beauty tutorials. While the bristles are synthetic, the oval-faced brush is known to be super soft on the skin if the right quality is used. As it is available in all sizes, the brush can be used on the eyes too apart from the face. Use it to apply and blend in your powdered blush or pat on eyeshadow.

5. Kabuki brush: The soft-bristled dense brush can be used for full coverage. From blending the blush onto the cheeks to finishing off with a setting powder and using it to even brush off excess makeup on the face - the kabuki helps in covering large parts of the face.

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These brushes are ideal for hassle-free eye makeup. Some multi-purpose ones are great for the lips too.

1. Pencil Brush: This multi-purpose brush can be used on the eyes and the lips too. The tapered tip is not exactly pointed, but the bristles are staggered, and you can dip it in your gel liner to create a precision eyeliner. You can even use it to outline and contour your lips.

2. Dome brush: This brush is set apart because of its dome-shaped head. The brush is useful for eyeshadow application and the head can also be used to remove makeup glitches. Lace it with some moisturiser or concealer and perfect your makeup.

3. Angled brush : This one’s also a multi-purpose pick. Based on the thickness of the head and the density of the bristles, the brush can be used for the waterline or the lash line. Use it to perfect your winged eyeliner or to create an inverse smudged eyeliner.

4. Lash comb and brow groomer: The two-headed brush is perfect for those who like to keep their brows groomed. While you can use the thick bristled side to brush off excess brow liner, the comb can help you get rid of mascara clumps and also shape and polish your brow hair.

5. Spoolie: The spoolie brush is one that you’d find on a mascara wand. But, if you buy these wands off the internet or use old ones after sterilising them, these spoolies can be used like a lash comb to brush and shape the brows, and of course, to curl your lashes with soft circular movements, without the actual application of mascara.

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Sponges are a must-try makeup tool, especially during summer to make the makeup last longer.

1. Sponge brush: The good thing about this brush is that it gives you a proper hold on the blender. Use the sponge brush to do your contour, create dimension with dark face powder.A beauty hack? Dip it in makeup remover or moisturiser to remove excess makeup product.

2. The curvy blender: The curved beauty blender can be used to buff and blend in your face powder. The curves help in easy movement of the hand and the different parts and edges can be used to apply makeup to different parts of the face.

3. Teardrop blender: While it’s not too different from the curved beauty blender,many prefer the teardrop shape. The tip of the blender is sharper, and it can even be used to perfect your eyeshadow. You can also use the shape to your advantage by using the tipped peak to blend your eyeliner or create an ombre effect by fading the colour using the blender, to create a gradient palette.

4. Makeup sponges: Makeup sponges can be your go-to fix for those who don’t like to carry makeup brushes in your vanity box. Cut these sponges with the use of scissors to create any shape that you like so you can use it not only on the face, but on the eyes and lips too.

HOT TIP: Clean your brushes
1) In case of an emergency, a makeup brush cleaner emerges as a great rescue. It not only deep cleans every strand of your brush – its anti-bacterial properties make way for 100% hygiene for your brushes and skin.
2) Restrict the usage of such cleaners for the time of emergencies only, as their frequent use may hamper the shape and working your brushes – causing them to wear-off sooner.
3) For regular cleaning of your brushes, dip them in a mixture of mild-soap and water and wash them gently. Now rinse away and pat dry in circular motion using a cotton cloth.
4) Not only the brushes, make sure you regularly clean your sponges too as they tend to absord makeup on a daily basis. Always store your sponges in a bag or container to make sure it does not absorb any dust or germs.
5) Trash your old brushes! The bristles will wear out and there is no point spoiling your makeup by using worn out tools.
(Inputs by Ishika Taneja, makeup expert)

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