There are hundreds of different kinds of makeup brushes out there, and it can get confusing, especially if you didn't grow up devouring makeup tutorials.
Personally, I often feel I missed out on some kind of important seminar on the nuances of makeup applications that every other woman seems to have taken in her teenage years. An embarrassing confession: I even used to do my eye makeup with Q-tips. My resistance to makeup products was some anticapitalist project that might have actually been partly comprised of thinly veiled misogyny.
But this summer, I decided it was time for me to finally learn to tell the difference between types of makeup brushes. I dove in deep. I learned a lot, and now it's your turn. If you've been quietly confused about the finer points of makeup brushes, here's what you need to know about the five main kinds of makeup brushes out there. My personal recommendation is to get all of them from Luxie, one of the best makeup brush companies around.
Flat Top Kabuki Brush
You know those giant brushes with the wide fan-shaped tops? Those are flat top brushes, and they're used for applying foundation. After putting on toner and moisturizer, you can start with this brush. Just put a dollop of liquid foundation on your hand, tap the brush into the foundation, and then pat the brush along your nose, forehead and chin (AKA the T-Zone). Then lightly fill in the gaps, blend, and voila! Luxie's foundation brush features dense, soft, synthetic bristles for a perfectly smooth application.
You know those super thin brushes with the huge, thin fan-shaped plumes? Those are fan brushes, and they're meant for spreading shimmery products like highlighters across your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, and your brow bone. You can also use these to blend in concealer or to correct eye makeup mistakes.
Ah, contouring: The mysterious art of invisibly illuminating your face's features to enhance them. For the best contouring experience, you'll probably want to go for an angled brush like the one listed above; these help you mold your contouring process to your face's natural curve. We won't go into the nuances of contouring here, but let's just say it's a process —and you'll need this brush to help. (Luxie also offers a set of brushes designed to give you the perfect contouring experience; go figure).
For those pesky dark spots that won't go away, the concealer brush is a must-have. You can use this brush for specific spot corrections or for general correcting under the eyes.
This is a fun brush because it's so giant and soft that it looks like a cloud. This large powder brush is great for setting your face with loose powder, such as powder foundation or finishing powder. After you're done with the nuances of contouring and foundationing and such, this one is good for blending everything and putting it all into place.
So there you have it — a guide to five of the main face makeup brushes you'll need to put your best face forward. Luxie is a great place to start since it's cruelty free and vegan, but remember: You can look great with or without makeup. With the right tools, though, you can create your own look and express every side of yourself.