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A Beginners Guide to Using Makeup Brushes: What You Need to Know

A Beginners Guide to Using Makeup Brushes: What You Need to Know

If you’re a fan of RMS, you know our founder, Rose-Marie Swift, is a fan of using her fingers to apply makeup. For concealer, shadows, cream blush and more, she loves to use her fingers because of the skin-to-skin application, which warms the product and makes for a more natural application. But if you’re a makeup maven or even just a beauty newbie, you know that not everything can be applied with your fingers, and oftentimes, to get the best, most seamless look, you’ll want to use a brush. That’s why Rose-Marie made our Skin2Skin brush collection, a line of makeup brushes that don’t cost a fortune, and mimics skin-to-skin application (per the name) for a hygienic, gorgeous makeup application that’s just as easy as using your fingers.

And if you’re confused as to what makeup brush to use, how to maintain them, how to clean your makeup brushes, and even how to store your makeup brushes, we’ve got the complete guide here, just for you. Keep reading to learn more.


The Types of Makeup Brushes

There are many types of makeup brushes, and making sure you’ve got a quality one that serves its purpose is super important (because you don’t want to be applying eyeshadow with your bronzer brush!).

Investing in quality brushes can make a significant difference in the application and longevity of your makeup look. That’s because quality brushes often have softer bristles, which are gentler on skin and don’t pick up as much product, and have more durable handles that can withstand regular use and cleanings.

1. Foundation Brushes 

Foundation makeup brushes can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including flat ones for a more precise application, and buffing brushes, which have a thicker, wider head for a more airbrushed look.

Our Skin2Skin Foundation brush—which is 100% vegan and cruelty free—is unlike any other foundation brush out there, and was expertly designed by Rose-Marie herself with a swirl pattern in the head to mimic a thumbprint. Its bristle placement and short, diagonally cut head has a featherlight touch at the tip, pressing color and foundation into skin seamlessly, with zero dragging. “I designed this brush to fit perfectly over every angle of the face,” Rose-Marie says. “So you can blend your foundation flawlessly.”

Our brand new Everything Brush is also perfect for applying foundation or concealer. “I’m a firm believer in not doing a full-face of foundation,” Rose-Marie says. “With this “squoval” brush, you can use the sides to seamlessly blend under the eyes or areas that need more coverage.” 

2. Eyebrow Brushes

Eyebrow brushes are made to lift and fluff the brows, and help you fill in sparse spots for that perfect arch. Your eyebrows frame the face, and we know how important it is to get them right—your way.

Our Back2Brow Brush is dual-sided, and was specially designed by Rose-Marie to help you define and line your brows with ease. “I created this and I designed this brush because I wanted it shorter, and I wanted it stockier, I wanted it firmer, and I wanted it slightly rounded on the sides, and I wanted it very thin. So no matter how hard you try, you can’t do a squared off brow.”


3. Blush Brushes and Contour Brushes

Blush and contour brushes are usually a slightly smaller, thinner version of a bronzer brush. They’re designed so you can deposit just the right amount of color on the apples of your cheeks, or on or under your cheekbones. Using one of these to apply blush or contour is critical, particularly when you’re playing with a powder or concentrated cream.

We have two different blush brushes: the Skin2Skin Blush Brush and the Skin2Skin Powder Blush Brush
Our Blush Brush is small and round, with ultra-soft, featherlight bristles at the tip to create a smooth, airbrushed effect with cream and powder blushes. We also love using it with bronzer for more targeted, precise applications, like on the forehead or templates, as well as on the cheekbones.

Our Powder Blush Brush is fluffy, with a flat-meets-round head, and it’s perfect for a light wash of buildable color. Use it with powder blush or powder bronzers, or pressed powders to set any look.

And, of course, there’s the new Everything Brush, which is great for contouring. “This is the absolute perfect width for contouring; it fits right underneath the cheekbone, and because it’s firm it doesn’t deposit too much color or make you look cakey,” Rose-Marie says. “You can also use it for blush if you want a more concentrated wash of color. Just pop the blush (cream or powder) onto the apple of your cheek, just under the middle of your iris, and work up and out for a lifted look.”


4. Highlighter Brushes

Highlighter Brushes might be the unsung hero of makeup application. While applying a cream highlighter with your fingers is easy, blending out the cream, or applying a powder highlighter with your fingers, will lead to a streaky, too-glittery result. Highlighter brushes are usually fan brushes, meaning they come in a fan shape and are ultra-light and super-feathery.

Our new and improved Skin2Skin Classic Fan Brush is the absolute perfect brush for applying any and all powder highlighters. Rose-Marie custom designed this wide, feather-light brush with imitation goat hair, so it beautifully deposits just a whisper of color onto the skin without taking off any color or shedding. “It’s a very, very sparse, rounded brush. And you can’t hurt yourself with this brush—it’s soft as hell.”

To use, just swirl on any highlighter or color powders (we suggest our ReDimension HydraDew Luminizer), and don’t be afraid to apply generously over cheekbones, eyelids, or all over the face.


5. Eye Brushes

Eye Brushes or Eyeshadow Brushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from flat and round for crease smudging to wider and fluffier for an all-over deposit of color.

We launched our Eye Polish Brush years ago to beautifully diffuse and blend or build color intensity, and it works great with all cream shadows, including our Eye Polish and Eyelights Cream Shadow

Rose-Marie also loves using the Everything Brush for eye looks. “I’m not kidding, you can even use this for eyeshadow,” Rose-Marie says. “Because of the oval shape, it angles very well on the crease of the eye. I like to take my shadow or Luminizer and do one sweep across. It’s not too big—it’s perfect.”


6. Lip Brushes

Lip Brushes are usually smaller, angled brushes, made for applying lip gloss or lipstick.

Because we’re big fans of applying product with our fingers, Rose-Marie doesn’t use lip brushes much, but she does have a very specific brush custom-designed at the end of each Go Nude Lip Pencil. “The angled brush at the end of all my Go Nude Lip Pencils defines the lip line and prevents color from sinking into fine lines,” Rose-Marie says. “I love to just go in and contour the lip with the pencil, and then clean up any tiny areas.” You can also use it to blend and soften for a more ‘90s, vintage feel.


Caring for Brushes 101

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes, Beauty Sponge & More

Taking care of your makeup brushes is crucial for the longevity of your brushes and the health of your skin. Makeup brushes can easily trap bacteria, and while it might be tempting to wipe your brush on a towel and go, the best way to prevent breakouts when using makeup brushes is to clean them regularly.

Color and product can also build up on your brushes, which can lead to a muddied hue and dragging when applying—no thanks!

  • How to Clean Makeup Brushes 
    Wet the head of your brush with lukewarm water, and, taking a brush cleaner or a mild soap, swirl the brush into the cleaning solution. Run the brush under water, squeezing out any excess soap and product. Once the water runs clear, swirl your brush on clean towel to remove any leftover product, and shape it with your fingers—the same way you’d shape a t-shirt if air drying. Lay the brush flat on a clean towel, and make sure it dries thoroughly. 

  • How to Clean Beauty Blenders, Beauty Sponges, and Makeup Sponges
    Run your Beauty Sponge under lukewarm water, and gently squeeze out any excess. Then swirl the Beauty Blender or Beauty Sponge in the same brush cleaner or mild soap that you have for your makeup brushes. Run the makeup sponge under lukewarm water and gently squeeze until the water runs clear. To prevent tears, don’t squeeze or grip the sponge too hard.


Get Ready to Store ‘Em

How to store your makeup brushes so they last

Now that you’ve thoroughly cleaned your makeup brushes and Beauty Sponges, and let them dry on a clean towel, it’s time to properly store them so they last. We suggest storing brushes in a cabinet standing upright in a jar or cup, so they’re protected and away from exposed dust or dander. And when you’re traveling, try our sustainably made Stand Up Makeup Bag, which stores your brushes lying down or standing up with ease.

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