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How Many Types of Makeup Brushes Are There?

How Many Types of Makeup Brushes Are There?

You can watch all the real techniques for makeup application on YouTube, but if you don’t have the right tools for the job, you probably won’t be able to master them. The best and most precise application tips and tricks require the best makeup brushes. 

At RMS Beauty, we help you create the looks you love, from skincare to color cosmetic application. Here, we show you the brushes you need in your makeup bag and which ones can even do double duty. 

What Are the Different Types of Makeup Brushes?

There are many different types of makeup brushes, but unless you’re working for a theater company, there are some you simply won’t need. Here, we’ll cover brushes that every savvy person needs to perfect their look.

Foundation Brush

These brushes are used to apply foundation, which is pretty obvious by the name. Flat foundation brushes work well for full coverage application, while larger, rounder brushes provide a bit less coverage but more of a true skin look. 

You can use a foundation brush no matter what foundation you use. For liquid foundation and cream foundation, an angled brush with high-quality synthetic fibers will help disburse your product evenly over your skin without leaving streaks. 

Powder foundations work well with densely bristled brushes, allowing you to apply powder foundation in circular motions to avoid powder streaks. 

Stippling brushes are foundation brushes with a double layer of bristles, helping press the product into your skin. 

Double Duty

A high-end face brush can double for bronzer, highlighter, or blush in a pinch. You’ll just need to ensure that the brush is clean and that you recognize that the brush head is wider and larger.

Powder Brush

Ever try to apply loose powder with a flat angled brush? You’ll end up with streaks of powder all across your face. Instead, choose a large brush with bristles that aren’t as dense, so the powder can be applied evenly. 

Powder brushes work for both loose powder and pressed powder. When using a powder brush with a pressed powder, you’ll tap the brush directly into the pressed powder and apply to your skin. With loose powder, gently tap a small portion of powder on the back of your hand to avoid getting bacteria from your skin into the powder product. 

Double Duty

Look beyond your translucent powder. You can use a powder brush for luminizer or highlighter on your skin. 

Blush Brush

Think of a blush brush as a junior powder brush. It will be shaped similarly, have roughly the same density, but be slightly smaller for more precise application. 

The exception? Cream blush brushes. These will be slightly denser and have a more textured head to help press cream blushes into your skin and distribute color more evenly across the apples of your cheeks. 

Two to try: 

  • RMS Beauty Skin2Skin Blush Brush. Perfect for cream-based products, this brush helps apply blush to the skin instead of having it sit atop the face. It can also double as a bronzer brush. 
  • RMS Beauty Skin2Skin Powder Blush Brush. Able to pick up just the right amount of powder, this brush helps you expertly apply your powdered blush with extremely soft bristles for an airbrushed effect.

Concealer Brush

These flat brushes are usually small and angled and can get concealer into areas like the inner corners of your eyes and around the edges of your nose. They’re also great for hiding blemishes and work well with liquid and powder concealer. 

The bristles on a concealer brush are usually very stiff, almost like a paintbrush. This is so that the concealer product you use doesn’t spread out on your skin when you apply it. You’ll apply concealer with a stippling effect to press it into your skin. 

Eyeliner Brush

You won’t need an eyeliner brush for a pencil liner; most of the time, they aren’t necessary with a liquid liner. However, for gel eyeliners and for applying perfect cat eye corners, an eyeliner brush is key. 

These brushes are short, dense, and firm. Liner brushes easily pick up pigment and smooth it along the edges of your lash line with precision. 

Lip Brush 

Most at-home users don’t need a lip brush. You can simply apply your lipstick directly from the tube or container. However, if you are a professional working with clients, lip brushes allow you to use one lip product on multiple clients. 

Using a lip brush might also be important if you have trouble defining your lips and don’t use a lip liner. A liner brush can ensure your lip product doesn’t stray outside of the edges. 

Contour Brush

Contouring is a technique that makeup artists use to define cheekbones and add structure to your face. This could include elongating your nose, lifting your cheekbones, or adding dimension to your skin. 

Contour brushes are usually similar to blush brushes but have denser bristles and are usually a bit more angled. 

Eye Brushes

We could write an entire blog post on the many different types of eye brushes. After all, you can’t get the perfect smokey eye with the stubby foam applicator that came with your eyeshadow palette. Here’s a look at three eyeshadow brushes you need in your arsenal.

Basic shadow brush. A short, stubby brush that may or may not be angled, this brush has softer bristles than a concealer brush and less structure, allowing you to sweep on eye makeup and easily blend it. These are sometimes referred to as tapered brushes or angled brushes because they have an angled edge that makes it easier to apply shadow to the outer edges of your eyes.

Crease brush. Crease brushes are like miniature versions of blush brushes. They have longer bristles than shadow brushes, a slightly elongated end, and very soft bristles. They help you achieve the perfect eyeshadow crease and also help you blend shadow over your entire lid. As such, they’re sometimes called blending brushes. 

These work especially well with cream-based eye polishes and shadows.

Pencil brush. A pencil brush has an incredibly small tip that allows for precise application. You can use these brushes for eye looks with smokey eyeliner or a defined crease. 


You’d be hard-pressed to find a mascara product that didn’t come with a wand and spoolie, but have you ever considered that you aren’t limited to the spoolie your mascara comes with? If you find a spoolie that helps separate and define your lashes but hate the mascara you found it in, take out the wand and spoolie, clean it with mild soap and water, and use it in your favorite mascara. 

Eyebrow Brush

Brow powder gets an even sweep with a brow brush. The dense, semi-rigid bristles help sweep powder through your brows to your brow bone. RMS Beauty’s Back2Brow Brush has a dual end, featuring a spoolie that helps further diffuse color into your brows and create better definition.

Fan Brush 

Fan brushes are flat brushes that have bristles that are fanned out. These are perfect for adding delicate hints of powdered and cream-based products with minimal coverage. 

Fan brushes are typically used last to put a finishing touch (a sweep of luminizer, a bit more bronzer) on your makeup look.

Highlighter Brush

The opposite of a concealer brush, a highlighter brush helps you draw attention and add light-reflective pigments to certain areas of your skin. Corners of your eyes, cupid’s bow, bridge of the nose, etc. 

Kabuki Brush

Traditional Japanese kabuki brushes date back to Japanese theaters, where kabuki actors who sang and danced used them to create elaborate makeup looks for the stage. 

A versatile, fluffy brush, these usually have a short handle and dense, wide brush head perfect for delivering powdered makeup to the face and body in large, sweeping motions. 

While they are traditionally round at the top, you can now find kabuki brushes that have a flat top, or even angled or dome-shaped tops. They’re great loose powder brushes and can easily diffuse body powder over areas like your shoulders or decollete.

Beauty Blender

Although it’s not technically a brush, the beauty sponge still makes our list of best makeup brushes. A makeup sponge has a dome shape and is usually made of antimicrobial foam that allows for a wet application of your favorite products. 

From foundation to concealer and even cream-based blushes, a beauty blender is a tool you definitely want in your makeup brush set. 

Shopping for Cruelty-Free

According to PETA, animal hair brushes are never cruelty-free. That’s why it’s important to always look for high-end synthetic bristles in your makeup brushes. No animal hair will make soft bristles that can’t be made from synthetic material. 

Makeup application does better with synthetic bristles because they’re longer lasting and easier to clean. 

RMS Beauty — Your Brushes Are in the Bag

At RMS Beauty, we deliver the best cruelty-free, high-end synthetic makeup brushes available to help you achieve the looks you love. Makeup application is easy when you have the right tools for the job. Whether you need to smudge, conceal, brush, or sweep, we’ve got the solution to help you do it with finesse. 


Kabuki | History, Meaning, Costumes, & Facts | Britannica

Is There a Squirrel in Your Makeup Bag? | PETA

7 Makeup Tips To Accentuate Or Soften Your Cupid's Bow | mindbodygreen

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