Make-up brushes: natural or synthetic?

Make-up brushes are a must have in any girl’s life: whether on your vanity or in your purse, you got to have the right brushes. They make an incredible difference on your make-up application. Using the wrong brushes is almost like writing without a pen..it does not work!

But which would be the right brushes for you?

I believe you have to take several factors into consideration, such as absorbance, cleaning, the type of make-up that you use and even a certain morality fact. Not everyone will feel comfortable using natural bristled brushes, since they are made of natural animal hair (usually sable, squirrel, pony goat and badger). You have also to be attentive for signs of allergy (some people are allergic to certain types of animal hair).

Some of the differences that you might want to know before choosing your brushes: the synthetic brushes, in my experience, are a little bit stiffer than the natural ones (usually made of nylon or polyester/taklon), while the natural ones are very soft.

The synthetic are much less expensive, since they are man made and produced in mass. The natural bristled brushes though have a really long life. So, you definitely have to take the investment into consideration.

In my experience, natural bristled brushes are excellent for powder based beauty products while the synthetics are great for the liquid/creamy ones.

Once you weigh the facts and decide if you are going natural or synthetic, it is time to decide which brushes are essential to you.

There are a ton of different brushes waiting to have a place on your vanity, but being realistic, unless if you are a make-up artist, you do not want or need ALL of them…

Here is what I have on my vanity ( I carry a mini version in my bag):

1- Foundation brush
2- Blush/bronzer brush
3- Shadow brush
4- Small eye shadow brush
5- Ultra fine eyeliner brush
6- Lip brush

These are the ones that I believe help me to be always ready, to feel always camera ready! But keep in mind that I am a kind of “light natural make-up” gal.

If you like a more elaborate, heavier make-up, you could add a concealer brush, an angled eye shadow brush, angled brown blush, a blending brush and whatever other brush you judge necessary. The important thing is that you know what each one of the brushes can do for your make-up, giving you that perfect glowing face.

Here is some info on your basic brushes:
1- Foundation (and powder)brush: usually a large brush with long bristles, some of them with rounded top, some with a flat top and even some with an angled top. The variety of styles and brands is immense, so you can also consider your personal preferences, which one works better for you ( personally I like the round top ones). Bobbi Brown, Guerlain, Dior and Chanel make fabulous foundation brushes.

Guerlain Foundation brush

2- Blush/bronzer brush: usually a medium size brush used to apply blush or bronzer on the cheeks. Again, the material (natural or synthetic) and shape may vary and you will have the chance to pick the one that feels right to you. I personally love the Laura Mercier Angled Cheek Contour brush and the Estee Lauder Blush Brush 15.

Bobbi Brown Blush Brush

3-Shadow brush – usually short soft bristled brush with long handle. Lots of options to choose one. Some that I really like are: Tom Ford Beauty Eye shadow Brush, Lancôme All Over Shadow brush # 22 and NARS Dome Eye brush.

Bare Essentials Eye brushes

4- Small eye shadow brush – usually has a square head with a very slight tapering on the corners and it is appropriate to apply color to your eyes. Depending on the effect that you want on your eyes (like a smokey eye) you might want a different eye brush, such as a stiff dome brush.

5- Ultra fine eye liner brush: unless you use eye liner that already comes with a brush, this is a must have. The perfect eye liner makes a whole difference on your final look. I love the Laura Mercier Fine Point Liner brush.

Laura Mercier Eyeliner brush
Eco Eyeliner brush

6- Lip brush – again, look for the right brush: small and narrow -the tapered edges make applying lip color to the corners of the mouth effortless. Armani Beauty Lip Brush is just perfect!

Essence of Beauty Lip brush

Some other brushes:

The powder/foundation brushes

Essence of Beauty Powder brush
Laura Geller Face brush

The eye-duo brush (nice for the smokey eye effect)

Bare Essentials duo eye brush

The angle eye brush

Angle Eye shadow brush

The concealer brush

Concealer brushes

The face brushes

The face brushes

One of my favorite sets

Guerlain Brush Set
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