Ever seen all the brushes in a makeup artist’s arsenal? Do they make that much of a difference? And what place do they have in your everyday gal’s makeup kit?

Among the pantheon of makeup brushes, there are certain ones that will make you a believer in using brushes versus applying with your fingers. These are the heavy hitters in the beauty industry you should become acquainted with.

The powder brush

Most likely to already be a part of your makeup tools lineup, the powder brush is for applying loose powder on one’s face. This is often the largest of the makeup brushes in many catalogs, with fluffy and super soft bristles. Its job is to diffuse evenly without placing too much color in any one place.

The foundation brush

For applying-liquid based or cream-based foundation. The bristles of this brush are slightly firm with a slight taper. The shape of the head is flat, and the brush provides smooth, even application of foundation. It’s not only great for foundation but also for applying cream- or liquid-based product when the coverage area is large. Morphe’s B85 - Flat Foundation is a good example of your basic foundation brush available from many cosmetics brands.

The concealer brush

Bristles are thin, tapered, and fiber-based and are sturdy to better hold and apply the beauty product. Sigma’s F79 Concealer Blend Kabuki Brush is what a hard-working, effective concealer brush should be, perfectly designed for applying color-correcting formula and precise placement of product.

The eyeshadow brush, AKA lid brush or shading brush

This one goes by many names, but its purpose is to apply an even base of color to your lid. The shape of the head is flat and the brush is slightly rounded, often made of synthetic fibers for swift and steady application of color on your lids. Next to the powder brush, you could probably pick this one out in a lineup, as many eyeshadow palettes will come with their own eyeshadow brush.

The eyeliner brush

The smaller the brush head, the more detail you’re gonna get. So when it comes time to apply a blot of color in sharp contrast, you want a brush head that can apply the right amount right where you want it. The eyeliner brush will likely have the firmest bristles of your brush collection (outside of your lip brush) and they are often angled for easy application and precise placement.  While most eyeliner brushes are capable of providing a winged look, Zoeva’s 317 Wing Liner is one of the best makeup brushes for this purpose, handling fine, finicky work, powder, liquid, or cream product with equal ease.

The smudger brush

Makeup tip of the day: Blending plays an important role in getting your eye makeup on-point, and if you aren’t spending a good amount of time blending, you are missing out. The smudger brush is for times you want to blend out those color transitions, or when you want to soften your eyeliner for a smokier look. Various brands call it different things. Zoeva calls theirs the Smudger. Sigma calls theirs an All Over Blend Brush. Product descriptions will tell you what’s what.

The brow brush

Graduated from using eyebrow pencils to using palettes for the brow? While eyebrow pencils have its place, brow colors and their handy applicators provide a softer more natural look, much of which is due to the right brow brush that can help with applying color to your arches. Take a look at Zoeva’s 322 Brow Line for an item to add to your goodie bag. 

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