MUA Essentials: A Guide on Makeup Brushes

A makeup artists brushes are the equivalent to a carpenter’s tools. They are essential in the building and creating of whatever we are working on, but all too often so many artists aren’t using the correct brush or using their brushes incorrectly. Think about it, you wouldn’t use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail? 

By Rachel

I used to work as a visiting lecturer at a makeup school in London. The students were given a brush set when they started, but way too often I noticed there were a lot of brushes unused. It was because they were either scared of using certain ones or weren’t exactly sure what each one was used for. So I would spend the day going over all the brushes step by step as all the brushes are in the set for a reason.

Makeup brushes come in various sizes, shapes and hair qualities as they all work differently on the skin but also apply different textures of makeup with different “payoffs.”

For example- if you have a pot of shimmery eyeshadow pigment and you want a sheer veil or “wash of light shimmer on the lid,” then a fluffy brush applied on the lid will dust the color and give you the finish you desire. But if you are looking for a stronger more dense amount of color that’s high in color and shine then a stiff brush is a better choice as it will paint on the color in a denser fashion.

As a makeup artist, it’s a great idea to push yourself and practice. Using various textures of makeup from powder to creams to test out, and see what works best for you will only help serve you in your craft.

There are so many wonderful new and interesting brands of brushes on the market now to help you in this journey. Here are some of my favorites:

Real Techniques by Pixiwoo -Created by Youtube sensations Nic and Sam Chapman. Besides being cost friendly on your wallet, these brushes can help even the most novice of makeup artist create stunning looks. The new “bold metal collection” of brushes are amazingly good and awesomely shaped, especially the triangle foundation brush.



Artis Brush – Elite Mirror Brush Sets- if blending is an issue for you, then this brush set is a must-have for your kit. They have a thick grip pad handle and oval soft bristle heads that smooth away edges to create flawless finish skin or a perfect smokey eye. Your clients will love you for having these in your kit as they feel baby soft on application.




Charlotte Tilbury – created by the it lady of the celebrity makeup scene. Charlotte created her brushes with the makeup artist in mind. The brush handles have flat sides so they don’t roll off the table- pure genious! The blusher brush in this collection blends bronzer beautifully.



Some other brands I suggest to check out in the brush department are Makeup Forever, OCC cosmetics, Trish MacAvoy, Laura Mercier, Shu Uemera and of course MAC.

Make sure you keep your brushes hygienic and wash thoroughly after your jobs. If doing multiple faces on set, a brush cleaner that dries on the bristles instantly after use is worth having in your kit.

Melissa Rodwelltodo, author