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Brushes, Sponges, or Puffs?
Choosing a Makeup Applicator

Do you know which type of makeup applicator is best for the makeup you use? Our guide explains the difference between using brushes, sponges, puffs, and even your fingers to apply makeup so you can be sure to get the best tools for the job!

Brush Types

Foundation Brush
Foundation Brush: A flat brush with tightly packed bristles and a tapered tip, allowing you to blend foundation easily into the skin. It is designed for cream or liquid foundations (powder foundations should be applied with a powder brush).

Powder Brush
Powder Brush: A large, rounded brush with soft, loose bristles for spreading foundation, pressed powder, and setting powder evenly across the face without caking. A kabuki brush is a type of powder brush that is even larger, allowing you to quickly and evenly blend powders across large areas of the face or body.

Stippling Brush
Stippling Brush: A brush with bristles of varying lengths, creating a feathery brush head that can sweep light, natural amounts of product onto the face for an airbrushed look. This type of brush is good for products where you want only a sheer amount of coverage.

Concealer Brush
Concealer Brush: A soft, flat brush with a narrow tip for applying spot correction precisely over blemishes or to areas like underneath the eyes. Concealer should be applied by patting gently onto the skin, not sweeping the brush as with other products.

·         Concealer Brush: A soft, flat brush with a narrow tip for applying spot correction precisely over blemishes or to areas like underneath the eyes. Concealer should be applied by patting gently onto the skin, not sweeping the brush as with other products.

Blush Brush
Blush/Bronzer Brush: A fluffy, domed brush that is like a smaller, more concentrated powder brush. It’s good for building natural sweeps of color over foundation, like blush or bronzer.

Contour Brush
Contour Brush: Used similarly to a blush brush, this brush has denser bristles and is angled so that it can target contouring areas like the cheekbones, nose, and jawline. 

Fan Brush
Fan Brush: The ultralight bristles of this brush are spread out into a thin, flat fan shape to help the brush pick up and dust on a minimal amount of product. This type of product is good for sweeping just a hint of highlighter on, or lifting away extra powder from the skin.

Eye Shadow Brush: A wide, flat brush that allows maximum pickup of eyeshadow product and can be swept easily across the entire eyelid.

·         Eye Shadow brush: A large, flat brush that allows maximum pickup of eyeshadow products and can be swept easily across the entire eyelid.

Crease Brush
Crease Brush: A narrow brush with slightly angled bristles for easy application into the crease area above the eyelid.

Blending Brush
Blending Brush: A brush with a narrower shape and more flexible bristles than the eye shadow brush, making it good for blending colors together on the lid and softening harsh lines between the shadow and crease.

Eyeliner Brush
Eyeliner Brush: An extremely thin, flexible brush with a tapered point perfect for creating precise lines and wings with liquid eyeliner.

Smudge Brush
Smudge Brush: A thin brush with firmer bristles that are helpful for creating areas of intense color on the eyelid, such as with a smoky eye, or smudging out eyeliner for a less defined line.

Angled Liner Brush
Angled Liner/Brow Brush: A narrow brush with stiff, angled bristles good for gel and powder eye liners, as well as filling and shaping brows.

Spoolie
Spoolie: A brush with short, stiff fibers that spiral around the wand, used for separating and lifting the lashes with mascara products, as well as for applying brow products.

Brow Groomer
Brow Groomer: A small, double-sided comb that can be used to groom brows and brush in brow products.

·         Brow groomer: A small, double-sided comb that can be used to groom brows and brush in brow products.

Lip Brush
Lip Brush: A thin, flexible brush tapered to a point that allows for precise application of both lip liners and colors, and can aid in layering buildable color on the lips.