Decode make-up brushes

Thursday, 10 August 2017

As the saying goes, “you’re only as good as your tools”. That totally counts for creating a flawless beauty look too; you’re only as good as your brushes. The ones you choose to use will have a big influence on whether you look perfectly polished or perpetually polyfilla’d. A good quality brush can help to create the most natural look possible, which is why sometimes it’s worth spending a bit more. Why? Because brushes need to withstand the constant cleaning, ideally with minimal shedding. But let’s go back to basics. If you’re still not sure which brush gets used where you will be after this!

Powder brush

The bristles on a powder brush are soft and lightly packed which allows the brush to perfectly blend powder, or dust on bronzer, highlighter or blush for a flawless finish.

We love: Mii Powder Perfection Finishing Brush, R550

Angled face brush

An angled brush is similar to a powder brush, however, the bristles are packed slightly tighter and the brush is curved at the tip. An angled brush allows for perfect precision when applying blusher or bronzer.

We love: UBU Berry Blush Angled Blusher Brush, R94,95

Kabuki brush

The Kabuki looks fairly similar to a blusher brush… if you saw off three-quarters of the handle. This short, stubby brush is designed to give you more control over your application and it’s ideal for applying mineral foundation. Grip the short handle like you would grip a pen, dip it in your product, and apply your powder foundation in circular motions. If you’re very low-maintenance, it can also be used to apply highlighter, bronzer or blusher in their powder forms. Just make sure to clean it between uses to avoid disaster.

We love: The Body Shop Kabuki Brush, R225

Flat foundation brush

A flat foundation brush blends foundation perfectly and the slim brush top allows for more reach than using a finger. When using a flat foundation brush, it is essential to blend the foundation thoroughly to prevent streaks.

We love: MAC 190SH Foundation Brush, R450

Stippling brush

The trade secret for airbrushed results using liquid or cream finishing products. The two bristle types and lengths distribute the product for a feathery finish.

We love: Real Techniques Stippling Brush, R147,65

Concealer brush

A concealer brush is a necessity in any make-up kit as it allows for perfect blending when concealing spots and small imperfections. A concealer brush is also ideal for concealing dark circles underneath the eye where the skin is more delicate.

We love: Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection Triangle Concealer, R399,95

Lip brush

Often over looked, a lip brush is a must-have for anyone who loves wearing lipstick. The shape and size of the brush provide a precise and smooth lipstick application every time.

We love: Barbara Hofman Lip Retractable Brush, R135

Flat eyeshadow brush

A flat eyeshadow brush is densely packed allowing you to control how much shadow you use and how concentrated the colour is.

We love: essence Eye Shadow Brush, R29,95

Smudge/Crease brush

Once eyeshadow has been applied with the flat eyeshadow brush, a blending brush is used to blend the shadow for a flawless finish. The bristles are loosely packed and soft to allow for smooth blending. A must-have for the perfect smokey eye.

We love: smashbox Crease Brush, R390

Liquid liner brush

The liquid liner brush is thin and long and is used to apply liquid gel eyeliner. This brush is the perfect tool for creating the iconic “cat eye” liner.

We love: Lancôme Dual Smudger and Liner 24, R230

Angled Brow Brush

An angled brow brush is a multi-purpose tool as it can either be used to fill in one’s brows with powder or create a tight line of eyeshadow along the lash line. The angle of the brush makes it easier to manoeuvre.

We love: GOSH Eye Shadow Brush Slanted 027, R125

Brow brush and comb

The brow brush is used to keep brows in place and ensure that they are well groomed. Once the brows have been filled in, brush them with the brow brush to ensure they stay in place. A brow brush usually comes with an eyelash brush as well. Spend a little more and you’ll get one with a spoolie too.

We love: Urban Decay Essential Eye Tool, R250

Other articles you may be interested in:

Strobing VS Contouring

Determine your skin undertone

How to wear matte lipstick

5 eyeshadow palettes we love




Want to write a comment? Sign in here sign up now
Tell your friends
  1. Lisa Yulo Ndyulo

    Absolutely love make up brushes I am an addict when it comes to buying them.
    I just wanted to add to this, good quality and branded brushes obviously will cost a fortune especially if one buys one brush at a time (i mean they are expensive LoL) but one can definitely find great brushes with great quality, that last long and don’t shed outside the branded market …

    i really love this post – its very informative well written <3 !

    1 year ago •

  1. Joey Sheik

    Love this! One of my favourite things to collect :)

    1 year ago •

  1. Lenique August

    I love make up brushes. My favorite is the Flat foundation brush and Kabuki brush.

    1 year ago •

  1. Fayyaadhah Bux

    A brush for every part off your face .

    1 year ago •

  1. Humaira Motala

    One can simply never have enough of makeup brushes. These are the magic wands for perfect application of makeup ❤️

    1 year ago •

  1. Christina Somduth

    This is perfect, bought a set of brushes and didn’t know what some of them were used for.

    1 year ago •

  1. Nadia Botha

    I was looking for this. I’m an absolute idiot when it comes to which brush to use where :-). Cant wait to use the article to help me in my journey to apply make-up flawlessly.

    1 year ago •

  1. Ayanda Maleka

    BRUSHES! My fav!I believe that the perfect makeup is executed with good quality brushes! Kabuki brushes are an absolute must for me when not using beauty blenders for my foundation. I used to love the flat foundation brush but found that it tends to be a little bit streaky with the application. Eye brushes are a splurge for me and im extremely picky when it comes to them. Number 7 actually looked like a liquid liner brush but its actually a retractable lip brush wow. There are no rules with makeup really so i think it would work either way ;-)

    1 year ago •


    My favorite is the Kabuki brush. Blends my bronzer and blush effortlessly

    1 year ago •

  1. Kim De Jager

    So informative.. i definitely need to update my make up bag (^^,)

    1 year ago •

  1. Jeandre Prinsloo

    I absolutely love brushes. Each and everyone I use and I can’t go without any of them. They make your make-up flawless and enhances your beauty even more.

    1 year ago •

  1. Louiseanne

    Love a contour brush – it works miracles!

    2 years ago •

  1. Salmaa Moosa

    Stippling brush is a favourite of mine! Applies foundation effortlessly!!

    2 years ago •

  1. Zubeidah Tasriet

    Oh, thank you, thank you for this article! Half the time I see makeup brushes in store and just stand there and wonder.

    2 years ago •

BeautySouthAfrica - your pre-shop stop for all things beauty is South Africa’s most comprehensive online beauty magazine and your pre-shop stop for product information and reviews. From the latest international make-up trends to the hottest new products on the market, we offer insights into the glamorous world of beauty. Join like-minded beauty fanatics in our loyalty program and earn points, trial beauty products and share your experiences.

Become a beauty addict!

Get great deals and climb the ladder to a Gold Star!


Sign In