Natural vs. Synthetic Bristles
Before we get into brush designs, let's start with the basics.
- Natural brushes are made up of animal hair. They are very durable and get better the more you use them (as long as they are cared for properly). Natural brushes are meant to be used with powder products and not creme or wet products. You don't use this type of brush with creme products because the natural bristles will soak up the product and not transfer it on your skin. The texture of natural brushes creates a better application for all your powder products.
- Synthetic brushes consist of manmade bristles; mostly nylon, but sometimes other synthetic fibers are used. Since synthetic bristles don't have a cuticle, like natural bristles, they don't soak up creme products. Synthetic brushes are perfect for applying creme foundation, blushes, bronzers, and shadows. Synthetic bristles like to stick together instead of spread apart like natural bristles, so they are perfect for a precise application.
Kabuki vs. Flat Foundation Brushes
- The kabuki brush (or flat top brush like Mary Kay's Mineral Foundation Brush) is very popular for applying foundation. Its dense bristles are able to push the foundation into the skin, camouflaging deep pores and fine lines. You want to use this brush in circular motions across the skin to create an airbrushed effect. Depending on the bristles (natural or synthetic), kabuki brushes can be used with any type of foundation.
- A flat foundation brush, like Mary Kay's Liquid Foundation Brush, are great for liquid applications. Unlike the kabuki brush that can be used for creme, liquid, and powder foundations; flat foundations brushes really only work with liquid products. The bristles work with the contours of the face to provide a precise and smooth application. Most flat foundation brushes are made from synthetic bristles, so they won't spread out when wet.
Washing Your Foundation Brushes
For everyday cleaning, a spray brush cleaner will help you keep products from building up on your brushes until you wash them. A lot of experts recommend you to wash your brushes once a week with baby shampoo, or my favorite - olive oil and dish soap. The olive oil conditions your bristles and keeps your brushes super soft. The dish soap breaks down any product build up.
When washing your brushes, you always want to hold your brushes at a downward angle so the water isn't going into the area where the bristles meet the handle. I know there is a word for that part of the brush, I just can't remember. Water can deactivate the glue that holds the bristles to the brush and it will start to shed. When drying your brushes, you want the brush head pointed in a downward angle too. I just roll up a towel and place it on the edge of my sink and lay my brushes on it with the brush head pointed toward the sink.
I'm really excited for this series and next week we will be covering cheek and finishing brushes. I'm saving eye brushes for last because there is a lot to cover there. Have a great weekend and come back next week for the next installment of the All About Makeup Brushes series!