STYLE
10/31/2013 09:34 am ET

The 5 Makeup Brushes You Should Own & How To Use Them

There are probably more makeup brushes than you can count just lying around your bathroom. But it's likely that you stick to the same two or three to put on your foundation, eyeshadow and blush (no judging here). We often spend lots of money on fancy makeup brush collections that end up collecting dust all because we sometimes prefer to get things done with our hands.

To help us all figure out which makeup brushes we simply can't live without, Make Up For Ever Pro & Media Educator Lijha Stewart gave us a crash course on how to use them and keep them in mint condition.

1. Traditional foundation brush: A large-sized brush that is flat and firm.

makeup brush

Make Up For Ever #108 Large Foundation Brush, Sephora.com

"When most women use foundation brushes, they tend to drag it against their face in long strokes and this creates that streaky look. Then they get frustrated after paying for this brush and it goes straight to the makeup graveyard," says Stewart. Instead, you should use a foundation brush with stippling or tapping motions to create a more even and natural-looking finish.

2. Powder/blush brush: A medium-sized brush that isn't too large and preferably designed for dual use.

makeup brush

Sonia Kashuk #101 Blusher Brush, Target.com

Take the belly or flat side of this brush and apply your powder, bronzer or blush, and use the tip to place product into the crease of the eye. Talk about double-duty beauty!

3. Small round brush: A dome-shaped brush that makes blending easy.
makeup brush

Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow Brush, Nordstrom.com

This type of brush is perfect to paint into the creases and to define the shape of your eyes. Be sure to start with very little shadow and build your way up to your desired finish.

4. An angled brush: A slanted-shaped brush that offers maximum control.
makeup brush

e.l.f. Studio Small Angled Brush, Walgreens.com

The fine tip of an angled brush works well with eyeliners and brow powders. The bristles must be firm enough to hold the product, yet fine enough to prevent heaviness.

5. A fluffy brush: A brush that can be used on the entire face, yet small enough to add softness to the eyelids.
makeup brush

MAC Cosmetics 227 Large Fluff Brush, MACCosmetics.com

For a subtle, smokey eye, use a fluff brush like this one with a soft, rounded tip. It also works wonders for lifting excess product from the skin.

Other major makeup brush takeaways:

Even though makeup brushes made from animal hair will be cleaned, they may still be left with a bit of pet dander, and most people are allergic or have sensitive reactions to it. So understand what types of fibers you're using -- whether synthetic, pony or taklon -- because even the most expensive and well-treated makeup brush can still feel itchy.

Caring for your brushes is very important for upkeep, according to Stewart. You can use an alcohol-free brush cleaner like Make Up For Ever Travel Instant to remove product build-up within minutes. But you can also use a gentle bar soap and cold water. She adds, "Don't get the barrel part of your makeup brushes wet, as this will loosen the adhesive and cause the fibers to fall out."

Reduce the cosmetics clutter in your space:

PHOTO GALLERIES
Magnetic Makeup Boards

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