Make Up Brush Guide

I always get asked questions on makeup brushes. I mean there are so many different types out there, I don’t blame you for not knowing which is for what, even I haven’t discovered all the uses for them just yet but they come in a range of shapes, sizes and materials either synthetic or natural.

So where do you start from..
I have split this into two parts.  From which material to choose and general  overview as part 1 , and the different shapes and its common uses in part 2…



So ill start with which to choose, Synthetic Vs Natural brushes.

Now keep in mind this is purely my opinion…

So synthetic brushes are those produced using taklon or polyesters and nylons to create fibres which mimic the properties of animal hair.

Natural brushes are generally made from goat, squirrels, horse, rabbit and other furry animals. Typically these animals are kept trapped and horrid conditions and inhumanely killed in order to prevent the hairs damage, often suffocated, skinned alive and electrocuted.  However some companies such as M.A.C do state that they only use the hairs that have been trimmed, shed or groomed.  But I wouldn’t count on that personally. How can they be produced on such a mass scale, especially the country that they are produced in just rings alarm bells to be honest.  Maybe I am biased without all facts but I’d rather not take the risk.

There are so many good quality affordable synthetic ones out there that do the trick just fine such as ELF brushes, I don’t feel the need to buy natural ones regardless of how I feel about animal cruelty.


Some MUA do use natural brushes as they hold and pick up more product such as powders which leaves a flawless result. But this can be its own downfall.  This also means they retain more than necessary product hence more is wasted and would require much more care and cleaning regime, as they will harbour bacteria and trap skin cells, chemicals and absorb these and take longer to dry when washed as they retain water.

Synthetic brushes are more hygienic and much easier to clean and quicker to dry as the water is simply on the surface (I will do a DIY how to clean your brushes soon, so keep an eye out..)

Furthermore taklon the material which many synthetic brushes are made from have anti-bacterial properties.
And the quality of products on the market nowadays, you don’t actually require heavy application of makeup therefore synthetic does the job.

Another drawback of natural brushes is that they don’t last as long. The natural bristles are more likely fall and lose its soft texture and lose shape.

Also those people with animal allergies or sensitive skin, especially if you have clients, you cannot guarantee which animal hairs are used in which brush.  The last thing I want is a bridal client to occur in a rash on her big day!

Cost wise generally natural brushes are more expensive but synthetic ones can also be similarly priced. These vary from brand to brand.


To be honest choosing your brushes does come down to your own personnel ethics. I cannot tell you right from wrong but the above is purely my opinion on why I choose synthetic brushes over the natural ones.
So now for some general tips and information…

Cleaning your brushes is vital! As mentioned above they will harbour dirt and bacteria and you need to clean these at least once a week. And if your a MUA with clients make sure they are cleaned in between every client!
To wash them all you need is a simple antibacterial handwash and luke warm water to really lift off all that grime and excess product.  If you have chosen to buy natural brushes you can add a few drops of olive oil, this will bring back the natural oils back into the brushes.  Rinse thoroughly!
Never soak your brushes in water as it will damage the bristle and soften the glue causing the bristles to shed. Rinse them.




Also let them air dry. As intense heat or blow drying will damage them.
Never let them dry with the bristles facing up, as the water will only run down and loosen the glue holding the brushes together. I just place them on a dry tissue or towel or u can hang them facing down. But that’s just too much effort.  As you must know by now, Im a little lazy 😉


I would highlight that under no circumstance do I choose to buy natural brushes purely due to the reason of the animal cruelty that goes behind making these brushes BUT I do not have a huge knowledge into brands or companies that test on animals neither am I highly knowledgeable on this subject.

I am regrettably sure my make up kit must have products which are produced by companies which test on animals. Even shampoo’s soaps and common everyday products are unfortunately tested on animals.
I personally am not the activist or tree hugger sort but I do feel where we can help we should or at least as consumers not encourage the production of these.
And I will look further into brands and products which are cruelty free and I understand if youre in my position and don’t know much information as these companies are very good at the way the market themselves.  They claim to be animal friendly but their parent companies do test.  I mean if they don’t say anything with regards to animal testing, do we assume that they do?!

Generally companies fall under three categories.
Those who strictly state they are 100 percent cruelty free and can show good relations with their sources with associated animal welfare practices. Such as ELF and bodyography… But majority of these brands are unknown..

Those who have vague policies and consider or claim to be cruelty free but don’t state any further information with regards to their sources or suppliers, and don’t seem to fully answer or give further information. Eg MAC cosmetics? Could possibly question urban decay which are vegan and cruelty free but owned by L’Oreal its parent company which is not? …. another such example is body shop?

and those which state no policy, where in which you can confirm that the fur source is directly from the fur industry and the animals are most likely to be killed and bred for their fur. Such as L’Oreal, Estee lauder, Clairol amongst others and generally these are the large parent companies of many common household brands.  

I found that comparing the companies that do and those that dont with each other, the ones that dont 99 percent of them i’ve never heard of in my life! Shocking! 

Be sure to check out my part 2 (which will be up shortly), where I will go in depth on which brushes to use for what…

Also check out the PETA website and cruelty-free-international website for more information on animal testing and welfare with regards to beauty products.

So if you do wish to read more, do click on the links and have a read.
And if you have any info that would help me and readers greatly do share and opinions of course…

MaenaS  x

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