by Katrina VanDoran
A good quality makeup brush will make your face look smooth and well-contoured. This is a must for any avid makeup wearer or makeup artist. Scratchy, low-quality makeup brushes not only work poorly, but can also scratch your face and cause other skin irritation. With the cruelty-free movement in beauty taking over skin care and makeup, it's only natural that your beauty tools would follow suit. Here are our favorite cruelty-free makeup brushes for sweeping on smoky eyes, dabbing on concealer, sculpting your contouring, and everything in between. They're just as good as the real thing but better because no animals were harmed in the process of making them.
Bren New York's lush, plush made of goat hair*, large Powder Brush swirls just the right amount of pressed or loose powder onto the face and body for the perfect finishing touch -- quickly, easily, and evenly. Its soft, flexible bristles also make it the ultimate tool for applying a subtle wash of blush and bronzer to create a seamless, natural, soft-focus look.
Natural Hair Bristles
Natural hair bristles are sourced from animals — commonly goats and horses. We encourage consumers to look for companies that are environmentally friendly and obtain the hairs in a cruelty-free manner. Goat* is the least expensive natural bristle used in making brushes. It is often used for blush and bronzer. Some treated goat bristles can be used for creme, liquid and foundation. They will not absorb all the liquid, making them a great tool.
The perks of natural hair brushes include the following:
• They’re softer on the skin.
• They absorb oil from the skin.
• They contain a cuticle that’s perfect for picking up powder products.
• They distribute pigment evenly across the face.
• They blend makeup smoothly on the skin.
Synthetic bristles are made of microfiber materials like nylon and polyester.
• The bristles hold tightly together to help create a sharp, clean, streak-free line in one swipe.
• Their lack of a cuticle means they don’t soak up and waste liquid and cream products.
• They are perfect for basic eyeshadow brushes.
• They make great foundation and concealer brushes.
The Kabuki Brush
When shopping for makeup brushes, you may come across the term “kabuki brush.” This simply means that the bristles in these brushes are very densely packed together. They may contain natural or synthetic bristles.
• Today’s kabuki brushes are most commonly used for foundation and powder application. When used correctly, the dense, soft bristles have the capacity to create an “airbrushed” look on the skin. Bren New York’s Kabuki brush is made of goat hair. It is also an ideal brush for applying mineral makeup.
Makeup application tips
• To use an eye blending brush, move in short circular motions at the outer corner of the eye and in windshield wiper motions within the crease. These techniques help distribute color evenly and blend colors together.
• A basic eyeshadow brush with synthetic bristles is great for packing shadow onto the lid and creating a cut-crease. If you aren’t getting the pigment payout you want, especially with shimmer or metallic shades, try adding a little bit of water to the brush first.
• When using a kabuki brush, always apply liquid makeup in a circular motion for the most even application.
Brush cleaning steps
To clean a makeup brush, first rinse it with lukewarm water until the loose makeup is gone. Mix a gentle cleanser (like a baby shampoo) with water in a shallow bowl and swirl the brush in a circle. You can swirl the brush in your hand, too, if you want a better lather, but try to shield the base of the bristles (where they connect to the handle) from direct contact with the water and soap as much as possible to protect the integrity of the glue. Rinse the brush under the faucet once again. Repeat this process until you get a satisfying clean. Reshape the bristles as you dry them with a cloth.
As with anything that you do in life, using the right tools to apply makeup will make your job much easier.