If you’ve ever watched a professional makeup artist in action, you’ve probably noticed that she uses several styles of brushes to create an artistic look when she expertly applies cosmetics to her subject. You can use the same type of brushes to step up your look when applying your makeup at home. Before you can use makeup brushes effectively, however, it’s crucial that you understand the purpose of each brush.

Powder Brush

The powder brush has a long handle and a full head of fluffy bristles. It’s rounded shape allows you to apply powder foundation with a smooth look when you use a circular motion or a light layer of translucent powder to set your makeup. You can also employ a powder brush to apply powder blush to create a natural effect.

Kabuki Brush

The kabuki brush has a short, stubby handle and a thick, abundant concentration of bristles whose tips create a rounded shape. Kabuki brushes are available in retractable versions also. You can use the kabuki brush in the same way you use a powder brush, to apply blush, bronzer and foundation or to add a light coating of translucent powder. A kabuki brush allows you to cover large areas quickly. It’s small size allows you to store it easily in a small makeup bag for use on the go.

Concealer Brush

The concealer brush has a skinny handle and compact head made of short bristles with tapered edges that let you apply concealer to a targeted area such as under the eyes. You can also cover blemishes or even out skin tone with this brush whose bristles are arranged in a flat concentration with a slightly rounded tip.

Blush Brush

When it’s time to give your cheeks an appealing glow, pick up a blush brush to add color to your face. With a head that’s smaller than a powder brush, blush brushes often have an angled edge that allow you to apply blush in a light, even manner and avoid streaks, lines and unsightly concentrations of heavy color.

Eyeshadow Brush

The eyeshadow brush, as you might expect, is one of the smaller brushes you’ll use. With a flat edge, firm bristles and short, skinny handle, the eyeshadow brush allows you to apply cream or powder eyeshadow to your lids and brow with precision. Choose an angled version for applying thin lines in the creases or on your lower lid.

Eyeliner Brush

The eyeliner brush has a small, thin tip whose bristles end in a pointed tip designed to allow you to create the thinnest line possible. By applying more pressure to the brush, you can create a thicker line as well. Eyeliner brushes can be used with powder, liquid or cream eyeliner for a precision look. Some brushes come with an angled tip to give you even more control.

Eyebrow Brush

An eyebrow brush allows you to smooth your brows into a well-manicured look. Often equipped with a comb on one side and a brush on the other, you can use the implement that works best for you. The comb portion of the brush can be used to lift and separate lashes that tend to stick together.

Lip Brush

Lip brushes have short, firm bristles that allow you to apply lip color in a stick or pot form. The even edge of the bristles lets you control how much color goes on your lips and its placement. Whether you choose to use one color all over or line your lips with a different shade, the lip brush will enable you to create the look you choose.

When it comes to makeup brushes, the choices in brands and styles are practically limitless. Experiment with several brushes of each style to find which work best for you. The more you practice applying your makeup with brushes, the better you’ll become at using these indispensable implements.