How to Choose the Best Makeup Brushes

Have you ever bought an influencer-promoted makeup product and been disappointed? You see everyone raving about how incredible a foundation or bronzer is, but for some reason your application just isn’t up to par—even when following a tutorial to the tee. Countless makeup lovers have found hyped-up products only to discover it's impossible to get the same look as their favorite makeup artists. More times than not, it’s because of the brushes.

You may have the best paint in the world, but if you don’t have the right brushes to paint with, you’ll always be disappointed.

pro makeup brushes

As a fine artist himself, Scott Barnes understood that and created a whole line of pro makeup brushes that will help you achieve flawless results every time you do your makeup. But, before we jump into our top brush recommendations, let’s go over how exactly you can choose the best makeup brushes for yourself.

Natural vs. Synthetic

When looking for the perfect makeup brushes, the first thing to decide is whether you prefer natural or synthetic material.

Natural brushes are made from the natural hair of animals like squirrels, goats, horses, and badgers. As a result, many animal lovers opt for synthetic brushes as the conditions these animals are kept in can vary greatly. Some people still prefer natural brushes for the way they carry pigment and help create a softer look on your skin.

Synthetic brushes, on the other hand, are made of cruelty-free nylon or polyester. The synthetic fibers are usually treated to make them better at carrying product, and they’re a great option for makeup powders as they don’t trap or absorb pigments as natural brushes do.

Safe to say that Scott Barnes’ brushes are 100% synthetic and cruelty-free.

Synthetic brushes are also typically more affordable than natural ones and last longer as they can withstand being cleaned regularly better than brushes using animal hair.

foundation brush

Must-Have Makeup Brushes

Once you’ve decided on the right brush components, it’s time to stock up on the essentials. These seven brushes are key for any makeup lover’s basics kit, and the number of looks you can create with them is never-ending.

1. Foundation Brush

Whether you’re using liquid, cream, or powder foundation, your foundation brush will make or break your entire makeup look. It’s affecting the largest part of your face, which means lines created by a dense or stiff brush or bare patches caused by a brush that’s too soft will be super noticeable. A good foundation brush will often include both straight and wavy fibers to pick up product and blend it effortlessly into your skin.

A thoughtfully designed foundation brush can also double as the ideal brush to apply cream products such as blush and bronzer, you can even apply a veil of powder with the #68 foundation brush.

Our Pick: PRO BRUSH #68

2. Powder Brush

Applying powder is the best way to eliminate shine or oiliness after you’ve put on foundation. One of the best brushes for this is a large fluff brush, which is dome-shaped and incredibly soft, so you can lightly apply powder and cover large areas quickly.

Our Pick: PRO BRUSH #67

3. Highlighter & Blush Brush

Blush brushes are usually round and have a slight dome to apply the blush accurately while also blending it out, so you don’t end up looking like an 80s cartoon character.

Given the added precision and pressure effect when pushing into the face, this brush makes applying blush and highlighter easy and effective.

Our Pick: PRO BRUSH #64

4. Contour Brush

The best contour brushes will be flatter than they are round. This allows precise contour application without making your darker areas look harsh or unnatural. Scott Barnes’ Flawless Face brush is perfect for this as it is dense and fanned out to allow both precision and easy blending.

The #66 Powder Sheer brush gives you a softer application compared to the #65 Flawless Face brush which allows an even more precise and sharper application because of the more dense bristles.

Our Pick: PRO BRUSH #65 and PRO BRUSH #66

5. Eyeshadow Brushes

There are endless amounts of eyeshadow brushes, from the densely packed, stubby brushes used to pack products on your lid to the light, fluffy brushes designed for blending out a smokey eye or transition color.

Depending on your eyeshadow preferences, you need to choose the brushes that best serve your designs and application.

Our Picks: PRO BRUSH #61PRO BRUSH #62 and PRO BRUSH #63

6. Eyeliner Brush

An eyeliner brush is very flat and cut at an angle to help you create the ultimate winged liner. Eyeliner brushes are great for applying eyeshadow to your lash line and for moonlighting as an eyebrow brush for when you’re filling in your brows.

Our Pick: PRO BRUSH #59 is perfect for lining eyes and filling in brows.

7. Lip Brush

Lip brushes differ according to purpose. Lip liner brushes look a little like eyeliner brushes, only shorter and thicker. Brushes for applying lipstick or gloss, on the other hand, are thicker, rounder, and more feathered to make sure your application is as smooth as possible.

Our Picks:

PRO BRUSH #60 is good for lining lips and achieving clean lines.

PRO BRUSH #61 is fantastic for applying Lip Fetish like Scott, giving you a thin application and a more natural look.

Invest in the Best

There are millions of different brushes on the market, all claiming to offer perfect blending and packing abilities. The truth is, though, that high-quality brushes will cost more than dollar-store, discount-bin alternatives. Not only will high-quality brushes apply your makeup better, but they’ll also last longer and give you so much joy while using them.

So, if you’re looking to buy some new makeup brushes, consider investing in tools that will keep your makeup game on point for more than just a few months.

Travel Kits

Travel brush set

Makeup application while you’re traveling can be tricky. There’s never enough space to pack all your brushes and products, and you end up rubbing glitter on your lids with your pinky finger and hating the uneven result.

However, Scott Barnes has created a ready-to-travel brush kit and canister that promises not to take up too much suitcase space while still giving you all the tools you need for perfect makeup every time.

It comes with five full size, high-quality brushes to fulfill all your blending needs.

How to Care for Your Brushes

Makeup brush best practice is to clean your tools every week without fail. This helps prevent product buildup, breakouts from residual oil and dirt that got caught on the bristles, and for better makeup application, especially if you love bold eyeshadow looks.

You can wash your brushes with anything from specialized makeup brush cleaners to dish soap and some lukewarm water. Once the water you use to rinse them runs clean, let them air dry completely before using them again. You’ll find they don’t just last longer, but they keep your makeup looking absolutely flawless every time you use them.

If you’re looking for your next makeup brush brand, browse our collection of top-notch and beautifully crafted makeup brushes from Scott Barnes!