8 Different makeup brush shapes & How to use them

When you first take a look at an array of beauty makeup brushes in drugstores of makeup counter, you’ll wonder which brushes are best for your skin type, what kind of material they are, and which brushes to choose if you’re on budget. Knowing the brush shape and how can it be used plays vital role to take your makeup to the next level.
Learn these main 8 shapes of makeup brush bristle, and be a makeup brush masters!
For beginner & Intermediate user

Round Makeup Brush

Chikuhodo RR series brush

Can be commonly found in: Powder brush, Foundation brush, Cheek brush, Highlight brush, Blush brush
The most standard makeup brush with round edge from every angle.

The beauty of this shape is that it gives you a full control of how heavy or light you apply your makeup. It all depends on how much pressure you’d add when using the brush. Powder should be picked up evenly with the round head of bristle rather than side like brushes with other bristle shapes.

Using the round shaped brush may feel difficult for the beginner since you’d have to adjust the angle of the brush to your skin and how much pressure you are adding. but once you get used to it you can get constant, flawless result.

Kabuki Makeup Brush

Koyudo White Mushroom “Kinoko” Makeup Brush, USD 116

Can be commonly found in: Kabuki brush, mushroom brush, powder brush, bronzer brush,

Often found with a short handle, Kabuki brush has a mushroom-like shape with round end and comparably flat tip. The bristle is fully packed, dense and carries a good amount of powder. They are usually sized medium to large.

Kabuki is named after an image of the hairstyle of Kabuki actors.

Round Flat Makeup Brush

Koyudo fu-pa02 Foundation Brush with Hakusenpo goat hair: 37USD

Can be commonly found in Eyeshadow brush & powder brush

This is a type of makeup brush has flat sides and round tip. This bristle shape often found in eyeshadow brushes. Take the same amount of color or powder on both flat sides of the brush and gently apply on the skin. This type of flat, two-sided bristle is great to quickly work on both sides of the face, as you can get constant, the same result every time. One note is that you’d have to pat, rather than sweep the brush back and forth to make the color pop and to let it rest on the skin firmly.

The edge of this brush can also be used to draw sharp lines like lower lash lines.

Flat Makeup Brush

Chikuhodo Z-3 Countour Brush, Z Series
Contour brush from Chikuhodo’s popular Z-Series!

Can be commonly found in contouring brush, concealer brush, and buffing brush.

A cylinder-like shape bristle with completely flat tip.

This brush works great with foundation and concealer. take the product on the tip of the brush, and using patting and quick circular motion,

Pointed – Straight Makeup Brush

Can be commonly found in: Highlight brush, Cheek Brush, Eyeshadow brush, Blush brush

Candle-like shaped brush that works flawlessly to add color to the exact spot that you wishes to; the bridge of the nose, chin, hairlines, and cheekbones. The Smaller pointed brush can be used for blending the color of the eye.

Perfect choice for on-point strobing and contouring!

Slanted / Angled Makeup Brush

Koyudo AG003 Brush’s slanted bristle will make applying cheek easier than ever.

Can be commonly found in: Powder brush, contour brush, blush brush, cheek brush,

The beauty of the angled bristle is that you don’t have to adjust the angle of the brush while you move following the facial line, and the angled head makes it easy to work on small corners as well.


Good choice for a beginner, since it can define your natural facial lines with precision and the same result every time.

Fan Brush

Can be commonly found in: Blush brush, Highlight brush

It looks exactly like a Japanese fan, or “Sensu” as Japanese call it. It can be used as blush brush or highlighter brush since it can pick up just the right amount of product and apply it softly and subtlely on the spot. It can also remove some unnecessary makeup mistake, and clean up excess powder.

Liner brush

Chikuhodo RR-SL Eyeliner brush

Can be commonly found in eye-liner brush

They are thin brushes with stiff bristles and pointed tip. In Japanese makeup brushes from Kumano, this is the type that resembles its calligraphy brush origin. It can be used with dark shadow and liner. Pick up a small amount of product from the jar, and use the side of the bristle and complete the eye line along with your lashes. Use its precise point to draw the cat-eye line or the innermost corners of the eye.

Written by Hiro Kano

We’re writing about traditional crafts, Kumano brush, makeup and beauty with the cooperation of manufacturers and workshop on this blog. Please Like, share and leave a comment below!

Also, please let us know if there are certain topics you’d like to see covered in here by emailing me at kano@a-janaika-japan.com. We’re always open to the request!

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