Synthetic vs Natural hair Makeup brushes: Which is better?


While there were many technological advances in last century, the mainstream brush, natural animal hair, hasn’t changed much for millennia. So why hasn’t new, man-made fibers such as PBT, PTT or polyester hasn’t gained its popularity yet? With a generous help from KOYUDO, We’ve done our research on this matter. We’ve made a comparison list of pro and cons of synthetic bristle and natural bristle. Is one better than the other? Read on for the showdown of their differences.

*Special thanks to KOYUDO for giving us the opportunity to interview for this article!

Natural Makeup Brushes

Makeup brushes with natural hair bristles are soft and feel amazing while applying a makeup as if giving yourself a blissful massage. The biggest difference between man-made fiber and natural hair is the presence of cuticles.

Koyudo's Calligraphy brush bristle in production
Koyudo’s Calligraphy brush bristle in production

Cuticles are the outermost layer of the hair. It is a scale-like protection that is made out of dead cells overlapping each other. This cuticle plays a vital role as a hair material of makeup brushes for a powder-type beauty product. Cuticles can pick up a very fine grain of the powder, and deposit it on the skin smoothly.

Also, If you have an allergy to a certain animal, it is best to stay away from natural haired brushes.

Lastly, the trading of animal fur is highly regulated internationally by a variety of law, agreements and government regulations. With famous fashion giants announcing to not use fur from next year, 2018, recent trend makes it harder to acquire good quality natural fur.

Synthetic Makeup Brushes

One of the most notable aspects of the makeup brush with man-made hair is that it’s generally cheaper than the natural hair. We will dig deeper into the details below.


Man-made bristles are often made of Polyester, Nylon, PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate), PTT (Polytrimethylene Terephthalate) and other synthetic fibers.

Koyudo Heart Face Brush - $41
Koyudo Heart Face Brush – $41

Since they have very wide option on choosing a color of the fiber during the production, it provides a great opportunity for brush manufacturer to explore. One of the fine examples would be Heart Brushes from KOYUDO, where they used Pink fibers to create a pink heart-shaped brush that not only looks cute but works.

Also, for face washing brush, synthetic hair plays a vital role. KOYUDO’s popular facial washing brush uses a mix of goat and polyester to create a face washing brush that strong enough to make very fine bubbles yet soft enough to give you a heavenly facial massage.

Natural hair, when wet, tends to stick together and become one bundle, just like a calligraphy brush. We would not want the bristle to be like that when you are trying to make a rich foam of soap. The stronger polyester hairs work as a core to support natural hair on the tip while keeping each hair little apart to make a fine bubble.

Social impact

Synthetic brushes will give animal lovers and vegan a great alternative choice since all-synthetic fibers are cruelty-free and PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. You can enjoy a guilt-free makeup application. With hand-made high-quality makeup brushes.


Synthetic brushes are easy to take care of, since they are tougher and durable material than natural hair. It wouldn’t get damaged so easily from the cosmetic product, and it especially works amazingly with liquid or cream type product. Those products tend to be greasy, oily but the synthetic brush works well with these, while natural hair would take damage from the product. 

If you have a dry skin and lover of liquid-type makeup product, synthetic brushes will be your best companion with your everyday makeup routine.

What are the challenges for the Synthetic hair for makeup brushes?

We’ve asked the question to KOYUDO. They said that there are mainly two challenges they are facing with developing more synthetic brushes in the future.

  1. Quality of the hair: While the synthetic hair goes through many processes to recreate cuticle, it is still not on the par with the softness of natural hair or the powder-picking up capability. KOYUDO is working with few manufacturer of synthetic fiber to create a brush that would satisfy the demand of avid Fude lover in the world.
  2. Reliable Supply: The number of the manufacturer of fibers is still not many in number, so securing the supply of the very best one is difficult. the few of the main manufacturer of the high-quality synthetic fibers is China, Japan, Korea, North America and Europe. When the synthetic fibers gain more popularity in the future, more demands would enable them to lower the production cost. Which means that we can get a higher quality synthetic brush with affordable price in the future! 
Koyudo synthetic brush series LOHAS – starting from $8.

KOYUDO worked really hard on Lohas series to recreate softness of the squirrel bristle. It uses not vegetable-based fiber rather than conventional oil-based material, so it is also eco-friendly makeup brush series. 


Chikuhodo AF series

Chikuhodo's synthetic brush series
100% animal-free synthetic fiber that recreates the delicate touch of Chikuhodo’s highest grade bristle with fur. Fiber is designed to have tiny cuticle and crimps to recreate texture and feel of natural hair.
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!

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