How to Choose, Clean & Care For Your Mineral Makeup Brushes
You may have asked yourself questions like: What kind of brush do I need to be able to apply each type of mineral makeup? Does it matter what the brush is made of? What heck is a Kabuki brush? How do I find brushes that are vegan? Are there natural mineral makeup brushes? Are the brushes I currently use good quality? How do I clean my brushes?
These questions, and others, will be answered for you here. My hope is that by the end of this article, you’ll be able to make the choice of what mineral makeup brushes will fit your preferences, needs and values.
Mineral Makeup Brushes: Parts & Construction
Mineral makeup brushes have three parts:
- Hair (bristles)
The hair can be natural animal hair, or it can be synthetic. You can read more about this later on the page.
The ferrule is the metal part in between the hair and the handle. It covers the glued-together part of the hair and connects it to the handle. For stability and quality, it’s best if the ferrule doesn’t have any seams and if it’s crimped twice (two indented lines). Ferrules are usually made from copper, brass or aluminum.
The handle is pretty self-explanatory! It’s often made from wood, plastic or bamboo.
Brushes can be hand-made or machine-made. Hand-made brushes tend to be of better quality.
How to Clean Your Mineral Makeup Brushes
In order to properly care for your brushes and have them last for a long time, it’s important to clean them. There are lots of brush cleaners on the market, which really aren’t necessary. All you need is a good shampoo. Some people use baby shampoo because it’s mild. I like using good quality, natural shampoo.
- Hold your brush with the hair pointing down, at a slight angle.
- Wet the hair under lukewarm, running water (but don’t get water in the ferrule/handle joint).
- Put a small amount of shampoo on your fingers, or in the palm of your hand.
- If you’re using your fingers, wash the hair gently with the tips of your fingers. If you’re using the palm of your hand, swirl the brush gently around in the shampoo on your hand.
- Once the brush is clean, rinse it under lukewarm, running water.
- Press the brush in a towel, or paper towel, to blot out the excess water.
- Form the hair back into shape, if necessary.
- Dry your brushes flat with the hair placed over the edge of the sink, counter or towel. Let them dry over night. Don’t dry your brushes with the hair up because the water will go into the ferrule.
How to Store Your Mineral Makeup Brushes
How do you store your makeup brushes? Do you just jam them all into a container or case of some sort, or even in a drawer or your purse? Do they get squashed and covered in stuff they shouldn’t be covered in?
Part of caring for your brushes and having them last for a long time is storing them properly.
You can do this in two ways:
1. Store your brushes with the hair up in a container with or without a lid. You can buy a container made for this purpose like in the picture above, or you can make one out of an attractive glass container, or something similar. Some people put beads or other craft materials in the container to help the brushes stand upright and not fall into each other.
2. Store your brushes flat in a roll-up makeup bag that has slots for each brush and holds them securely in place.
It’s easier to grab your brushes out of a container than out of a makeup bag. Some people like to use pretty containers that sit out on their counter or makeup table. If you like to do that, the container option might work well for you.
Personally, I don’t like stuff out in view – – I like it put away so it doesn’t interfere with my decor! A makeup bag is best if you’re like me.
It’s still easy enough to access your brushes, they’re organized well, and it’s easy to grab the entire case and take it with you when you go out.
But either way is a good way to store your mineral makeup brushes.
Types of Mineral Makeup Brushes
Things can get a bit confusing here with all the different types and styles of brushes that are available! There are kabuki brushes, powder brushes, concealer brushes, foundation brushes, a gazillion eye brushes, brushes for contouring, blending and more. There are chiseled ones, square ones, angled ones, fan ones and dome or rounded or tapered ones. Crazy!
Here are the essentials (plus two optional ones) that I think you need. It’ll really cut down on the confusion!
1. Kabuki Brush
A Kabuki brush is an absolute essential for putting on your powder foundation. It gives you that circular motion that creates great coverage and it also buffs and blends. A traditional Kabuki brush is that chubby looking brush with no handle. It just has hair and a ferrule. There are also long-handled Kabuki brushes and baby Kabuki brushes (smaller versions of the traditional one).
2. Powder Brush
3. Blush Brush
A blush brush is obviously for blush! It can also be used with bronzer. It can be flat-topped (all the bristles are the same length and cut evenly across the top), dome-shaped (the side bristles are slightly shorter than the middle bristles), or angled (bristles are shorter on one side than the other and one side angles up to the other side). It’s large and fluffy, but not as big and fluffy as the powder brush.
4. Concealer Brush (optional)
5. Eyeshadow Brushes
You’ll need one brush for the lid and brow bone and another one for the crease. For the lid and brow bone, I like a tapered, soft, full brush (but small). For the crease, I like a smaller, tapered, soft brush. Some people prefer a firmer, angled brush for the crease though.
6. Eyeliner Brush
7. Eyebrow Brush
8. Lip Brush (optional)
Natural Mineral Makeup Brushes
I mentioned above that brushes can be made with natural animal hair. The hair might be sable, badger, squirrel, pony or goat hair.
Most people say that natural animal hair is the best to use for mineral makeup brushes because of the structure of hair. Hair has “scales” on it that hold the mineral powder better than synthetic brushes do.
Also, natural animal hair tends to be softer than synthetic materials and actually, the hair gets softer with use.
If you’re a vegan or if you have allergies to various animals, you will want to consider synthetic brushes.
Mineral makeup brushes can also be synthetic. This means that they use man-made bristles, not natural animal hair. I call these brushes “vegan” brushes because I’m a vegetarian/vegan and I like the word better than “synthetic.”
Vegan brushes are made from nylon or taklon. They tend to be stiffer than natural animal hair brushes and they get stiffer with use. They also hold the mineral powder less well. However, they’re much less likely to bother you if you have allergies and if you’re a vegan, it really doesn’t matter about the softness or the ability to hold powder.
It only matters that they aren’t made with animal products.