Synthetic Vs. Natural: When To Use Each Type Of Makeup Brush

The sheer variety of makeup brush selections might be overwhelming to someone just starting out. There are thousands of them, after all! Our advice if you're in the market for a new makeup brush is to remember that the quality of what the brush is made of is more important than the label on the handle. So, one of the most important decisions you'll have to make is buying a natural or a synthetic brush. Both types have their uses, and using the right makeup brush for the right task is crucial.

Natural brushes are manufactured from animal hair that is more soft, porous, and flexible in its fibers, while synthetic brushes are produced using (wait for it) synthetic materials. They are less likely to absorb liquids or creams because of their lack of porousness.

How you intend to put your brush to use should determine the type you buy. You can never be too prepared for any task, and you can never have too many brushes; therefore, it's usually preferable to have a combination of natural and synthetic brushes. When to use each brush is another matter altogether. That's information you need to know whether you're a seasoned makeup artist or just starting out.

How are natural and synthetic brushes different?

Makeup artists and enthusiasts have relied on natural brushes made from animal hair for years because of their soft bristles and seamless blending capabilities. It comes at a cost, though — a literal one. Natural brushes are often more expensive than their synthetic counterparts because of using animal hair. Most natural brushes are handcrafted, too, adding a premium to the price tag.

It's not just the price, either. Morals and ethics are a big part of the beauty industry in this day and age. The increasing popularity of vegan beauty brushes made from synthetic materials is a happy result. The good news is that synthetic brushes have advanced to the point where they effectively simulate the smooth feel of natural bristles without causing any harm to animals.

Besides that, there's not much difference between synthetic and natural brushes. Well, synthetic brushes can typically be more long-lasting than natural brushes, but as always, your mileage may vary. The smooth surface of synthetic bristles (as opposed to the uneven surface of natural bristles) can make them seem like it would collect less dust and germs, but both kinds can get dirty. In fact, knowing why you should be cleaning your beauty tools more often can be really useful.

Laying the groundwork with natural brushes

Let's say putting on makeup is like painting — we are talking about brushes and beauty artists, after all. In this analogy, natural brushes are what you would use to paint in the big picture stuff, like background and composition (think foundation and powder). When using powders, such as setting powder, bronzer, or blush, natural brushes work best. The bristles are often soft and fluffy, providing for a subtle, undetectable effect. When applying powder all over the face or blush to the apples of the cheeks, using a natural bristle brush is a great choice.

Natural bristle brushes are recommended for certain eye makeup jobs, too. Because of the bristles' softness, you may use them to smoothly combine different colors without creating any unnatural-looking lines or streaks. Tip of the day: To soften the sharpness of your eyeshadow's edges and to add depth of color to your crease, try using a natural blending brush or crease brush, respectively. The key to a successful highlight is a natural-looking glow, and the best way to achieve this is by using natural brushes. Highlight your cheekbones, brow bone, and nose with a natural fan brush, and you're all set!

Synthetic brushes for the nuances and intricacies

If natural brushes are for the big picture, then synthetic brushes are for the details — if you want a precise application for the perfect look, they are your best bet. Synthetic brushes, often made of nylon or polyester, are a godsend to use with liquid and cream products since they are less likely to shed compared to natural hair brushes. You can also see why they are the more sanitary option because of how simple they are to clean and maintain, especially if the brush is used for thicker cosmetics like cream.

Synthetic brushes are fantastic for the eyes, as well. Use a synthetic eyeshadow brush with its flat, thick bristles to apply cream eyeshadows, and a synthetic liner brush, with its fine, exact bristles, to draw crisp lines and add fine details. Flawlessly blending makeup like eyeshadow using a synthetic blending brush is a great way to get a natural and polished finish. Synthetic brushes are great for applying lipstick or lip gloss, too. When applied and blended carefully, they are perfect for the creation of Ombre and gradient lip looks.

You can use synthetic brushes for larger makeup applications. A great example is the use of synthetic foundation brushes, with their densely packed bristles. They are ideal for achieving a flawless, uniform application and a natural look. They work wonderfully with liquid and cream blush, bronzer, and highlighter to help you achieve a flawless, natural appearance.

Picking a good brush

By now, you've probably realized that there really is no "better" brush, and certainly not a one-size-fits-all solution. It ultimately boils down to what kind of tasks each brush is good at, and personal preference plays a big role, too. That being said, natural or synthetic, you should know how to pick a good brush. Smaller brushes that are typically included with cosmetics are not great for primary makeup applications or for professional use. You deserve better. Use those just for quick touch-ups on the go, and pick proper brushes to show your face some love.

Here's how: If you want to create professional or even just high-quality at-home makeup looks, you need high-quality brushes. Instead of stocking up on a bunch of inexpensive brushes, it's smart to invest in five high-quality brushes that may serve several purposes. High quality does not necessarily mean more expensive, though. Sometimes you'll just be paying a premium for the brand, even if the brush itself kind of sucks.

Look for brushes constructed such that the bristles are strong, well-shaped, and kept in place by a seamless ferrule base that won't wobble or separate. You need brushes that have your back for the long run and brushes that aren't well manufactured will lose their bristles and fall apart soon — useless. Once you find the perfect brush, it's time to make beautiful art on your beautiful canvas!