The science of brushes.

I don’t talk about brushes a whole ton and I will tell you why.
It’s not because they aren’t important.
It’s because I honestly don’t think about them very often.
I generally buy a set of brushes and then grab nearest brush that looks appropriate for the job at hand.
Nothing special, except that…
I remembered something the other day when I was talking to an internet guy on the phone (to try and get my site faster)
He was speaking in what sounded like plain gibberish to me but acting like it I was a total bozo for not understanding him.
This is something I like to call “too far down the tunnel to relate”
It’s when you’re “into” something so deep that you forget the difference between common knowledge and specialty knowledge.
Like when I say something in golf lingo to Nick and I am sitting there all kinds of proud of myself for remembering and he doesn’t even notice, cause he thought every girl knew what “hitting the ball on the dance floor” means!  Well, of course they don’t! (right?)

Anyway, I know that my (sometimes obsessive) love for things of the cosmetic persuasion can lead me down that road but I was totally bugged when that guy expected me to know stuff that I have no reason for knowing up to this point and I refuse to do that to any of you.

So I created a visual brush class!
My advice is to first get all the brushes you already own and match them up to my diagram so you can put what you already have to good use. Also, you don’t need 5 different brushes that do virtually the same thing. I tried to put every use I could think of on each brush so that those of us on budgets don’t feel the need to have a different brush for every little thing. It’s nice but so not necessary.
Finally I made a link for each brush photographed & some of my favs for every budget.

 Economy Brush set I love : Morphe 10 piece {here}
Luxury Brush set I love: Sephora Collection {here}
FoundationBronzerPowder | Tapered FoundationStipplingLiquid Foundation | beauty blender |  concealer | smokey | fluffy | duster | contourlip | shadow 1 & 2 | smudge | angled | Qtip | comb


  • Krista G

    14.12.2012 at 07:15 Reply

    Thank you darling!!! Wonderful list & perfect explanations! Just what this “reformed” tom boy needed, since I’m still a beginner at all this beauty stuff.

  • Kari

    14.12.2012 at 07:36 Reply

    Thanks so much….I have some brushes already but its finally good to know what their use is. Thanks!!!!!!

  • Brytanie S.

    14.12.2012 at 08:11 Reply

    Very informative. Also, thanks for adding links to brush sets. I really enjoy ur blog btw :)

  • Carey

    14.12.2012 at 08:17 Reply

    Thank you, thank you! Can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood at the brush display at Sephora and blindly stared into the abyss of beauty tools!

  • wendy cline

    14.12.2012 at 08:28 Reply

    I’m you posted this. I especially appreciate when you show value choices along with more expensive choices. Very helpful!

  • Jessica

    14.12.2012 at 08:33 Reply

    I NEED a smokey brush pronto! Thanks for the input. :) Any advice on the cleaning of these great tools? I know.. boring… but how often would you suggest? I’m currently using gentle baby shampoo about once every 1 – 2 weeks.

  • Alexis

    14.12.2012 at 08:57 Reply

    I found your blog on Pinterest a couple of months ago and immediately went out and bought a ton of makeup. I never really wore any before and had no clue how to apply it but your blog is SO helpful. So thank you! And this brush post is so informative. I love that you keep it real for newbies like me 😉

  • Caroline

    14.12.2012 at 12:37 Reply

    This is fabulous, you don’t know how many times I have had to rewind over and over again watching your videos when you mention what kind of brush you are using at the moment. Thank God!

    -Another reformed tomboy!

  • Mags

    14.12.2012 at 12:57 Reply

    I just want to echo all the other comments. I’m a reformed tomboy who has been loving your blog. It’s fun and informative. This is a great post. But what does “hitting it on the dance floor” actually mean?

  • Julie

    14.12.2012 at 13:11 Reply

    First off I have to tell you that you have changed the way I do my makeup! I love the HAC especially the contouring, now when I look at friends I sometimes think “oh let me contour your nose please.” The nose….makes all the difference.
    I follow you on my reader and on Pinterest. You Rock!
    anyway I ordered some brushes from this website and I love them!!!! I got the 32 peice set for $25 and wish I had gotten a smaller set because like you said I don’t use half of them. It even came with a nice case (mine being much bigger than needed now) It is from China or Hong Kong but I was really pleased with the whole experience, got the best nail polish too!!!

  • Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen

    14.12.2012 at 16:03 Reply

    Um, this is totally amazing. I feel like I’m pretty comptent with brushes but occasionally I’m not qquuiittee sure if I’m using things the “right” way. This is a wonderful resource!

  • Julianna

    15.12.2012 at 09:41 Reply

    Ditto on all the comments! Thank you thank you for explaining the world of brushes in understandable lingo. Love all your tips!

  • Mar

    15.12.2012 at 11:51 Reply

    How often do you need to clean out your brushes? Especially the foundation one…

  • danielle ivins

    16.12.2012 at 15:37 Reply

    Amazing!!! Thank you so much for your recommendations, totally buying some new brushes! And sooooo glad that I finally know what each of them do.

  • Amanda

    17.12.2012 at 10:54 Reply

    This is awesome! I’m thinking it could be called “Makeup Brushes for Dummies” perfect for me :)

  • Nicole

    17.12.2012 at 16:11 Reply

    I went out the same day you posted this post to buy new brushes. Luckily I had a gift card for Sephora and bought their Advanced Airbrush Set on sale for $65 (Reg. $170) I am in LOVE! You do not realize how important brushes are until you go from “crap” to something worth buying!

    Thanks Cara!!

  • kristen

    19.12.2012 at 15:39 Reply

    Hey Cara! Great post. My mom is a professional make-up artist and even though now she does mostly airbrush she always buys her brushes at an art supply store. They are great quality but a lot cheaper. LOVE your blog! My mom is cross country now so at least I have you to go to for tips :-)

  • Chrissy

    20.12.2012 at 10:31 Reply

    Hi Cara! I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog for quite a while!! I have a question: how do you store your brushes? What do you use to clean them? Do u have a makeup organizer? I’m sure having so many beauty products requires a lot of organization and I’m curious! Thanks!

  • Tammy Roberts

    03.01.2013 at 04:43 Reply

    Luv! Thx

  • Kimberly Bonham

    05.01.2013 at 13:51 Reply

    Just stumbled upon your blog! Love it!
    New follower!
    Follow me back via GFC too??

  • Erin

    11.01.2013 at 14:09 Reply

    Thank you so much for this! How do you store your brushes? And clean them? How often do you replace them?

    • Jennifer

      19.01.2013 at 01:52 Reply

      Sorry to interupt your question but I store my brushes in a brush roll bag or a new cool way is to get a wide mouth vase/bowl and fill it with beads and stand your brushes upright in it so the hairs don’t get ruined :)

  • Jennifer

    19.01.2013 at 01:50 Reply

    I just bought a set of BHUMI brushes and they don’t really have anything to show how to use each brush so your info was so super helpful for me! Thanks so much!

  • Gari Ann

    27.01.2013 at 23:20 Reply

    I recently bought some Sonja Kashuk and UP&Up eye shadow brushes at Target. Surprisingly, the Up&Up brushes were just as good as the Kashuk brushes for half the price. I REALLY like the Kaskuk angled brush for applying dark eye shadow as a liner. I kept both brushes because the Kashuk brush has a black handle which helps me remember to use it for darker eye shadow and the Up&Up brushes have white handles which help me remember to use them for lighter eye shadows. Fun, affordable and loving your make up tutorials! THANKS!

  • Noelle

    15.02.2013 at 14:45 Reply

    The duster brush (aka fan brush) can also be used to sweep a little bit of blush or bronzer across your cheeks. It’s my face brush for that air brushed look. A MUA from Macy’s showed me that trick!! :)

  • javilabbe

    08.03.2013 at 03:09 Reply

    This is a fantastic website! Well done!!!!!!!!

  • Krista W

    19.04.2013 at 09:14 Reply

    One link doesn’t work and the other set is unavailable. Can you give some other options, please.


    25.09.2013 at 19:13 Reply

    This is a good blog post! I am actually a real enthusiast of the HTC One XL.

    Do you have any other overview referring to this?

    Thanks for the tips!

  • Caroline

    09.10.2013 at 12:03 Reply

    You are like the older sister I never had when it comes to questions on all things beauty! This is a particular subject I’ve always wanted to be fully educated on! Thanks so much for sharing, your blog is awesome!

  • Karen Marquis

    17.02.2014 at 08:18 Reply

    Have you used Sigma Brushes? I’ve just recently discovered them and they are amazing. Just wanted to see if you’ve tried them.

  • Boni

    18.02.2014 at 22:25 Reply

    Thank you for the education on makeup brushes, Cara! I so needed it! Now I need an education on good hair brushes for my super baby fine wispy easily tangled hair… :-)

  • Cassie

    21.02.2014 at 08:57 Reply

    I literally just copy and pasted that picture of all of the brushes so I can bring it to the store with me…like a grocery list! THANK YOU! I love your blog. Very cleverly designed and your whole blog is so super useful! I’m gonna get pretty!

  • Kasia Kubicka

    17.04.2014 at 14:31 Reply

    Cara, did you try Real Techniques brushes? I really want to know your opinion about them.

  • Liz

    25.03.2015 at 07:39 Reply

    Cara – I bought the brush that you sell on your website. Can I use the same brush for all 4 colors in the custom palette? Or should I use a separate brush for each color?

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