Best Makeup Brushes for Finishing & Contour

Best Makeup Brushes for Applying Finishing & Contour

When it comes to applying cream eyeshadow, synthetic brushes are my go-to as creams as natural hair brushes can soak up liquid and creams too much and produce either sheer or streaky results (and creams tend to necessitate washing often, and synthetics can take the extra washing easily).  I find a flat, synthetic brush is necessary for all-over lid application; a fluffy, dome-shaped brush key for diffusing crease color and applying creams to the brow bone; and a dome-shaped, denser brush for depositing pigmented color into the crease.

I would love to hear about the brushes you can’t live without for brows and detail work — share your picks in the comments! 🙂

For Contouring

From day-to-day, I don’t do much contouring, so I’ll leave you with the shape I still tend to reach for when I am testing a sculpting powder: the angled brush (always reminds me of a foot…).  I also find that tapered highlighting brushes can be held at an angle and often fit well into the hollows of the cheeks!

Best Makeup Brushes for Applying Highlighters
Hakuhodo B512, Hakuhodo G511

  • Hakuhodo B512 Angled Brush ($65.00) is a medium-sized angled brush that’s moderately dense and has slightly tapered bristles along the edge so that it gradually sweep and diffuse product.  The size makes it most appropriate for contouring most of the face but would be too large for contouring the nose.
  • Hakuhodo G511 Angled Brush ($44.00) is a small, angled brush that enables one to get a very precise contour on the cheeks and a more diffused contour along the nose.  It’s soft, fluffy enough to blend and diffuse edges, but dense enough to lay down color precisely.

For Finishing

These are my “details” brushes in a way, as I use them at the end of my makeup application for the little things that sometimes just bring everything together in the end.

Best Makeup Brushes for Applying Finishing & Contour
Chikuhodo T-3, Hakuhodo G6070, Hakuhodo F1230

  • Chikuhodo Takumi T-3 Brush ($65.00) is a smaller, flat-topped brush that I use for buffing out edges of blush, bronzer, or highlighter that just need that extra blending for a seamless gradient of color/finish.  I like larger buffer brushes but find that a smaller one like this ensures I just get the area I need and gives me less chance of muddying everything else.
  • Hakuhodo G6070 Kebo Brush (32.00$) is an incredibly delicate, feathery brush with layered bristles that yields an impossibly soft, buildable application of any powder product.  For me, I use this for that last-minute accent of highlighter on the cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose, or on the cupid’s bow.  It also works beautifully for applying powder underneath the eyes to set or finish concealer.
  • Hakuhodo F1230 Ougi Maru Brush ($138.00) is a large, rounded “fan” brush.  It has the style of a fan brush, but the shape is significantly different.  This brush is a newer favorite, but it’s been my go-to (since trying it) for finishing powders like Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders or Guerlain Meteorites for all-over the face application.  The much, much smaller F7135 Ougi Short Brush is excellent at applying powder underneath the eyes, too.
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I usually just use e.l.f. Contouring Brush or Sculpting Face Brush. They’re the perfect size for me to use. The Tarte Slenderizer brush is really good, too, especially if you have a product that is a little harder to blend out.

Good morning!! Your favorite brushes are described so beautifully. Are any of these in actual retail stores…or is on-line shopping the only way to find these brands? I live in Chicago but don’t know if I could find anything better if not at Sephora. Thank you for your great work!

Thank you, Bernadette!

Unfortunately, they are online 🙁 Hakuhodo has a showroom in Los Angeles and then more locations in Japan but that’s it as far as I know!

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!