How to Use a Fan Brush

Sometimes a stroll through the makeup aisle feels more like a stroll through Home Depot. How do you use those wack-a-doodle brushes if not for spackling your walls? Here, I’ll explain how to use the three brushes I am most frequently asked about.

Courtesy of E.L.F.

 Fan BrushShown here: E.L.F. Studio Fan Brush, $3The long, wispy bristles of what will soon become your new best friend can do any of the following:

  • Brush away eye shadow fallout with such a feathery swipe that the crumbles won’t leave a trace.
  • Leave a perfectly blended-but-faint highlight along the bony areas around your eyes and the bridge of your nose.
  • Remove shine in the T-zone area with translucent powder.
  • Contour just under the cheekbones and along the jawline.


Courtesy of Shiseido

Dense Foundation BrushShown here: Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush, $30Ultrasoft bristles are so densely packed, they lay foundation (in any formulation) onto your skin in a fine layer for a velvety finish. Yields medium coverage and buffs edges away with the angled shape. 

Courtesy of NARS

Artistic Kabuki BrushShown here: NARS Yachiyo Brush, $50 (one of NARS’ most popular brushes!)These brushes are an equal mix of dense and wispy. I have several of these in both of my kits. I use them for all sorts of purposes, but mostly I love these for applying wet foundations to skin that needs minimal coverage. It’s also a gem for applying cream blushes. The dome top makes applying to all the curvatures of your face a cinch.

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