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With so many different types of makeup brush available, it’s hard to know which ones to choose. Do you need an animal hair makeup brush or synthetic hair makeup brush? If you’re vegan, the decision is easy, but for anyone else, this guide will show you when to choose an animal hair makeup brush and when to choose a synthetic hair makeup brush.

Cruelty-free and vegan synthetic makeup brushes

More and more kiwi women are opting for a vegan lifestyle, and it extends beyond the food we eat. Vegans choose not to use any products derived from animals, including hairs and fibres, which means animal-hair makeup brushes are a no-no.

High Quality Fashion Synthetic Hair 15pcs/set Makeup Brush Set White Handle Cosmetics Pincel Maquiagem

High quality fashion synthetic hair 15 piece set, $69.99

Luckily modern technology allows makeup brush manufacturers to create synthetic bristle makeup brushes that feel as soft as any animal hair. Bristles made from nylon or other synthetic fibres are so advanced that many professional makeup artists choose to use exclusively cruelty-free makeup brushes.

Natural animal hair makeup brushes

Makeup brushes have been made from animal hair in a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Many animal hair makeup brushes use goat wool bristles as they offer a balance of affordability and blending quality. Other animal hair makeup brushes may be made from pony, boar, and even squirrel hair.

10PCS Animal hair makeup brush set

10 piece animal hair makeup brush set, $49.99

Natural animal hairs have a slightly irregular texture, allowing them to pick up product easily and get a better application. If you look closely at a natural animal hair makeup brush you’ll notice the hairs themselves taper at the tip, allowing them to sweep effortlessly over the skin and give you a seamless blended finish every time.

Animal or synthetic brushes for foundation and concealer?

An advantage of a synthetic hair makeup brush is that the hair has no cuticle, so it won’t degenerate over time, trap cream products or get stained. Some animal hair makeup brushes can soak up cream products like foundation and concealer into the hair fibres themselves, and get stained over time. To avoid this, choose a synthetic hair makeup brush for applying your foundation and concealer.

A synthetic hair makeup brush is quick and easy to clean. As the hairs are attracted to each other, they’ll keep their shape wash after wash.

Animal or synthetic brushes for eyeshadow?

Eyeshadow comes in both cream and powder formulas, so use that to inform which type of brush hair you use. If you’re applying an eyeshadow primer, cream eyeshadow or base product, use a flat synthetic brush for an even, dense application.


Then switch to natural fibres if you’re applying any powder eyeshadow. How many different brushes you choose to use will depend on how complex your eyeshadow look is, but for blending eyeshadow and getting a smooth blended crease, choose an animal hair makeup brush.


Densely packed animal hair brushes will allow you to pack on eyeshadow with little fall-down. Then you can pick up a fluffier animal hair makeup brush to blend out the edges and to deepen your outer V and crease area. Fluffy brushes can also be used to blend underneath the eye for a seamless look.

There’s one simple rule to remember when to use a synthetic hair makeup brush or animal hair makeup brush, and it’s this: for cream products, use synthetic hair; for powder products, use animal hair. It’s as easy as that, and you can guarantee you’ll always get beauty from your brush.

March 09, 2017 by Ted liu