December 18, 2015

which is better - natural or synthetic hair makeup brushes?

Working at MAC I would get asked about makeup brushes all the time... Which ones are best for contouring, which ones are best for a smoky eye, and a lot of the time people would ask the difference between natural hair brushes and synthetic brushes. 

I personally use both, and am sharing portions of a great blog post by to show you the differences between them and help with your next brush purchase!

image: @liannmascia Instagram


What is it? The bristles of the brush are composed of hair that is man-made. Often the hairs have a more smooth/slightly plastic feel to them. They are dyed brown or a gradient brown, and cream to white usually.

What can it do? Synthetic hair is great for cream and liquid products – including foundation, cream blush, gel liner and concealer. It is able to not absorb so much of the product and apply a smooth finish onto the skin without much streaking. The hairs tend to gravitate toward each other in applying the product instead of spread out so it can help apply liquid and cream well. For any cream and liquid product including lipsticks, use a synthetic brush. Synthetic hair can also be more precise and the brush can be cut sharper so eyeliner can be made very precise. You won’t get any fly aways with a synthetic brush.

Best brushes to buy Synthetic:

 - Foundation brushes (try Morphe's AS10 deluxe foundation/concealer brush)
 - Concealer brushes
 - Eye Liner brushes 
 - Lip brushes

Worst brushes to buy Synthetic:

 - Powder brushes
 - Eyeshadow brushes
 - Blush/Bronzer brushes

Synthetic brushes do not pick up powder well.


What is it? The brush is made of natural hair from an animal like a squirrel or goat. The hair is similar to our hair and is commonly soft and smooth and dyed black or white. Avoid getting straw feeling natural hair bristles that feel like they could poke you.

What can it do? Natural hair brushes are the best for powder products. When the brushes are applied with pressure, they have more texture than synthetic bristles and therefore pick up powder well and blending is made easier and more natural on the skin. You can’t blend as well with synthetic bristles because the bristles don’t move as freely as natural hair bristles do.

Best brushes to buy Natural:

 - Powder brushes
 - Eyeshadow brushes (MAC 217 is a great one)
 - Blush/Bronzer/Contour brushes

Worst brushes to buy Natural:

 - Foundation brushes 
 - Concealer brushes
 - Lip brushes

Hope this helps you! MAC has some great brush sets available for Christmas right now and if you shop online with code PROEXP you can get free express shipping!

-Lianne xo

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