Choosing a line of brushes – how to narrow down your choices.

Brushes by Karen is a New York based, private label manufacturer / wholesaler of Cosmetic Brushes and a Natural Makeup line (Both mineral based as well as infused with Certified Organic ingredients. They were established in 1988 and continue to have very low minimums for both the stock line and custom to this day.  Many famous makeup artists started out with a brush from Karen.

Brushes by Karen

The proper tool selection is a personal preference – Karen suggests that you try a few different styles to see what works best for your own needs. “Because we are B2B and only sell to the professional for resale vs. the consumer, most of our clients are already well aware of what they like to work with. However, sometime it can be an overwhelming choice for somebody just starting out” says Karen.

Here is a guide on choosing brushes.

When choosing a line of brushes –narrow it down to two categories

THE BASICS (Must Haves)

THE OPTIONALS (What you can get by without, but you’ll love if you have it).

THE BASICS: What every good makeup artist should have:

POWDER BRUSH:  Dust on finishing powders, as well as a light touch of bronzing powders that won’t look over done. Choose a large, soft brush. A large brush with a full body will pick up just the right amount of powder to dust it smoothly and evenly so your face never looks powdery.  Super soft bristles will feel like heaven when dusted over your clients face. Go all out and get a large, full, soft and silky powder brush. Your face will thank you for it. Try the jumbo synthetic versions that mimic squirrel hair with the softness and product delivery without the cost or the animal.

BLUSH BRUSH:  The most important thing is that it must be the right size. Smile, and place the brush against the apple of your cheek. If it perfectly fits, you’ve got the right size. Too big? You’ll end up getting blush everywhere you don’t want it too. Too small and you’ll end up streaking your blush and not getting enough on.  And you thought it was just the product that made the difference?

ANGLE EYE BRUSH:  Get a thin, firm, flat straight cut angle brush. Choose one that is firm enough for filling in eyebrow color, yet soft enough to apply eyeliner.  Sable or synthetic, taklon work best; Powders will cling to it, gel liners will glide along happy with it! Brow powders will go on and stay in place. This is a must-have brush for everyone!

SHADOW BRUSH:  This brush should fit the size of the eye lid. Great for applying colors and large sweeps of color on the lid and to the crease. The right, size chisel cut brush can also double as great blending tool. Choose one or two sizes.  A fluffy pony hair blend will do the trick or you might want to splurge for squirrel!  Ideally, you will need a few sizes & shapes.

LIP BRUSH:  A sable or a taklon (for durability) tapered lip brush. In a size large enough to fill in your lips with lipstick in several strokes.  A retractable version will travel in a woman’s pocketbook for easy touch ups.

CONCEALER BRUSH:  Choose a taklon bristle for spot applying & blending concealer.  Covers imperfections on the face and blends them to a smooth finish.  Depending on the size and shape this can also double as a lip brush.  Just make sure to clean between applications.

KABUKI BRUSH: (Only in the “Must Haves” for Mineral Makeup Application)  The ideal companion and staple for applying mineral foundation powders.  Kabuki brushes are available in several sizes, colors and qualities. These little face buffers fit beautifully into the hand while the soft, densely packed bristles offer superb application. From the most coveted Squirrel Kabuki to the new 100% Synthetic Versions and lots of styles in-between to choose from!  There are also synthetic jumbo buffers that are great alternative versions with a handle.


EYELINER BRUSH:  (The long, thin, pointed version) Apply your liners as you want (not too thick, not too thin). Just perfect placement every time where bristles stay accurate and precise, use after use.

CREASE BRUSH:   The incredibly soft, pointed brush applies eye contour color so soft, it looks airbrushed. Used in a windshield wiper motion, it will soften & blend previously placed colors. Smaller, shorter versions of this shape brush can be used for highlighters on the brow bone to smudging of liners.  If your budget is limiting you, look for brushes that are mulch-functional.  A duo brush perhaps (two brushes on one handle).

FOUNDATION BRUSH: Perfect for the just right amount of foundation every time. A brush applies it on the surface of the skin and makes the skin look perfectly opaque. A nice option to a sponge. Most popularly known for use with creams & liquids, however try it with pressed foundation powders.  Works like a charm with less powder residue breaking up the pan.  Using a pressing method, it will naturally paint the face in a sheer thin layer that will cover flawlessly without looking over done. This method also helps the product to adhere to the skin longer.

SPOOLY BRUSH:  Shaped like a mascara brush – use to separate lashes between coats of mascara.  Works great to tame brows into place.

And so many more…But this is a good basic start.

Add a new brush; learn a new trick as you go!

Contact the staff at Brushes by Karen:
Brushes by Karen / ColorStrokes Cosmetics
216 East Second Street, Mineola, NY 11501
Tel/ 516 739-7788      ●    Fax/516 739-7711      ●    [email protected]
Posted in New Products, Product Tips.