HAIR TYPE: Makeup brush hair type is THE most important factor when choosing your makeup brush. The best and the choice of professional makeup artists is natural hair type. The hair quality affects the prices of makeup brushes and ranges from the finest and most expensive Kolinsky sable to the most common natural bristle. Kolinsky sable, squirrel, mink and weasel are used in top quality brushes.
Note: Famous brand names DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL higher quality. Decent quality choices include Goat, Pony and hair blends. Synthetics such as Nylon and Taklon, are best left for use on eyebrows and for applying foundations, respectively.
CUT: This refers to the method by which the hair is harvested. It makes a huge difference because virgin, first-cut fur makes the softest makeup brush and can make not-so-high ‘grade’ hair types cosmetic brushes feel as soft as possible for that particular hair type. First-cut (Top grade) hair, is also cruelty-free, as they are sheared from the tips of the fur. That is why they are the softest on your skin. The best way to relate I guess, is to imagine how the tips of our own hair would feel after a hair cut. Blunt-cut hair refers to the ‘lower’ cut of the fur. They are much coarser and can feel prickly against your skin. Imagine brushing cropped prickly hair against your face…OUCH! Blunt-cuts are widely used in lower quality cosmetic brushes because they are much cheaper than the first cut. Of course, this information is rarely provided but a good way to test is to look at the tips of the hair of the makeup brush. The finely pointed (natural-looking) ones are most likely the first-cut.
MAKEUP BRUSH SHAPE AND DENSITY: The shape and density determine whether they will perform the job intended, effectively and efficiently. You want the makeup brushes to do magic and do it fast!
In general, there are three kinds of makeup brush shape – square cut, chisel cut, and round cut. No, we’re not talking about diamonds here! :) When we talk about makeup brush shape we’re referring to the shape of the tips of the cosmetic brushes. High quality brushes are hand made, not machine cut, as hand shaped makeup brushes have their precious tips (first-cut) still intact. The machine cannot compete with the skillful hands of the ‘masters’. Why not? Well, that’s because machines can’t ‘shape’ the makeup brushes without sacrificing (trimming) the soft tips of the makeup brushes. That is why, high quality makeup brushes are hand made hence are usually more expensive but A’SQUIRREL makeup brushes are hand made too but are not at all expensive!
2. Ferrule (Metal part)
Check that it is seamless. That means, exactly that – no seams around it! Most makeup brushes are seamless. Metal types used include Aluminum (usually Aluminium Alloy as Aluminum by itself is impossibly soft), Copper and Brass(strongest). Whatever the metal type, ensure they are double crimped (2 circles around them) to avoid wobbly handles.
Check that it is made from hard wood and that the length or overall weight feels good in your hand. The length of the handle is a matter of personal choice but usually most prefer around 7” or thereabouts.