Natural vs. Synthetic Makeup Brushes…Which Works Better for You?

If you love wearing makeup and you’re always in search of newer options to add to your collection, then it can be quite difficult to choose from the many different makeup brands that exist out there.

When you’re buying makeup, you often leave makeup brushes for the very end, even when you know they’re extremely important. 

Some would argue that the secret to a great makeup look lies in the perfect applicator. Instead of chasing after brand names, you need to do your research before splurging on a new set of makeup brushes. If you use a poor-quality makeup brush with a high-end foundation, you won’t get the look you’re hoping for.

There are two types of makeup brushes that exist in the market: natural and synthetic makeup brushes. Before you can decide which one is better, you need to understand how they’re made and how they work to make sure you’re buying the best makeup brush.

To answer the question, “are natural or synthetic makeup brushes better?”, let’s take a closer look at what sets them apart. Once you have the lowdown on both kinds of makeup brushes, you’ll feel a lot safer spending your money on a set of makeup brushes that you’ve had your eye on for a while.

Natural Makeup Brushes

Natural makeup brushes are called ‘natural’ because they’re made from animal hair (squirrels or black goats). They’re known to be quite durable and work better the more you use them. They’re ideal for powder products, including eye shadows, bronzers, highlighters, etc. 

People who prefer natural makeup brushes over synthetic ones argue that they allow for a smoother application because there’s a lot more texture to them. The bristles move freely and can hold a lot more in one swipe than synthetic brushes can and make for a beautiful finish as well.

Synthetic Makeup Brushes

Synthetic makeup brushes, on the other hand, are made out of artificial bristles built from either nylon or synthetic fibers. They don’t have a cuticle, unlike natural brushes, which is why they’re perfect to use with cream or liquid-based products like concealer and foundation. 

If you wish to apply your makeup with precision, then you need to get your hands on these. The bristles are known to gravitate towards each other, and they don’t trap any makeup either, which means they’re a lot easier to clean.

Why Natural Makeup Brushes Are a Lot More Expensive

Natural makeup brushes are pricier than synthetic brushes because their base material is quite expensive. To build the perfect natural makeup brush, brands need to source the right kind of natural fibers for different types of brushes.

Natural makeup brushes are often handcrafted. Since there’s a lot of labor involved in manufacturing them, it’s understandable that they’re more expensive than their synthetic counterparts.

Is There a Difference in How They Work?

Synthetic makeup brushes have improved over the years, which makes them fit to use for almost all kinds of products. The best part about them has to be that they’re a lot easier to maintain and clean up. 

Natural hair makeup brushes can get damaged the more they’re washed. Synthetic brushes, on the other hand, can be disinfected with alcohol, and that won’t dry out their bristles. 

But you should note that makeup artists all over the globe use both kinds of brushes because they believe they serve different purposes. Products that are talc-based are known to work better with natural makeup brushes because their bristles are a lot more porous and fine. 

Synthetic makeup brushes aren’t known for their absorption quality, which is why they’re used with cream and liquid products. They provide for a denser look, whereas natural makeup brushes are used for a smoother application. 

Another benefit of synthetic makeup brushes is that they can be maintained quite easily, and you won’t have to worry about shedding. They’re also ideal for waterproof gels or greasepaints (for prosthetic makeup artists). 

A word of advice: before shopping for natural or synthetic brushes, make sure to do your research. The more you know about this subject, the smarter your decision will be!

Natural Makeup Brushes and Animal Cruelty

It’s true that using real animal hair in makeup brushes can fall under animal cruelty. PETA is strictly opposed to makeup brands that manufacture natural makeup brushes and has even stated on its official website that animals go through extreme torture before they’re slaughtered, and their hair is shaved, just so these makeup brushes can be made.

If you’re always on the lookout for cruelty-free makeup brushes, then synthetic makeup brushes are your safest bet. 

Some makeup brands, including BareMinerals and Zoeva, have publicly stated that no animals are harmed during the making of their makeup brushes and also offer synthetic makeup brushes for people who are against animal cruelty. 

Best Natural and Synthetic Makeup Brushes on the Market

Now that you’ve learned the pros and cons of both types of brushes, it’ll be a lot easier for you to make up your mind the next time you’re out shopping for makeup brushes.

If you’re willing to spend the extra money on natural makeup brushes that go through a much longer production process, then you should definitely give these two makeup brushes a try. You’ll find that they’re exceptional with powder-based products.

However, if you prefer cruelty-free products or have animal-related allergies, then synthetic makeup brushes are perfect for you, especially if you’re on a budget. Here are two makeup brushes that deserve an honorable mention!

Bottom Line

Do your research about the kind of makeup brush you need for your skin type and what kind of finish you’re looking for to find the perfect makeup brush. If you want brushes that are easier to maintain, then synthetic brushes are ideal for you, but if you prefer a smoother finish to a denser application, then, by all means, go for natural makeup brushes.

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