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What is a Kabuki Brush and How to Use It

Get up close and personal with the flat kabuki brush (and its extended family), and learn tips for flawless makeup application

Written by: 100% PURE®
Kabuki Brushes

Still blending with the same old discolored makeup sponge? Do some spring cleaning with your beauty tools, and upgrade to a luscious brush that will have your makeup looking fresh and flawless for the upcoming season!

The brush we’re currently crushing on is none other than our Cruelty-Free Flat Kabuki Brush. If you’ve been stuck in a sponge rut — or just aren’t familiar with using this type of brush to apply your complexion products — below you’ll find a full guide on types of kabuki brushes! This includes how to use them, and what results you’ll get with each kind of application.

Type 1: the FLAT KABUKI Brush

When we think of a complexion brush, there are a few things they should all have in common: a chunky barrel and wand, and semi-full to full bristles for buffing in our beauty products. The kabuki stands out in this crowd, for its ability to create a smooth, poreless finish. Think of the flat kabuki brush as the Queen Bey of smooth and poreless. She blends, she buffs, she bakes and pretty much does it all with her unique flat design.

This brush can blend flat onto the face for building and maintaining coverage, as well as evenly distributing all product into the skin. It can also easily buff away heavily-applied product, or shear-down product for a natural, skin-like result.


How To Use the FLAT Kabuki:

This brush works best with moisturizers, primers, tinted moisturizers, thicker liquid and cream foundations, and for blemish concealing. For liquids and creams, first apply the product directly to the skin, focusing on the areas of concern. Press the brush flat onto the skin and apply soft pressure, while buffing in small, circular motions. Continue buffing until the product is well absorbed or distributed, and no streaks or buildup is detectable on the skin resulting in flawless, poreless coverage.

For powder products, simply dip the brush into the product, tapping off any excess, then press into the skin before sweeping away to seal everything in. Note: we’ll get into the best kabuki for powder products below!

Type 2: the ROUND KABUKI Brush

Imagine the flat kabuki... now instead of the flat bristle head, imagine a subtle, rounded one — similar to a hamburger bun or macaron cookie. This brush will be your go-to for blending and shading with products like powder foundations, bronzers, and blush. The rounded shape makes the edges of the application undetectable, and the shape easily sweeps into the angles and curves of the face.

How To Use the ROUND Kabuki:

With this brush, how you start will depend on the type of formula you’re using. For liquids and creams, you’ll want to first apply those directly onto the skin. Start off working in tight circular buffing motions until all products are well blended and seamless. For powder, tap into the product pan, tap once to shake off excess powder, then swipe in short strokes and gently tap onto skin.

Type 3: the ANGLED KABUKI Brush

If there were a second in line for the throne to the kabuki empire, it would be the angled kabuki. It is equally as multifunctional as the flat kabuki, but applies some of our most important beauty products – specifically highlighter, contour and blush. This slanted design works best by depositing the most product at the shortest end of the brush, while the longer area is ideal for fanning out product and sweeping along the curves of the face.

How To Use the ANGLED Kabuki:

This brush works perfectly for powder products, but isn’t as great with creams or liquids. Dip the short end into your powder contour, then gently buff along the hollow of the cheek with the long end pointing toward the ear on that side of your face. You can sweep this along the ‘rainbow’ of your forehead as well, long end closest to your hairline (and work this bad boy under the jawline for a skinny chin trick that’s better than photoshop).

Type 4: the DOME KABUKI Brush

A dome brush, despite its minimal functionality, is one that everyone should have in their collection. Tapered at the edges for a more extreme dome (rather than the gradual curve of the round kabuki), this brush is ideal for getting in narrow spots and corners, like under the eyes and around the creases of the nose. It’s great for applying powder, but also works as a highlighter brush for a very soft and diffused glow — rather than an intense beam. Most ideal for powder, this brush is going to be one of the last used in your routine.

How To Use the DOME Kabuki:

Use this brush to tap on powder under the eyes, by first dipping the brush into your product and patting into the skin. Be sure to also sweep off any excess with the tapered tip (this is especially helpful for the outer corner of your eye, and around your nostrils). You can use this brush to set concealer on the eyelids, pat around the nose – especially key for oily T zones – and around the mouth for full coverage and crisp lipstick application.

For highlighter, simply dip the tip into your glow and sweep onto the bridge of the nose, center of the forehead and high points of the cheek, with the brush slightly angled rather than pointed directly up. Use gentle sweeping motions until you’ve achieved your desired level of shine.

Love a good brush guide? Check out our ultimate cruelty-free makeup brush guide, or our spotlight on the stippling brush!

We carefully hand-select products based on strict purity standards, and only recommend products we feel meet this criteria. 100% PURE™ may earn a small commission for products purchased through affiliate links.

The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.

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