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What is a Lip Brush?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 21, 2024
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A lip brush is a makeup application tool. It is used to apply lipstick or lip gloss evenly to the lips. A lip brush typically has short, soft, smooth bristles, which are often retractable to prevent damage in a bag or makeup case. There are many good reasons to use a specially designed brush to apply lipstick or lip gloss, instead of directly from the tube.

Using a lip brush to apply lip cosmetics allows one to use less of the lipstick or lip gloss. A brush allows the cosmetic product to be applied lightly, smoothly, and evenly without needing to apply multiple coats. Lip brushes are designed to apply lip cosmetics with precision, preventing the smudging of lipstick outside the lip line.

In addition, a lip brush is often used to blend lip liner and lipstick together on the lips. This application technique prevents the lip liner from looking too severe and defined, giving a more natural appearance to the lips. As most professionals know, blending makeup is the only way to make it look soft and natural, professional-looking, but not overdone.

A lip brush may be dipped right into a lip gloss tin or tube of lipstick, though some choose to squeeze a small amount of lip gloss onto the back of their hand or onto a makeup tray and dip the brush into it that way. It is important to never share lip brushes with anyone else. In addition, it may be a good idea to have one or two lip brushes for darker cosmetic colors, as well as one or two for lighter colors, to prevent unwanted mixing.

It is necessary to regularly maintain and clean lip brushes by washing them gently with warm water and shampoo. After they are washed, reshape them and lay them flat to dry. Lip brushes should be replaced at least once a year, as with any other makeup application tool. It may be necessary to replace them more often if the bristles start to fray or become stiff, however.

Lip brushes may be found in the cosmetics section of most stores. They may be sold individually, or in packs of other makeup application brushes for the face and eyes. When purchased individually, a lip brush is comparable in price to any other makeup application brush. It is a good idea to purchase a retractable lip brush unless it is certain that it will always be kept safely in a case.

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Discussion Comments
By serenesurface — On Jul 15, 2013

A lip make-up brush is great for filling in the lips perfectly but it takes so long to work with it! I don't use one unless I'm using a dark lip color or unless I need to re-shape my lips.

By turquoise — On Jul 14, 2013

@simrin-- I don't think that there is a "best" lip brush. I actually use a small eye shader brush as a lip brush. It works just fine. I recommend going with any small brush that will give you precise application. I don't see the point of buying a lip brush because that's all I will be able to use it for. I like multi-functional makeup brushes.

As for the type, I think both natural or synthetic hair will be fine, although natural might be harder to clean. You need an oil based cleaner to clean lip brushes. Otherwise, they will remain sticky.

By SteamLouis — On Jul 13, 2013

Does anyone use a lip cosmetic brush on a regular basis?

I want to buy one but I'm not sure where to start. Should I got for a basic one or a professional one? Should it have natural hair or synthetic hair? I'm very confused. Any recommendations?

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