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Much like blending out a smoky eye or accentuating your bone structure with highlighter, when it comes to applying lipstick, your brush can make the job a whole lot easier. The best lip brushes will vary slightly depending on what kind of look you're going for and your own personal preferences, but according to Dani Schmidt, global makeup artist for Sigma Beauty, they all have one thing in common: synthetic bristles. "Natural-haired brushes tend to fray, which defeats the purpose [when creating] a perfected lip," Schmidt explains, noting that a good synthetic brush will better hold and apply product than a brush made with animal hairs.
Determining which brush is right for you will depend on the type of lipstick you’re using. If you're using a traditional cream lipstick, Schmidt recommends a small, round-end brush to line the lips (like the Sigma Beauty L04 Detailed Lip Brush). With liquid lipstick, she says that you'll get more of a precise line with a tight liner brush (like the Sigma Beauty L06 Precise Lip Line Brush). "Instead of dipping your brush directly into your lip product, put your lip product on a palette or a clean surface and dip your brush in from there," Schmidt advises. "This allows you to have total control over the amount of product that you pick up on your brush, and you can even mix your own custom color this way."
And as for cleaning your lip brush, Schmidt notes that the same rules apply as with cleaning your regular makeup brushes. "It's recommended that you give your brushes a deep clean once a week," she says. "This helps eliminate product buildup and bacteria that could lead to unwanted skin issues.” Schmidt adds that you'll also want to wipe off any pigment between uses to eliminate any color cross-contamination.
Keep scrolling to shop the best lip brushes for precise detailing and filling in your lips, including another one of Schmidt's go-to brushes.
1. The Pro’s Pick
"This is my favorite for filling in the lips," Schmidt says of the Sigma Beauty L05 Lip Brush. "It's flat with a rounded tip, which makes it quick and easy to swipe on any color,” she explains. As Schmidt recommended earlier, the brush is made from synthetic, antimicrobial fibers that are also cruelty-free and vegan. Sigma Beauty's brush is also unique in that the handle can be detached and turned into a cap so that you can throw it in your makeup bag for touchups without having to worry about it getting dirty.
2. Best Lip Brush For Liquid Lipstick
If you prefer liquid lipstick, you'll need a tight liner brush, which allows for the most precision possible. The Bdellium Tools Studio 761 Tight Liner has a blunt edge that traditionally makes it great for lining along the lash line with eye shadow or gel liner, but it’s just as good for using on your lips. It's made from synthetic and vegan fibers, so there's no fraying or fall out. Schmidt notes that you can also use concealer with this brush to "clean the edges up and make your lips stand out."
3. Best Dual-Ended Lip Brush
To eliminate the need for multiple brushes, this retractable lip brush has two different brushes on each side. One houses a sharper, pointed brush for lining the lips, and on the other is a brush with rounded edges, which is better for filling. The brushes are made from synthetic fiber bristles, and each side is fully retractable.
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Whether you’re wearing a cream or liquid lipstick, you should always exfoliate your lips first (or make it a habit to do so a few times a week), as that will remove any dead, flaky skin, which, in turn, will allow your lipstick to glide on much more smoothly. You can use a lip scrub, but those can be a bit messy — even easier is an exfoliating lip brush. With this $5 purchase, you’ll get two double-sided lip brushes, both made of gentle silicone that’s easy to keep clean. These can also help make your lips look plumper and pinker, in addition to super-smooth and soft.
Dani Schmidt, global makeup artist for Sigma Beauty