How to Use Oval Makeup Brushes

Oval makeup brushes are great for a smooth makeup application and are easy to use. They have more fibers than a typical makeup brush and blend better than other varieties. You can use oval makeup brushes for several types of makeup applications, such as for foundation, contouring, blush, or eyeshadow. All you need is the right sized brush suited for each type of makeup. With a little bit of practice, your makeup will look like it was professionally done.


EditApplying Foundation and Concealer

  1. Pour some foundation on the back of your hand. Do not apply the foundation directly to the brush. Instead, pour a small amount of foundation onto the back of your hand. Then, dip the bristles of makeup brush into the foundation. If you’re applying the foundation to all of your face, then use a large brush. If you’re targeting certain areas, such as the forehead or chin, you can use a medium or small brush.[1]
    • Do not saturate the brush in foundation. If you do, you will get an uneven application. Instead, lightly dip your brush in the foundation and apply more foundation to the brush as needed.
    • You can use liquid, cream, or powder foundation.
  2. Brush the bristles over your T-zone. If you are applying foundation to your entire face, begin applying the foundation to your nose and forehead. Apply the foundation to your entire forehead, and make sure to blend well around the hairline. Then, use a pulling or buffing motion to apply the foundation up and around the sides of your nose. Then, work from the center of your forehead outwards. Use small, circular motions to blend in the foundation.[2]
  3. Use circular motions over your cheeks and chin. To create a natural look, you’ll want a thinner layer of foundation over your cheeks and chin, where the skin is more even and generally has fewer blemishes. If necessary, add more foundation to your brush and spread it out from your T-zone, moving onto your cheeks and chin. Work the brush over your cheeks, then, still using circular motions, use the brush on your chin. Go back over your cheeks and chin using small circular motions to thoroughly blend in the foundation.[3]
  4. Work your brush over your jaw and down your neck. It is important to apply foundation to the jawline and neck so that your makeup blends in with the rest of your face. Still using circular motions, work your brush over your jaw and down your neck. Make sure the foundation has been thoroughly blended in before completing your foundation application.[4]
  5. Apply concealer if necessary. After you’ve applied foundation, you can also apply concealer for additional coverage. Use a small brush since it is easier to reach certain areas with a smaller brush, such as the inner corner of the eye. Dip the brush into your liquid concealer. Then, apply it to blemished or unevenly toned areas, such as dark circles under the eyes. Once the concealer has been applied, blend using small, tapping motions with the brush.[5]
    • For pimples, simply dot the blemish with foundation and then blend.

EditUsing an Oval Brush for Contouring and Highlighting

  1. Draw a line with cream bronzer along your cheekbone. Begin by swirling a medium-sized oval brush into the cream bronzer of your choice. Then, place the brush at the hollow of your cheekbone. Use the brush to draw a line along your cheekbone. Start the line where your cheekbone begins (closest to your nose) and extend it toward your hairline. Using small circular motions or a swiping motion to blend in the bronzer. Then, repeat on the other cheek.[6]
    • You can use powdered bronzer, but it is easier to blend cream bronzer with an oval brush.
  2. Create a small arc just below your hairline. Reapply a small amount of bronzer to your oval brush. Then, sweep the brush just below your hairline, creating an arc that follows your hairline. Blend in the bronzer with small circular motions. Especially focus on blending when you move out from the center towards your eyebrows to achieve a gradient effect.[7]
  3. Contour underneath your jaw bone. Apply some bronzer just below the bones on both sides of your jaw. Applying bronzer to the jaw adds depth and gives your facial structure a sharper look. Use small circular motions to blend the bronzer in and then sweep the brush down your neck to thoroughly blend in the overall contour application.[8]
  4. Apply bronzer to the tip and sides of your nose. Complete the contouring process by contouring your nose. Don’t reapply bronzer to your brush. Instead, use whatever is leftover from contouring your jaw. Dab the brush on the tip of your nose and then sweep the brush down each side of your nose. Blend the bronzer in thoroughly.[9]
  5. Add highlighter to complete the look. After you’ve contoured with bronzer, give yourself a glow with highlighter. Dip a small oval brush into the highlighter of your choice. Swipe the brush along the top of your cheekbone toward the hairline. To add extra glow, dab the brush on the tip of your nose, chin, cupid’s bow, and the inner corners of your eyes. You can blend the highlighter with the brush or your fingers.[10]

EditPutting on Blush

  1. Smile to find the apples of your cheeks. A smile makes you appear even lovelier, but it also helps you find the best location to apply blush. Smile and locate where your cheeks “puff up.” You will apply the blush to that part of your cheeks.[11]
  2. Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks with a medium-size brush. Using circular motions apply the blush to the “puffed up” part of your cheeks. Only a small amount of blush is required. Do not spread the blush all around your cheeks, or it may look overdone. Only apply it to the rounded “apples” of your cheeks.[12]
    • You can use cream or powder blush.
    • Avoid applying blush close to your nose. It should begin on the apple of your cheek underneath the center of your eye.
  3. Blend the blush using circular motions. Using small circular motions that are directed toward your hairline, blend in the blush. Focus on blending in the edges of your blush rather than all of the blush. If you contoured, blend it in with your contour application.[13]

EditApplying Eyeshadow

  1. Choose a small oval brush. You may think that oval brushes only come in large sizes, but they don’t! You can find small oval brushes as well. These are great for applying eyeshadow as they blend well to create a beautiful, even look.[14]
  2. Sweep a light layer of eyeshadow over your lid. Dip the oval brush in the eyeshadow color of your choice. Then, gently sweep it over your eyelid to deposit the color. You can stop at the eyelid crease, or continue up to your brow bone if you’re using a very light color.[15]
  3. Define your eyelid crease with a darker color, if desired. If you prefer a more dramatic look, you can accentuate the crease of your eyelid. Use a smaller brush for your crease than your eyelid. Pick a color a few shades darker, but still in the same color, as the first eyeshadow. Sweep the brush back and forth over your eyelid crease to add definition.[16]


  • To clean your oval brush, rinse it under warm water and then wipe it with a microfiber cloth to remove product buildup. You can also buy a pad and foam specifically made to clean makeup brushes.[17]
  • Use a garment cleaner or kettle to steam your makeup brushes to get rid of residue and bacteria every month or so.[18]
  • If you’re using liquid or cream makeup, it is best to use a brush with synthetic hairs.[19]
  • Apply kohl eyeliner and use a small oval brush to smudge it for a smoky eye look.[20]


  • Clean your brushes at least once a week. If you don’t, the buildup of product can make the bristles become coarse, which can damage your face. Also, the brush will become a breeding ground for bacteria if it is not cleaned. Clean the brushes once a week, but steam them at least once a month.
  • Oval brushes pick up a lot of product, so it’s easy to apply way too much makeup by accident. Apply a small amount of product to your brush during each use. If there’s too much product on the brush, lightly shake it or tap the handle against the back of your hand to remove the excess.

EditSources and Citations

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