The Great Brush Debate: Natural or Synthetic?

The staggering amount of makeup brushes on the market is overwhelming. The best way to navigate through the endless sea of brushes is to understand that quality is esential. Whether it's natural or synthetic, a cheaply made brush will deliver horrible results and deteriorate in a matter of months.  Luckily for you, I have already navigated many brands in my search for perfect brushes, and will list my favourites at the end of this article.

Bristle type is an important consideration when purchasing brushes. Many makeup artists feel very strongly one way or the other. I personally am yet to find a synthetic brush that blends as well as natural haired, however, there is room for both in a professional makeup kit.

Natural haired brushes are often made from sable, squirrel or goat hair. These hairs are coveted for their softness, visual appeal and functionality. They are often viewed as the staple option of makeup brushes, because, until recently, synthetic fibers did not compare in quality or price.

Today, synthetic filaments are specifically designed to enhance makeup brush functionality and performance. Nylon, Tacklon and Polyester can be processed to look and feel like the finest quality natural hair. 



  •  A natural bristle is the is touted as the only type that will easily pick up powder and transfer it to the face. This is due to the microscopic surface texture that animal hairs have (called the cuticle). Resembling fish scales, cuticles grab and hold onto powder, then releasing it when it's brushed up against another surface. This is why natural haired brushes are often referred to as the best choice for powder products.
  • BUT, synthetic fiber's have now been developed to replicate the cuticle texture. DuPont laboratories created a patented polyester filament called Natrafil, which they claim surpasses the pick up and deposit performance of natural hair. Combine this with the added quality and durability of synthetic brushes, and you are surely onto a winner. 
  • Synthetic brushes are vegan and cruelty free. If a company tries to tell you they have cruelty free natural haired brushes- they are lying! 
  • Synthetic brushes harbour less bacteria and are easier to clean and disinfect.
  • Natural hair brushes blend powders like a dream. I personally think nothing compares to a soft goat hair blending brush (brush manufacturers, I dare you to prove me wrong).


  •  Traditionally, synthetic fibers do not hold on to powder well. When dusting powder on the face, a cheap synthetic brush will often create a massive cloud, depositing powder all over your clothes and sink, but not on your face. This is why it's important to research the quality of your brushes.
  • Natural bristle brushes must be cleaned regularly, especially when being used with liquid products, as they are a breeding ground for bacteria. If your face is breaking out regularly, and your skincare routine is solid, then look at how often you are cleaning your foundation brushes.
  • Unfortunately, constant use and cleaning of natural hair brushes often breaks down fragile hair fibers. 

High Quality Synthetic Brushes:

High Quality Natural Hair Brushes: