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What Are Kabuki Brushes & How To Use Them?


Traditional Japanese Kabuki theatres - which trace their roots back to the 1600s - were known for highly stylized drama performance and actors with elaborate makeup.

Preceding each performance was a ritual of makeup application, where large and dense makeup brushes were used in order to cover the actors’ skin with makeup. These came to be known as Kabuki brushes.


Today, Kabuki brushes are available to be used in our everyday makeup routines. Morning or night! They can come in a variety of shapes: flat, rounded, angles and dome.

While each shape is used for achieving different results with your makeup, generally, the goal of all kabuki brushes is to create soft, airbrushed, poreless-looking skin.


A traditional Kabuki brush is large and rounded in shape. It is used for buffing in your foundation or powder into your skin, in order to polish it into the perfect coverage.

The key to using a Kabuki brush? Blending in rounded motions! This is how you get that poreless “JLo skin” that looks soft and dewy under any lighting.

If you’re lucky enough to own several Kabuki brushes in various shapes, this is how to use them to achieve makeup perfection:

1. Flat Kabuki: the flat shape will line with the surface of your skin, to give you an even distribution of foundations and tinted moisturizers, for a poreless-looking finish. Also use the Flat Kabuki brush to apply mineral powders over your foundation, in order to “set it” in place

Pirouette Rounded Kabuki Brush

2. Rounded Kabuki: the slightly rounded shape is ideal for buffing in pigmented powders to your cheeks. These are bronzers, highlighters and blushes. To give your cheeks a pearly glow, its best to use your Kabuki brush in rounded motions when applying the blush.

3. Angled Kabuki: used for contouring your face, which is another word for creating angles with natural shadows on your skin. Use the Angled Kabuki (and dark pigment) to shade in your natural shadows: the hollows of your cheeks, the sides of your nose, above your eyebrows and your jawline.

 Pirouette Angled Kabuki Brush

Pirouette Rounded Dome Bursh

4. Dome Kabuki: used for blending in multicolored concealers during the process of contouring and highlighting. So if you’ve applied white powder under your eyes, dark concealer to the hollows of your cheeks and green concealer to your chin (to combat redness), go over each area in rounded motions, slowly blending one “territory” into the other


    A good quality Kabuki brush is soft, dense and has no bristle fallout.

    Choose a brush that isn’t made with animal hair. Despite many outdated myths about the perceived benefits of animal-hair brushes, they, in fact, contain pores, which absorb old and dirty makeup over time. Vegan brushes do not, which leaves them hygienic after every wash.

    Vegan brushes are also 100% cruelty-free, whereas animal-hair brushes are made with fur that comes from the cruel fur-industry.

    Kabuki brushes are either made with short & stubby handles or longer, yet fuller handles than normal brushes. Wooden handles are superior to plastic or aluminum – they are heavier, allowing for an ergonomically better distribution of weight during usage.

    Want to see exampled of makeup looks created with kabuki brushes? Come by our Instagram.




    Mar 02, 2016 • Posted by Rebecca Haack

    Yay for vegan makeup brushes! Thanks for talking about cruelty-free products!

    Mar 02, 2016 • Posted by PIROUETTE PROFESSIONAL

    Hi Rachelle! You can definitely use the Rounded Kabuki (K02 in the case of the Pirouette Collection) to apply your foundation. The major difference between the Rounded and the Flat are their shapes – each is created to work with the surface of the skin in a way that would create the best finished result. Let us know if more questions come up, we’re happy to help :)

    Mar 02, 2016 • Posted by Rachelle R.

    I’m thinking of getting the Rounded Kabuki brush, do you think I can also use it to apply foundation or is it strictly for powders? Is there a difference in how they are made, based on what you use them for?

    Feb 22, 2016 • Posted by Anisah B

    Thank you for this! Been looking for a proper explanation of how to use kabukis for a while. And beautiful instagram account btw!

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