FAN MAIL FRIDAYS: The Difference Between Animal and Synthetic Brushes

Happy Friday to everybody! Our compelling question for today's Fan Mail Fridays segment is from one of my new readers, Sam. She asks:

Hi Martha!
 First of all, I love your blog. I just found out about it last month because I was searching for reviews of Charm's Kabuki Brush. And I'm already hooked!
I'm just a makeup newbie, and I'm trying my best to learn about makeup one step at a time. (I have a loooot of catching up to do!) Currently, I'm into makeup brushes. I just want to ask: What's the difference between animal hair and synthetic hair brushes? Which brush type is better? Thanks in advance and more power!

Left: Charm Essentials Vegan Retractable Blush Brush
Right: Charm Powder Brush from the Limited Edition Sonia Travel V3 Pro Collection (Animal Hair)

Hi Sam!

Wee! So glad to know that you like my blog. And welcome to The Beauty Junkee! :)

Not a lot of people know that beyond the actual texture, feel, and look, there is a scientific difference between animal and synthetic brushes and this is what I'm going to break down for everyone today.

Click READ MORE and start learning!

Left: Charm Pencil Point Brush made from Synthetic Hair
Right: Charm Wet/Dry Eyeshadow Brush made from Animal Hair

Let's get to know first the different types of animal and synthetic bristles:

Badger, Squirrel, Pony, Goat, Sable

Taklon, Nylon, Polyester

And here are their differences:


Just like human hair, Animal hair strands have microscopic, pervious holes that can hold water and store pigment. Needless to say, animal bristles can pick up a better amount of pigment. 

Synthetic bristles, on the other hand, are not naturally created so that means they don't have tiny openings in them, ergo they don't have the ability to pick up pigments as much as animal hair does-this also explains why almost all synthetic brushes are dense in form, to make up for its inability to hold pigments.


Animal hair strands are more susceptible to bacteria invasion, whereas Synthetic ones resist bacteria-in fact, there are even anti-bacterial synthetic bristles, those that do not permit bacteria from human skin to thrive and multiply in the brush.


Animal hair can get scratchy overtime, whereas Synthetic bristles, especially the high grade ones, are manufactured to stay soft. If you have sensitive skin, the best option for you would be Synthetic brushes.


When it comes to performance, animal hair works best than synthetic hair because the former can distribute and blend makeup evenly onto the skin. How does that happen? The tiny holes in it serve as a   compartment for the excess pigments and as you move the brush, the pigments get distributed gradually onto your skin, whereas synthetic bristles have the tendency to pile on makeup onto your skin since it accumulates all the pigments on its strands. Another known issue with Synthetic hair is its streakiness when it comes to makeup application.


Animal hair deteriorate eventually just like how natural things do, whereas synthetic ones can last you for a long, long time--it can even last you forever!

The kind of brush you're going to use depends on your preference and principles: If you abhor animal cruelty, then opt for synthetic bristles, although recent advancements in the beauty industry have allowed manufacturers to extract hair from animals without actually killing and torturing them, and some synthetic bristles, especially the mass- produced ones, are not at all ethically- made and sourced.

So which is the better brush type? None. At the end of the day, it all boils down to TECHNIQUE. You may have the best brush in the world but if you don't know how to use it, then it won't work. Personally, I like both types because they serve their own purpose: For the eyes, I prefer animal hair because they're great for blending while for the face, I'm good with synthetic bristles because they're gentler than the former.

I hope you guys have learned something useful today! Have a pleasant weekend! :D

**Got a burning question about makeups, skin care products, beauty, dieting, and health tips, relationships, and whatever? Just send them to or shoot 'em up at The Beauty Junkee's FB Fan Page via the MESSAGE button and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. (Please, do not send me Math- related queries. :D)

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16 Lovely Thoughts

  1. Thanks for the very informative post, Miss Martha! Have a nice weekend! :)

  2. Now I'm considering eye makeup brushes made from animal hair. :) Is it true that it is better to use animal hair when using powders? And synthetic bristles for liquid and cream products?

  3. Very helpful and informative as always :) And I agree with you, Ms.Martha, technique is more important than tools. :)

  4. this is really helpful for us who don't have much knowledge with brushes. thanks Martha:)

  5. ilove fanmailc frisdays :)
    i always wantt o send an email but dont know exactly what to ask XD because i have lots in mind. anyways i havent tried animal brushes which it is more expensive than the synthetic. i love the comparison! very detailed :)

  6. Great post Ms. Martha. Thanks for differentiate the synthetic and animal brushes.

  7. I'm a synthetic brush person all the way but I admit the finish of good animal brushes are just different! But never use animal brushes for liquid makeup though. Never ever!

  8. ohhh so un pala ang vegan, mas maganda nga naman sa marketing un kasi may ibang connotation ang synthetic e, pero they mean the same thing pala. i love my charm VEGAN flat top brush , heheh. anyway tama ka, feeling ko naman kung beginner ka palang na nagmamakeup e you would not notice these differences. technique talaga (na i have yet to learn :-(

  9. wow, i learned something new.... i hope everything is accurate info.

  10. All around pinoy mama: Hi there and welcome to my blog! Hope you're enjoying my blog. :) Have a great weekend as well! :D

    Jas: Animal hair is not really intended for liquid products because they don't apply liquid makeup well. Best option for liquid face makeup are synthetic brushes. Same goes to cream makeup. :)

    Katie Kate: Thank you! :D

    Lovie: Hi there and welcome to TBJ! :D Thank you! Glad you liked the post ! :D

    Harmony: Thank you!

    Jenny: Thank you dear! just shoot em up. :) Will try my best to answer your questions, but please read through the fan mail fridays so you won't end up asking the same question. :D

    Kay: Thank you!

    Joye: Hi there! Welcome to TBJ! Thanks for sharing your tips! :D

    Eloise: Thank you for your thoughts dear. :)

    Karen: Hi and welcome to TBJ! :D I've learned these tips from expert makeup artists, and insiders from the beauty industry. But in any case, feel free to validate whatever you have read in this post. :)

  11. very detailed and informative. Thanks Martha! we can always count on you ;)

  12. ive been looking for a cheap yet nice brushes! will surely buy the charm makeup brushes! thanks martha!

  13. these was a great review Ms. M! NO NEED TO GOOGLE IT CAUSE YOU ALREADY ANSWERED IT.thanks and keep on posting!

  14. Good points! I would definitely consider these when buying, although I must admit I'm more inclined to buy synthetic brushes because I'm an animal rights advocate. Thank you for this very educational post! Keep on it! :)

  15. thanks girls! Glad you loved this post! :D


Thank you for your comments!