History of Makeup Brushes – From Evolution to Today

If you feel that makeup is a recent development, you are in for a shock. Have you seen the traditional Egyptian mummies painted and bedecked before their burial? Or, have you seen the ancient Red Indians with body paint all over their bodies? So if body paint was there centuries ago, there must have been brushes to paint them. Therefore, we can trace the roots of brushes right up to the start of human evolution.

However, documented history shows the use of makeup brushes as early as 500 AD to 600 AD because a bronze makeup brush was found in a Saxon cemetery somewhere during this period.

The Early Evolution of Brushes – The Pre-historic age

Humans have been painting on cave walls right since the time they evolved. Wall painting gradually transformed into body painting, making it the second oldest art form known to humans. However, mirrors were not discovered during that period. So body painting was confined mainly to those who could afford to have servants do the job. The earliest form of makeup brushes had plant fibers or animal fur tied to wooden or metal handles.

Subsequently, the invention of the mirror in the 1830s revolutionized cosmetic makeup, making it possible for humans to apply self-makeup. Though makeup procedures existed for centuries, we can deduce that the cosmetic makeup world changed in the 1840s.

The early makeup brushes – Structure

Traditionally, the brush was an extension of the human hand. In addition, the conventional artist’s brush was designed to paint on a canvas. Therefore, it was challenging to use the brush to apply self-makeup. However, things improved with time as the brushes started becoming lighter in weight and more dexterous to use.

Initially, the raw materials for bristles were plant fibers and animal hair. However, plant fibers are usually thick and harsh. Therefore, animal hair gained popularity, with almost all makeup brush bristles made from natural hair extracted from animals like goats, ponies, and sables.

The brushes in the early times were crude, with the bristles tied to wooden handles. With the invention of different metals, brush manufacturers started manufacturing metal handles in addition to wooden or bamboo handles. Subsequently, they began manufacturing ferrules to hold the bristles and attach them to the handles, making it convenient to produce makeup brushes of different shapes and sizes.

Animal hair is soft and fluffy. Hence, they are ideally suited for makeup brushes. Even today, professional makeup artists prefer animal hair to other alternatives because of the superior finish.

However, animal hair bristles have limitations because they require greater sterilization to maintain high-quality hygiene. Besides, animal rights activist organizations started opposing the use of animal fur for human use because of cruelty towards animals. Therefore, manufacturers intensified their search for alternative raw materials for making makeup brushes.

The invention of synthetic fibers like nylon and others made it convenient for manufacturers to try these options. As a result, the best makeup brush manufacturers began producing high-quality synthetic fibers that could equal the performance of animal hair.

Makeup brush structure – The gradual evolution

In the early days, makeup brush handles were made of wood or bamboo. Gradually, manufacturers started using metals like aluminum and copper for making ferrules and brush handles. The metal ferrules are the best because they allow manufacturers to stick the bristles and clamp the ferrules to hold them tight. In addition, it takes care of the problem of makeup bristles disentangling from the brush and falling off.

The invention of plastic made it convenient for manufacturers to make attractive brushes in different colors, shapes, and sizes. Besides, plastic is comparatively cheaper than metal. So it enables makeup brush manufacturers to reduce production costs and overall pricing. It also allows automation and mass manufacturing of makeup brushes.

Even though automation is present in makeup brush manufacturing factories, a significant proportion of makeup brush activity is manual. The manual activities include sorting the fibers or animal hair according to the brush category, shape, and size. Even today, many factories use manual labor to stick the bristles to the ferrules and the ferrules to the handles.

Makeup Brushes – Different types

In the early times, makeup brushes were unidimensional. However, the improving technology allowed manufacturers to create different brushes for various makeup procedures. For example, the foundation brush, Kabuki brush, and powder brush are excellent for applying foundation cream, powder, or gel. In addition, specialized brushes are available for applying eye makeup. Similarly, nose and lip jobs have specifically designed brushes. Therefore, the changes have been consistent over time.

Improved communication channels and social media have made it convenient for manufacturers and wholesale dealers to get customer feedback and adapt accordingly. For example, disposable brushes are in high demand today. So new trends get incorporated fast worldwide, with consumers getting the best of all facilities.

Makeup Brush Manufacturing Epicenter

Initially, makeup brushes were made in Egypt. But China and Japan have taken over to become the biggest makeup brush manufacturing hubs in the world today. China has a labor-intensive economy coupled with the latest technology in makeup brush manufacturing. As a result, Chinese brushes are in demand throughout the globe.

Queen Brush is among the top makeup brush manufacturers today. We manufacture all kinds of makeup brushes and export them globally to a well-established market. Almost all the leading makeup brush brands have their origins in China. We offer excellent facilities like customization, where we adapt our designs according to wholesale buyer requirements.

We share samples with prospective buyers and incorporate the suggested changes to cater to our customers’ demands. Facilities like affixing brand logos on the makeup brushes make it convenient for brands to create their reputations. These features make it attractive for wholesale makeup brush dealers to order their requirements from us.

Final Thoughts

Makeup brushes have existed since time immemorial in one form or the other. There has been tremendous technological evolution in makeup brush designs as manufacturers adapt to the latest fashion trends. Today, you have makeup brushes in multiple configurations, catering to every cosmetic procedure with excellent efficiency.

The best aspect is that the process is continuously evolving. Therefore, we expect new designs to be introduced that take the manual labor out of the manufacturing process. Time alone will tell.  

If you want to play a part in makeup brush evolution and are searching for an OEM makeup brush supplier, send us an inquiry now!  



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I am from QueenBrush. We are a leading professional makeup brush manufacturer in China. We offer a variety of makeup brush options. Get an instant quote for your projects now!

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