Nail Art Brushes Buying Guide

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Nail Art Brushes Buying Guide

Getting a manicure or a pedicure is a wonderful way to pass the time and take good care of the hands and feet. These manicures, in particular, can become works of art with the use of a nail art brush and some paint. Nail art brushes are very small paint brushes designed for painting directly onto the nail surface in acrylic nail paint. Those skilled in using these tools are able to produce some eye-catching designs. Therefore, anyone interested in creating their own nail art first needs to invest in a few brushes. Buyers must note when buying nail art brushes there are plenty of options to choose from. It is also important to consider what kind of material the brush is made from before purchasing it. After buying, take the time to learn how to care for those bristles without damaging them to ensure they last a long time. Nail art brushes are sold in health and beauty stores, retail stores, through health and beauty supply companies, and online website retailers and sites like eBay.

Types of Nail Art Brushes

Nail artists rely on a few different types of brushes to create beautiful nail art. These brushes are all small, but some are round, flat, or even fan shaped. Artists use these brushes to create simple abstract designs and shapes or draw graphic images in nail polish. The type of design or technique used, usually dictates what kind of brush the nail artist chooses. However, some effects can be created with multiple types of brushes.




Angular Brush

Short, flat, angled brush; cut at forty-five degree angle

Draws intricate designs; perfect for creating slants and angles

Grass Comb Brush

Short, flat brush; separated bristles, uneven lengths

Dry brush techniques; airbrush effects, grass, feathers and leaves

Stripette Brush

Medium, very few bristles; round

Vertical, horizontal lines; netting, wisps; long, thin wavy ribbons

Striper Brush

Long, very few bristles; round

Thick or thin lines; elongated; weight depends on amount of paint on bristles

Detailer Brush

Short, flat, flat topped bristles

Intricate work; flowers, shells, and bell shapes

Crooked Detailer

Angled shaft; short round brush, uneven bristles

Fine details, outlines; highlights, can be used angle side up or down


Stainless steel, not a brush; tiny, ball point tip

Dot; uneven marbling, lines, creating textured swirls

Fan Brush

Medium, flat, wide ends on bristles; fan shaped

Airbrush effects; streaks; mix of paints on brush create gradient effects

Shader Brush

Short, flat, flat topped bristles

Applying backgrounds, create larger images; load with two different colours for blended effects

Liner Brush

Short, round point, few bristles

For short strokes; smile lines, fine details; outlines, contour shapes

Not all of these brushes are required to create nail art, but having all of them in the kit ensures there are plenty of options for creating designs. Most experienced nail artists can get by with just two brushes for simple designs, such as the detailer and the stripper brush. These two brushes are the most flexible and useful for a wide range of designs. The most important thing about choosing brushes for nail art is that they be small and thin enough to do the work.

Materials Used in Nail Art Brushes

Nail artists essentially have two different materials to choose from for their brushes. Each of these materials offers various benefits for use and longevity.


The synthetic brush is the most affordable, and longest lasting brush an artist can purchase. Synthetic fibres used on these brushes are made from acrylic, or nylon. Since plastic fibres like these are naturally smooth, manufacturers treat the fibre with an acid to create microscopic pits in the bristles. These pits act as small collectors for acrylic paint, so that artists can pick up as much paint as desired in a brush when painting someone’s nails. The ends of the bristles are also stacked in different lengths and the bristles are of different widths to help create a natural feel to the brush.

Natural Hair

Despite the availability of synthetic brushes, many artists still prefer to use natural hair. Brushes can be made from a few different types of natural hair including sable, squirrel, goat, mongoose, camel, boar, and pony. Kolinsky sable is the highest quality natural hair used for brushes because it is soft, smooth, points nicely, and carries lots of water. Squirrel hair brushes are very soft and absorbent, The problem is that this type of brush is too soft and does not have the kind of stiffness needed to draw a nice line on the nail. Not a lot of nail artists like using squirrel hair brushes, but they can be utilised for painting background and filling large areas. Lower quality and more affordable brushes are generally made from boar, goat, and horse hair. These are stiffer, but coarse, and may not apply as smooth of a stroke. These brushes are also able to withstand harsher chemicals like acetone, turpentine, and paint thinners.

Nail Art Brush Care

Just like any other brush used for painting, the nail art brush must be cleaned after it is used. Since nail art involves painting with acrylic nail polish, the brushes require something stronger than standard soap and water for cleaning up. These tools need acetone to remove the acrylic from the bristles. Keep a small container of nail polish remover nearby when applying nail art. Rinse off the brushes in the acetone in between colours of polish, and immediately after using the brushes to clean them. The next day, slide the brush over an acetone soaked pad to remove any remnants of acrylic still clinging to the bristles. After this, soak the brushes in warm water to restore the bristle shape. Do not leave the bristles soaking upside down for long because that causes them to bend and lose their point. Remove the brushes from the water, pat dry, and shape with your fingers. Store the cleaned brushes bristle side up.

Stiff Brushes

Nail art brushes that are stiff and hard have been allowed to dry with some nail polish remaining in the bristles. It is possible to restore these brushes with some tender, loving care. Suspend the brushes in a small amount of acetone for an hour. This helps to soften the dried acrylic. To keep the brush tip from bending, suspend the brush so that it hangs into the acetone without touching the bottom of the container. A clothespin is handy for clipping a brush end to the side of a container, or to a pencil or small stick that spans the diameter of the container. Rinse the bristles clean, carefully pulling off any visible acrylic. If the brushes are still stiff or clumped together, repeat the process.

Buying Nail Art Brushes on eBay

You can usually buy nail art brushes in kits of four to fifteen on eBay. This is a good way to save money on buying individual brushes at the store. These brushes are perfect for painting interesting designs on the nails of clients or friends and family members. When looking for brushes on eBay, the search engine is your best bet for finding them fast. To use the search engine, just enter the search term into the engine bar on any page of the site. You can use anything related to the products as the search term, such as "Nail Art Kit &" and the site can find matching product listings and return them in a search results page. 

Local Sellers

You can make sure that your nail art brushes arrive quickly by using a seller that lives close to your location. To narrow down your search results to just those living in the local area, click on the "Distance &" refinement. This is visible on the search results page. Enter your postcode, and then select the search radius you want. The radius can be a minimum of ten miles and a maximum of two thousand miles. The website automatically updates the search results to display only those from sellers living closest to you.


Nail artists can choose from many different types of nail art brushes for their work. These brushes are all small, narrow, and usually have a fine or flat point. They are each designed to create a unique kind of design from dots, to wispy lines, to painting broad areas. Synthetic brushes and natural hair brushes are the two options for brush materials. Synthetic brushes are made from nylon or acrylic. These fibres are treated with acids to create small pits for collecting the paint. They are affordable and long-lasting. Natural hair brushes are made from sable, squirrel, goat, mongoose, camel, boar, and pony hair. The most expensive and best quality brush is made from sable hair, while the least expensive and lower quality brushes are goat, boar, and pony hair. The care of these brushes is the same, despite both being different materials. While using the brush and immediately after use clean the bristles with acetone before rinsing with warm water and allowing to air dry. Nail art brushes can be purchased at eBay.

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