Choosing a line of brushes – how to narrow down your choices.

Brushes by Karen is a New York based, private label manufacturer / wholesaler of Cosmetic Brushes and a Natural Makeup line (Both mineral based as well as infused with Certified Organic ingredients. They were established in 1988 and continue to have very low minimums for both the stock line and custom to this day.  Many famous makeup artists started out with a brush from Karen.

Brushes by Karen

The proper tool selection is a personal preference – Karen suggests that you try a few different styles to see what works best for your own needs. “Because we are B2B and only sell to the professional for resale vs. the consumer, most of our clients are already well aware of what they like to work with. However, sometime it can be an overwhelming choice for somebody just starting out” says Karen.

Here is a guide on choosing brushes.

When choosing a line of brushes –narrow it down to two categories

THE BASICS (Must Haves)

THE OPTIONALS (What you can get by without, but you’ll love if you have it).

THE BASICS: What every good makeup artist should have:

POWDER BRUSH:  Dust on finishing powders, as well as a light touch of bronzing powders that won’t look over done. Choose a large, soft brush. A large brush with a full body will pick up just the right amount of powder to dust it smoothly and evenly so your face never looks powdery.  Super soft bristles will feel like heaven when dusted over your clients face. Go all out and get a large, full, soft and silky powder brush. Your face will thank you for it. Try the jumbo synthetic versions that mimic squirrel hair with the softness and product delivery without the cost or the animal.

BLUSH BRUSH:  The most important thing is that it must be the right size. Smile, and place the brush against the apple of your cheek. If it perfectly fits, you’ve got the right size. Too big? You’ll end up getting blush everywhere you don’t want it too. Too small and you’ll end up streaking your blush and not getting enough on.  And you thought it was just the product that made the difference?

ANGLE EYE BRUSH:  Get a thin, firm, flat straight cut angle brush. Choose one that is firm enough for filling in eyebrow color, yet soft enough to apply eyeliner.  Sable or synthetic, taklon work best; Powders will cling to it, gel liners will glide along happy with it! Brow powders will go on and stay in place. This is a must-have brush for everyone!

SHADOW BRUSH:  This brush should fit the size of the eye lid. Great for applying colors and large sweeps of color on the lid and to the crease. The right, size chisel cut brush can also double as great blending tool. Choose one or two sizes.  A fluffy pony hair blend will do the trick or you might want to splurge for squirrel!  Ideally, you will need a few sizes & shapes.

LIP BRUSH:  A sable or a taklon (for durability) tapered lip brush. In a size large enough to fill in your lips with lipstick in several strokes.  A retractable version will travel in a woman’s pocketbook for easy touch ups.

CONCEALER BRUSH:  Choose a taklon bristle for spot applying & blending concealer.  Covers imperfections on the face and blends them to a smooth finish.  Depending on the size and shape this can also double as a lip brush.  Just make sure to clean between applications.

KABUKI BRUSH: (Only in the “Must Haves” for Mineral Makeup Application)  The ideal companion and staple for applying mineral foundation powders.  Kabuki brushes are available in several sizes, colors and qualities. These little face buffers fit beautifully into the hand while the soft, densely packed bristles offer superb application. From the most coveted Squirrel Kabuki to the new 100% Synthetic Versions and lots of styles in-between to choose from!  There are also synthetic jumbo buffers that are great alternative versions with a handle.


EYELINER BRUSH:  (The long, thin, pointed version) Apply your liners as you want (not too thick, not too thin). Just perfect placement every time where bristles stay accurate and precise, use after use.

CREASE BRUSH:   The incredibly soft, pointed brush applies eye contour color so soft, it looks airbrushed. Used in a windshield wiper motion, it will soften & blend previously placed colors. Smaller, shorter versions of this shape brush can be used for highlighters on the brow bone to smudging of liners.  If your budget is limiting you, look for brushes that are mulch-functional.  A duo brush perhaps (two brushes on one handle).

FOUNDATION BRUSH: Perfect for the just right amount of foundation every time. A brush applies it on the surface of the skin and makes the skin look perfectly opaque. A nice option to a sponge. Most popularly known for use with creams & liquids, however try it with pressed foundation powders.  Works like a charm with less powder residue breaking up the pan.  Using a pressing method, it will naturally paint the face in a sheer thin layer that will cover flawlessly without looking over done. This method also helps the product to adhere to the skin longer.

SPOOLY BRUSH:  Shaped like a mascara brush – use to separate lashes between coats of mascara.  Works great to tame brows into place.

And so many more…But this is a good basic start.

Add a new brush; learn a new trick as you go!

Contact the staff at Brushes by Karen:
Brushes by Karen / ColorStrokes Cosmetics
216 East Second Street, Mineola, NY 11501
Tel/ 516 739-7788      ●    Fax/516 739-7711      ●

Natural Organic Lipsticks in Stock

Natural Organic Lipsticks are Vegan, Gluten Free & ready for your own company name to be added to them!

We are kicking off spring with a beautiful bouquet of 7 scrumptious shades.

3 Spring Trend Shades / 4 Spring Fling Shades!

All Natural 85% Organic Vegan Gluten Free Cruelty Free USA Made

ALL NATURAL with Certified Organic Ingredients! Our new line of Lipsticks are all Vegan and Gluten Free!
Organic anti-oxidant rich Jojoba, Avocado & Coconut oils deeply nourish & moisture lips. Naturally derived Organic Butters (Mango, Cocoa & Capuacu) are soothing,hydrating & also have regenerative properties to help heal dry lips & improve elasticity. Preservative-free formula!

Natural Organic Vegan Lipsticks


Spring is in the air!


We are happy to introduce our New
Lipsticks – starting with our Spring Shades.
Additional colors to be announced soon!
Stock up on our Spring Picks.
They are 15% off in March & April & are sure to be
your  top sellers this season!

Natural/Organic Lipsticks

Organic antioxidant-rich jojoba, Avocado & Coconut oils deeply nourish & moisturize lips.
Naturally derived Organic Butters (Mango, Cocoa & Cupuacu) are soothing, hydrating & also have regenerative properties to help heal dry lips & improve elasticity.

Lipstick Packaging
Matte Black Packaging
in Clear Frosted Boxes


 All Natural
85% Organic
Gluten Free
Cruelty Free
USA Made



Natural Organic Private Label Lipsticks


Natural/Organic Lip Glosses

New Shades are now Vegan and Gluten Free
Antioxidant rich botanical extracts & essential oils, Coconut
and Shea butters keep lips hydrated & protected with a
beautiful shine.


 All Natural
90% Organic
Gluten Free
Cruelty Free
USA Made





Orange You pretty!

This season, Orange really is the new Black!
We’re seeing loads of Bold Orange lips! We’ve toned it down a bit with our new Natural Lipstick in Coral Kisses.This shade is sure to become a staple in your makeup kit year round. Just enough color to brighten up your smile without screaming “Look at Me!”

Wanna amp it up a bit? Top it off with our Natural Lip Gloss in What a Drama Queen. This darker pop of Orange is surprisingly easy to wear. You will be amazed at how many skin tones it works with. Wear it over lipstick or alone. Pare it with Mineral Blush in Mocha. This soft and natural color can be applied all over as a light bronzer. For this look… Keep everything else simple. Let the lips speak for themselves.

Think Spring, Think Pink!

Our beautiful new pink lineup starts with a sheer, yet creamy lipstick in Precious Pink. So soft, so pretty, soooo my new favorite color! This girl is putting down the nudes and browns for a change. I’m gonna be pretty ‘n pink this season.

Our new gloss in Tickled is a high pigmented shade of the perfect pink and I can’t decide if I love it more alone or on top of the lipstick. With its all natural ingredients and its subtle vanilla scent – it looks and feels good enough to eat! The Precious Mineral Blush is so soft and pretty, it just helps complete the whole picture.

Keep a soft simple girl next door look or add a little drama with a playful cat eye. Yes, the cat eye is still going strong! How you wear it will determine if you’re a cat or a kitten. Meow!

Radiant Orchid is the Pantone Shade of the Season!

Radiant ‘N Orchid
By now you’ve heard that Radiant Orchid is the Pantone color of the year. We will be seeing a lot of this color from lips, eyes, nails & clothes. Our wearable runway take on this trend will have you radiant all year round!

Our new lipstick in Sweet Pea is the perfect compliment of the season’s biggest shade without being over done. This softly frosted, creamy shade will become a staple in your makeup kit and a favorite in your clients makeup bag year round.

The new natural Lip Gloss in Wild Orchid is already a BBK staff favorite. Add it to the bottom center lip of the Sweat Pea for a little dazzle, but go ahead… be brave, dare to be radiant! and wear it by itself. Surprisingly this bluefish purple delight looked just as good on our fair skinned staffers as it did on our darker, olive skin gals.

We paired this with our Mineral Blush in Precious. A soft, clear pink that adds a touch of innocence. Applied to the apples of cheeks and swept across the eyelid –then finished the look with black liner and mascara. Radiant! Naturally & Organically!

Get The Full Report:

BBK Spring/Summer
Trend Report 2014

Click Image above to download
the full report (with more detailed information)
BBK Spring Trend 2014

Details of sale:
Must be a minimum met order, both placed and fully paid for in March or April 2014.
Discount is subject to availability at time of purchase (no back orders).
If placing a custom fill or printed order, all product on that order must be paid in advance for discount to apply.
Can not be combined with any other discount or offer.


Lip Gloss Guveaway Winners Are Announced!

Our winners have been announced on facebook!
heart lips
We will be contacting you all personally and sending your lip glosses to you.
Winners will be receiving a full set of our Natural / Organic Lip Glosses – 10 shades.



This all natural, safe and nontoxic Mascara is infused with conditioning Organics. The long wearing and gentle mascara, coats, thickens & lengthens each lash without flaking, clumping or smudging. The formula is 100% Natural, 85% organic and is free from artificial colors, preservatives & fragrances making it ideal for sensitive
ColorStrokes Newest Mascara’ is…
– 100% Natural
– Loaded with Certified Organic Ingredients (85% of the formula)
– Vegan
– Gluten Free
– 2 shades in stock (Black and Brown) Custom colors available.
– Private Label – waiting for your very own brand name.