When I first started doing makeup I never used brushes, I preferred to use my hands or those awful little brushes that come with palettes. As I’ve come to learn more about makeup, I’ve started using brushes and will never go back!
If you’re not sure where to start with brushes or maybe don’t quite have all the ones you need, I think there are 5 essential brushes that everyone needs for their daily looks.
1) Mac 217
Everyone raves about this brush and for good reason. This is an amazing blending brush for all different types of makeup. Whether it’s your eye shadow, or your concealer, this brush is the perfect size for blending. If you are going to buy one brush from Mac, this one is 100% the way to go. I use it for eye shadows, powders or cremes. On a daily basis, I’ll use this brush one of two ways: blending out the edges of my shadow for a natural finish, or taking a darker color through my crease for a slightly contoured and smoky effect. This brush is definitely essential in my makeup bag.
2) Foundation Brush
Blending your foundation fully is one of the most important things in any makeup look. I find that having acne or any kind of blemished skin can really make foundation difficult to blend with a sponge or your fingers. I will admit that I have yet to try the Beauty Blender, which I do hear is amazing, but I prefer a brush for my foundation. It just feels so nice to buff in your makeup with a soft brush first thing in the morning. I generally will use the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, which is nice and small and perfect for the shape of my face. I will recommend a fuller, buffing foundation brush to a flat one, it just gives a more natural finish to your look. If you’re on a budget, finding a Real Techniques brush is definitely your best bet for this essential brush.
3) Blush Brush
Using one of those tiny, coarse little brushes that often come with blushers is not going to do anything to help your makeup application. A lovely fluffy blush brush is exactly what you need to get that gorgeous glow. If stuck on what kind of brush to pick, find a fluffy rounded brush (smaller than a powder brush if possible) that will fit the apples of your cheeks. Having a general fluffy brush is also awesome to use for bronzer, highlighter, and powder. I will again recommend a Real Techniques brush as I think they are great for beginner brush users or anyone on a budget. I believe there is a set of three brushes by Real Techniques that has a flat foundation brush, a blush brush, and a shadow brush (which I will talk about in a minute) that it definitely a great kit for your brush collection.
4) Concealer Brush
A lot of people will choose to blend their concealer with their fingers, but, as someone with a lot of acne and skin issues, I can safely say that brushes are much better. Not only does it give a clean, natural finish, but using brushes can keep your face a lot cleaner and less oily than using your hands. Be sure to wash your brushes regularly, ESPECIALLY a concealer brush, there is a ton of bacteria and gross stuff on there. There are three brushes that I have personally used and find to be the best for concealer. All of them are quite fluffy brushes as I think that is makes it much better for blending as well as cleaning. The first is the Mac 217 brush: just a classic fluffy brush, but very small, and has a lovely finish for under-eye concealing. The second it the Real Techniques Domed Shadow Brush: a nice, small, slightly denser brush that comes in the lovely three pack with the foundation and blush brushes I mentioned earlier. The third is the Real Techniques Setting Brush: this is my current favorite, it’s very fluffy and the perfect size and shape for every part of your face. I use it daily, definitely the perfect concealer brush for me.
5) Eye Shadow Brush
Don’t use those horrible little foam stick things that come with cheap eye shadow palettes. Just no. Trust me, I’ve used them for a very long time, and man, the bright blue, badly blended eye shadow of middle school was NOT a good look. Especially in theater, or with darker makeup looks, having a good shadow brush is essential. Now, you can use the Mac 217 brush, but I find that having a brush for blending and a brush for applying is really useful. I don’t have any particular recommendations for brushes, but a nice angled or flat rounded brush is perfect. I use this sort of brush for slightly more precise application of eye shadow and for really pressing the powder onto my lid. I don’t use a brush to apply creme shadows- only to blend them. For more shimmery eye shadows, using a brush to press the power on is much for effective than swiping it across your lid. Mac has some really great brushes, as does Real Techniques and Bobbi Brown. These kinds of brushes don’t need to be the highest quality because they don’t need to blend anything, just don’t use those little foam applicators, they are just terrible.
Well, there you go! My top 5 essential makeup brushes. If you are on a budget, buying just the Mac 217, a blush brush, and a foundation brush will really give you an excellent starting place for all of your makeup looks.