Must Have Makeup Brushes
Have you ever picked up a makeup product only to ask yourself, so how do I apply this? While some are fans of applying makeup using their fingers only, I love to use brushes! They help blend and deposit color cosmetics seamlessly without transferring dirt, germs and oils to the face. Also, if you have nails on the longer side like mine are, it can help cut down on makeup grime getting trapped underneath.
There are dozens of types of makeup brushes out there ranging from inexpensive to expensive. With these tips, I’ll help you navigate how to select your must-have makeup brushes without spending a small fortune.
Inexpensive vs. High End
The first thing to consider when purchasing makeup brushes is whether you want to go inexpensive or high end. There are some beautiful high end makeup brushes out there, but they could cost you a pretty penny, so be prepared before strolling up to the Chanel counter. Unless you are a makeup aficionado or someone that is good at not loosing track of things, I would recommend starting out with inexpensive makeup brushes. While high end brushes are often more aesthetically beautiful, they aren’t necessarily of better quality. The good thing about inexpensive makeup brushes is that if you loose one or decide you’re not a big fan of its particular application method, you don’t have to feel like you wasted a ton of money. Some of my favorite affordable brush lines are Sigma, Real Techniques (sold at Ulta) and Sonia Kashuk (sold at Target).
Synthetic vs. Natural
The second thing you should consider is whether you want to buy synthetic or natural fiber brushes. In the past, most makeup brushes were made of natural fibers (mainly from the hairs of animals) but in recent years brush companies began offering brushes made of synthetic fibers (animal bi-product free). I’m not going to lie, some of the first synthetic brushes out there were pretty junky, but they’ve improved significantly in recent times. Today, you don’t have to compromise on quality if you decide to go with synthetic. Also, this might be obvious, but if you are a vegan or generally a lover of animals, you’ll want to opt for synthetic brushes.
Some believe natural fiber brushes apply makeup better. That’s really up to you to decide through trial and error. In my experience, if you use a good quality synthetic brush like Sigma’s Mrs. Bunny kit, you’ll have no issue applying any type of makeup product.
Now that we’ve covered some basics, let’s discuss my must-have makeup brushes for eyes and face.
Must-Have Eye Brushes
Flat Shadow Brush – This is your go-to eye shadow brush which is used to pack color onto the eye lid. My main suggestion is that this brush not be too fluffy. The more flat and densely packed the brush head is, the easier it will be to pack on color. Two of my favorites are Sigma’s E55 Short Shader and E60 Large Shader.
Domed Shadow Brush – A domed brush is used to apply and blend color in the crease of your eyelid. I love a domed brush that comes to a point like Sigma’s E45 Small Tapered Blending Brush. Again, here I would recommend avoiding loosely packed brush heads or domed brushes that are very large and fluffy.
Angled Brush – An angled brush can be used in a number of different ways including to apply eye shadows as liners along the last line, to fill in eye brows, or to smudge and blend shadows or liners around the lash line. It can also be used to create a graphic liner effect when used with a cream or gel eye liner.
Must-Have Face Brushes
Foundation Brush – Kick your traditional notions of a flat, paint brush-type looking foundation brush to the curb. Whether you use liquid or powder foundation, I recommend you check out a synthetic buffer brush to use for foundation application. Two of my favorites are Real Techniques Expert Face Brush or Sephora’s #56 Airbrush. These brushes help blend foundation products seamlessly without creating streaks while making your morning makeup routine a lot quicker! With this type of brush, I highly recommend opting for synthetic – it will keep you from plucking hairs off your face produced via brush shedding AND cut down on wasted product.
Concealer Brush – Again, I would recommend straying away from flat concealer brushes that push product around the face vs. blending it in. Two of my favorite blending concealer brushes are Sigma’s P80 Precision Flat brush and Sephora’s #57 Airbrush.
Powder Brush – Opt for a powder brush that isn’t half the size of your face. In my experience, large powder brushes can lead to less control over where the product is placed. Sometime, I like using blush brush sized brushes for applying powder. I also enjoy dome shaped powder brushes that come to a point, which make applying powder directly to the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) very easy. One of my favorites is Sigma’s F25 Expert Tapered Face.
Blush Brush – As with the powder brush, smaller is often better when selecting a blush brush. This is true especially when using highly pigmented blushes. In this case, you want to make sure your brush application is precise and not contaminating the rest of your face with bright colors! You may also want to consider opting for an angled blush brush so it can double as a brush to apply bronzer. I find Tarte’s blush brush is the perfect size.
What about makeup sponges?
Generally speaking, I wouldn’t recommend applying makeup using sponges. Not only do they harbor bacteria, they also eat up a substantial amount of product unless used wet. They can also create a ‘cakey’ effect on the skin. When using your favorite touch up powder, be sure to opt for a powder puff instead of a sponge! Powder puffs can be purchased at the drugstore and swapped in place of the traditional circular sponges that come with many cream and powder makeup products. The only makeup sponge I’ve used and enjoyed is the Beauty Blender – just be sure to clean it well in between uses!
Finally, remember to take good care of your makeup brushes. Without proper washing and drying techniques any makeup brush, no matter how expensive or well designed, will break or lessen in quality over time.
What does your makeup brush collection look like? What are your go-to makeup brushes?