When I first started applying make-up on my face, I didn’t know that make-up brushes even existed. Fingers and sponge applicators were the best tools. When I first heard about make-up brushes, I tried to imagine how could you apply eyeshadow onto your eyelids with something that seemed so fluffy. For me it was something impossible to figure out and way too expensive for my student pocket to invest in. Oh, and how wrong I was to underestimate them! A few years ago, when I first laid an Essence Smoky Brush on my eyelid, it felt like a gentle knock on the Make-up Heaven’s Door. And they opened, both my eyes and the Make-up Heaven’s Door.
Funny how the foundation section of this post is the longest one, and I don’t even wear foundation…
- Foundation Brush
When it comes to foundation brushes, it’s a little difficult to recommend the best one, just because it depends on everyone’s preferences. If you’d like to apply a very light layer of foundation so you can deceive everyone that you’re not wearing any, I would go with a stippling brush. This one gives an airbrush effect to your skin. It’s like coloured contact lenses, you can’t see them, but they’re there to create an impact. The Real Techniques Stippling Brush is a really good one and it retails only for £11.99.
If you don’t mind people detecting that you’re wearing a bit of foundation, because you want to have a flawless finish anyway, then go for a buffing brush. The Illamasqua Round Buffing Brush (£26) is my favourite, but The Real Techniques Buffing Brush (£8.99) does the job as well.
And last, but not the least, if you have problematic skin or you just love high coverage, then The Zoeva 104 Buffer Brush (£15) is your mate! This one is stiffer and flat headed, so it will take care of applying more product, but it won’t forget to blend as well. Of course, you could use a Beauty Blender as well, instead of all these brushes…just saying.
- Powder Brush
I’m pretty sure you don’t need more than two powder brushes. You can go for The Zoeva 106 Powder Brush to set your make-up all over the face, or you could opt for a more precise one like ELF Studio Small Tapered Brush (£4.50) – perfect for setting your concealer under the eyes.
- Contour Brush
For contouring I like to go with something a bit denser. The Real Techniques Sculpting Brush (9.99) is a great choice if you really want to “lose” a bit of face fat and get chiselled cheeks. Or you could use The Illamasqua Round Buffer Brush, mentioned earlier, to achieve a softer contour.
- Blusher Brush
My favourite Blusher Brush is The Zoeva 128 Cream Cheek (£12.50), but you’d be fine using The Illamasqua Round Buffer Brush or any other ones that are not too dense.
- Highlighter Brush
For highlighting I’ve got two beloved brushes. They’re both from Real Techniques. First one is a classic fan brush that gives a touch of light to your cheekbones. And the second one is a setting brush that you could pack your highlighter on with, until you blind any extra-terrestrial beings from the universe. You could buy them both in a set for £20.99.
- Concealer Brush
In all my honesty, I don’t use a concealer brush on myself anymore. The mini sponges know how to suit my dry under-eye areas and cover any proof of sleepless nights! The W7 Mini Power Puffs work wonders and they’re only £2.46 on amazon.co.uk. Anyway, until I stepped on the sponges’ territory, I used to love The Zoeva 142 Concelear Buffer (£8.50).
- Flat Eyeshadow Brush
When you want to pack the shit out of your eyeshadow, you need a flat eyeshadow brush that doesn’t have very long bristles – that would make it a blending brush. My 3 go-to ones are: The Zoeva 234 Smoky Shader Bamboo Collection (£8.50), The Eco Tools Duo Eye Enhancing Set (£6.99), and The Essence Eyeshadow Brush (£1.29). There are plenty more from different brands like Morphe, Bdellium Tools, Illamasqua, and many other ones.
- Blending Brush
To achieve a very blended look, you need at least 3 different blending brushes. The first one has to be more of a medium size, so it gives you the possibility to apply some product, but helps with blending as well. My favourite one is The Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection 203 Tapered Eyeshadow (£16). Then I like to use something smaller, in order to deepen the crease or outer corner. The Coastal Scents Classic Blender Crease Brush (£3.49) is very suitable for that matter. And as a finishing touch I always like to grab a big fluffy brush and blend, blend, blend, until everything looks smooth and soft. The Morphe M502 Round Blender Brush (£5.50) is a triplet in my collection, because you can never have too many.
- Pencil Brush
The Zoeva 223 Petit Eye Blender (£8.50) or The Illamasqua Smoulder Brush (£19.50) will turn your make-up looks into smokey eyes like nothing else. They’re perfect to apply and blend eyeshadow on the bottom lashline. Also, they do a great job in applying highlight in the inner corner.
- Eyeliner Brush
My all time favourite eyeliner brush is The Zoeva 312 Detail Liner Brush (£7.50). I don’t really want to give you any other options, because you just need this one in your life!
- Detail Brush
This one is exactly what the name suggests. It helps you when you want to do a cut-crease or whenever you feel yourself creative and you have a good day of non-shaky hands. I’m completely in love with the paint brushes from Da Vinci Size 3/10 (£1.84). I also like The Real Techniques Accent Brush (Starter Set £21.99).
- Eyebrow Brush
Any Angled Eyeliner Brush should do the trick when it comes to eyebrows. I don’t particularly find the ones that retail as eyebrow brushes are actually good for that matter. The ones I would recommend would be The Illamasqua Angled Brush (£19.50) or The Zoeva 217 Wing Liner Brush (£7.50). The former is stiffer, so you can get more of a defined eyebrow, whereas the latter gives a softer appearance.
- Lip Brush
To be fair, I don’t really use this brush on myself. It comes in very handy for freelance work or when you want to apply lipstick on someone else, just because of sanitary reasons. However, I do like to use it when I want to create details on the lips or for concealer around the eyebrows. My favourite one is The Illamasqua Lip Brush (£18.50).
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