Over the years I’ve built up a trusty collection of makeup brushes that I either use on a daily basis or specific styles for when I’m going out. When I first started blogging I had a very basic selection of brushes that I used for everything. Looking back I don’t know how I managed it as with experience I find I need certain brushes to create and achieve certain looks. Whether I’m carving out my brow, sculpting my contour or touching up my highlight, I need the correct tools to accomplish a flawless look.
When it comes to building that perfect gradient smoky eye I need several brushes for blending my transition shades, packing on pigments or spotlight shadows and cleaning up any fall out. Often I will use clean brushes after applying each shade to blend it seamlessly. It can be a little over whelming trying to understand which brush is meant for what but I’m hoping to make it easier for you. You don’t need to rush out and spend a fortune on new tools, over time starting building your collection.
There are a variety of tools available for the face. It all started with the classic foundation brush but now we can switch it up from a beauty blender to a buffing brush. I also have been using the Artis Oval 8 phenomenon but I didn’t want to feature it as it’s more of an advanced tool and quite expensive.
For those of you starting out, I would suggest a simple foundation brush like the MAC 190 paddle shaped base brush. It’s good for simply applying your foundation and concealer. Use small amounts of foundation starting in the centre of your face and blend out. Make sure you buy synthetic bristled brushes as they’re best for applying your makeup. For those of you who are looking at more advanced brush then I would suggest the Morphe M439 deluxe buffing brush. It’s a tool loved by YouTube sensations, Jaclyn Hill, Kathleenlights and many makeup artists. The flat dense head helps to create a flawless base without leaving you feeling or looking cakey.
A quick and fun way to create looks is by using the infamous Beauty Blender. Used damp it helps to absorb any access foundation to give a natural finish. I use this for multiple things, especially after I use the Oval 8 brush to help blend it into my skin. They are my go to tools for concealer, highlight and anything liquid really. I would definitely recommend getting a beauty blender no matter what stage you’re at.
For applying powder products I tend to stick with five brushes that I’ll constantly reach for. Starting with setting my face, depending on your skin type (if you have dry skin I would recommend skipping this part) you may need to invest in large brushes. I have oily skin so it’s a must for me to set my foundation and concealer in case of creasing or melting. I work mainly between my IT Cosmetics heavenly Luxe jumbo brush for an all over powder and my Real Techniques angled brush for a light bronzed look around my forehead, cheekbones and jaw line.
If I’m going out for drinks or I have a formal event then I’ll spend a little extra time contouring and highlighting. This step often frightens people as they’re nervous about applying a product, unsure of what brush to use and it looking muddy or harsh. A more structured flat top bristle is a good option for those of you who enjoy creating a sharp contour on a daily basis. As I’m not a frequent favourite of the cult trend, I prefer to use my trusty Tarte swirl power brush to achieve a more defined look. If I’m in a rush I’ll also use it for a quick bronzed and contoured look in one. It’s an incredibly soft brush with lots of fine bristles that does not leave your skin feeling harsh. If you’re able to get your hands on one I would definitely recommend it.
A few week’s ago I featured the majestic Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set (you can read it here) and it has been one of my most favourite purchases this year. If you’re looking to treat yourself then this is the set for you. It comes with a mixture of face and eyeshadow brushes but for today I’m sharing these two specifically. The luxurious 114 Luxe Face Focus is the perfect brush for setting your under eye area. It’s small enough to get product under your lash line to help prevent creasing, I also use it to set the my T-zone. As the hype of highlighting is taking over the beauty industry, those who are obsessed with it must have a fan brush in their collection. The 129 Luxe Fan brush deposits the most beautiful amount of highlighter onto your skin. It is an absolute joy to use, I can’t say anymore about it. It’s incredible.. just buy it!
Things can get a little bit tricky when it comes to researching eyeshadow brushes. There are a mountain of styles available as every brand is different, however if you can understand the basics then you’re halfway there. Now I’m not saying you need all of these but it’s good to have an idea.
A strong collection of blending tools would be a great start to creating a professional eye look. The amount of blending required for a polished statement style is enough to make your hand fall off. Depending on your look you might use several transition shades, therefore a multitude of options are required. I absolutely adore the elite collection by Morphe. Their E17, E27 and E30 are my go to brushes for blending. Each one is a different size, the E30 is great for blending an all over base/transition shadow. The E17 and E27 are best suited for deepening the outer third of your eye along with smoking out your bottom lash line. I also go between the Zoeva 227/224 along with the Real Techniques 200 Shader brush from their Bold Metals collection. They pretty much do the same job as my Morphe’s but I like to keep clean ones around in case I’m doing a intense look.
In my opinion the next couple of brushes are pretty straight forward. They’re most of a basic tool for beginners or those looking to keep their makeup natural. A flat shader brush is probably one of the most used tools. You’ll need this for packing on your matte/shimmer shadows, pigments or if you’re creating a halo/spotlight eye. They’re my favourite tool to use, I love my Urban Decay brush as it is amazing at applying shadow on the lid of my eye. Even if I spritz it with my MAC Fix+ it doesn’t damage the bristles. It’s so good for lifting pigments and shimmer shadows with minimal fall out.
If you’re looking for a petite brush to enhance your eyes then I would suggest a definer style such as the Zoeva buffing brush (also good for cleaning up any fall out) and their tiny persision one is great for highlighting your inner eye and brow bone.
Don’t worry, we’re almost at the end of today’s lesson! Lastly it’s all about the brows, winged liner and tidying up. If you use a brow pomade, then an angled brush is the best tool to crave out your arch. I love my 322 brush as it’s so persise when outlining my shape and filling in any gaps. At the end of doing my brows I’ll also use it with a touch of concealer to touch up any unwanted over lining.
The love/hate relationship I have with winged liner is still very much alive. My right eye is always much nicer than my left, plus the older I’m getting the more unsteady my hands are becoming. Therefore you can imagine my frustration at mastering that perfect cat eye effect. However, I have been getting better with it as my new Zoeva rose gold liner brush is super sharp and has the perfect angle for creating a sharp and persise line. If I need to tidy it up I’ll get my tiny 238 brush to run some concealer or makeup remove along my eye.
I know this was a long post but I hope you found it helpful. As I’ve said, you don’t need every brush or to go out and spend a fortune but having a good understanding of each one is a great start.