I love makeup brushes and find them to be absolutely essential for anybody who wears makeup, whether they are beginners, professionals or anyone in between. I built up an eclectic collection of makeup brushes over time because I didn’t know exactly what I needed and I bought whatever the sales associate told me to buy at the time. I now know what brushes are useful to me, what brushes come in handy at times and what brushes I never end up using. With that in mind, I am writing this post in hopes of helping beginners start a meaningful brush collection with brushes that I consider to be “must haves”.
(p.s. I originally included directions on how to use each brush but this post became WAY TOO LONG so I removed those. Feel free to google or youtube how to use each brush or if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below.)
(p.s.again. I also removed the “where to buy”. Popular brush brands include MAC, Sigma, Sephora and many other makeup brands sell brushes too. Sigma has great value and quality and MAC is probably the most popular and the most expensive. For really cheap brushes, you can look into e.l.f. or Coastal Scents or NYX.)
Duo Fibre: This is a very versatile brush that you can use for liquid foundation, powder, cream blush or powder blush. I like to use other specific brushes for different face applications but if you want to just buy one brush for multiple uses, I suggest this one.
Angled Contour: This brush is great for highlighting, blush and contouring. Maybe you’re not at the point yet where you highlight/contour, but you will be (:D) and in the meantime, you’ll love this brush for applying blush.
Blending: Everyone needs a blending brush. I feel like highlight colors or lid colors can be applied with fingers if necessary, but you have to have a blending brush to blend out the harsh lines. You can also use a blending brush to apply eyeshadow and then blend it out. I don’t know how I went so long without a blending brush lol.
Shader: There are several variations of names for this brush but basically, you want to look for a small, flat brush that has a rounded edges and is a little firm. You’ll want this brush for patting on color onto your lids or you can use it to create the “outer V” if you’re a little more advanced and don’t want to buy other brushes yet. I definitely consider this the second most important eyeshadow brush, after the blending brush.
Eyeliner: I use an angled eyeliner brush but you can use a straight eyeliner brush as well. This brush is great for applying gel eyeliners. I use my Sephora one with either Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner or Stila Smudge Pot. This brush is unnecessary if you like to stick to pencil or liquid eyeliners.
Brow: I cannot live without this brush. My eyebrows are sparse and ugly so I always fill them in with my Bobbi Brown eyebrow brush and a brown eyeshadow. This brush is unnecessary if you like to fill your brows in with pencil or you don’t do anything with your brows.
Large Fluff: I’m showing the Sigma one that I usually use, but you can use any large shader or fluff brush. This brush is good for applying a highlight color on your eyes or applying an all-over color. I put this in the second tier of must-haves because if you don’t want to buy this brush, you can always apply the light colors with your finger.
Concealer: I know not everyone uses concealer or under-eye concealer but honey, most of us should be using it. I like this small concealer brush because it is great for patting on under-eye concealer. There are large and small but between the two, I prefer the smaller brush because only use concealer under my eyes and around my nose. Sometimes, I conceal around my lips when wearing lipstick so I have clean lines around my lips.
Foundation: This was the first brush I used for applying tinted moisturizer. You can use this for liquid foundation, tinted moisturizer or primer (I like to use my hands for primer). When purchasing a foundation brush, make sure it is made out of synthetic hair that way it won’t absorb the oils or too much color like real hair does. This is a very easy brush to use but I prefer the flat top kabuki brush (below).
Flat Top Kabuki: Sigma’s F80 Flat Top Kabuki is the most amazing brush I have ever owned! This is more versatile than the foundation brush above. You can use this for liquid foundation, powder, blush, anything! It is so soft and so dense.
Large Powder: Whether or not you use foundation, this large powder brush is a must for setting powder over foundation or wearing powder alone.
I am not a huge fan of brush kits but if you would like to splurge a little and kick start a brush collection, you can buy brush kits that can include many brushes, just eye brushes, just face brushes, etc. Sigma, Crown Brush and other brush makers or makeup companies offer brush kits/sets. I just ordered this cheapie set from Crown Brush because Kandee Johnson, a YouTube makeup guru, was offering a really sweet discount for these brush sets (total cost was $30.00): I just received the set today and I’m not impressed. I did get what I paid for. The one I disliked the most was the foundation brush (in yellow) because it felt like an ordinary paint brush. I have heard really good things about Crown Brushes, some will claim they’re better than MAC. I flipped through a catalog that Crown Brush sent me and they actually have many collections that I think are way better than this set I bought. Check them out.
This post was intended for those who don’t own any brushes and would like to start collecting them. I hope this helps and I’m sure you’ll see the great purpose of brushes! Please see my post about cleaning your brushes!