When faced with the huge variety of makeup brushes available, it can be incredibly difficult to know which ones to choose.
I can’t recall how many times I’ve spent hours browsing online stores, looking at what seemed like thousands of brushes, adding a variety to my shopping basket, before abandoning my cart and giving up, feeling overwhelmed.
If you feel the same way, it may be comforting to know you’re not alone! I’ve always been a beauty fanatic, having started seriously experimenting with cosmetics at the age of 11, and was even made editor of a beauty focused magazine in 2014. Yet I still found the world of makeup brushes a mystery.
Today I’m armed with the all the knowledge I need to make good makeup brush buying decisions, and no longer feel overwhelmed at the MAC counter being presented with a 40 piece brush set, thinking “Do I really need 40 brushes?” (The answer is no, you don’t!)
For those of you who are feeling a little lost when it comes to makeup tools, I’m sharing my knowledge so that you too can walk into the cosmetics counter feeling confident!
– Eilidh MacRae
The essentials will do…
As I mentioned, with there being so many different brushes on the market, it can feel like you need a large collection, but the likelihood is if you do invest in a big set, you’ll find you only end up using 10% of the brushes. I’m a firm believer in just investing in the essentials, but in order to do this, you have to establish exactly what the essentials are and how they work. Here’s what’s in my kit:
- Brow comb
- Brow brush
- Eye shadow brush
- Angled eye brush
- Eyelash curler
- Concealer brush
- Flat end foundation brush
- Blending sponge
- Kabuki brush
- Angled face brush
That’s honestly it: just ten brushes, no more and no less.
Now you know the basic ten tools that you need, what can each be used for – and why just ten?
Five of the above listed tools are used primarily on the eyes, which seems like a lot considering you only have ten tools in your kit. For eyes and brows five tools are all you need, but 50% of your brush kit are needed for the eyes, as this is the most complex area when it comes to applying makeup.
The brow comb is used to tame and smooth the hairs, before applying a little powder to fill any gaps using the brow brush (an angled brush is usually best for this). You don’t need a brush for setting the brows, as this is best done using a clear brow gel.
Multiple eye looks can be created with just two brushes, an eyeshadow brush for all over colour, and an angled brush for liner flicks, under eye shadow and crease definition. I prefer to use liquid liners rather than gel liners, so no brush is required to apply liner. Finally, an eyelash curler is needed to create an open eye look with long lashes.
The remaining five brushes are used on the face (I’ll go into detail later why I don’t use any lip brushes), and are all you need to create a flawless and contoured base. I personally find that when I apply concealer and foundation with a brush, it has far better staying power and looks more natural. A concealer brush is ideal for under eye concealing, and to hide redness at the sides of the nose. Concealer for blemishes is better applied with the fingers. A flat end foundation brush is ideal for buffing foundation into the skin, for a more natural finish.
If you opt to contour, I prefer to pat liquid bronzer into my skin using my fingers, and the blend out into your base with a blending sponge. A large Kabuki brush can be used to apply setting powder all over the face, and finally powdered bronzer or blush can be applied with an angled powder brush.
And there you have it! Your full make-up look with just ten brushes/tools. When it comes to lips, I find brushes to be useless, and prefer to apply lip products straight from the tube, blending with my finger.
Beat these brushes…
While you can feel like you know exactly what you need to create your perfect makeup look, the brands that you choose play a huge role. Here are a few of my favourites (view my full collection in Lovelyloot):
Low quality brushes can result in bristles falling off on your face, bristle marks and poor application. When investing in a new kit, you need to choose wisely to ensure your brushes will stand the test of time and do the job!
Kabuki Makeup Brush
This bamboo brush has beautifully soft bristles and is just the right size for dusting powder across the face, to mattify and set.
The Original Beautyblender
This sponge is great for blending, particularly for contouring. It’s edgeless design makes it ideal for blending all over the face, and who wouldn’t love it’s bold pink colour!
Makeup Geek Foundation Stippling Brush
This flat brush is perfect for buffing foundation into the skin, for a flawless base.
Bliss Concealer Makeup Brush
Perfect for use with cream or liquid concealer, this little brush is ideal for use under the eyes to conceal dark circles.
Bliss Eyeshadow Makeup Brush
Another brush from Bliss, this brush is the ideal option for all over colour, and allows you to build up colour or just add a touch.
Are there any brush brands you swear by? Or do you have any make-up brush tips? I’d love to know – leave a comment below!
A Bristol, England based lifestyle business founder and director, Eilidh is a writer, entrepreneur and beauty fanatic, who combined her passions to create her business, Eilidh MacRae Media, a lifestyle content marketing agency.
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