It seems like there are a million brushes to choose from so I can see how this could quickly become a very overwhelming task for someone who is new to makeup tools. You actually don’t need a lot of brushes, just a few basic staples. So if you are looking to put together a basic set of great every day use brushes then this post’s for you!
Face – you only need two good multi-tasking brushes for your face and these will be able to cover your powder, bronzer and blush needs. Real Techniques make some great brushes that are quite affordable. The multi task brush is perfect for pressed powder, blush and bronzer all in one but I wouldn’t recommend applying all 3 with the same brush as things will get quite muddy looking mixing different colours. You could easily use this brush for powder and bronzer though with a quick wipe off in between. Real Techniques also make a lovely blush brush (part of their bold metals collection) which is my favourite.
You really don’t need a foundation brush unless you are looking for a very full coverage base. I prefer to apply foundation with my fingers as the warmth of your hands helps to blend things in more nicely. You may want to opt for a beauty blender sponge if you want some additional help with blending but it’s not necessary.
Here is another optional one, the setting brush. I do use this because even if I decide to entirely skip powder, I still want to set the concealer underneath my eyes and powder the t-zone to remove any shine.
Eyes – you also only need 2-3 brushes for eyes depending on if you like to apply shadow to your lower lash line. A medium fluffy eyeshadow brush will cover off your lids with the main colour(s) and a smudge brush is nice to do your lower lash line. If you don’t want anything on your lower lash line then you can completely skip this one. Then a good fluffy blending brush is key. You can buy a cheap eyeshadow or a luxury eyeshadow but if you don’t blend then it doesn’t matter what you’ve spent, it can quickly end up looking terrible. The key to great eyeshadow is blend, blend, blend! My favourite eye brushes are the MAC 217 (medium fluffy eyeshadow), the MAC 219 (smudge brush) and the Real Techniques 200 (part of the bold metals collection) for blending.
I never bother with a lip brush as you can use a lip pencil for a precise outline and unless you are a makeup artist then you would apply the lipstick or gloss straight from the tube. Again, you can really blend out a lot of lip colour with your finger tips or pat an opaque matte colour in for a more natural finish. And you might be surprised at just how amazing a simple lip liner + lip balm can look!
Here’s a summary of basic brushes with examples of my favourites
- Powder/bronzer – Real Techniques multi task brush
- Blush – Real Techniques bold metals #300
- Setting – Real Techniques setting brush
- Medium fluffy eyeshadow – MAC 217
- Eyeshadow smudge – MAC 219
- Large fluffy eyeshadow – Real Techniques bold metals #200
Sephora and MAC have very nice brushes if you are looking for high end quality that last a long time but these are absolutely not necessary to get a great application. Real Techniques are mid-range in price and probably the best bang for your buck. You can order these online and I have also seen them on occasion at Winners and Marshalls. QUO which is the Shoppers Drug Mart brand of brushes are also quite nice quality and often go on sale for up to 40% off so I would recommend taking advantage of that deal if you are looking to buy a few at once.
Brush care – I can’t emphasize enough the importance of cleaning your brushes. I clean mine every 3 weeks or so because I’m the only one that uses them and always after washing my face. If you use them for touch ups throughout the day or not on a cleansed face (why?!) then you might want to wash them once a week. I buy the Sephora brand Solid brush cleaner as it’s easy to use, great for travel and lasts for ages. Another budget friendly option is baby shampoo. It’s super gentle on your brushes and the bottle will last you for years. If you just need a quick swipe clean between colours then a good old baby wipe is a great choice.
Where to find the products mentioned
On a side note, I’m thinking about making the Beginners Guide to….. a semi regular series on the blog. Do let me know in the comments if there are any specific topics you would like to see included.