Have you ever walked into Sephora for a new bronzer brush, seen the plethora of fluffy brushes boasting exorbitant price tags with names that make absolutely zero sense (like short tapered blending brush) and just walked back out? Then you go home and think ‘oh I’ll just order online then, much easier’ before hopping onto Morphe and realising there are 24 pages of brushes to choose from (no joke, go look).
I feel ya sista and the struggle is real. Anyone with a Youtube account now thinks they’re a makeup expert and it gets beyond frustrating to watch a tutorial that recommends so many brushes you’d have to sell a kidney in order to accumulate them all.
So I’ve had a good ol’ sift and figured out the best brushes, depending on your level of beauty novice – and don’t worry, even my fellow Desi worshipers don’t need to worry about getting 16 versions of the same flipping brush for one eye look.
PLUS, I know a lot of you will be wondering if you need to spend a bucket-load of cash on brushes so I’ve come up with a handy guide.
– If this is next to a brush, it means you can go fetch one from your local drug-store for the same price as a coffee with no dramas. Basically its really hard to stuff these up so if you find a cheap one with a great shape – nab it ASAP.
– Save up and buy a good quality one as (if you clean and treat it properly), it will last a lifetime. The effectiveness and precision of these brushes depends on the quality and craftsmanship so go test one and you’ll realise just what I mean.
All that said though, you might find great brushes for crazy cheap prices (or scarily expensive ones), so let me know what your fave is in the comments! I’ve also linked a bunch of brushes that I use on the reg, plus some (actually valuable) sets at the bottom!
Brushes for the low-maintenance beauty gal…
So you like looking pretty (duh) but really don’t care how makeup gets on your face and you certainly CBF spending an hour blending out your contour. I got you gurl, you only need 5 brushes up your beauty sleeve.
Now for a sheer, everyday look, I actually recommend using your fingers! If you wash your hands, it’s not gross at all and the warmth from your fingers blends the formula out to create the most natural finish.
But when you want a helping hand, I always recommend reaching for a buffer brush (the ZOEVA one is ACE) as the flat top makes it super easy to apply foundation and the dense bristles leave the product blended with absolutely no streaks. You can use this bad boy for powder foundations too.
This is great for gals who want minimal brushes loitering in their beauty case as you can use it to conceal imperfections by lightly packing on spots and it’s also great for getting eyeshadow pigments on dem lids.
I always reach for this Napoleon Perdis fellow as the shape is perfect for both uses and the bristles don’t splay (when they go all higgledy-piggledy) while still being soft on your skin.
BIG FLUFFY BRUSH
You need one of these up your beauty sleeve for all powder products. It’s perfect for powder, bronzer, and blush. And if you want to try your hand at a contour, simply pinch the bristles together to create a smaller dome-like shape and sweep just under your cheekbone.
This Benefit brush is actually on my ride-or-die list and I couldn’t recommend it more to even the noobiest of beauty novices. Use ANY brown-y product that matches the shade of your brows and use the angled side to feather colour into your brows, filling in any scraggly gaps. Then use the spoolie end to brush through them. The angled brush can also be used as the perfect tool, should you ever attempt a winged eyeliner.
SMALL FLUFFY BRUSH
Perfect for blending in eyeshadow and dusting a bit of highlighter on if you’re up for a glow. Make sure you choose one with bristles that aren’t too dense as you don’t want to pack the product on, you want to sweep and blend like a baws.
Brushes for the mid-range beauty guru…
If you’ve pretty much mastered all the basics and like your makeup to look really polished and effortless, add these bad boys to your beauty arsenal.
This fellow will help find the hollows of your cheekbones and angles perfectly to shade them and create the illusion of sharper cheekbones. It’s also great for dusting under your jawline and along your hairline for a diminished jowl and borhead.
Basically, just a smaller, more tapered BIG FLUFFY BRUSH – the Artiste Blush Brush makes it easier to sweep pops of pink shades onto your cheeks in a more controlled amount (i.e no clown cheeks).
This is a brush that stumps many a beauty aficionado but once you bring it into the fold, you’ll never look back. The perfect way to lightly dust highlight onto the high points of your face without getting too heavy-handed, leaving you with luminous, lit-from-within skin. Oh and if you have immense fall-out after going crazy with your eyeshadow, this clever chap will gently sweep it away without disturbing your makeup underneath.
The perfect tool for getting eyeshadow on your lower-lash line and buffing darker shades in on top. It’s small and precise, which is exactly want you want for such a fiddly area. The Nude By Nature version is a bloody steal and works a treat.
I know this isn’t a brush but it’s all in the same family and is sometimes better than a brush at applying cream products (I personally HATE using powders with them, so cakey). The great thing about a makeup sponge is the airbrushed effect they leave your skin. You can use the chubbier end to pounce in your product on larger areas and the tip is great for nooks and crannies!
TIP: ALWAYS USE WET!
Brushes for the avid makeup addict…
This is the gal who watches endless tutorials and has honed her winged-liner so perfectly a makeup artist would be impressed. If you like getting up early for work so you can perfect a burgundy-based smokey eye on the reg – you’d use these too.
If you want an intense contour or a brush that you can use to buff out product in tricky areas – this is for you. It’s also great at highlighting more pinpointed areas like the tip of your nose and cupid’s bow for a #flawless finish.
I used to think these were so unnecessary until I saw a makeup artist use one to create a really bold , perfect pout. It’s great for concise application of liquid lipsticks that tend to dry super quickly with less time to clean up mistakes. I just dip in the tube and CAREFULLY paint the hue on. Pick up one from Priceline or your local chemist, I honestly haven’t ever noticed much difference between brands.
TAPERED EYE BRUSH
Whether you’re after a sharp cut-crease or just some subtle definition under your transition shade, this precision eye contour brush is the tool for you. Crafted to fit perfectly into the creases of the eyes, this artistry brusheffortlessly applies and diffuses shadow in the contours of the eyes.
This is for my wing-loving ladies out there. Achieve the perfect feline flick with this ultra fine eyeliner brush. Perfect for those seeking sharp lines, precision, and control. The shape of the brush makes wing mastering (almost) foolproof.
It may look uber fancy with the different coloured bristles, but it’s actually a pretty simple and effective tool for creating a natural looking base. The white synthetic fibers at the top pick up the product and help deposit it on your skin, while the black natural fibers at the bottom are denser to help reduce wastage while buffing product into your complexion.
If you’re starting from scratch, I HIGHLY recommend the Classic Brush Collection by Bobbi Brown. She’s a true artist and this curated collection of incredible quality brushes features her 6 essentials for doing a full-face of makeup. Buy one here or add to your Christmas wish-list as it’s something we’d all like to open. Unlike the poo emoji speaker my boyfriend thought was ok last year…
If you’re inspired by these sorts of eye looks but don’t want to break that bank buying every eye brush available, the Showpo set is perfect. I was a bit apprehensive at first due to the extremely low price but they’re actually really soft and do a bloody good job.
And you know… a gal can dream about these luxe Tom Ford beauties that would look REALLY pretty on my vanity and I am SURE they work wonders, but alas, I will NEVER be able to afford them.
Main image by MECCA.
Words by Kelly McCarren.