My Favorite Make-up Brushes
In this post I highlight my favorite make-up brushes and provide a brief description about how to use them. I used to be completely clueless as to how to do make-up and use brushes until I went to a MAC store for a lesson about 7 years ago. It was a lot of fun and though I hardly wear any make-up these days, I’m glad I learned how to do it so I have the foundation for creating looks if the mood strikes me. Because I started with them, I am most familiar with MAC make-up brushes, so those are the ones I refer to in this post. There are probably other brands that make great brushes too, but this list can help give you an idea of the shape and density you are looking for.
Check out my video (that I will probably update with an HD version) to see how I use these for a simple contoured eye look. And for Pete’s sake, please blend your eye make-up better…I got distracted and accidentally skipped that step in this video!
I used to love playing with makeup but I’ve become such a homebody nowadays and very rarely go out. When I do head out, I generally end up running out with wet hair and no make-up to have a pint at the dive bar down the street! Nevertheless, I still like having all the tools in case I feel like being artistic or playing around and getting glammed up. I feel like make-up, clothes, and nail polish are easy fixes to totally change your look for a day or night and then you can always revert to your “regular old self” when the fun wears off. I like not having to make drastic permanent changes.
It took me years to complete my brush collection as these aren’t inexpensive brushes, but they last forever. I have bolded the ones I couldn’t do without for everyday makeup (Total = $225) and then listed the other ones I love having in order of importance (Total = $600). As I said, my collection took years of spending about $25/month on makeup brushes and I baby them. There are lots of collections out there that sell brushes in a bundle, but I find the collections rarely have everything I want and often are filled with a lot of things I don’t need. All the brushes listed are linked to the MAC page if you click on the name of the brush.
- Large Powder Brush – #134 $53 This brush is for application of powder. It is a paddle-shaped brush with a fluffed rounded tip. I generally use it for applying my BareMinerals powder foundation and all-over bronzer.
- Powder/blush Brush – #129 $35 This brush is all-purpose brush for blush or face powder. It works well for both blush and bronzer.
- Duo Fibre Face Brush – #187 $42 I use this brush for blending and applying cream blushes. It is generally used to create soft layers or add textures. It’s a blend of goat and synthetic fibers.
- Blush Brush – #116 $35 This brush is for shading and highlighting. It’s somewhat redundant with #129 but allows for more precise application.
- Shader Brush – #242 $25 This brush is listed under eye brushes but I like it for concealer. It is a flat brush made of synthetic fibre. I tend to like the synthetic brushes for anything emollient.
- Buffer Brush – #182 $53 This is a full dome-shaped brush of goat hair for blending powder and giving an immaculate polished finish. I like to use this brush for finishing powder or for applying something like the BareMinerals Pure Radiance or Mineral Veil.
- Foundation Brush – #190 $33 Synthetic brush for applying, distributing and blending liquid foundation. I love the way this one feels on my face! It makes me feel like one of the fur-covered seal-like species that evolves in Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos novel. But I digress…
- Small Duo Fibre Face Brush -#188 $35 This brush is for lightweight application and blending of any fluid cream, or powder. I especially like to use it for applying liquid highlighter to the top of my cheekbones and just above my brows.
- Duo Fibre Fan Brush – #184 $23 This brush is a blend of synthetic fibre and goat hair. It gives a featherweight application and works to blend powders or as a tool to gently clear the skin of any excess product. I also really like it to apply a very subtle shimmery powder on the top of my cheekbones. It also works well for brushing off any fibres from other brushes that stick to your face. That’s not reason enough to buy it, but an added bonus!
- Large Angled Contour Brush – #168 $35 This brush works best for cheek contouring. I usually use it to apply a little bit of bronzer under my cheekbones. Use contouring to apply darker colors where you want a feature to recede.
- Eye Shader Brush – #239 $25 Soft and dense brush for shading with eye shadow. I use this brush every day and it works well for building color if you want to make it intense.
- Small Angle Brush – #263 $19 This brush is a firm, flat- shaped and angled brush for lining and shading. It is made of synthetic fibre. It makes a precise line and works especially well for dense application if it is spritzed with water or MAC’s Fix Plus.
- Lash Brush – #204 $14 This brush can be used for grooming the eyebrows and separating the eyelashes.
- Blending Brush – #217 $23 I love this brush for shading and blending. Use it to add depth to contoured eyes or use it at the end of eyeshadow application for blending all colors together.
- Pencil Brush – #219 $25 For precision shading and blending eyeliner. It helps give a very nice smudged look and works great for doing sort of a sexy smoky eye.
- Large Fluff Brush – #227 $31 Paddle-shaped dense brush for defining the eye with color. This is the perfect brush for applying eye color in a quick all-over stroke. I especially like to use it to apply a light color like MAC’s creme brulee or vanilla all over the eyelid.
- Mini Shader Brush – #228 $20 This brush is round-tipped and firm and I really like it for applying a slight shimmer just under my eyebrows and around the tear duct to open the eyes up.
I don’t usually use much in the way of lipstick brushes because I am more of a gloss kind of gal but I have had luck with MAC’s retractable lip brush when I have used it. A great resource for trying make-up looks is the YouTube channel AllThatGlitters21. She does a lot of good make-up tutorials and you can pretty easily accomplish a lot of the looks with just a couple of palettes.
Happy make-up artistry!