The 7 Essential Makeup Brushes

The 7 Essential Makeup Brushes - I Heart Cosmetics

The 7 Essential Makeup Brushes 

I get asked for beauty advice at the office and the last request was for me to give an overview of the essential, basic makeup brushes to buy.  So Liz and Alyson, thanks for the idea!

What Are Brushes Made Of?

So, the basics. There are two types of brushes.  Those made with natural (real) hair and ones made of synthetic hair. They each have specific uses.

Brushes with natural bristles allow a precise application.  They keep the pigment of the product in the hair better so are good for powder products and blending.  Synthetic brushes are more suitable for liquid cosmetics such as foundation and cream contour.  Synthetic brushes are also the ones to buy if you are vegetarian or vegan as they do not contain any animal by-products

What Makeup Brushes to Choose ? Where to Buy?

Foundation Brush

For quick and easy application a buffing/stippling brush is a must.  Ignore the old style paintbrush brushes and pick up a synthetic brush with a flat top.  This will buff your foundation to perfection.  Synthetic brushes won’t absorb as much foundation as natural hair brushes meaning there’s less wastage. Dot your foundation onto your face or apply directly to the brush and buff into the skin with a circular motion.  Keep going until everywhere is covered and then blend down onto the neck for a natural look.

Low-Cost Buys: Makeup Geek, Elf, Real Techniques

High-End Buys: Mac, By Terry

Beauty Sponge

I know, not a brush, but essential.  This is used for a natural but flawless base (foundation/concealer/powder).  The sponge is  ergonomically shaped to help you apply makeup easily and blend it in flawlessly. These sponges work with any liquid or cream face product, including highlighter, bronzer, contour and blush.

To use, dampen the sponge with water, then squeeze firmly until damp but not dripping wet. Alternatively, spritz with a facial mist until damp.  The water helps prevent the sponge from soaking up too much foundation.  The sponge should be larger and softer to the touch than it is when dry.  Put some foundation on the back of your hand and dip the sponge into the foundation, or dot foundation around the face.

Use the larger areas of the Beautyblender to press and roll the makeup into the skin. Use the small tip to work product around smaller areas such as the nose or the under the eyes, perfect for concealer.

Low-Cost Buys: Real TechniquesMorphe

High-End Buys: The Beauty Blender, Dior

Powder Brush

This brush you need for powder foundation or setting powder. You’re looking for bristles that are soft and compacted so that when you dab it into your powder and sweep over the skin (using a downward or sideways motion) your powder applies in the sheer and beautiful way it is supposed to.

Low-Cost Buys: Ebay

High-End Buys: Kevin Aucoin, Hourglass, Charlotte Tilbury

Angled Blush Brush

To Be Used For Blusher/Bronzer/Contour/Highlight

Now you could buy a separate brush for each, but really you can do it all with just one. Traditionally you would use a slimmer version of a powder brush with a dome shape, which allowed you to centre the blushes on the apples of your cheeks. However, an angled brush has less margin for error as it’s smaller and more precise.

You will have seen someone with a lovely blusher colour but just far too much all over the side of their face. In general, it’s because their brush is too big.  I think you should only pick up a domed brush as a beginner if you’re going for the Bozo the Clown effect.

Grab yourself a soft angled blusher brush for perfect precision application. They are small and soft meaning you can be far more precise and subtle by putting the colour exactly where you want.  This means you can use it above your cheekbone, with a highlighter or below in the hollow of your cheek to contour. A white hair brush makes life even easier, as you can see how much product is on the brush.

The One I Recommend: Mac

Eyeshadow Brush

Bristles made of either natural hair or synthetic hair work well for an eyeshadow brush. The recommended head shape for a simple 1 colour lid application is a small flat brush with densely packed bristles. Pick one with a slightly rounded shape to help avoid harsh lines while applying the eyeshadow.

Low-Cost Buys: Real Techniques, Zoeva

High-End Buys: Mac 239

Crease/Pencil Brush

Bristles made of natural hair are useful for a pencil brush/crease brush.  The crease brush is used to place a darker eyeshadow in the crease of the eye.  It’s also used to blend the colour on the lid and the crease together. Shaped with a pointed top, somewhat like a pencil, the crease brush allows you to place the eyeshadow exactly where you want to and the rounding of the brush helps to blend the shadow well.

Low-Cost Buys: Sigma, Zoeva, Bdellium

High-End Buys: Mac

Angled Liner Brush

Purchase a synthetic angled liner brush and this can be used for all types of eyeliner and also to do your eyebrows. If you pick synthetic bristles it will be perfect for both powder and gel/cream products.

Low-Cost Buys: MUD, Zoeva

High-End Buys: Nars

I hope this was helpful!   What is your favourite makeup brush?