Since I’ve really been paring down on *stuff*, I’ve come to realize what I find is truly necessary in my makeup collection. I lot of women ask themselves (and the internet) what makeup brushes do I really need to buy? I think the concept of multiple makeup brushes is fairly new. Growing up, I had one brush in my bag and it did everything – powder, blush, bronzer – but we’ve seen the light and now there are several makeup brushes I couldn’t live without.
Many times I think “every day women” (i.e.: me and you) find the thought of makeup brushes daunting. They’re confusing, for one, and many times they’re expensive. A lot of women leave makeup brushes to the pros, but I think that’s a mistake. You don’t need to own every shape and size as a typical makeup user. Will this list work for a seasoned pro or makeup enthusiast? Probably not, but for the everyday makeup user I think these five makeup brushes are fantastic investments and will cover every makeup need that arises.
Face Makeup Brushes You Need
You may have read my makeup brushes for face guide. In it, I compared high end makeup brushes to drugstore makeup brushes. If you’re interested in a more in depth post about face makeup brushes I’ll point you there. If you’re really just interested in the nuts and bolts, this post is all that you need!
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Ok, so the first one out of the box isn’t even technically a brush. Sue me. However, I believe everyone should own a foundation sponge. They’re easy to work with and they blend foundation flawlessly. However, if you’re solely a powder foundation user, you can skip this one.
The one that really started it all was the BeautyBlender. For around $20, this little beauty is a powerhouse. I use it to blend out all of my cream products: mostly foundation and concealer, although I’ve used it for highlighter and bronzer, too. I honestly do feel like $20 is a fair price for this product. I use my Beauty Blender every day and it last for about a year if you take good care of it. Make sure to wash it after every use for best results.
The best Beauty Blender dupe I’ve come across is the Real Techniques Sponge. It’s shaped a little bit differently, but the use is about the same. Plus, this sponge is about $6 and you can frequently catch sales if you want to get it cheaper. I love it for pretty much all the same reasons as the Beauty Blender. I have found, however, that this doesn’t wash up as nicely as the original.
Fluffy Powder Brush
Without a doubt, you need a fluffy powder brush in your makeup brush collection. This type of brush is one of the most versatile around. Use it for powder foundation, loose powder, pressed powder, or to blend out bronzer! No matter your makeup skill set or routine I think you’d get a lot of use out of a fluffy powder brush.
The Large Powder F20 brush from Sigma is beautifully made. It’s also huge, which makes it perfect for powder foundation or setting powder. It’s soft and it blends product like a champion with little work. If I put my contour on a little too thick I know this brush will come to my rescue and blend it out beautifully.
The Real Techniques Powder Brush is a fantastic one. The only reason I like it slightly less than the Sigma alternative is the size. It’s a tad bit smaller. It does blend nicely and the bristles are soft and packed at the perfect density for blending.
Tapered Blush Brush
When I bought my first domed blush brush I feel like something really clicked for me. That brush really allowed me to control application in a way other blush brushes did not. I also found that the domed shape helped me blend seamlessly. Since then I rarely use other blush brushes.
This one is slightly more pointed than the “save” alternative (which I like a little better), but the Sigma Tapered Face F25 truly is a high quality brush. For new makeup users this one might be a little hard to work with as the bristles are fairly dense, but I’m really glad I have it and I reach for it often.
My personal favorite is the Real Techniques blush brush (notice a theme here?). The density of this brush makes it the perfect everyday blush brush. You can use it for bronzer, too. It’s very hard to overdo it with this brush and for less seasoned makeup users I think that’s brilliant. It’s very user friendly and it washes up so nicely.
Eye Makeup Brushes You Need
Gone are the days of the sponge tip applicator. Thank heavens. Before you roll your eyes old spongies let me explain why you need to invest in eye makeup brushes: easier application and a better overall eye look. I promise you that you will not go back and that you don’t need 100 makeup brushes to make it happen. The believe the typical makeup user needs two. Yep. Just 2 eye brushes.
Flat Shader Brush
A good shader brush will be your new sponge tip. ? A flat shader brush can do so much for an eye look. Not to mention, it cuts down on the amount of product you use because it picks up eyeshadow easily without pressure. Think you’re going through your Naked Palette pretty quickly? You probably are if you’re using a sponge-tip.
This is one you don’t need to splurge on…
My all-time favorite shader brush is the $1 e.l.f. flat shader brush. Honestly I’m not sure how they pack so much goodness into this little dollar package. I have shelled out the dough for a fancier shader brush and this one is still my very favorite. It’s the perfect size for lid shading and it can even do some detail work on the outer edge. And at a dollar, can you really afford NOT to use it? Buy it. Trust me. You will not regret it.
Fluffy Crease Brush
Want to know the difference between a bad eye look and a great one? Blending. This is yet another con for the sponge-tip. It is so easy to amp up your eye look by simply adding a transition shade to the crease and blending it all out. You do this with a fluffy crease brush.
The Sigma Tapered Blending E35 is my absolute favorite fluffy crease brush. I’ve had it for years and it washes so well. I find that a lot of crease brushes can be scratchy, but this one is soft, yet still holds it’s shape when in use (another problem with a lot of crease brushes is that they completely collapse due to being too soft).
Honestly, go ahead and pay the money for the Sigma version. It’s the best.
If makeup brushes intimidated you before, I hope you feel better about them now. You don’t need a dozen brushes. You don’t even really need expensive brushes. You just need the right makeup brushes! The five I outlined are truly the only makeup brushes you really need. Blend on, my friends!