On the last shoot I worked on, all the ladies kept asking me what brushes I was using, where to buy x, why do I use y, etc, etc. This is for them! I get a lot of questions as to what brushes one should invest in and what are some affordable alternatives. This post is to answer all of those questions. Click the jump for details on what is what, and why you have to have it.
Face Brushes - Powder, Foundation, Blush, Contour
- E.L.F Studio Powder Brush ($3) - I absolutely love this brush, it’s definitely one of my Must Haves, and at $3, it’s a no brainer. The best powder brush I’ve used ever, you just tap it into your powder of choice and it does the work for you. I don’t even know what to say, I just think if you’re using powder at all in your makeup routine, you need this brush.
- MAC 187 Duo Fiber Face ($42) - E.L.F has a duo fiber brush for $3 (here) but I haven’t heard rave reviews about it and I think if there is one brush you must invest in, it should be your foundation brush. This is wonderful, it gives a great airbrush finish, and you don’t need to use a lot of product. Protip: if you have dry skin, a duo diber brush is not the brush you want, because when you swirl your foundation on with this you may be exfoliating slightly and will aggravate the flakiness of your skin. Use a beauty blender instead.
- Dermablend Professional Foundation Brush ($30) - This is a traditional foundation brush, the kind you ‘paint your face’ with. It’s densely packed with bristles, which is super important for this kind of brush — a flimsy, thin flat brush it annoying to work with and it will be streaky. Soft, also. Recommended, though there are probably ones just as good out there.
- EcoTools Blush Brush ($8.99 alone, $12.99 in set) - This is my favorite drugstore brush, and with the Choose to Live Beautifully campaign, whenever you mail in an unused beauty product, you get a coupon that allows you to get this for FREE! So I have 3 of these for free. It’s the best brush EcoTools offers, so soft, and applies blush (and contour) beautifully. I highly highly recommend this, a must have.
- Real Techniques Contour Brush ($17.99, only avail in set) - I love the Real Techniques brush line, I have both the Face and Eye set and once all of the brushes are available individually I’ll undoubtedly buy multiples of my favorites. The contour brush is perfect for applying your contour (surprise?) color, your highlight color, and/or your blush, it’s soft, densely packed, and beautifully designed. I highly recommend the Face set, I think it’s a great purchase.
- Real Techniques Detailer Brush ($17.99, only avail in set) If you want this you have to buy the core set, which means it’ll come with the contour brush above. Totally worth it, if it was $17.99 alone I’d even suck it up and buy it individually! SO good for detail work i.e concealing acne, scarring, and even just doing detail work in your eye area. It does triple duty as a detail eye brush, a concealer brush, or as a lip brush. LOVE.
- E.L.F C Shape Brush ($3) - When it comes to just packing on color, I don’t think it’s necessary to purchase any other brush, this does the job perfectly fine, and you can also blend with this brush so any other brush isn’t really necessary! I have a bunch of these.
- Essence of Beauty Crease Duo ($5-8) Everyone and their mother recommends the MAC 217 eye brush, but I don’t want to spend almost $20 on a single brush, and it is too big for my small asian eye space anyway. These are essentially the same thing, do the same exact job, for a quarter of the price tag, and work for the size and shape of my eyes. MUG has a great dupe though for those who are interested (it dupes the 224). For blending, I think a soft dome brush makes it way easier than just trying to use the C brush, and it’s a worthwhile investment.
So, those are my favorites! I think, if you’re going to purchase any brushes, you probably want at least these:
- Blush brush
- Powder Brush
- Flat Eyeshadow Brush
Foundation & gel liner brushes are really optional because you may prefer applying foundation with your fingers, and you may not like gel liner. I hope this helps!