My essential make-up brushes

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Everyone knows that the key to really fantastic make-up application is really fantastic make-up brushes. Yes, you can use your fingers to blend and apply (and I often do) but for precision work, you need a good brush. I have had a few requests asking to do a post on the brushes that I think are essential and it really was very easy for me to decide as there are really only a few brushes that I use daily. Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I know there are a lot of Sigma products here but I just really think they are excellent. Also, I should’ve probably washed my make-up brushes before photographing them… meh. 

Essential make-up brushes

My top 5 essential make-up brushes

#1 Foundation Brush There are many foundations that work beautifully when applied with fingers and make-up applicators like the beauty blender are gaining popularity but for me, there are few things that blend as beautifully as a really good foundation brush. My current obsession is the Sigma flat kabuki (f80) brush but there are many like it that are equally good (Real Techniques has one that everyone raves about). The Sigma flat kabuki brush is as the name says, a completely flat brush which is densely packed with soft but firm bristles. The bristles glide over your skin and work to really buff the product into your skin so you don’t get a streaky appearance. Another foundation brush that I’m dying to try is the Louise Young Super Foundation brush but only because Anna from Vivianna Does Make-up raves about it. To purchase the Sigma F80, click here. (International readers, click here).

#2 Blush brush  A good blush brush is my second essential because I use it every single day. I fell in love with angled brushes when I first became a make-up artist. They are just so perfect for working colour onto your cheeks and to use when contouring. The one I am currently using is a cheapy from the drugstore (a Barbara Hoffman angled cheek brush) but there are many out there that are similar. I am more prone to reach for my angled blush brushes but there are many round ones that are excellent. Click here. (International readers, click here.)

#3 Eyeshadow brush Every make-up collection needs a good eye shadow brush. I use mine to apply heavily pigmented eye shadow before blending it out with a blending brush. The one I’m currently using is this Sigma E55 brush but almost every brand has their own version. Mac has a really good one as well. Click here to purchase. (International reader links: Sigma Brush & MAC brush )

#4 Blending brush I use a blending brush more than any other eyeshadow brush because it is just so versatile. I use it to apply and blend base shades, I use it to apply and blend neutral colours into the crease of my eye and I use it to blend out darker, more pigmented colours. There are two that I think are worth their weight in gold. The Sigma E25 and the MAC 217. Pretty much identical brushes and both really good blenders but I prefer the Sigma one. I think it’s softer (the MAC one can be quite scratchy) and it’s cheaper. (International reader links: Sigma E25 & MAC 217)

#5 Angled eye brush I use my angled brush to shape and fill in my eyebrows, to apply dark eyeshadow underneath my eyes and to wing out black eyeshadow when I’m looking for a softer cat eye. This is the one brush I can not live without. My fingers can not fill in my eyebrows, believe me, I’ve tried. This one is again a cheapy Barbara Hoffman number from the drugstore but angled brushes are a dime a dozen. They can be found anywhere that sells make-up. If you’re looking for a more expensive option, have a look at both Sigma & MAC.  (International reader links: Sigma & MAC)

Essential make-up brushes

Other brushes that are nice to have:

Powder brush- This should also really be in the essential line-up but I can live without this one more than the others. Pretty self-explanatory and an essential if you have oily skin. I like powder brushes that are densely packed with soft bristles. The one I am currently using is by Eco-Tools (locally available at select Clicks stores) which is a great drugstore brand. They are incredibly affordable and really very good quality.

Fluffy blending brush – I love having a big fluffy blending brush and I use mine for many different things. I like using it to blend together an eye look and I also use it to set concealer under my eyes. It also make a nice small contouring brush for the sides of my nose. The one I’m currently using is the Sigma E40. (International reader, click here)

Eyeliner brush- This could also be an essential (especially if you use a lot of gel eyeliner). I use liquid liner a lot so I don’t always need it but I am a fan of gel eye liner and when I use it, I reach for my little Sigma travel-size brush which came as a little free gift with my first order at Turquoise studio. A good eye liner brush will be firm and tapered so precision application is made easier. (International readers, click here)

Lipstick brush – I almost never use a lipstick brush, even when I’m applying a dark colour but I know of many women who can’t live without theirs. I like densely packed, flat brushes for lipstick application and MAC’s lip brush is quite excellent. (International readers, click here)

I know I’ve mentioned Sigma and MAC a lot in this post but these are the brushes I am most familiar with. There are, however, so many brands doing incredibly good quality brushes. Below are a few links to brands I think are worth looking at:

Real Techniques 

The Body Shop

Inglot (International readers, click here)

Which are the brushes you can’t live without? Are there any that I’ve missed or ones you think I should be trying? Please leave a comment below as I’m always looking for new brushes to try.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Makeup_A_Storm

    I have the Real Techniques Core Collection. Love it! But I am dying to get my hands on the Sigma F80

    • Alida Ryder

      I’m dying to get my hands on the Real Techniques brushes. Soon! 😉 You should really get the Sigma. It is uh-mazing!

  • Simone

    I only have a blush brush and it’s so cheap! I would not know what to do with all these brushes. lol. Feeling lost and in need of a make up tutorial for dummies. he he

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