Makeup Brushes: My 12 Essentials

Makeup Brushes

12 April, 2016 Makeup Brushes: My 12 Essentials

A few people have asked me recently about my favourite makeup brushes, and as I haven’t touched on the subject recently, I thought a post on my favourites would be helpful. I’ve chosen the best makeup brushes from four of my favourite brands, including Real Techniques, Morphe, Sigma and Zoeva. All of these tools are within the affordable/high-street price bracket, and offer incredible value for money.

I think that a good set of makeup brushes is one of the best beauty investments you can make, and with a little love and care, can last you upwards of three years. Below are 12 of my favourites for base, cheeks and eyes, although I have plenty more I could talk about.

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Without further ado, here are my 12 must-have makeup brushes!

Makeup Brushes - Base

Base: Foundation, Concealer and Powder

When it comes to foundation, I typically choose between my Zoeva 102 Silk Finish (£13), and my Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki Brush (£23). Whilst the 102 Silk Finish offers a rounded top for precise blending and buffing, the F80 features a flat surface to swipe and stroke, yielding a more ‘painted’ effect. Both brushes are soft, densely packed, and fantastic for all types of coverage – for example, I use both brushes with my NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser (sheer coverage), and my Estee Lauder Double Wear (full coverage). Each brush adapts to the product, ensuring a smooth and perfected base.

For concealer, I always reach for my Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush. This rather chubby and fluffy brush blends concealer flawlessly over blemishes and pigment spots, and the varying lengths of the synthetic bristles get into every nook and cranny. This also doubles as an eyeshadow primer brush, when I want to buff a MAC Paintpot all over my lid. This brush is included in the Real Techniques Eyes Starter Kit, and retails for £20.99.

Once base is applied, I usually set my makeup with the Morphe G7 (£14.25). This dense yet lightweight brush has a long, thin handle for a precise application, and can be used with setting powder, brightening powder, mattifying powder, bronzer, and even a subtle contour. I use this for all of my powder products, as it creates a gorgeous airbrushed effect, without looking caky.

Makeup Brushes - Cheeks

Cheeks: Bronzer, Contour, Blusher and Highlighter

When I’m looking for a targeted bronzer application, the Real Techniques Multi-Tasker Brush is perfect. It has a thin handle for better control and precision and a wide, domed shape head to buff and blend with ease. This will also work as a great powder and blusher brush if you’re travelling, and retails for £13.37 as part of the Travel Essentials Kit.

For contour, the only brush I use is the Real Techniques Contour Brush. The brush head is narrow enough to get into the hollows of the cheeks, the sides of the nose, and the jawline. It’s soft, fluffy, and doubles as a highlighter brush too. This retails for £13.38 as part of the Core Collection Kit.

When applying a pop of colour to the cheeks, my brush of choice is the Zoeva 127 Luxe Sheer Cheek (£13). It has very lightweight, natural hairs that deposit the perfect amount of colour, and the angled head can be used for contouring as well.

My highlighter brush has to be the over-hyped, Youtube-favourite  that is the Morphe M501 (£6.25). It’s a little scratchy, but I can live with it for its fantastic precision. If you’re new to applying highlighter, a dab or two with this will create the most perfect subtle glow. I adore it. 

Makeup Brushes - Eyes

Eyes: Lid, Crease and Under-Eye

Once I’ve applied a base all over the lid and allowed it to settle, I will blend my transition shade into the crease, using a Zoeva 227 Luxe Soft Definer (£9). This fluffy, natural-bristle brush defines the crease without looking too harsh, and is the perfect brush to reach for when I want to blend and smooth out any darker edges. I typically amp up the drama in any eye look by using a few brown shades with this brush, at increasing levels of pressure on the crease.

For packing on colour and doing more detailed work for a smoky-eye, my go-to brush is the Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush. This brush is in the same set as the Deluxe Crease Brush, and is probably my brush of choice when travelling light. It can be used in the crease, all over the lid, and to do blending work, so it’s fab value for money. I’ll typically use shimmer and glitter shades with this brush, spray with some facial mist for a foiled effect, and apply to the centre of the lid.

When I want to simply pop a colour in the crease, or carve out a more defined socket, I love the Morphe M505 (£4.75). The tapered point provides a precise look, whilst the fluffy bristles are gentle and wonderful to blend with. A great blending brush to add to your collection.

For under-eye concealer or applying a brightening powder, the Real Techniques Setting Brush (£6.99) is the best I’ve ever tried. The brush is flat, narrow and pointed at the tip, meaning you can expertly build up coverage without disturbing the products underneath. This also works as a concealer brush for disguising a larger blemish.


Let me know your favourite makeup brushes in the comments below, and keep me posted on any products you pick up from my list!

Happy Tuesday!

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