Essential Makeup Brushes (5)

The 10 Essential Makeup Brushes

Are you just getting started in this makeup game (either for yourself or as a MUA)? Then let’s talk makeup brushes. I have years of personal and professional experience of using (and abusing) some of the best and worst makeup brushes ever created. No matter that type of feel or application you’re looking for, there’s plenty of brushes that would be perfect for you. From $1 to $25K, there are brushes that meet every budget (and yes – there was a $25K makeup brush!)

Quick note: this page includes affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend items that I personally love or believe in. 

The two primary types of brushes are synthetic and natural. Synthetic brushes (typically made up of some nylon or other synthetic fibers) are great for applying cream and liquid products since they cannot absorb makeup. Less absorption means less waste and longer use of the product. Natural brushes (comprised of a type of animal hair) are usually considered best for applying powder products. However, natural brushes are, obviously, not vegan so there are some ethical implications with using them. As with most products, use will be determined by personal preference.

Whether you’re just getting started with makeup, looking to build a solid professional makeup kit or you’re just interested in getting back to the essentials, these are the top 10 types of brushes I’d recommend.

1. Angled Powder Brush

The angled shape of this brush can help provide precise application for a sculpted look. It can be used to apply cream, liquid and powder blush, bronzer and highlighter.

Some brush options you’d might like:

2. Foundation Brush

For liquid foundation, a flat foundation brush is great as it allows allows you to use literally swipe or use painting motions for a streak-free precision. If powder foundation is more of your thing, a fluffy and dense brush, like a Kabuki brush, would work better.

Some brush options you’d might like:

3. Large Powder Brush

These big, fluffy brushes are used to apply powder when setting the face. They’re not too densely packed so that they don’t add excess product to the skin. 

Some brush options you’d might like:

4. Small Tapered Brush

This small cone-shaped brush used for applying highlighter or applying powder to under eye.

Some brush options you’d might like:

5. Small Blending Brush

The small eye blending brush is used to blend out harsh lines of the eyeshadow crease and to create a softening effect on the lids.

Some brush options you’d might like:

6. Concealer Brush

A concealer brush is a small, dense brush that is used for applying and blending out liquid, cream and powder concealer formulas.

Some brush options you’d might like:

7. Small Eye Shader

This brush is used to set the eyes, blend out harsh lines and create smokey eye effects.

Some brush options you’d might like:

8. Small Pencil Brush

The pencil brush is used for smudging eyeshadow along the lower lash line, smoking out eyeliner and creating a defined crease on the eyelid. 

Some brush options you’d might like:

9. Angled Eyeliner Brush

The angled eyeliner brush is used to draw a precisely thin line. That makes it perfect for winged eyeliner.

Some brush options you’d might like:

10. Brow Brush with Spoolie

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Some brush options you’d might like:

A little non-brush bonus -

I personally think no kit is complete without at least one (two, four or seven) makeup sponge(s). The makeup sponge is a versatile item that can be used for practically anything in your makeup bag: foundations, bb cream, concealer, etc. 

Some brush options you’d might like:

As always, a lot of makeup/skincare/beauty decisions are made through trial and error. If one doesn’t work for you and your preferences, try another! 

Have you tried any of these brushes? How did they work out for you? If you bought that $25K brush, let me know because I got QUESTIONS!