WARNING: For my shopaholic friends, this might be another excuse for you to spend money and go crazy at the mall. I love you so I am limiting the list of brushes to only what you need. :) With this said, you may now proceed…
There is a plethora of makeup brushes and it can get overwhelming when choosing what is best for you. You do not need to have a full set of brushes because they can be costly. There are a few brushes that can have multiple uses. Here is a list of basic brushes you will need for your personal makeup kits:
1. Foundation brush
I like using foundation brushes instead of sponges because sponges absorb more foundation than I really need to use. Sponges tend to be wasteful. You have an option in foundation brushes. You can use a synthetic brush material, which can be cheaper, or a stippling brush, which has both synthetic fibers (taklon) and hair (may be real animal hair or synthetic). I use both, depending on how I feel, but I do recommend the stippling brush because it has a nice even application.
I clean my foundation brush after each use because bacteria can grow in wet brushes and you don’t want that on your face. So when I’m traveling, I just use my clean hands, because usually I won’t have enough time to let it dry. Make sure that you don’t just swipe the foundation on your face with your hand because you wipe it off as soon as you apply it. I kind of use a stippling motion with my fingers to apply my foundation.
NOTE: If you can see that your foundation looks thick or caked on, you might want to consider wetting your foundation brush so that you can apply a thinner layer of foundation. You might also want to check if your foundation color and formula are correct.
2. Powder brush
I see a lot of my friends using their little travel kits as their home kit, too. Usually, the brushes in the travel kits are small. They usually serve as blush brushes, to be honest. You want a big, loose, and fluffy powder brush so that your powder is applied all over your face evenly, easily, and quickly. You can also use the powder brush for your bronzer. I have a small spray with brush cleaner that I can use to clean the brush after using the bronzer. It will be ready again for use the next day.
3. Blush brush
I don’t mind using cheap synthetic hair as long as it is not too smooth and it can take color from my blush pot and actually apply on my cheeks. The problem with synthetic brushes is that it is so slippery that the color does not get on the brush easily and I end up taking more time to build the color on my cheeks. Sometimes, the synthetic hair can also be so rough that it feels like I’m using a porcupine on my face.
The thickness and density of the brush matters. I see a lot of women use the brush that they buy with mineral makeup for their blush. Most of those are kabuki brushes and they collect more color than you need for your face. You want to have a natural looking blush. You don’t want to look like a clown. The bristles are so packed that when you apply the color, it is concentrated only in a small area.
4. Eyeshadow brush
Let’s be honest. How confident are you that you are doing your eyes correctly? When applying eyeshadow, try one color at a time instead of attempting to blend two or more colors immediately. Once you get more confident, then you can add contouring and highlighting. For your first eyeshadow brush, I prefer real hair. (Vegan friends, don’t hurt me.) You can choose the material that you want as long as it is soft and it takes color from your eyeshadow pot. Now, to choose the shape and size of the brush, use a flat brush that can cover from a third to half of your eyelid. You can also get an angled brush. Try to get a brush that is not too loose or fluffy. That tends to let eyeshadow fall under your eyes and it may be difficult to clean up afterwards. You will look like a raccoon without intending to do so.
5. Blending Brush
This. This right here. This right here is the cure all for all your sharp edges. Sometimes, we apply eyeshadow and the edges need to be softened. If that is the look that you are going for, then leave it. But more often that not, it just does not look cute… Ijs. Keep this brush clean (no color) and just blend the edges of your eyeshadow until it is softer. You will see a major difference.
6. Contour eyeshadow brush
If you are more confident that you can use multiple colors, you can get a contour eyeshadow brush. You can use this to add depth to your eyeshadow in your creases and also for your highlighter under your eyebrows. This can be a small flat brush or a small brush that is more packed.
7. Mascara wand
These are disposable and I use them to groom my eyebrows or to get rid of lumps in my mascara. They sell these at beauty stores for about $2- $5 for a pack of twelve. I am cheap, so I ask the makeup counters for a few when I buy makeup. Free is good. Free makes me happy.
**Eyeliner brushes, lip brushes, and concealer brushes are splurges that you can make later on. When you get better at applying makeup, then you will need these special brushes for other functions.
I do not specify brands when buying brushes. They can get very expensive and unreasonable at times. Go to the makeup stores or drugstores even and try them on the back of your hand or on the inside of your arm (where mothers squirt bottled milk to check if it’s too hot for babies) to see if it feels good. Now look at the prices and think hard. If the brush and the price feel good, buy it. If you don’t use makeup that much and you know you won’t need it, put it back. Brushes are a good investment. Your makeup can only look good if it is applied correctly. You need the right tools to do this.