Buying makeup brushes can be quite daunting when you are just finding your proverbial makeup-feet and it is easy to get overexcited and buy brushes that you don’t need and don’t really know how to use. I myself in my early makeup days had brushes that just floated around in a drawer getting grimy and gross while I used the silly little applicator I got in an eyeshadow duo (the shock, the horror) which I’m sorry to report never got washed (they were simpler times). So today I am going to share with you the 6 makeup brushes that may help you during the early days of your makeup journey or if you just want to declutter and downsize your collection to just the necessities.
- Fluffy facial brush.
A fluffy face brush is a staple really, it can serve a multitude of different purposes like a light dusting of powder to set your foundation, brushing off the “catch net” (layer of loose powder that gets applied under the eyes to catch any eyeshadow fall out and is dusted off after use) under the eyes and my personal favourite the “figure of eight” blending technique.
The figure of eight blending technique was taught to me by a skilled and sought after makeup artist when we were working on the dancers makeup for the opening and closing ceremony for a major sporting event. It works on the principle that there should be no start or end point to your blush, contour or highlight applications. So what you do is apply your contour, blush and highlight as per usual and blend well, when you are done blending to your satisfaction you grab your fluffy facial brush and lightly swivel it around the eyes and cheekbones in a figure of eight motion, making sure to cross over between the eyes for the perfect blending edges. This technique is best used with powder products.
- Smaller rounded facial brush.
This brush is also commonly termed a contour brush and is wonderful for more precise work like applying contour or highlight and even blush. I have found that with lots of people starting out a traditional blush brush might be harder to work with because of the size and flexibility of the bristles, making it hard to apply in just the desired area and to not use too much product. With a smaller rounded brush it is easier to apply blush on the apple of the cheeks or under the cheekbone (if you are so inclined) and then to almost buff out in circular motions with this brush. It is at this point that I prefer to hop in with my fluffy facial brush to smooth all edges and pull everything together.
- Flat eyeshadow packing/dabbing brush.
When starting with a more traditional eyeshadow application it is customary to start with a base colour, this is a super neutral matte colour applied from lash line to eye brows to almost prep the eye area the large flat brush is great for this as it is generally better to apply eyeshadow in a packing motion rather than a rubbing motion before blending it out. Alternatively, if you just want a natural wash of colour over the eyelids to go with an ultra-simple look this brush is also great.
- A small rounded crease brush.
The bristles on this brush often run a bit on the rigid side and is perfect for when you are ready to venture forth from your simple wash of colour (simple is often the way to go, no one is bashing simple here!). A rounder crease brush is great for when you start playing with a darker colour in the crease, this can really help exaggerate the size of the eye and make your eyes look awake and defined but without going too dramatic. This brush is designed for a more precise application, not only is it easy to stay within the crease but it also helps to contain the eyeshadow ensuring it doesn’t go everywhere (it is frighteningly easy to aim for the crease and end up getting product all over the lid). I also like using this brush to apply a small amount of highlighter (or light shimmery eyeshadow) to the inner corners of the eye or on the brow bone.
- A soft rounded eyeshadow blending brush.
A rounded eyeshadow blending brush does not look dissimilar to a rounded crease brush, the difference comes in with the stiffness of bristles the blending brush having much softer more bendable bristles that make it a blending powerhouse for even the darkest colours. Simply use this brush to lightly blend out eyeshadow using circular or back and forth motions.
- A very small flat pointed brush with stiff bristles.
This brush is often called a concealer brush and it is another of those little brushes that can be used for a multitude of different things, my favourite being, powdered eye liner. Applying eyeliner without it being crooked or too harsh can be tricky if you aren’t that experienced, for this reason I always suggest that people start by applying a small amount of eye shadow under the eye (dark brown is always a safe colour to experiment with) starting at the outer corner and blending towards the inner corner. Alternatively, this brush can also be used to blend out pencil liner making it softer or depending on how much liner you applied more smokey, in some instances it might also be great to set your pencil liner by applying a light dusting of eyeshadow (of the same colour). Another thing that I love using this brush for is filling in brows with powder.
Bonus : Beauty blender or similar sponge.
Okay this is slightly cheating as this is a sponge and not a brush but I am slightly obsessed with these nifty little egg shaped sponges, with good reason, as they are AMAZING when it comes to blending out foundation for a flawless finish, but they are equally great at blending out almost all cream formulations like blush, contour and highlight products for a seamless finish. In my opinion there is a space for this product in all makeup kits from beginner to pro.
Okay so using minimal brushes is all well and good but you might be wondering how you are supposed to apply setting powder, blush contour and highlight all with the same brush without ending up looking like a clown? Strategy my dear friend! The way I apply multitudes of different products using one brush boils down to the sequence, for instance I will start by applying translucent setting powder, then highlighter, then blush and then contour with the same brush taking care to gently rub my brush on a clean and dry wash cloth to remove any excess powder that may transfer colour onto unwanted areas. When you are done just throw the cloth into the wash basket easy peasy, also it is highly recommended to wash brushes after every use, you can check out my tutorial here if you like.
Hope this guide was helpful in assisting you in figuring out what works for you, please feel free to add and omit to get your perfect fit (see what I did there?).
Have a great day