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Every skilled makeup artist (MUA, for those in the know) has a curated collection of makeup brushes at their disposal. They’re a lot more integral to a gorgeous look than you’d think — ask any MUA and they’ll tell you that a quality kit is the key to smooth, even product application.
If you’re just starting out in the makeup world, or perhaps want to step up your skills a little, you’re going to need some makeup brushes on hand to help you along your way. Don’t go into things blind — it’s important to educate yourself a little on what will work, why you need them (or don’t) and how to use them.
We’ve rounded up the 10 most essential makeup brushes every beginner needs in their kit, from some of our hottest professional brands. Keep on reading to find out all about these non-negotiable additions to your collection.
After applying your primer (which you can totally do with your hands — rub it into the skin like moisturiser), it’s time for foundation. Our favourite makeup brushes for a really flawless, even look are kabuki brushes. In particular, the Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki Brush is a beauty blogger fave that really works your product into the skin, helping it to look airbrushed. Simply apply foundation to the hand or face, dip your brush in and begin buffing into the skin with a stippling motion.
Real Techniques are makeup brushes created by beloved beauty bloggers Nic and Sam Chapman of Pixiwoo. Their extensive range includes a brush for every step of the application process, but we’re especially loving their Expert Concealer Brush. Small with a dense, rounded tip, this brush fits easily into the inner corner, allowing you to both apply and blend your concealer seamlessly.
With brows the ever-growing phenomenon they now are, every makeup lover should be in possession of a good brow brush. You’ll want to opt for something dual-ended, with one side featuring a spoolie to comb through the brows, and the other, a small, stiff angled brush. The Poni Cosmetics Pro Brow Brush is perfect no matter your favourite brow product — as the bristles are tightly packed and don’t have too much bend to them, they’ll apply everything from gel to powder.
Pro tip: Start off by brushing your brows upward a little for that fluffy look your favourite Insta model is probably wearing. Then, take your go-to product and begin with the tail end of the brow, creating short strokes that mimic hairs. Lighten up your application as you move towards the front of the brow.
There’s quite a lot to cover when it comes to the eyes, but for beginners, this can be a little daunting. Don’t stress yourself out — a few key makeup brushes are sure to start you off on the right foot. The Garbo & Kelly Double Ended Eyeshadow Brush is a great multitasker, as it features a small, tapered shader on one end and a larger, fluffier eye brush on the other. Use these babies to apply your eyeshadow, packing on the pigment before you go in with your blending brush.
Ah yes, the coveted blending brush. Having a quality blender in your collection of makeup brushes is a complete necessity, as it’ll ensure your eyeshadow looks seamless and doesn’t have any harsh or stark lines. We can never go past the Sigma E40 Tapered Blending Brush, as the fluffy bristles allow you to work at those lines with total control. It also fits perfectly into the eye socket, letting you really go to town in the crease area.
Liquid eyeliner was a total no-no for beginners, up until a few years ago when a perfect wing became totally mainstream, thanks to Instagram. If you want to master a gorgeous, clean look, we recommend picking up a liner brush and getting stuck into it (practice makes perfect, after all). The Jane Iredale Bent Liner Brush is a must-have for beginners, as the bend in the brush handle will help you avoid smudging or smearing your makeup. It’s the perfect brush for creating a wing!
We all love a good hit of highlighter, right? There’s nothing like a sweep of gorgeous glow onto the cheekbones, or all over your face if you’re feeling fancy. Although highlighter can be applied using practically any brush, we can’t go further than what’s perhaps the most extra of makeup brushes — the fan brush. Our choice is the INIKA Vegan Fan Brush, as it uses fully-synthetic (yet high quality) bristles that pack product onto the skin. Dip into your fave radiance booster and dust on the high points of the face.
Contouring is another makeup trend that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. However, as a beginner, you don’t want to be going full Kim K with your contour (kontour?) — keep it simple, babe. We recommend grabbing a contour brush that has soft, fluffy bristles on an angle. Our pick is the Sigma F23 Soft Angled Contour Brush, which fits perfectly into the hollows of the cheeks to add definition. Take your favourite bronzer, swirl lightly and apply to the cheeks first, using any extra product along the hair line.
Setting powder is a must-have, especially in the warmer months when the humidity can attack your makeup and send it dripping off your face! You’ll need a large, fluffy brush at your disposal to make applying powder to the face a simple, quick task. The Real Techniques Powder Brush is made of synthetic bristles that will help transfer product to the face, as opposed to absorbing, meaning less wastage — a total win-win. You can also use this brush to buff in your mineral foundation.
If you’re a regular jetsetter, you’re bound to encounter the issue that is travelling with a big makeup collection — it simply can’t be done. No matter how overflowing our luggage, it’s important to pare down before you head off somewhere, whether it’s just a weekend getaway or weeks overseas.
That’s where the BECCA The One Perfecting Brush comes in! This all-round multi-tasker works as a primer, foundation, bronzer, contour, powder, highlighter and blush brush. Got that?! The goat hair fibres don’t absorb product, which means it works with cream, liquid or powder products.
What are your must-have makeup brushes? Let us know whether you’ll be picking up any of these essentials, over on Facebook or Twitter!
I'm a journalism grad and avid makeup fan with an unhealthy addiction to buying nude lipsticks, no matter how similar they all may seem. I love chatting to anyone who will listen about my new favourite products, skincare dos and don'ts and practically any other beauty-related topic under the sun. That doesn't mean I'm frivolous with my recommendations, though--you can count on me to give you the nitty gritty on all your wishlist products. In my spare time, you'll find me binge-watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls or at brunch with a large iced coffee in my hand.
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