The Essentials – Makeup Brushes


Although I have three tubs of makeup brushes on my dresser, I’ve noticed a routine develop where I turn to the same brushes every time that I do my makeup. Out of around thirty brushes, there are only seven that I would use every day. So, how many brushes does a girl really need? If you’re looking to pick up some new brushes, or just expand your collection, these seven are the ones that I would recommend the most. These are the brushes that I’d always carry in my makeup bag, and that I would be lost without. It doesn’t mean that I’ll stop buying makeup brushes though, a girl can never have to many, right? 😉


Left to right: MAC 239, Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, MAC 217, Real Techniques Buffing Brush, MAC 266, Real Techniques Contour Brush, MAC 168 

As you can probably tell, MAC and Real Techniques brushes are my favourites. They wash really well and last years. I received a set of MAC brushes for Christmas four years ago and they are still as good as new. As for Real Techniques, they never shed and apply makeup flawlessly. Both brands are definitely worth the investment, although I’d recommend Real Techniques if you’re on a budget. I prefer Real Techniques for face brushes and MAC for eye brushes, in general.


Eyeshadow – MAC 239: This brush is perfect for packing on eyeshadow: It picks up colour really well and applies makeup easily to the eye. It’s also slim enough to apply colour to the outer corner of your eye or to line underneath.

Foundation – Real Techniques Expert Face Brush: The hold grail of makeup brushes, the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush applies foundation like no other. It blends foundation, tinted moisturiser and BB cream into the skin with ease, leaving no lines. The density of the brush allows you to really work the product into the skin and it reaches every corner of your face – your hairline, temples, under the eye and corners of your nose. This is the best foundation brush I’ve tried, over both Benefit and MAC.

Crease – MAC 217: MAC’s 217 blending brush is talked about and used by nearly every beauty guru in the business. It’s perfect for applying colour to the crease, blending, shading or smudging. The dome shape fits snugly into the crease of the eye and spreads colour evenly. It’s fluffy and soft, allowing you to apply colour as lightly or heavily as you like.

Contour – Real Techniques Contour Brush: This contour brush’s tapered end is ideal for applying bronzer. It fits right into the hollows of your cheeks and is small enough to apply product to your temples and jawline without bronzing up your entire face. I like this brush as it allows you to build up the amount of bronzer you would like on your face, instead of packing it all on at once, allowing you to create a more natural effect.


Blush –  MAC 168 : Although I’m not a huge fan of blusher, MAC’s 168 brush is always the first brush I turn to when I do. It applies powder blush and cream blush really well and is the perfect size for applying blush to the apples of your cheeks. Once again, it distributes and blends colour really well. This brush is also perfect for contouring as it has a slanted edge, so if you’re looking for a 2in1 brush, this is it!

Powder – Real Techniques Buffing Brush : Powder is an essential part of my everyday makeup routine, so this brush really gets its wear. One thing I hate about some powder brushes is that they shed and leave hairs all over your face Wolverine style, but this brush has never done that. One swirl into my powder is enough for my whole face, this brush applies the product without ruining the makeup you’ve already done – success!

Eyebrows/liner – MAC 266 : This brush is another 2in1 – I love using it both to fill in my eyebrows when using powder and also to line my eyes with gel liner or shadow. It creates a really natural finish when filling in my eyebrows; the thinness of the brush allows me to recreate brow hairs with thin strokes. The angled edge is perfect for creating a flick when using gel liner, or lining my top and bottom lashes with eyeshadow. While I’ve tried a few different brushes for both tasks, this 266 is the one I always turn back to.

I hope this post helps anyone who is looking to expand their brush collection, or is just starting out. These seven brushes are true essentials when it comes to applying makeup – I don’t see myself stopping using them for a long time!

If you have any brush recommendations, or have tried any of these before, please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear what you think!