I truly believe makeup brushes can make or break a look. I don’t believe you have to spend a fortune on high-end brushes but having ones which function for what you need and are well made can really make the difference in application.
I’m in an odd stage with developing my brush collection. I have ones I really like, but very few I LOVE and while I would like to start upgrading to more high-end brushes, it’s not in the financial cards right now. However, I do have a few I really enjoy and I present them for your reviewing pleasure.
Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki- Starting with a foundation brush, the Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki is an amazing one. It’s got a flat top (obviously), and is very dense with synthetic bristles which move just enough to really spread foundation and blend it into the skin. I can get foundation applied very, very quickly with this brush. The brush is soft and most of the time I don’t find it to be scratchy at all. I think the only times I do find to be a teeeny bit scratchy is when my skin is acting up, but it’s never been more than a minor nuisance and I don’t find that my skin gets red from it. It’s not very expensive and one I would recommend to beginners getting started with foundation (I even got one for a friend for her birthday).
Chikuhodo Z4 Cheek/Highlight- Now for a not so affordable option: my Chikuhodo Z4 brush. This brush is sooooooo soft. It’s bristles are made from gray squirrel and they’re slightly tapered. I use this brush for powder, setting concealer under the eyes, blush, contour, bronzer, AND highlighter. It’s so versatile and applies powder products like a dream. I do find it to be a bit large for highlighter on my small face, but I can still manage. I have a small face, so someone with a larger one might find this too small for powder, but it can still work for more specific areas.
Elf Small Stipple Brush- elf brushes are excellent for those who are starting out with makeup. They have two lines, the essential line (most of which is about $1) and the studio line (most of which is about $3). The studio line tends to be better and while I have had some issues with my brushes where the glue holding the ferrule to the handle starts to loosen, I still think these are great cheap brushes. The Small Stipple Brush is from the studio line and it’s wonderful. It’s a synthetic duo fiber brush that’s very slim, so it’s ideal for applying and blending liquid or cream blush, highlighter, or even contour.
Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush- The Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush is another incredibly versatile brush. It’s also synthetic, so I’ve been able to use it for eyeshadow and concealer. I’ve used it to apply eyeshadow to the lid and used it in a MAC 217 style to apply and blend color in the crease and outer corner when I’ve been too rushed to grab multiple brushes. It comes in the Real Techniques Starter Kit, which is a great affordable option for beginners.
ecotools Recycled Aluminum Retractable Kabuki Brush– I was amazed at how soft the ecotools Recycled Aluminum Retractable Kabuki Brush is when I first purchased it. Drugstore brushes don’t have the best reputation for softness, but this is one of the softest I own. It’s a dense powder brush, great for touching up powder on the go. It comes in a sleek bronze casing that has held up to the beating it takes in my purse and I love it.
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge- Another Real Techniques purchase, the Miracle Complexion Sponge actually made me want to try makeup sponges. I’ve never really wanted to try the beauty blender because for me spending that much on a sponge isn’t worth it. But when this sponge came on the market at a budget friendly $5.99 I was more willing to come around to trying it. And when Anna from ViviannaDoesMakeup suggested using it with a setting spray to set makeup and blend it more seemlessly into skin, I was sold. That is generally how I use it, wetting the sponge, spraying it with the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray and tapping the sponge all over my face and it does an excellent job keeping my makeup in place. And the flat edge and pointed side give plenty of versatility to get all the contours of the face covered.
Have you tried any of these brushes? Tell me what you’ve thought of them in the comments!