This post may be a little on the longer side because I think brushes are probably the most important item in a makeup collection. You can have the best quality products but none of it will work to its full potential without a great brush set. That being said, you don’t have to break the bank to get good quality brushes. I’ll take you through my brush collection and show you which brushes I think you can splurge on and which you can save on. For the record, I wash my brushes about every 2 weeks and dry them upside down.
- Real Techniques powder brush ($9.99): I use this brush mainly for bronzer because I have dry skin and don’t usually set my entire face with powder. It is intended to be used for powder though, so if you are in need of a good powder brush, look no further. Real Techniques is known for having great quality brushes at an affordable price point. Ulta is having a buy 2 get one 1 free deal right now on RT brushes, so if you are in the market for some new brushes, go grab some now! I highly recommend this brush. I’ve had it for over a year and it still feels as good as new. It is soft and densely packed, so it does a great job at blending powders.
- Real Techniques blush brush ($8.99): I don’t use this brush for blush; I use it for
highlight. The tapered shape allows me to get a more diffuse highlight because I am not a fan of highlighter that looks like a stripe on your face. I have the same things to say about this one that I have said about the powder brush. It’s soft, dense, and has held up with proper care for over a year. Well worth the money.
- Urban Decay Optical Blurring brush ($32.00): I have this brush in the old design and
I found it at Nordstrom Rack, so I got it for $12.00. I usually hate using brushes to apply foundation because I have dry skin and brushes tend to exfoliate my skin and make everything look flakey. This brush is softer than most and if I take my time buffing the foundation into my skin, it actually doesn’t really make me look dry. I still prefer sponges to brushes, but this is a great brush so if you find it at Nordstrom Rack, get it.
- The Creme Shop blush brush: I found this brush at Marshall’s and I don’t remember what the price was, but the Creme Shop has affordable brushes (about $10 or less) that are pretty good quality. I’ve had this brush for over 2 years, maybe even around 3 years, and it has just started to shed. I think that blush brushes are not necessarily something you need to splurge on, so any old brush will do.
- Real Techniques setting brush ($7.99): I use this brush to set my undereye area with powder, which is the only part of my face that I set with powder. It’s the perfect shape to get into the undereye area. Same comments go for this one as for the other RT brushes. It’s great; buy it.
- e.l.f. Beautifully Precise sculpting brush ($10.00): I have never loved a contour
brush more. Before this brush, I was always messing up my contour and making it look too muddy. This brush has such densley packed bristles that carve out such a nice contour line, and then I can wipe the excess product off and use the same brush to blend it until it looks like a natural shadow. It’s on the pricey side for an e.l.f. brush but I think it’s great quality and also looks super cute.
- Blending brushes: I have a MAC 217 ($25.00), MAC 224 ($32.00), and a Sugarpill
Tapered Blending and Crease brush ($18.00). In my opinion, this is the brush that is worth investing in. I have not found a good dupe at a lower price point for a blending brush. I also think it’s worth having at least 2 blending brushes: one that is fluffier and one that is smaller and more precise. I use my MAC 224, the fluffiest blending brush I have, to do my transition color and either my 217 or Sugarpill brush to blend out the edges or more precisely get a darker color into the crease for a smokey eye or a halo eye. If MAC brushes are a little too much money for you, I recommend the Sugarpill brush just as much. Sugarpill is also cruelty free and their brushes are made of synthetic fibers.
- Real Techniques Bold Metals 200 Oval Shadow Brush ($12.99): I use this brush to set my entire eye with a base shadow color that matches my skin tone (or is close to it). This isn’t a necessary brush to have; you can just use a shading brush. But I do really love this brush, and like all RT brushes, it’s excellent quality.
- Shading brushes: I have a Wet N Wild eyeshadow brush ($1.00), Real Techniques Shading Brush (this brush is no longer available on its own), and an e.l.f. Eyeshadow “c” brush ($2.99). I use all of these brushes pretty much interchangeably, so you only really need one. Also, as you can tell by the prices, these aren’t brushes I think you have to spend a lot on. I use these brushes to pack shadow onto the lid, which is honestly something you can accomplish with your finger. If you can find either the Wet N Wild or some e.l.f. brushes though, why not pick them up at that price point? They are both really nice quality brushes.
- Brushes that came with palettes: My ABH Modern Renaissance and Urban Decay
Naked Palette both came with brushes. They are mediocre quality, but I use them here and there when I’m too lazy to wash my better brushes.
- Detail brushes: I have a Sephora brush that I use to smoke out my lower lash line (the blue brush) that I got
as part of a travel set that was otherwise really bad quality. I absolutely LOVE my e.l.f. Beautifully Precise Smudge Brush ($5.00…it’s the clear one). The whole Beautifully Precise line is so wonderful. I use this brush to precisely place color where I want it or to smudge out dark shadow or liner. I got a flat Tarte eyeshadow brush as a gift with purchase (the bamboo one), and this is the only brush that I have found works with Colourpop shadows. It’s ideal for the cream shadow formula. I also got a Tarte double-ended liner brush to use with the Tarte gel liner, but I never wear winged liner because I’m bad at it.
- Real Techniques Retractable Lip Brush ($2.99): This brush is one of their worst quality brushes. It’s still alright, but meh as far as RT brushes go. It broke pretty much as soon as I got it and won’t retract anymore. That being said, it’s a solid lip brush for a pretty cheap price. I wouldn’t spend more on a lip brush.