The brush market is a beast. Knowing what to buy can be overwhelming. And the reality is that the right brushes can help you create a better makeup look. So I've decided to put together a small edit of my faves.
These are the brushes to buy.
This edit was not an easy feat. I am a makeup brush hoarder. I just can't resit them. Obvs I feel I can justify every last one considering I'm a makeup artist. I mean, if a builder can have a drill with 100 drill bits, I can have 100, (or more like 400), brushes right?!
To make this as clear as possible, I've broken this down into 'types' of brushes. However, as you guys know, I use brushes on multiple areas of the face. More on this later.
Let's start with brush brands. There are a ton out there, and I've tried and tested the majority of them. A good brush is not easy to make. Naming no names, there are some huge makeup brands out there who have great products but shit brushes. So don't be deceived into assuming their tools are good just because their bronzer is.
Here I've listed my all time favourite brush brands (in price order). The one's I use daily on myself and my clients. The one's I can rely on to blend to perfection, to not feel spiky, and to wash beautifully.
£ = £3-£15
£££ = £18-£100
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Cruelty free- Yes
Affordable, reliable brushes. Direct from the designer purchase which is how they keep the price down.
35 years experience
Created by makeup artists, Sam & Nic Chapman, these are great brushes that are affordable and bloody good. They also come in an array of colours and designs which makes them very appealing.
Exceptional quality with a good price point. The brushes are bound together and not glued, meaning you rarely get bristle fall out.
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Cruelty free-Yes. The certified vegan range is.
A great brand who focus on the detail. The joints are made with solid copper then layered with gold plate. These are both strong materials and provide a weighted balance to the brush.
Another brand designed by makeup artists. This time by the brilliant James Molloy and his partner Alex. These brushes are a go to for many artists.
Cruelty free- Does not test on animals but can not be classed as cruelty free as they sell in China.
The Icon that is. Mac are an artistry brand, meaning their brushes are of great quality. The 217 was my first ever brush purchase. 18 years ago. I still have that same brush.
Another wonderful makeup artist brand. These brushes are handcrafted in Japan to Rae's personal design specifications. These are expensive, but some of the best brushes I've ever used.
Cruelty free-Yes and certified vegan.
Anything that this brand releases is of the highest quality. Their brushes are no exception. Created with Vegan ingredients, these brushes are beautiful. Yes, they are expensive, but they will last you forever if you look after them.
Price £££ Fyi these are only sold on Beautylish & even though it looks like a US site, it shipped super quick
Wayne creates some of my favourite eyeshadow brushes. Handmade in Japan by the Worlds best brush makers, these babies are extremely high quality. They are a dream to blend eyeshadow with.
This is probably the most complicated section as there are so many different types of eyeshadow brushes, so I thought I'd start here.
My faves are the Fluffy brushes, the ones with a ton of hairs that are usually used to blend eyeshadow. These are also the one's I multi use the most. These beauties are not only wonderful for blending your eyeshadow, they also work great with concealer, foundation, highlighter and lipstick. Infact, I never use an actual concealer brush which is why they're not featured in this post. I use this type of brush, my fingers or a damp beauty blender.
These are my go-to's
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The head on this brush is longer than most. I like this because it feel like it really helps to lightly buff in product. I've used these brushes for years. They clean well and are affordable. The only downfall is that they can splay slightly. However, I do wash my brush 2-3 times a week.
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Great for buffing shadow into the crease and under the lash line. Great for hooded eyes as the head is slim, meaning you can be super precise.
Zoeva brushes are just lovely. This is, as expected from the name, great for the crease of the eye. It's small and full, meaning you can get a flawless blend in the fold of the eye.
My OG. I've used this brush forever. It blends beautifully and lasts. No matter how many times I clean it. This is the one I've had for over 18 years!!!! So cost per use is prob 0.01p! The handle is starting to peel, but the head is still in pretty good condition.
Wayne's brushes are probably my favourite eyeshadow brushes. Japanese brushes are always superior. They've been making artistry brushes for decades and have really perfected their craft. This brush has a short fluffy head, you can't really tell from this pic, it's more obvious in the one above with all the brushes lined up. It's so amazing for blending in the crease and under the lash line.
This brush is larger than the other. I know £25 is a lot to spend on one brush, but I'd re-buy this baby time and time again. I always invest in eyeshadow brushes over face brushes. I use my hands a lot on the face, but nothing blends eyeshadow as well as a good brush. This one buffs out shadow like a dream.
The bigger end of this brush is great for pressing glitter pigments onto the eye. The smaller end is brilliant for blending under the lash line, or for buffing in a kohl liner.
I love this brush for blending eyeshadow under the lower lash line. It's super soft which is great when you're going so close to the eye.
The one that does it all
This is a genius brush by the wonderful makeup artist, Ruby Hammer. It's 3 brushes in 1. Each head is magnetic and connects to the others. So you can swap and change as you please. There's a crease brush, a smudge brush and an angled brush. This will literally work for your eyes, brows, lips and concealer. It's awesome, as is Ruby.
I tend to use my hands or a beauty blender for my base. However, certain brushes can be brilliant. For me, foundation brushes have to be compact. Full of hair, quite stiff, no messing around. (I feel like that last line could be misinterpreted, lol!) All of the described is important as you don't want brush marks on your face. If your brush is too fluffy that will happen.
These are my faves.
This was limited edition, but I've kept it in as they do a new version every year. However, I have linked to their star version which is equally as good.
This brush is shaped like a heart. Why would you need to know anything else about it?! Seriously though, IT is a great brand, and this brush is lovely. It has 100's of bristles and make you smile every time you use it. The heart shape actually helps you get your product under the eyes and around the nose with little effort.
This brush has the smallest head in my selection. This is great for really buffing your base in. I also like to use this brush for powder. The short head helps you to press powder into the face giving you a more skin like finish.
This is a high-performance foundation brush. Yes it's more expensive that the others, but you really do get great results with it. The bristles are ultra soft and its shape helps you to get into all the contours of the face. I also like that the handle is short as that helps you to really buff your foundation in.
The handle on the new version is white. The brush is the same.
Pat is one of the great make up artists of our time. I pretty much love every product she creates. I bought this brush in Sephora years ago, when she first launched, and it really has stood the test of time. The length of the bristles mean that you pick up less product, ideal for creating a diffused, skin finish. My perfect base.
So great for the price. Fab for buffing in any type of base. However, I particularly love it for powder as the even, one length bristle help to really blend the product into the skin giving a polished finish.
Blusher and bronzer brushes
Super soft and full, this brush is perfect for buffing in a powder blush. If you want precision, there are more options below. But this give a real airbrushed finish to the powder.
An investment, but a bloody great brush. Super soft and double ended. The smaller end is great for setting powder under the eyes, and for adding highlighter to the face. The larger end blends in blushers, powders and even liquid foundations.
I love this brush for precise contouring. It has a small head which is great for sculpting cheekbones with either a powder or cream bronzer.
This brush is made for contouring. I love it for that, but I also love it for a precise blush application. The head is petite meaning you can place and blend easily. The handle is multi coloured and reminds me of a Unicorns horn! It's a delight.
Such a gorgeous, super soft brush. This baby is perfect for adding highlighter or powder.