Having a proper set of makeup brushes can really up your makeup game. It can spell the difference between streaky amateur application to well blended, expert looking glam. But buying a good set of brushes isn’t cheap — I once bought a set of makeup brushes in the noughties that I thought was a bargain until I showed up in college with a blue tinged face. Turned out my still damp powder brush was bleeding some blue black dye after I had washed them. It was a humiliating experience to say the least.
But what do you do if you want quality makeup brushes but can’t get a full set just yet? I say, pick a few quality brushes to begin with and build your collection as you go along. I know what you’re saying, a full set can be more cost effective than individual brushes, but hear me out. Sometimes a full set of brushes will come with pieces that you don’t need for your normal daily glam.
I’ve rounded up the 5 tools that I consider essentials to doing a beautiful daily makeup routine that will help make sure that you look fresh and polished no matter what you may face during the day. I’ve chosen them based on their versatility above all other considerations. And if I’m asked if I would give up all but one brush, then the first on the list would be the one I would keep. I feel I could do a full face with just a medium tapered face brush.
The five makeup tools I would keep in my kit for a full daily glam are:
- A medium tapered face brush
- A small tapered eyeshadow brush
- A small flat eyeshadow brush
- A small flat liner brush
- An eyelash curler
You might notice that I didn’t include a beauty blender or foundation brush for foundation application. The reason is because my own daily routine involves applying foundation with my fingers. I can see some beauty gurus grimacing right now because they feel hands are dirty. I would disagree with that. I feel that fresh correctly washed hands can be cleaner than any brush or sponge that could potentially be harbouring bacteria from staying damp longer than my hands.
A discussion of the tools I’ve picked follows below.
Medium Tapered Face Brush
My everyday makeup can be as simple as blush and bronzer over some sunscreen. So on most days, I use only this one brush.
A tapered powder brush can:
- set your foundation
- blend your contour
- apply your blush
- apply your highlighting powder
- apply powder for baking
- remove your bake
Tapered Eyeshadow Brush
My first makeup kit in college just had one tapered brush and I did my makeup with it almost everyday, washing it about once or twice a week. I didn’t notice any obvious muddling of colors, but I never did use anything too colorful black then. I stuck to a duo or trio of neutral shadows.
A tapered eyeshadow brush can:
- apply your main eyeshadow color
- apply and blend your crease color
- go into the inner corner of your eyes for that pop of shimmer
- blend out your eyeshadow primer
- blend out your highlighting concealer
- brush away your baking powder
Small Flat Eyeshadow Brush
Even though flat eyeshadow brushes have fallen out of favor and replaced by fluffy blending brushes as the apple of every one’s eye(makeup), there is still a place for this densely packed, firm brush.
A small flat concealer brush can:
- apply concealer under the eyes and hard to reach areas
- can act as a flat eyeshadow brush to apply product more heavily
- can get under the eyelashes for smudging eyeshadow in the lower lashline
- can smudge at the upper lash line up into the crease for a dramatic smoky eye look
Small Flat Liner Brush
A small flat liner brush can:
- tightline with eyeshadow or gel eyeliner
- create a solid dramatic classic or winged eye liner
- can draw and blend eye brows using a gel or pomade
The eyelash curler is the only tool on here that isn’t multi-purpose but it makes the greatest impact. In my early days as a makeup wearer, all I did was curl my lashes, put on some mascara and I was out the door feeling I was all that.
Depending on the products you buy, you may or may not even need all these tools since a lot them would come with an applicator of some sort. As you get more experienced with makeup, you may want to expand your collection or buy new and better brush sets as you’re able to afford them. But not having a large number of brushes need not keep you from doing your makeup well.
What are your essentials? Do they line up with what I have listed above?