Brushes That Took My Makeup Application from ‘Urgh’ to ‘Ahhh’


Without sounding too dramatic (though hear me out because this is going to sound a little ‘Drama Queen‘) the day I purchased my first MAC brush and graduated from the world of sponge applicators and scratchy mini brushes that come nestled inside a palette next to eyeshadow or blush, was the day that my makeup application changed. I can’t help but cringe when I see pictures of an evening where I attempted my first ever smokey eye with just a sponge tipped piece of plastic to guide me. I’ll spare you the photos. Now there are many brushes that I love, but there are seven in particular that when I invested in things changed. Let me give you the guided tour…

Real Techniques Buffing Brush (from their Core Collection) – the one where the buffing brush movement began. Anyone else remember using this for the first time and thinking what the hell where we doing with those paint brush style foundation brushes? Yeah me too. All of sudden liquids blended in quicker, more smoothly and that airbrushed, professional finish was achievable. Though there are now a few others that I like to use, this will always be in my collection and when it comes to thicker, full-coverage textures this is the one I reach for.

MAC 217 Brushthe one where eyeshadow started to look good. Two things. Firstly – I’m not sure I really need to speak about this again. It’s the best crease colour positioner and blender there is. And secondly – I really need to pick up another one of these. Given how much I bleat on about it, I think it’s time for a back-up. Apply, crease, blend – it does it all.

Louise Young LY34 Super Foundation Brushthe one where things got quick. This is what I like to dub ‘the fingertips’ brush. Sometimes slapping on your foundation with your hands can get a bit messy, but the end result is a quickly blended, light finish which is sometimes what you fancy. So instead of getting my hands dirty I use this for my sheer coverage bases, meaning I can get things on in the blink of an eye and don’t have to run to the sink after.

MAC 242 Brushthe one that packs on the colour. When it comes to applying an opaque layer of colour on the lid or using a texture like a pigment that has the tendency to fly away this is what I use as it gets eyeshadow down. The flat side makes it easy to layer up and the squared off end means it’s good for getting smudgey under the eye too.

Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brushthe one that gifted me cheekbones. Though I have a rather big face, the area that if I had cheekbones they would be there is actually pretty tiny, hence why this small but perfectly formed contour brush is my secret weapon when it comes to sculpting. The tapered end means I get the product exactly where I want it and then I can use its diameter to blend it in.

Bobbi Brown Sheer Powder Brushthe one that made me fall in love with powder. I used to apply a hefty dusting of powder with the biggest brush I could find and surprise surprise, unless I was having the world’s oiliest complexion day I looked like one big major cake face. I eventually fell out of love with powder and that was that. Until I found this brush, realised that less is more and reaped the benefits of a lightly set, still dewy, but powdered in all the right places, base. This brush was the key.

Bobbi Brown Eye Blender Brushthe one that finished it all off. When it comes to a brush to do that final sweep over the lids to make sure that everything is truly blended or a fluffy brush to set specific small areas like under the eye or around the nose then this is your guy. It’s so darn soft and is basically the smaller sibling of the Sheer Powder Brush. In fact, Bobbi’s brushes as a whole get one big thumbs up from me.

Now I just need to give them a wash. GROAN