The Brush Edit: Here’s What You Really Need

What you really, really need…

Whenever one of you publishes a comment under an Instagram or YouTube video asking to see my brush collection, it always worms its way to the top thanks to likes and comments from others. You know what? I get it. I always like to see what brushes others recommend too. I think it’s because unlike makeup that we tend to switch in and switch out on a more regular basis, with brushes we stick to what we know and love. Use a brush and like the finish it gives? Well then you bloody well use it until 50% of the hairs have disappeared down the sink and there is dried-in foundation in the very depths that no amount of washing will ever get rid of.

These days I do find myself using the BeautyBlender more than ever – mainly because it’s the ultimate enemy of ‘cake face’ and whenever makeup is bunching up, this does an incredible job of smoothing it out – and my fingers too. Seriously when you’re having trouble blending anything, there’s not much that a good ol’ clean finger can’t expertly smudge out. However, when I do turn to brushes these are the ones that are non-negociables in my routine, featuring many that I’ve used for YEARS…

ZOEVA 104 Buffer Brush. This is best base buffing brush. FACT. I find that some synthetic buffing brushes just smear the product on your face, but this does a good job of actually blending and buffing it into your skin. Sometimes I use my fingers to apply foundation, other times my BeautyBlender, but this is great when I’m in a hurry or want to get a more full-coverage finish out of the formula.

Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush. I don’t contour everyday, just when I’m filming or going out to an event because, you know – moon face. I love that this has a tapered tip which means you can get quite a precise application out of the contour powder, and then blend it out with the fuller part of the brush once you’ve got your definition.

ZOEVA 90 Luxe Grand Powder. This is a more recent discovery for me, but I enjoy just how chunky and big it is. I don’t use face powder, but it would work well for that, personally this is my go-to bronzer brush. Whether I’m using cream or powder this just diffuses the pigment so well and means that I can apply my bronzer in a matter of seconds because it is so huge. It just sort of smudges everything together in a lovely way.

Bobbi Brown Sheer Powder Brush. As I often wear a cream highlight which I apply with my fingers, this brush doesn’t get used as much as when I used to rock the powder-versions on the reg. However it is great for powder blush and highlight on the rare occasions that I wear them these days. Aside from ZOEVA, I’d say that Bobbi Brown make some of my favourite brushes.

ZOEVA 228 Luxe Crease Brush. IF YOU BUY ONE BRUSH THEN MAKE IT THIS. It’s £8.99 guys and it’s flipping fab. Like if the MAC 217 and MAC 224 had a baby it would be this. If you like a one-wash wonder on the eye then you need this in your life; I use it every single time I wear eyeshadow. I just dab it on the brush, dust it all over the lid, blend it out around the edges a little – DONE.

MAC 224 Brush. I’ve had a look around online and it appears that this brush is no longer available in the form that I have, as it’s now made with synthetic hairs and the reviews I’ve seen suggest that the new version isn’t all that. So this just a call to those who have the old version in their stash – use it! If I’m finding that an eyeshadow is a particularly tough one to blend, then this one works well at diffusing those edges as it’s slightly stiffer than the ZOEVA.

Bobbi Brown Eye Blender Brush. This brush is so flexible and long so isn’t the best at applying colour per se, unless you want the lightest wash of pigment all over the lid and above the crease; however, it does work well at doing that final blend. You know when you just want to do one final once-over to make sure that the colour is as lived-in as it can possibly look? Yeah. That’s where this brush comes in.

ZOEVA 230 Pencil Brush. Every now and again I like to do a smudgy brown liner on my top lash line, or use a chunky pencil to get a bit of beef to the outer corners of my lid. On those occasions I apply the colour and then use this brush to smoosh it out. It’s not revolutionary at all, but it’s a good quality bargain price brush that gets the job done.

Miscellaneous Tools: The Rubis Gold Classic Slant Tweezers are just the absolute best at plucking out even the peskiest of brow hairs that other tweezers can dig deep enough into, the Tweezerman Curved Nail Scissors are so great and I always have a pack of the MAC Disposable Mascara Wands hanging around for brushing out my brows, one pack lasts me about three yeas.

Photos by Emma Croman

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