When it comes to makeup brushes there are so many out there it can be overwhelming looking at all the brands trying to decide which brushes are right for you and trying to find what you want. I have around 30 makeup brushes which isn’t many in the grand scheme of things but I do notice myself reaching for certain brushes more frequently because I like the way they perform. I have selected the best brushes I own to talk about in this post.
Note: Many brands do similar styles to the brushes mentioned here and at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference and what you want to use the brush for as to whether or not it works for you.
Real Techniques are known for their quality and affordable prices. Their brushes are made with synthetic taklon bristles which are super soft and wash up well. Real Techniques is fronted by beauty gurus Sam and Nic Chapman who also run a YouTube channel and share loads of makeup tips. The brand has themed brush collections but the original core collection can be broken down into categories based on what they are intended for and the colour of their handle:
- Orange – base brushes
- Pink – finishing brushes
- Purple – eye brushes
I have never experienced any shedding from Real Techniques brushes and these are among the oldest brushes in my collection but still perform exceptionally well.
1. Expert Face Brush
I prefer to apply foundation with a brush and I like this brush in particular because it isn’t too big for my face and it doesn’t leave streaks. I have a small face and the size of this brush is perfect for spreading product, buffing it in and being able to get in around the nose and under the eyes. The bristles are quite dense but the brush works with all liquid foundation consistencies and layers product up nicely if I’m after fuller coverage.
2. Blush Brush
I very rarely use this for blush but the big, fluffy bristles mean this brush is a great multi-tasker. I love using this for powder as it’s soft enough to sweep powder over the face and I use this brush almost every time I apply bronzer. The tapered bristles help to concentrate application and keep product to certain areas of the face.
3. Shading Brush
Not only do I have a small face but I also have small eyes. This shading brush allows me to do a complete eye look with just one brush, it’s dense enough to apply base shadows, small enough to blend through the crease and also picks up good pigmentation from sparkly and shimmery shadows. I have considered picking up another one of these at some point because of how versatile it is.
4. Setting Brush
This is like a mini version of the blush brush and again this is a great multi-tasker. I like to use this brush to apply my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder or to focus blush on top of my cheekbones. This smaller sized brush is perfect for more pigmented blushes to ensure product doesn’t go everywhere. This brush is commonly used for blending and buffing concealer into the skin and setting concealer with powder underneath the eyes.
xoBeauty is the makeup brand and brush line from New Zealand YouTuber Shannon Harris. Shannon’s brushes are manufactured in Italy and like the Real Techniques brushes are made from synthetic fibres. I will say with some of my xoBeauty brushes the bristles stain but this doesn’t have any affect on the overall performance.
1. Tulip Crease Brush
When people refer to a fluffy blending brush this is what they mean. This brush packs on pigmentation and blends everything out in the crease beautifully to create a seamless eye look. I also like to use this brush if I am going for a super simple eye look to apply bronzer all over the lids and buff it in quickly.
2. Firm Blender Brush
This is another brush I like to use for my crease shades, particularly to blend the base shade and crease shade together in the socket. This is thinner than the Tulip Crease Brush and is even more precise. The flat shape of this brush allows you to blend eyeshadows on the lids together too.
3. Shimmer Tulip Brush
This reminds me of the blush brush from Real Techniques as it is another multi-tasker. Recently I have loved reaching for it to apply one of my single powder blushes and sweeping the colour over my cheeks. The brush is big and fluffy and disperses the product nicely, providing a lovely flush of colour. This brush is also beautiful to apply subtle highlighters all over the cheeks.
4. Detail Face Brush
For more concentrated highlight application this brush is perfect. The bristles are a cross between fluffy and dense and allow me to really buff highlighter into the skin. The brush moves over the skin so easily, little effort is required to blend as the brush really does do all the work. This is a relatively new brush from xoBeauty and is one of Shannon’s personal favourites.
As far as quality and price go Zoeva brushes are on par with the other brands mentioned here. I hadn’t tried any Zoeva makeup brushes until earlier in 2019 and I am super impressed. Each brush either comes individually boxed or in a clear plastic pouch depending on whether you purchase brushes from the rose gold line or the original black and silver line.
1. 102 Silk Finish Brush
The brush lives up to it’s name! My skin and foundation look lovely when I use it and in terms of size and performance it’s comparable to the Expert Face Brush by Real Techniques which is probably why I like it so much. The bristles on this brush aren’t as dense as the Expert Face Brush but they are longer which I think gives the silk finish effect. Both brushes are made with Taklon bristles.
2. 231 Luxe Petit Crease Brush
Zoeva are very clever for making two sizes of eye brushes and catering to those of us with smaller eyes. This brush is similar to the Tulip Crease Brush by xoBeauty but this brush is even more precise when colour is applied and the brush head is smaller. The bristles aren’t scratchy and don’t stain as much as the xoBeauty eye brushes. The full sized 228 Luxe Crease Brush by Zoeva is one of the brand’s most popular eye brushes and I can see why.
3. 110 Face Shape Brush
This brush could be used for many things, applying and blending foundation/concealer, applying cream blush to the cheeks and what I tend to use it for, contouring. The shape of the brush fits perfectly into the hollows of the cheeks and blends contour powder like a dream! The bristles are dense so only a small amount of contour is needed. This is one of Lisa Eldridge’s favourite face brushes.
What are your favourite makeup brushes? Have you tried any of these?