Tips & Tricks: Brush Basics

With so many makeup brushes on the market in all shapes and sizes it can be really confusing as to what a basic brush set should consist of. 

Don’t be fooled into wasting your money on  cheap brush rolls sold on ebay or a “brush set”  which promise to give a professional finish with over 15 different types of brushes.

A set of just 5 good quality brushes will last you over 3 years and will be well worth the money you invest in them.  I personally love and use brushes from Mac, Sigma, Real Techniques & Shu Uemura. These are trusted quality brushes which will stand the test of time. 

1. The Foundation Brush

Weather you go for a stippling brush or a flat brush is down to personal preference *I prefer to use the flat synthetic ones*  but be sure to invest in a foundation brush.  Applying your foundation with a brush will give a more even finish and it will certainly save you £ in product as well as mess. 

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush /Mac 190 Foudnation Brush / Mac 187 Stippeling Brush/ Boots No 7 Foundation Brush 

2. The Large Powder Brush

You’re going to need something to apply your powder with. Whether it’s a powder to set a foundation or a powder foundation - a large fluffy powder brush will help seal in your makeup and de shine the forehead. Although sponges can be good for some things, I’d recommend a powder brush to give a more “natural” appearance. Use brush cleaner and you can even apply blusher with it (assuming you go for a more compact shape like the first brush below - not the huge kabuki style  pictured third).  

Mac 129 Powder Brush/ Sisley Loose Powder Brush  / Nars Botan Brush /Nars Bronzing Powder Brush/ 

3. The Angled Eye Liner Brush

I'd recommend you invest in an angled liner brush. Why? Oh the endless possibilities. This is so much more than an eyeliner brush. With a little brush cleaner you can interchange this brush and make it a multi tasker. Not only will it create a perfectly smooth gel or liquid liner effect - you can also use it to fill in brows, soften out eye pencil around the eye & fill in lipstick to create a perfect shaped pout. Not just an eyeliner brush you see! 

Nars Angled Brush/ OCC Angled Brush / Mac 263 Angled Brush/ Louise Young Angled Brush 

4. The Eyeshadow Applicator 

This brush should be reasonably firm and flat. Ideal for applying eyeshadow in cream and powder forms. I’ve noticed alot of clients go for a “duo all in one” eyeshadow brush which is neither firm nor fluffy. Simply put, you can’t blend with those brushes. Use a flat firm brush to apply product on the eye (similar to the brushes below) and then invest in a blending brush (see next section) to soften out the eyeshadow. 

Mac 239 Brush/ Nars Wet/Dry 49 Eyeshadow Brush / Chantecaille Eye Shadow Brush / Makeup Forever 226 Medium Eye Shader 

5. The Eyeshadow Blending Brush 

Think Fluffy! This will be valuable in blending not just eyeshadow but also concealor. The “blending technique” required to use more than 2 eyeshadows together takes practice but once you get the hang of it you can have a lot more fun with your makeup. Natural hairs work best for blending so look out for good quality. My favourite is Mac’s 217 (pictured first.)

Mac 217/ Nars 42 Blending Brush / Trish McEvoy Blending Brush 


  • Use quality brushes *anything less than £7 is probably not worth looking at
  • Try before you buy - if your in a shop or boutique just ask for a little help in finding the right type of brush for you
  • Wash regularly with shampoo or fairy liquid to keep brushes clean


  • Be fooled by the bulk buy offers! You don’t need 15 brushes! Just 5 good quality basics will make the difference
  • Be put off by the price - good quality brushes last YEARS
  • Go for “two in one” brushes when it comes to eyeshadow -  you’ll need something firm to get shadow on with and something fluffy to blend it.