Whenever I’ve looked for a basic brush set online I’ve had trouble finding one that I think really has everything you’d need. So I thought I’d show you guys what brushes I find the most useful when I'm doing my makeup.

Many of the brushes I’d suggest aren’t the exact same as what I’ve photographed, but are the same shape. A lot of the ones I recommend are going to be Real Techniques. I know everyone and their mums are using Real Techniques, but there’s a reason. They’re excellent quality, synthetic (which means they’re animal friendly and good for cream products), super affordable, they’re easy to get a hold of these days and they make good basic brush sets (just not exactly everything I'd want in one).

So here we go with eye brushes:
1. Flat shader brush:
A flat shader brush is best for packing on shadow if you want to apply a lot of colour. You can also use it to take colour under the eyes, but there are better ones for that.

2. Blending brush:
A fluffy blending brush is probably the most useful brush you can own. It can apply a light dusting of shadow over the eyes and blend out the edges of the colour you’ve packed on with your flat shader brush. It tucks perfectly into your socket to apply a darker crease shade too.

3. Fine liner brush:
A fine liner brush gives the best control when you're doing a clean and concise liquid or gel line. Also if you’re feeling a bit fancy you can use it to draw in individual brow hairs if your brows are a bit sparse. A synthetic fine liner brush should keep its shape a bit better than a natural hair one.

4. Angled liner brush:
An angled liner brush is less accurate, but easier to use when you’re starting for creating a fine line. It’s also great for creating a soft liner with powder eyeshadow. This brush is also an essential for brows if you’re using brow powder.

5 or 6. Pencil brush/Smudger brush
A pencil brush or a smudger brush is great for blending the right amount of shadow under the eyes. It’s also great for smudging out and softening eyeliner. 
Ecotools smudge eyeliner brush

And face and lip brushes are up next:

1 or 2. Foundation brush:
Foundation brushes come in loads of different shapes and it’s really about what you want to get out of it. A classic, flat foundation brush gives you a lot of control over where you’re placing your foundation, but a fluffier foundation brush, like a buffing brush, does pretty much all the work for you – it blends it all in nicely with no streaking.
Real techniques buffing brush

3. Fluffy concealer brush:
This one is nice for blending out concealer under your eyes and it’s good for buffing over larger areas of discolouration as well as cystic acne. You can use your fluffy blending brush for this purpose too, but it’s just nice to have another brush so that you don’t have to worry about cleaning inbetween.

4. Detail brush:
If I could have one brush and only one it would be this brush because it is perfect for covering spots and lord knows I get them spots. I find that there’s just something about the tiny head and medium firmness that just gets the concealer exactly where you need it. The brushes that come with the gel pot liners from Maybelline and L'oreal are actually awesome when re-purposed for this.

5 or 6. Setting brush:
I like using a small setting brush for myself because I don’t powder my whole face, I just powder select areas. But a big fluffy brush is good if you want to powder your whole face or you want to apply bronzer in a large sweeping movement.

7. Blush brush:
Having a small blush brush is useful because you can put your blusher exactly where you want it and then blend out. You can also use it to contour your cheekbones, as well as apply highlighter on top of your cheekbones. I also often use this brush for applying bronzer because I find it’s again easier to control where it goes. If you want something that's good for cream products or won't apply too much product a stippling brush will do the trick.

8 or 9. Lip Brush: Some people find that a square top brush makes it easier to get a clean line on the edge of the lips. I don't much mind either way. I'm having trouble finding a square top brush that is available online for North Americans. So if anyone knows of one please let me know. 


  1. Real Techniques brushes really are the best!


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