To me, working with good makeup brushes is just as important as working with good products. You can’t get the most out of a product unless you’re using the right tool to apply it. As somehow who struggles with their skin (hyper-pigmentation, acne, large pores) I find this to be most pertinent when it comes to face brushes. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years experimenting with a variety of brushes in order to find what works best for what. Of course I like to switch things up every now and then and I’m always open to change, but I think I’ve got a pretty solid thing going here in general.

Real Techniques Buffing Brush
I often wear mineral powder and I find that the Buffing Brush is the ultimate tool for application. No doubt aboot it. It has just the right amount of density that it can pack on enough product, but simultaneously has enough flexibility in the bristles to blend easily. The β€œalmost flat top” also means you can cover a lot of surface area in a small amount of time.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
For liquid foundations, I tend to reach for the Expert Face Brush. I used to use the Buffing Brush for this, but the Expert Face Brush actually gives me more control. It sits somewhere in between a traditional flat foundation brush and a buffing brush, which means it blends out foundation without the streakiness, but still allows me to work in more precise, directional strokes than the Buffing Brush.

Zoeva 110 Face Shape
I never expected to use this brush for concealer, but I do. I use it for under eye concealer to be exact. The size is surprisingly ideal. It’s just small enough to fit under the eye, but big enough that it blends out concealer quickly. But what I really appreciate about it is what is does to my pores. I have large pores around my nose and I find that this brush does an amazing job of blurring them out.

Real Techniques Domed Shadow Brush
For around my nose, any especially large blemishes and patches of redness I love the Domed Shadow Brush. The Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush is also great, but the Domed Shadow Brush is slightly less dense, which makes it a bit easier to work with. It stipples product onto the skin and blends out edges easily. Plus, the fact that it’s a synthetic brush means that it works well with cream products.

Coastal Scents Classic Detail Mini Synthetic
I strongly believe that it’s worth taking the time to pinpoint conceal any areas of trouble. It usually means you can get away with wearing less foundation and your skin looks more perfected overall. This brush is so tiny that it’s perfect for picking up a small amount of concealer and patting it exactly where you need it, then blending out the edges. The brush that comes with the L’oreal Gel Liner is also ideal for this and I noticed that Zoeva recently launched their 310 Spot Liner Brush, which looks very similar.

Zoeva 106 Powder
is where I crack out the big brush. For a full bronzed effect, it’s got
to be the Zoeva 106 Powder Brush. I find that using a big brush on the
high points of the face does a great job of creating a realistic looking
tan. The density and flexiblity of this brush, paired with the softness
of the bristles means that bronzer sweeps on evenly and effortlessly.

Real Techniques Setting Brush
I’ve never been all too keen on using a massive brush to set my makeup with. This brush fits under the eyes easily and is just large enough to distribute powder over the areas of the face that need it. If I had extremely oily skin I might opt for a bigger brush, but for my combination skin, this brush is just right.

Zoeva 127 Luxe Sheer Cheek
This is a wonder brush. The softness of the bristles (I mean… daaannng, they are soft) and the fact that they’re natural hair means that this brush applies powder beautifully. It’s a great size for precise blush application, as well as highlighting the tops of the cheekbones. Every now and then I crack it out for contouring as well.

Mac 130 Short Duo Fibre Brush
For cream blush I always reach for the MAC 130. It’s a duo fibre stippling brush with quite short bristles. The short bristles give you more control over placement and blending, while the lack of density of the brush mean that you’re not likely to apply too much product at once. Plus the head of this brush is the perfect cheek size. Duo fibre brushes are always a great choice when you’re worried about being too heavy handed. This option from MAC is pretty pricey, but ELF make a very similar brush for a fraction of the price.

  • I really want to try some of the Zoeva brushes! I love the RT powder brush and expert face brush, I use it for contour/bronzer πŸ™‚

    Kate xo //

  • Such a great selection of brushes. Zoeva have definitely become my favourite brand of brushes for the past couple of months and I really want to try the 110 Face Shape now x

    Beauty with charm

  • every time i see these brushes I get the urge to buy them aha!

  • I love Zoeva and Real Technique brushes! They are really good quality, really beautiful, and aren't very pricey!

  • Definitely agree on the MAC 130 and the RT Expert brush. There are some also some really great ones from Bobbie Brown.

    xoxo – Kelly

  • MAC were some of the first I used, but RT always wins me over!

    Annabel β™₯
    Mascara & Maltesers

  • This post was super helpful! I've been looking for a better powder brush – the one I have from Sephora is so big and stiff (oh dear) it's almost like you have to stamp the powder onto your face. The Zoeva one looks nice and fluffy. And I obviously would have to get the whole set if I wanted it… right? πŸ˜‰
    XO Camey

  • So, basically, I need to get me some Zoeva brushes ASAP. My whole collection is basically RT, cos they're just so dang good! Agreed about the Expert Face giving more control, but I tend to use that and the Buffing brush interchangeably anyways!

    Tasha // shiwashiful.

  • Im on the lookout for some brushes, so thank you for this helpful post!

  • Haha, well frankly I don't see any other way.

  • It's hard to imagine what I was doing without them before.

  • I meaaaan, I'm not saying to have to, but… yeah you have to. No just kidding, but Zoeva is a real treat to have in the stash.

  • Oh yeah. I've been seeing Bobbi Brown brushes everyone lately and I'm so curious about them now. But they cost an arm and a leg.

  • Brushes really do make all the difference when it comes to makeup application. I am a huge fan of the Real Techniques brushes as they do such an amazing job. I've had my eye on Zoeva brushes for the longest time, I must try them soon! x

  • Aaahhh so a Mac 130 for cream blush. Will have to check it out next time I'm in Mac. I love cream blush but haven't found my perfect brush. I usually use a zoeva silk finish, but it's a little big.

  • I've been looking for new make up brushes for ages so I'll definitely look into this! I like the idea of using a bigger brush for concealer, so I'll look into getting the Zoeva brush! I've heard amazing things about their brushes for a while!

  • Beautiful photos as always Holly! I really love the sound of the Zoeva 110. I'll have to try my MAC 130 with cream blusher, I can imagine it works so well!

    Sophie x | SophiesMakeupBlog

  • I really need to invest in some decent makeup brushes, so thanks for the inspiration! This is such a helpful and informative post πŸ™‚

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

  • This was a great post. Zoeva and RT are my favourite make up brush brands at the moment, but I really ought to invest in some more x

  • I love my Zoeva and RT brushes. Everyone should get they hands on a couple. I personally love the RT expert face brush and I’m currently loving my Zoeva wing liner brush.

  • I couldn't agree more! Real Techniques and Zoeva are the only brushes I use. They are perfect and are so easy to wash without hairs falling out.

  • I've just recently gotten the Zoeva brushes and I'm super happy with them all! I just wish they had been around in my late teens when I was scrapping my money together to buy MAC brushes πŸ˜‰ Also have a deep love for Reah Tecniques Buffing Brush and this year I gave it to my mum for Christmas and she loved it too πŸ˜€

    Like always, your photos are amazing <3
    Scandinavian Beauty Blog –

  • i love the luxe sheer cheek brush or any brush from the zoeva rose gold collection

  • That's awesome that you can gift your mom that kind of stuff and she enjoys it. My mom just emailed me asking about makeup for the first time ever. I'm sure she doesn't really care about makeup at all, but wants to show support for what I'm doing, which is pretty sweet.

  • The Real Techniques are especially hardy when it comes to washing. I've washed mine so many times and they're still good as new. Impressive.

  • The nice thing about the two lines is that I think they work best with different things. I find Zoeva brushes work better with powders and RT better with creams. Definitely handy to have both in the arsenal.

  • Thanks Tessa. I can't keep banging on enough about how much of a difference it makes. When I applied eyeshadow with the Zoeva 227 for the first time it was like "oooohhh I finally get how eyeshadow is meant to work." Sounds dramatic, but it actually was night and day.

  • Thanks Sophie! What do you usually use your 130 for out of curiosity?

  • I've heard a few people say they really like the RT setting brush for blending concealer under the eyes too. I still need to try it though.

  • Beware of how scary expensive the MAC brush is though. I'll admit it was given to me.

  • It's funny, every time I get a new, good brush set I always think "how was I doing this before?" Especially before Real Techniques – I was using the worst brushes.

  • Foundation πŸ™‚

  • Oh yeah. I used to use it for that too. I haven't done in ages though. I need to try it again!

  • I don't think I was using any brushes apart from whatever was included with the products, before I started buying the proper ones haha x

  • Ah but that is really sweet of her! My mum has never been into makeup at all but since I launched the blog she's been asking me for tips and tricks and first thing I did was to swap her 10 year-old MAC brushes for RT! So far so good, when she actually applies makeup at all πŸ˜‰ xxx

  • I have a profound love for Zoeva, I tell you. Affordable and good quality. And pretty. DEM ROSE GOLD BRUSHES.

    I have couple of brushes from Real Techniques, but I want to try some more. The eyeshadow brush and the setting brush, more specifically. Need them in my life!