Makeup Brushes - what do you really need?

pout setScarlett asked us who makes good brushes, which prompted me to dust off this post, which has been languishing in my drafts for months.

Lots of us are mad lazy and just get away with using whatever little applicator came with the eyeshadow/blusher/powder we're using. I'm completely guilty of this too on occasion, but if you want or need to look a bit more polished, you really do need a good set of brushes. Brushes are tools, and good ones will always be worth it. And you'll never look as polished as the pros unless you get good brushes and learn how to use them.

But it's confusing - how many do you really need, and for what purpose? Well, I reckon 5 brushes is a good basic compliment, and then you can add to that for particular things if you want. So what I'd recommend would be

  • Foundation Brush
  • Powder Brush
  • Blusher Brush
  • Shadow brush
  • Shadow blending brush

You can of course add to that core set - there are brushes for gel / liquid eyeliners, large eyeshadow brushes for blending and adding sweeps of colour, concealer brushes, lip brushes and brushes for eyebrows & lashes. You could easily spend a fortune.


So who makes good brushes? Professional, natural hair brushes are what you want - that set your auntie got you in M&S last Christmas probably isn't going to cut the mustard. If you really want to splash out you could try MAC or Bobbi Brown's range of professional brushes but they don't come cheap. Estee Lauder's brushes come highly recommended too, and slightly cheaper would be Pout's brushes (above), which are PINK, and you can buy online from HQHair too. The set above contains five mini (the mini refers to handle length) brushes in a be-ribboned wrap and it costs €54.75.

My personal recommendation though, goes to MAC. I have several MAC brushes and they're the ones I return to time and time again. I also have some Stila brushes, which weren't cheap but are extremely disappointing - I wouldn't buy from them again.

On the cheaper end of things, the Body Shop always score highly so their brushes would be well worth investigating. I have a couple of Cosmopolitan brushes too. I'll let you in on a wee secret - nothing in the range is over about €12 and the eyeshadow brush I have is one of my favourites! While the range is limited you'll be able to pick up a few good basic brushes which should stand you in good stead, and you can also easily get these in chemists.

You can recyle those unsuitable brushes that often come with blushers - they tend to give you an unsubtle stripe effect but you could use them to apply washes of shadow across your entire eye socket. The little foam ended ones are handy too - you can use them for blending shadow. I go through tons of these - I use them once and then throw them out. It's not very environmentally friendly I know, but they won't stand up to being washed so there's not much else you can do with them!

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