Finding the right makeup brushes can be a tricky affair. Just like pretty much every other beauty product on the market, deciding what’s going to benefit you the most can become very overwhelming. And just like makeup, brushes can be very expensive, I’ve always been less inclined to splurge on brushes which is why it became my mission to find good quality affordable tools. I have no problem splurging on a £40 eyeshadow palette or £30 foundation but a £20 brush? No thank you. I am however on the market for some new brushes to add to my collection and I’m debating on whether or not to invest in some of Zoeva’s brushes. I’ve heard wonderful things and they are very affordable. If I do decide to buy some, I’ll write a full review!
This post is going to list the best makeup brushes for your eyes, face and lips. All the brushes I’m about to mention are affordable, excellent quality and have been personal favourites for a long time. I’ll break it down by facial areas starting off with the face.
To apply foundation, I’m a firm believer of the beauty blender. I started using the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge about a year ago and I haven’t looked back since. Using a sponge has completely changed the appearance of my foundation. My face looks smooth, flawless and all my makeup is blended seamlessly when I use a sponge. Using a sponge has cut down my application time drastically, when I use a brush it will always take me longer to make sure everything is properly blended. I also found that buffing foundation in with a brush would emphasise dry patches, even after exfoliating and my skin would just, not look as good. I also love to blend cream and liquid blushes with a sponge because it helps the product to melt into my skin. So if you’re having a similar issue with foundation brushes, give the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge a try, for only £5.99 you can’t go wrong. It’s soft, bouncy, does an excellent job of blending and feels lovely on the skin. In addition to the makeup sponge, I like to apply my concealer with the Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush. This is a small, but dense brush that works amazingly for applying product under the eyes. I do like to blend the product out with my sponge but an issue with this brush is that you can’t buy this separately. It’s part of the Real Techniques Eye Starter Kit that comes with an additional four eye brushes. However Kiko’s Face 108 Brush is pretty much the same and costs a tiny £1.40!
For powder blushes an amazing tool is NYX’s Duo Fibre number 8 brush. This is one of the softest brushes I’ve ever used, it truly is an amazing tool, especially for very pigmented powders. Due to the brush being duo fibre, it doesn’t allow you to apply too much product. The top bristles pack on the product and lower bristles help to blend. It’s also the perfect size, it’s a medium slightly tapered brush making it ideal for blush. I also love this for bronzer because of the same reasons. I don’t like a heavily bronzed face and once again, this brush will apply just the right amount and blend it beautifully. For £12, this is really worth having in your collection.
I like to use two different brushes for powder application, depending on what I need. If I need an all over application, I’ll use the Real Techniques Blush Brush. Even though this is marketed as a blush brush, it’s much better for powder because of the size. It’s far too big for blush application but amazing for powder because it’s very tapered and loosely packed which means you’ll get a light dusting of product, avoiding a powdery face. If I just want to powder my T-Zone, I’ll go in with No 7’s Blush Brush. This one is too small for blush! It’s much nicer for a controlled powder application and like the Real Techniques brush, is nicely tapered and not too densely packed. Having both isn’t essential, if I could only have one I’d pick the Real Techniques Brush because it’s cheaper and I get more use of it. Both these brushes are excellent for powder so decide on what you need more if you want to buy one. Do you tend to powder the entire face? Or just certain areas? Real Techniques’ Brush retails for £9.99 and No 7’s for £11.50
For highlighter I’ve been going back and forth between a few different brushes but the one I reach for the most is Real Techniques’ Setting Brush. This brush is actually best for powder application in certain areas of the face and that’s what it’s marketed for. But because this is a small, loosely packed tapered brush, it does an amazing job of applying highlighting powder all over the cheek bone while simultaneously blending the product out. The bristles are incredibly soft and this brush is a pleasure to work with. This is very affordable at only £6.99 and one I really recommend. Two other highlighting brushes I really like and feel like they’re worth the mention are the Real Techniques Contour Brush. This brush is denser than the Setting Brush which makes this ideal for jelly formulas such as the Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminators. The only issue with this brush is you can’t buy it separately. It comes as part of the Real Techniques Core Collection which costs £21.99. In the set you get a Buffing Brush, Pointed Foundation Brush, Detailer Brush and a Contour Brush. Unless you’re going to use every brush in this collection, it’s not worth the investment. Luckily there are lot’s of brushes similar to this on the market. The second highlighting brush I want to talk about is the Lily Lolo Fan Brush, once again, this is a lovely medium-sized brush that is incredibly soft and applies highlighter beautifully. I don’t reach for this as often because I’ll have to go back and blend the product with another brush. It is cheap at only £8 but if I could recommend one, it would be the Real Techniques Setting Brush!
Onto the eyes! I don’t use a huge array of eyeshadow brushes because I’ve found I’ve been able to mix and match. But there are a few staples that I want to talk to you about. The first is ELF’s Studio Eyeshadow Brush. This a small, densely packed shader brush that does the best job of laying product down onto the lid. This is the only brush I use for applying my lid shades. It’s absolutely fantastic and only costs £2! I highly recommend checking this one out. My absolute favourite blending brush is another one by NYX, it’s their number 16 blender and just like their number 8, this is one of the softest brushes I’ve ever used. It’s not too densely packed which means it does a wonderful job of blending shadow and it doesn’t feel scratchy or like it’s tugging on your eye. I can’t recommend this one enough, especially for only £9.
For a more precise crease, I like to use H&M’s crease brush. This is quite a unique brush because is small and tapered like any other crease brush, but the bristles come to a sharp point in the centre, helping you to create cut creases. The shorter bristles help to blend slightly but a fluffier brush is required to fully blend. I really love this brush and you will too, especially if you love cut creases! This retails for £4.99. Another amazing blending blush you should have in your collection is Sigma’s E35 Tapered Blending Brush. This is more dense and the bristles aren’t as soft making this amazing for blending stubborn or cream based shadows. I also love using this to blend my entire look when I’m finished because it’s quite large, meaning it takes up a lot of eye space. Having two blending brushes is a good idea because it’s always useful to have one for application and a clean one for blending. Sigma’s E45 brush retails for £13.60. ELF’s Eye Blending Brush is an amazing pencil brush. As a blender it’s useless because it’s far too dense and not fluffy enough, but for under eye shadow, I don’t use anything else. It’s also incredibly affordable at just £2 and definitely worth checking out! And finally for the eyes, Real Techniques’ Accent Brush is amazing for applying inner corner highlights, eyeliner and product to certain areas of the eye. It’s tiny and flat which makes this perfect for shimmers, loose pigments and duo chromes. I absolutely love it!
And lastly, onto the lips. I rarely use lip brushes because I rarely wear lipstick, but on those occasions where I do, the Real Techniques Detailer Brush is my go-to. This a multi use brush that can be used like the Accent Brush on the eyes, but because it’s slightly longer and not as dense it works beautifully as a lip brush. Lip brushes are incredibly affordable so if you don’t have the Core Collection, finding an alternative won’t be a challenge!
So here is my completed list of my favourite brushes and tools you need to add to your collection if you haven’t already. I hope you enjoyed this post and was able to take something from it. I’d love to see you back for my next post so until next time, have a lovely day!