Brushes & Tools

Must Have Makeup Brushes – The Ultimate Guide

Makeup Brushes

Choosing which makeup brushes to buy can be overwhelming with so many options. I have created the ultimate guide of must have makeup brushes. This guide contains all of the essentials that will allow for almost any makeup look. A short disclaimer: This guide is aimed at telling you the type of brushes available and their uses. The brand is of course down to personal preference. I am always trying out different brushes, but keep going back to the same few brands that I find consistently good quality.

Must Have Makeup Brushes

Face Base

Foundation (Real Techniques Bold Metals 101) – I love using a paddled brush to apply foundation to my skin. This allows an even layer all over the face. Foundation Blending (XO Beauty Flat Face Brush) See my post on my top 3 favourite kabuki brushes.– Flat top kabuki’s are my favourite tool to blend the foundation to ensure you have no harsh edges. Concealer Blending (XO Beauty Tapered Face Brush) – The large brush head is a really effective way to blend your concealer. While this brush isn’t as precise as the two listed below (P80 & P82) the tapered end allows you to get into those smaller areas. Powder (Sigma F30 Large Powder– Using a large brush allows you to evenly dust setting powder over your entire face. The long handle also allows you to get a light sweeping motion to dust away any excess.

Must Have Makeup Brushes

Face Finishing

Contour/Bronze (Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour) – The angled shape of this brush fits perfectly into the hollows of your cheeks for the perfect contour. The large fluffy head also allows you to blend away any harsh lines, and dust on bronzer all over. Highlight (Sigma F35 Tapered Highlighter) – The tapered head of this brush is perfect to run along the tops of your cheek bones, or use the point for precise application. I prefer this to a fan brush as you can get a more intense finish. Blusher (Sigma F25 Tapered Face) – This, in conjunction with the Real Techniques Blush Brush, is my favourite blush brush. The large fluffy head applies and blend at the same time for a natural looking blush to the cheek.

Must Have Makeup Brushes

Eye Prep

Eye Primer (Sigma P80 Precision Flat– This brush is essentially a miniature flat top kabuki. For this reason, it is perfect at blending liquids. I love to use this brush to smooth out eye shadow primers, and to blend concealer in any fine lines in the eye area. Eye Setting (Sigma P82 Precision Round– A slightly more domed version of the above brush, it works better with powders. This is great to use a setting powder on your primed lid and eye area.

Must Have Makeup Brushes


Groom (Real Techniques Slanted Brow Spoolie) – Spoolies are brilliant for grooming your brows before and after applying your brow product. It removes any ‘clumps’ and makes sure your hairs are all going in the right direction for a natural finish. Brush (Real Techniques Slanted Brow Brush) – From the same Real Techniques Eyebrow Grooming Brush Set as the spoolie, this brush is great for brow precision. I also love this dual ended brow brush from Carousel Cosmetics. Conceal (Sigma F70 Concealer– Applying concealer to tidy up the edges of your brows keeps them looking super tidy. I love this small paddled brush to precision.

Must Have Makeup Brushes

Eye Shadow

Blending (Sigma E40 Tapered Blending– I like to keep this large blending brush free from picking up any product, and literally use it to blend away any hard edges. Transition (Sigma E38 Diffusion Crease) – Slightly smaller than the E40, this brush fits perfectly into the crease to apply your transition shades. Outer Corner & Crease (Sigma E44 Firm Blender, Real Techniques Bold Metals 203 & Zoeva 231 Luxe Petite Crease) – So while you don’t necessarily need all three of these brushes, they do each vary in size and how tapered they are, meaning they could each be useful depending on the eye look. I tend to use them to add colour to a more concentrated area, such as the outer corner or crease.

Must Have Makeup Brushes

Eye Detailing

Brow Highlight (Sigma E55 Eye Shading– This is a versatile brush; I like to use the large paddled side to apply colour from the inner corner and sweep across the lid. I also use the thin brush head to highlight my brow bone. Lid Sweeper (Sigma E54 Medium Sweeper– Similarly to the E55, you can use the flat paddled side to press powder onto the lid, perfect for glitters or pigments. Alternatively, you can use the brush tips to blend or smudge out shadow along the lower lash line. Precise Shader (Sigma E56 Shader Lid) – This brush is very fine and flat, it’s great for precise application. I love using this brush to apply highlight to my inner corner. Eyeliner (Sigma E65 Small Angle) – This precise angled brush is great for liquid eyeliner and achieving a sharp wing. A great detailer brush. Smudge (Sigma E21 Smudge– As the name suggests this short, tapered, dense brush is great for smudging out liner. I also use it to smudge a dark shadow along my lash line for a soft smokey liner look. Must Have Makeup Brushes

Must Have Makeup Brushes Video

So these are all of my ‘must have’ brushes.  I hope this list is useful, and I’d love to hear your brush recommendations. SO Beauty Stuff