I spent most of my makeup years using the bare minimum when it came to makeup brushes. Blush brush, powder brush, eyeshadow brush... that's about it. I'd seen a multitude of other types of brushes, but I never saw the need for or understood the purpose of those brushes. Is that how you feel? I hear ya. There are so many brush options for all types of cosmetics, and they range in price from $1 to upwards of $100 or more. So how are you supposed to know which ones to buy?
Makeup Brush Basics
The first thing to understand is that your makeup routine is your makeup routine, and brushes that some people love and use every day may not work that well for the way you like to do your makeup. Try some things out, but don't feel like you have to use brushes the way everyone else does. The information I'm about to give you is based on my own personal experience with brushes, which is still changing and growing every day!
The second thing to understand is that with makeup brushes, you get what you pay for. If you've been buying the cheapest brushes you can all your life, you won't know this until you finally use a nicer, pricier one. It's unfortunate for our wallets, but the more expensive the makeup brush, the less work you will have to do to apply your makeup beautifully! What this means is that you'll probably have to acquire good makeup brushes over time, but these brushes will a) last you a lot longer than your cheap ones do, and b) help you achieve the flawless face you're looking for.
Good news, though! Thanks to Jaclyn Hill, I've found an exception to the "expensive makeup brushes" rule: Sigma Beauty. These are fantastic, high-quality brushes for amazing prices. They compare to MAC brushes for about half the price and they are awesome. I highlight recommend them, and for that reason they are the brushes I'm going to show you, with the exception of a few individual brushes that I've used for a while.
Start to Finish: Face
After applying moisturizer, eye cream, and primer, I apply my foundation with Sigma's F80 flat kabuki brush ($18). Applying foundation with a brush is a personal choice; I find that the F80 gives me an even application and smooth finish. Many people prefer to apply with their fingertips, which is also perfectly fine! Sponges are also an option. It's really what makes you feel like you're getting the coverage and finish that you want.
Next up, I use Sigma's F75 concealer brush ($10) to apply concealer in a triangle from the inside corner of my eye, down the side of my nose and up to the outside corner of my eye. I put the concealer in place with the brush and then blend with my ring finger by tapping gently around my eye. The reason I like to use the brush to apply the product is that it doesn't soak up the concealer like my finger would, although sometimes if I'm in a hurry or touching up I'll just tap the concealer on with my finger.
My skin is oily, so I have to set my foundation and concealer with a powder. In this instance, I actually have an e.l.f. brush that I like to use: the Stipple Brush ($3). I like this brush because it applies the product very lightly, so I can build it up where I need to without looking too cakey!
I also like to use a duo fibre brush to apply bronzer: I have very fair skin, so bronzer can get heavy and orange very quickly if I'm not careful. As with the setting powder, a duo fibre brush applies the bronzer in a light, natural manner so that I can get the right amount of warmth to make my skin glow! For this, I use Sigma's F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush brush ($20). I just started using this brush and I love it! I also use it to apply my blush. I don't really worry about there already being product on the brush because it's bronzer, and there's no problem with a little bronzer in my blush.
Start to Finish: Eyes
Next up: eyes. I think eyeshadow brushes may be the most confusing brushes available. There are so many different sizes and shapes out there, it can be hard to figure out what to use! Most of my life I've just used a basic eyeshadow brush, but I've recently discovered how important it is to have a blending brush if you want to do anything creative (for example, more than one color) with your eyeshadow. Choose your basic eyeshadow brush based on the size of your eyes, because detail is important with eyeshadow. If you have smaller eyes, choose a smaller brush; if you have large eyes, choose a larger brush. And in my opinion, a stiff but fluffy brush gives the best application.
To apply my eyeshadow, I use Avon's mark. Eye Shadow Brush ($7). I've had other brushes I like, but this is the one that I've been using for a while. A comparable Sigma brush would be the E55 Eye Shading brush ($10). I apply from lightest to darkest, both eyes at the same time, so that the darker colors don't muddy up my lighter colors. So I do the highlight/brow bone color first on both eyes, then the lid color, then my outer color/crease color last. I use the same brush to apply all of these colors.
After applying the eyeshadows, I use a clean blending brush -- Sigma's E35 Tapered Blending brush ($12) to blur the lines between the colors for a seamless finish. This isn't totally necessary if you're a one-color-eyeshadow kind of girl, but I like to add some depth to my lids with a crease color.
There are many other brushes you can use when you're doing your makeup like other eyeshadow brushes, a brow brush, an eyeliner brush, etc. These are just the brushes that I think are basic and easy for anyone to use!
To show you how I use all of these brushes, I made a video for you! Hope you enjoy it :)
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