My Most Used Makeup Brushes



I think any makeup enthusiast can agree that the products you use are only as good as the tools you apply them with. Some people swear by using their fingers, or the little applicators that come with certain products, and I used to be totally guilty of that, but I’ve since become a huge fan of brushes and sponges to apply my makeup.

I’ll never forget when a makeup artist at the MAC counter in Nordstrom explained to a younger, less makeup educated Molly that makeup is an art. She likened applying makeup to the skin to a painter applying paint to a canvas. An artist doesn’t use his fingers, she said. He or she uses brushes. For some reason, that always stuck with me. That was the day I started building my brush collection.

My collection is still quite modest, and far from diverse as far as brands are concerned, but I’ve definitely found some brushes that are my ride-or-die-tried-and-true-must-haves. My favorite brushes are all MAC, thanks analogy-making counter girl, real techniques, and Bare Minerals, and I can honestly do a full face of makeup with just the brushes mentioned in this post. I’d also like to mention that while the Real Techniques brushes are the newest additions to my collection, they are quickly becoming some of my favorites. Don’t think that just because a brand is inexpensive, it’s not of equal or better quality than a brand that costs more #mythbusted


(Disclaimer: Since this post is strictly about brushes, I didn’t mention the Beauty Blender sponge or the Real Techniques equivalent, but I love using those to apply my foundation! In fact, I used to  strictly use sponges to apply my foundation, but I’ve since found a brush that does a great job!)

Face Brushes

  • Real Techniques Powder Brush; The fluffiest, safest powder brush. Ever. It distributes the product so effortlessly, and gives the perfect air brushed finish.
  • Real Techniques Blush Brush; I used a MAC blush brush for years until I found this one. No turning back, now! It’s slightly tapered, and the duo fiber design means that the product gets applied at just the right opacity.
  • Real Techniques Stippling Brush; This is the brush that replaces my Beauty Blender and Real Techniques sponge from time to time. It doesn’t soak up product, and using this brush in small circular motions blends foundation perfectly into your skin.
  • Real Techniques Setting Brush; This is the perfect brush for applying powder to your under eye area. This brush + the Kat Von D Lyric highlight powder = no budge under eye concealer.
  • bareMinerals Angled Face Brush; I love this brush for contour. The angled shape makes it super easy to apply your cheek contour in one sweep…or you know, two or three if you really like that chiseled look! #guilty
  • MAC 138 Tapered Face Brush; This brush is multi-functional. I’ve used this both for contour and highlight, and it does both jobs really well. The tapered tip works well for contouring, and using the side is perfect for sweeping on the highlight.
  • MAC 188 Small Duo Fiber Brush; This is another brush I love for contouring or highlighting. The duo fibers help to keep my heavy handedness in check.

Eye Brushes

  • MAC 208 Angled Brow Brush; Seriously one of my favorite brushes. Eye brows are my favorite part of any makeup routine, so I’d be lost without this baby!
  • MAC 217 Blending Brush; You could own 5 of these, and it wouldn’t be enough. The perfect brush for applying eyeshadow to the lid, and even the crease! Just turn it to fit the eye area on which your applying product.
  • MAC 224 Tapered Blending Brush; This brush can totally take your look to the next level without even applying any product with it. Allow me to explain: This brush is great for blending all your shadows together after you’ve finished your eye look. It blends away all the harsh lines and makes everything look so much more finished. I’ve also used this for contouring! (I have thing for contouring, okay!)
  • Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush; This is a great alternative to the MAC 217 brush. I think it is only sold in a set, but the entire set is less than the MAC 217 brush #bargain