5 Makeup Brushes Every Woman Needs

Makeup brushes can stop some women dead in their tracks. Which ones do I need? How much should I spend? How often should I clean them? Wait. . .I'm supposed to CLEAN them?!

It can be totally overwhelming, but I'm here to help! There are 5 makeup brushes that will complete your makeup routine:

1. Large powder brush

A large powder brush can be used to apply both loose & pressed powder and bronzer. It's going to cover the face with ease, applying soft layers of product in the areas you need it to. This brush can speed up your morning routine when you're trying to quickly set your foundation and then bronze up the face.

2. Blush brush

A blush brush can do several things. You can use it as a foundation brush! Yes, you can. Work in smaller areas using circular motions to buff foundation into the skin. The bristles will help to give your foundation an "airbrushed" look and feel. You can also use it to apply blush. Lastly, a blush brush can be used to apply bronzer in more targeted areas to sculpt the face.

3. Flat shadow brush

A flat shadow brush is the perfect brush to both applying concealer under the eyes, and applying a quick sweep of eyeshadow on the lids. When you use it for concealer, dip the end of the bristles into your concealer, place under the eye, then wipe off the excess. Use the bristles of the brush to sweep and pat concealer on until blended. For eyeshadow, use the flat side of the brush to pack color onto the lid, and also sweep across the lid. The end of the bristles can also be used for smudging out eyeliner for a soft focus look.

4. Fluffy shadow brush

Similar to a flat shadow brush, a fluffy brush can be used to apply concealer. It can also be used to swish a quick wash of color over the eyelids, or do more advanced looks that require blending. Add a dab of shadow to the end of the bristles, and then gently sweep using "windshield wiper" motions back and forth. Let the bristles do the work!

5. Angle brush

An angle brush can change your world! Use an angle brush to fill in your eyebrows with eyeshadow, brow powder, or brow pomade. For a more advanced trick, you can also use an angle brush with concealer to trace directly under your brow to highlight the brow bone. Angle brushes are perfect at applying gel eyeliner and even pencil eyeliner! Brush the bristles along the pencil and then apply straight from the brush!

While those 5 are my "must haves", there are TONS of brushes I use to help get the makeup job done. Two extra brushes I would consider adding to your collection include:

Foundation brush

I prefer to use a beauty sponge to apply my foundation, most days. However, when I really want to work the foundation into the skin for that airbrushed look, a foundation brush is the way to go! You want something with short, somewhat tight bristles, that when you run your hand over it, feels really soft like a powder brush.

Fan brush

A fan brush ups the ante on your highlight game. It softly dusts just the right amount of extra gleam and shimmer to your cheekbones to remind the world that you came to play!


There are plenty of brushes out there from all price ranges. You want to stick within a price range that works for you. What I've found is that the price doesn't always dictate the performance of the brush. Some higher priced brushes don't perform as well as some lower priced. I prefer to use brushes that are synthetic (#protecttheanimals) and on the less expensive end of the spectrum. I can't say enough about how reliable and affordable Real Techniques brushes are. I'll sing their praises all day!

Here are some brands I recommend:

Real Techniques: high quality, yet affordable

IT Cosmetics for Ulta: huge variety, super soft, moderately priced

MAC Cosmetics: Undeniable, can last about 10 years with proper care, pricey

Caring for your brushes:

Yes, you need to clean your brushes. How often, you ask? At least once a week. If you're changing between eyeshadow colors or blushes, you'd want to do a quick spot clean. That could be as simple as a brush back and forth on a paper towel. For deeper cleaning, you'd want to use a brush cleanser. There are plenty of them on the market, and are essentially "shampoos" for your brushes.

Add a bit to warm water, dip the bristles in, and massage through the bristles. Add more cleanser as needed to the bristles and run water through until clean. *Do not let the ferrel (the metal part the connects the bristles to the brush handle) get wet! When this happens, it loosens the glue inside, which hold the brush together, and that's often why you'll have bristles fall out. Also, lay brushes flat to dry, or hang upside down. Real Techniques brush holders are great for that. I often lay my clean brushes on a bath towel and allow to dry overnight, letting the bristles hang over the countertop in order to dry completely around.

As long as you get brushes that work for your needs, that's all that matters. Don't buy something you don't need just because I said so. Don't wear powder? Don't buy a powder brush. Take good care of your brushes and they will take good care of you!

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