Essential Makeup Brushes for Beginners

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When I first entered the world of makeup, I won’t lie I think I own two brushes. I applied most things with my fingers! Wow – have my techniques changed since then!

Walking down the brush aisle in your local beauty or drug store can be quite intimidating, and 99% of the beauty products you buy don’t come with the tools to apply. So what should you do? Luckily, I’ve some suggestions on the 5, yes only 5, every beginner should invest in.

You’ll see that my favorite brands are very affordable, including elf, Real Techniques, Ecotools, and several Target brands!


1. Foundation Brush

A foundation brush is essential to any collection. I use a foundation brush to all types of face products including tinted moisturizer, BB/CC cream, and liquid/powder foundation. A foundation brush makes your face look flawless, much better than just using your fingers. Stray away from rounded, flat foundation brushes which tend to apply streaky. Instead use fuller, round/flat top foundation brushes – some of my all time favorites are mentioned below!

Recommendations: elf Powder Brush and Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

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2. Powder Brush

A powder brush is probably the first brush is most beginners collection. It’s great to apply face powder, bronzer, or blush. These are fairly easy to pick out, and most work fairly well. The only thing to stick away from is an overwhelmingly large brush that could be too much for bronzer or blush, and would only be best for an all over face powder. Try to find a more multi-purpose round powder brush.

Recommendations: elf Studio Complexion Brush, Real Techniques Blush Brush, and Ecotools Large Powder Brush

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3. Base Eyeshadow Brush – All Over Application

This type of eyeshadow brush is best for all over color to your entire lid. You’ll want to be able to grab and apply a large amount of color without worrying about detailed application.

Recommendations: elf Eyeshadow “C” Brush, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush (only sold in the Starter Kit), and Ecotools Full Eyeshadow Brush

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4. Crease Eyeshadow Brush – Blending

This type of eyeshadow brush will be used for more detailed application in the crease, and then to blend out all the colors on your lid. This is probably my favorite makeup brush – it makes for the most flawless application!

Recommendations: Target up & up Eyeshadow Blending Brush (only sold in stores), Real Techniques Crease Shadow Brush (only sold in the Starter Kit), Sonia Kashuk Crease Shadow Brush

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5. Detail Brush

The last brush depends on what type of makeup you like to use. I personally like a small brush to apply eyebrow color, eyeliner, or to smudge out eyeshadow.  There are few types of multipurpose brushes that can be used for all these occasions.

Recommendations: elf Small Angled Brush, Real Techniques Brow Brush, Real Techniques Accent Brush (both of the last two brushes are only sold in the Starter Kit)

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When I first started experimenting more regularly with makeup, I invested in a brush kit. I also think that’s a great option for beginners or anyone looking to revamp their brush collection.

Some great options are the elf Studio 11 piece Brush Collection, which contain most of the brushes mentioned above. I would also recommend some of the Real Techniques brush sets including the Eye Starter Set, Nic’s Picks, and the Core Collection.

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