Beauty tools and brushes are something to be taken very seriously, as they can make or break the application of your makeup, regardless of what makeup products you use! But good brushes can be hard to come by, especially when you’re looking to buy all-synthetic or vegan tools. Here’s my list of all my tried and true makeup brush favorites to make your search a little easier!
1. Sigma E40 – Tapered Blending Brush
At the top of my list of favorite makeup tools comes a brush that’s actually from my favorite line of brushes: Sigma! Sigma offers a full line of both natural and synthetic fiber brushes, and their tools are suitable for everyday, personal or professional use.
The E40 Tapered Blending Brush is my absolute favorite brush, for several reasons. First of all, its versatility. This brush can be used to flawlessly blend out eye shadows around the eyes and in the crease, and it can also be used to apply and blend out powder contouring products. I use this brush everyday to sweep bronzer down the sides of my nose and right under my cheekbones to add dimension to my face. The fibers are incredibly high quality and soft to the touch. I’ve never noticed any kind of shedding from this brush, which is rare considering I’ve had it over a year and use it everyday! This is also one of my easiest brushes to clean. Between washes, I can just spritz it with some toner and brush it on a clean tissue and it’s ready for whatever task I need it for next.
Sigma offers this brush individually but with natural (non-vegan) fibers on their website for a cost of $14, or the synthetic (vegan) version can be found and purchased in the Mr. Bunny Essential Kit, sold at $155, and well worth the splurge!
2. Sigma E30 – Pencil Brush
Second on my list is yet another Sigma brush!
The E30 Pencil Brush is generally used to apply and blend out shadows and pencil liners lining the eyes. My favorite use for this brush is using it to lightly sweep shadows to the bottom lash line. This adds dimension without being as harsh as bottom eyeliner, and you can even use a colorful eyeshadow to get a playful pop of color. This brush can also be used to soften up pencil and crayon eyeliners, or to line the top lash line with shadows. By wetting the brush with water or spraying with makeup setting spray, you can also intensify the look of your shadows.
You can buy this brush individually on Sigma’s website for just $12, or like the E40 brush, it can be purchased as part of the Mr. Bunny Essential Kit.
3. e.l.f. Studio Kabuki Face Brush
The e.l.f Studio Kabuki Brush is another personal favorite because it’s so soft! No, seriously. When you first remove the packaging and swipe this baby across your cheek, it feels like silky heaven. Even after at least a dozen washes, mine still hasn’t lost it’s softness. Not to mention that this brush gives your finishing powder an absolutely flawless finish. Say goodbye forever to powdery, cakey face makeup! The Studio Kabuki Face Brush also works well in blending out other powder products, such as blush, bronzer, and highlighter.
It retails at just $6 and can be found on their website or at various retail stores including Target and Meijer.
4. The Beauty Blender
Although it’s not exactly a “brush”, the Beauty Blender just had to make it on this list as it takes the place of a foundation brush (and in my opinion, works better than just about every foundation brush I have ever used, and that is a long list).
I first heard about the Beauty Blender years ago and I have to admit, the concept was very foreign to me and I was pretty hesitant to try it, feeling content with my foundation brushes. The only sponge-like makeup tools I had ever encountered were the dense triangle sponges you’d encounter at makeup counters at the mall, and I knew those didn’t do much in the way of blending. So it took me awhile to break away from my foundation brushes and purchase the Beauty Blender but when I did, it changed my world. The Blender works best if you wet it thoroughly, squeeze out most of the water, and leave it damp before each use. Another important tip is to use more dabbing and rolling motions as opposed to swiping with the Blender.
The application feels quite a bit wetter than with a brush, but my skin has never felt so hydrated under my makeup. And most importantly, my foundation has never looked more natural, even with a full coverage foundation. After switching to this product, it seems everywhere I go, I get compliments on my complexion! This is definitely one beauty tool I could never live without. In addition to foundation application, it can also be used to apply and blend BB and CC creams as well as concealer.
A single Beauty Blender retails at $19.99, although there are several different products to choose from including double packs and Blenders with cleanser included. They can be purchased online at the Beauty Blender website, or at Sephora stores.
5. Real Techniques Setting Brush
The Real Techniques Setting Brush is another incredibly versatile brush!
I mainly like to use this brush to set my under-eye concealer with powder, which prevents creasing. As someone with somewhat oily eyelids and under-eye wrinkles, this is a very important tool to have in my collection. This brush features super-soft Taklon bristles, and can also be used for a variety of other things, including applying and blending bronzers and highlighters. What I love about this brush is that it blends powders as naturally as a kabuki brush, but with more control and focus.
This brush retails at $8 and can be purchased on Real Techniques’ website as well as various retail stores including Ulta.
6. Anastasia Beverly Hills #12 Large Synthetic Duo Brush
The Anastasia #12 Duo Brush is another staple in my everyday makeup routine.
This tool features a precision brow brush on one end and a spooley brush for brow grooming on the other. The brow brush can be used to define brows and apply a variety of different brow products including brow powder, mousse, or pomade, as well as to blend out any harsh lines resulting from the use of brow pencils. Then the spooley end can be used to brush excess powder out of the brows and enhance their natural look. I personally use the brow brush to apply Anastasia’s Dipbrow Pomade, then use the spooley brush to comb out my brows before I set them with Anastasia’s clear brow gel. I especially prefer this tool over other brow brushes because it’s super-slim body, which makes the brush extremely easy to hold and control.
This brush retails at $18 and can be purchased on Anastasia’s website, as well as Ulta and Sephora stores. She also offers the same brush in a mini size, which is perfect for travel.
7. e.l.f. Studio Small Stipple Brush
The Studio Small Stipple Brush is my favorite brush for applying concealer under eyes and around the nose and mouth. It’s not as dense as most other concealer brushes, which means that you get an even application of concealer without it appearing too heavy or cakey. This brush can also be used for applying cream or powder products like blush and finishing powder, or for contouring with liquid or cream foundation.
The e.l.f. Studio Small Stipple Brush is priced at an amazingly low $3, and can be purchased from the Eyes, Lips, Face website as well as in stores like Target and Meijer.
8. Eco Tools Face & Body Sculpting Brush
The Face & Body Sculpting Brush is the perfect tool for contouring and sculpting. It’s dense, rectangular shape is perfect for sculpting cheekbones and can even be used to contour around the neck and collar bones. When used with a light hand, this brush creates the perfect natural yet contoured look. The brush bristles are incredibly smooth, crafted from Taklon, and are easy to clean and maintain.
The Face & Body Sculpting Brush costs just $11.99 and can be purchased on their website or found in Ulta, Target, and various drug stores.
9. Furless Black Beauty Eyeshadow Brush
The Black Beauty Eyeshadow Brush is a must-have for eyeshadow lovers. This brush is used to apply shadows to the eye lid. This colorful little brush can be used for both light eyeshadow application and bold eye looks. Wet this brush and gently pat on eye shadows, pigments, and glitters for intensely pigmented eye looks. Customers may also be happy to know that Furless is a 100% vegan and cruelty free company!
You can find this brush at a cost of only $9 on Furless’ website.
10. XoBeauty Angled Blush Brush
This Angled Blush Brush is absolutely perfect for applying blush and bronzer. This brush’s angled shape is perfect for swiping under cheekbones or across the apples of your cheeks. My favorite thing about this brush is that it’s more dense than your average blush brush, making it easier to control product placement. When used with a light hand, this brush creates such a beautifully natural flushed look and that’s why it’s one of my favorites.
You can find the Angled Blush Brush at the XoBeauty online shop for $18.