Having a great set of brushes really takes your beauty game to the next level. Over the last few years I’ve tried out many kinds and shapes and found some tried and true favorites. I love collecting them! Today I’m going to share what the must-have types are and exactly how to use them.

The basics: multi-tasking face brushes! Larger face brushes can be used a few different ways so this is a great place to get more bang for your buck.

Large Powder Brush: Used for dusting pressed or loose powder, or setting powder, all over the face. You can also use this brush in your finishing step to blend all your makeup together and buff away any harsh edges, this is how you get a nice, refined, blended look to your makeup.

Kabuki Foundation Brush: This is great to really buff in liquid or cream foundations into your skin. Alternatively you can use a Beauty Blender too, but a kabuki brush really performs well for fuller coverage foundation formulas.

Fluffy Tapered Face Brush (optional): I started using this just a year ago but this is such a versatile brush to have in your collection! I use it daily to set my under-eye concealer. But you could also use this to contour your cheekbones since the tapered shape can more easily get into the smaller, harder to reach contours of your face. This is also great for applying powdered highlighter to the tops of your cheeks!

Here are my current face brushes, all by Sigma. From left to right these are the F25 Tapered Face Brush, the F30 Large Powder Brush, and the F80 Kabuki Face Brush.

I also love Real Techniques brushes, they are so affordable and mine have lasted for over 5 years! You can find them at Ulta and Target, and sometimes larger drugstores. My favorite face brush by Real Techniques is the Buffing Brush that comes in their core collection. My favorites often have a fluffy, domed shape to them, which really creates a soft focus effect, gorgeous!

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Next up, brushes for cheeks! These are what you would use to apply color to the face.

Angled Blush Brush: Personally I love using an angled blush brush to apply color to my cheeks. A nice angled brush applies color nicely to the apples of your cheeks but also allows your blend the color back toward your ear slightly. This shape can also double as a contour brush since the angle lets your directly apply bronzer or contour powder into the hollows of your cheeks.

Small, Fluffy Contour Brush: For really precise bronzer or contour powder application, a small fluffy brush is great. You can get into the hollows of your cheeks but the fluffy top also lets you blend out the product so you get a nice gradient of color.

Currently I’m using the below brushes, the F40 Large Angled Contour Brush (on the left) and the F05 Small Contour Brush (on the right). I also love the Real Techniques large Multitasking brush which is the pink one in their Travel Essentials kit. I also often reach for the contour brush in their core collection too!

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And lastly, I adore really great eye brushes. Applying makeup to the eyes requires much precision so you definitely want tools that do the work for you. I use these on a daily basis and they add so much polish to the final look.

Pencil Brush: This is great for adding shadow close to the lash line, and gently blurring out pencil liner, for a soft effect.

Dense, Shader Brush: This brush is a staple, you definitely need something densely packed like this if you want to apply eyeshadow. Before using a brush like this, I used to get such a light wash of color, but a brush like that really lets you pack on the shadow and get a stronger color payoff. Eyeshadow simply can’t perform well if it’s not applied with a good brush!

Flat-top, Synthetic Definer Brush: This is great for applying eyeshadow to the lower lash line and using it as a liner. If you have a great pencil brush though, you can probably get away with not having this in your collection. It allows you get color into the lash line, right in between each lash.

Short, Smudge Brush: This is probably my most used brush, I need it every day! It’s got tightly packed, dense fibers and this is what allows you to smudge out liner, smoke out eyeshadow and also create a smokey wing or smokey cat eye, which is my current signature look these days. I have so many of these and can’t live without them!

Round-top, fluffy Blending Brush: This is definitely a staple, the workhorse of makeup brushes! You always want to blend out your eyeshadow at each step in order to get a very professional, polished look. I use this to apply a transition shade into my crease, blend multiple colors together, and then blend out the edges of my eyeshadow as a finishing step.

From left to right, these are the E30 Pencil Brush, the E55 Shading Brush, the E15 Flat Definer Brush, the E20 Short Shader, and the E40 Tapered Blending Brush, all by Sigma.

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If you’re on a budget and want to invest in some great brushes but not break the bank, buying brushes in sets is the best way to go. I recommend checking out Sephora, Ulta and Sigma to shop for brushes in sets. Sephora always has new collections out each season and they have sets that are large and small, perfectly catering to those looking to start small, or dive in!

Another very good brush brand is Sonia Kashuk, which is exclusive to Target. The below set is currently on sale and you get a great variety of brushes, plus the gold lattice detail on the handles are so fun! I bought this set a few months ago and can say they’re great quality, apply makeup beautifully and have a good variety of brush types. After a fair bit of use I did notice that some of the fibers do fall out, but nothing alarming. You can learn more about the set here.Target BrushesI hope this was helpful and gives you some tips on getting started with your brush collection. Leave me any questions in the comments below and I’m happy to answer them. Enjoy!

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