Makeup brushes have redefined the beauty world.
These tools have revolutionised the way we tap on our concealer, how we sculpt our cheekbones and the way we blend out foundation.
In the past few years, a whole set of makeup brushes has hit both the virtual and literal shelves –bringing with them 'grammable designs, quirky shapes and different textures all that range from pharmacy prices to designer.
However, it wasn't until I fell down the rabbit hole of watching beauty tutorials that I realised not just how many makeup brushes exist but actually how many I own...and know nothing about. Figuring out exactly where each tool is meant to be used on your face along with which makeup products is just as overwhelming as following the instructions for building an Ikea dresser.
Whether you're purchasing due to influence or novelty, find below a definitive guide to what the best makeup brushes currently on the market actually do and when you should use them.
THE ONE FOR FOUNDATION
There are a few different types of foundation brushes (angled, flat, fluffy, and domed), but this flat foundation brush is a classic. Use this to apply liquid or cream foundation for perfect coverage and a seamless blend.
Makeup buffer brush, €3.72, Essence
THE ONE FOR CONCEALER
These useful little brushes allow you to apply product with precision to the little nooks and crannies of your face, like under your eyes, on either side of your nose, and over a blemish.
The ONE FOR POWDER
This Kabuki-style retractable bronzer brush has long, fluffy, and soft bristles made to distribute loose powder evenly across your face without dispensing too much product and making your makeup look cakey.
Made exclusively for powder, you could also use this to contour your eyes and nose or even add blush. It also comes in a retractable case, assuring no mess within your makeup bag (pet peeve).
The Air-Brush, €40, Charlotte Tilbury
THE ONE FOR HIGHLIGHTER
This fun brush has two key purposes: applying a gorgeous highlight and cleaning up powder makeup mistakes. Fan brushes have ultra-light bristles, perfectly shaped to run a delicate application of powder highlighter down your cheekbone and on the tip of your nose. They can also be used to dust off excess powder fallout.
Highlighter Brush, €5.31, Catrice
THE ONE FOR BLUSH
A blush brush is smaller than a powder brush and features a dome shape with long, super-soft bristles. This brush allows you to apply more concentrated product than a powder brush, while still allowing you to blend and build colour.
This super-soft little number allows you to manipulate the product in whatever way you want to – be in sculpting or defining.
Blush Brush, €3.18, Essence
THE ONE FOR BLENDING
These types of brushes are great because they're super versatile. You'll recognize a Kabuki brush by its flat top and ultra-soft, voluminous bristles, which work for applying powder, bronzer, or blending out pretty much any product.
Foundation Blending Brush, €12.99, Real Techniques
THE ONES FOR EYESHADOW APPLICATION
There are basically four types of eye shadow brushes you definitely want to have; Fluffy (but not too fluffy) and medium-size as well as small and slightly more pointed at the tip. These shapes helps you apply and blend products into the crease of your eye with ease.
THE ONE FOR EYELINER
There are also quite a few types of eyeliner brushes (smudgers, flat brushes, angled brushes), but a slim, super-fine brush like this is handy for creating thin, precise lines. Take it from me, as someone who needs a lot of help in this area. This is the one.
Eyeliner Brush: Part Of The Enhanced Eye Set, €22, Real Techniques
THE ONE FOR EYEBROWS
An angled brow brush is ultra-handy for applying all kinds of brow products, like pomades, powders, and waxes.
Angled Brush: Part Of The Essential Artist Kit, €24.99, Real Techniques
THE All Rounders
Comprising of powder, foundation, flat foundation, contour, eye duo, eye blender, eye shader, liner/brow and lip brushes, Sarah Keary's brush collection is an excellent all-found collection.
The kit comes with a navy zip case, complete with a separate pocket for make-up. The brushes are professional quality and loved by beauty editors all around the country – particularly the foundation brush and sleek eyeliner nib.
9 Piece Professional Make-Up Brush Set, €89, Sarah Keary
the one if you hate makeup brushes
A flat-ended makeup sponge like the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge can be used for pretty much anything. The architectural shape has a precision tip for blemishes, a rounded side for stippling and a flat edge for cream highlight and contour. Ideal for when brushes aren't your bag.
Miracle Complexion Sponge, €5.99, Real Techniques
Main image by @the_file