We’re told we need a special brush for almost every makeup product on our counter. The result? Our bathrooms resemble an artist’s studio, and we spend all morning (or night) fumbling to find that one eyeliner brush we only ever use for that one gel liner pot.
Narrow down your selection to the absolute essentials. We’re talking the brushes that you’ll actually use on a daily basis. Whether you want that no-makeup look for Sunday brunch or a sexy cat eye for tonight’s festivities, these brushes will make sure you look flawless.
MAC 130 Short Duo Fibre Brush, $42, maccosmetics.com
Toss out those triangle sponges from the drugstore. They soak up too much product—that Chanel foundation was an investment and so is a good foundation brush. Dense bristles are perfect for buffing and blending, while a flat top allows you to stipple your foundation to build your ideal coverage.
Eco Tools Bamboo Deluxe Concealer Brush, $5.29, ulta.com
A concealer brush needs to have firm bristles yet still be pliable enough not to disturb your foundation. It should help you gently apply and blend your concealer around problem areas, with just a tiny amount of concealer. A good brush will help you get the most coverage with the least amount of product, which means there's less chance of unsightly caking.
Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush, $9.99, ulta.com
Some people argue that you should have separate brushes for your bronzer and blush. Save yourself the money! If you swipe the brush back and forth on a tissue between applications, it’ll take care of any excess pigment, so go ahead and use the same brush! An angled fluffy brush will nestle your bronzer right in the hollow of your cheeks, and the rounded shape is perfect for a swipe of blush.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brush #12, $18, sephora.com
Strong brows have continually dominated beauty trend lists these past few seasons, so up your brow game with a double-ended brow brush. The angled brush helps you shape and fill in your brows while the spoolie brush helps to blend the color and tame your brows. You can also use the spoolie to brush out any mascara clumps!
Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Tapered Shadow Brush, $14, macys.com
A flat yet slightly fluffy brush is perfect for all over color, or you can concentrate your eyeshadow by angling it to use the tapered tip of the brush. If you’re using multiple shadows, simple wipe on a tissue between applications to make sure you don’t accidentally mess up your eye makeup.
Eyeshadow blending crease brush
Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Pointed Blending Brush No 109, $3.99, target.com
We all know the trick to any great smoky eye is to blend, blend, blend. A pointed, fluffy dome brush is perfect for defining your crease or softening dark shadow at the outer corner of your eye. Plus, the tapered tip allows you to carefully blend shadow on your lower lash line for a smoldering effect.
Sephora Collection Pro Flat Liner Brush #25, $17, sephora.com
Instead of an angled eyeliner brush (which you probably use for your brows already), keep a flat eyeliner brush handy. The flat tip is ideal for a tight line that disappears seamlessly into your lashes—the last thing anyone needs is to have a gap there. Best part? Line it up with the outer corner of your lashes for an even flick on both sides. No need to worry whether one side is longer than the other!
Shiseido The Makeup Portable Lip Brush, $18, bloomingdales.com
Any lipstick fanatic needs a good lip brush. Lipstick bullets are nowhere near precise enough to give you a clean application. If you want that defined lip when wearing bold colors like a siren red, a lip brush is essential.
Sonia Kashuk Double Duty Brush Set, $23.79, target.com
The easiest and cheapest way to get all your essentials? An awesome brush set. This one by Sonia Kashuk not only has everything you need but is also double-sided to save you space in your makeup pouch!
You don’t need these brushes, but they definitely don’t hurt (wink wink).
It Brushes Airbrush Radiance Fan Brush #116, $18, ulta.com
If your goal is to master that minimalist makeup look, you might want to invest in a fan brush. The super light bristles are perfect for a light application of powder over your T-zone. Gently dust a highlighting powder on your cheekbones, and use a full on sweeping motion for just a touch of blush.
All over face brush
Sephora Collection Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53, $38, sephora.com
This is an amazing do-it-all, especially for the collegiette who hates toting multiple brushes around. It’s dense enough to buff foundation. Angle it to sculpt out cheekbones. Use one end to dab on some blush. Use the other end for a highlighter. Safe to say, we love this brush.
Which makeup brushes have been essential to your daily routine, collegiettes?