The job of a makeup brush is simple: to facilitate makeup application and to create a finish that looks seamlessly natural, even if your makeup skills fall on the novice end of the spectrum. To upgrade your at-home skills and create your own capsule brush collection, you’ll need to figure out which tools work for you. Read on to discover some of our best buys…
Best for multi-tasking: Rae Morris Jishaku 25 Fan Highlighter Brush
This delicate brush by Rae Morris has micro-crystal bristles, which allows it to pick up just the right amount of makeup and ensures a light touch during application – so that you can never go too far. It hugs the contours of your cheekbones so you can easily dust on blush, bronzer and highlighter. Plus, you can use the feather-light tips to sweep away eyeshadow fallout without moving the rest of your makeup. While it works best with powder formulas, you can also use the ends of the bristles to soften the edges of your cream products.
Best for precision concealing: Hourglass Nº 5 Concealer Brush
Used properly, concealer can soften dark circles, hide blemishes, provide coverage in lieu of foundation and even neaten up lipstick edges – but all of that requires the right tool. This small, dome-shaped brush from Hourglass has a neat, tapered head that won’t splay, so is ideal for precise, controlled application of product. The soft bristles also mean it’s excellent for gently pin-pointing breakouts and blending on delicate areas, such as under the eyes, without dragging or pulling the skin.
Best for blending cream and powders: Westman Atelier Baby Blender Brush
This small but sturdy blending brush by Westman Atelier is the ideal size for softening the edges of everything from powder highlighter to cream blush. Its versatility means creating a smoky eye has never been easier; the tapered bristles are just the right size for getting into the crease and for buffing eyeshadows together seamlessly. What’s more, the narrow head is also the perfect shape for nestling under cheekbones and applying bronzer for a subtle contour.
Best for flawless foundation application: Wander Beauty Nude Illusion Dual Foundation Brush
Wander Beauty’s brush makes a great makeup-artist technique possible in real life. Use the flat, pointy end to apply foundation in smooth strokes and then flip to the other side and use the dense bristles of the kabuki brush to blend and buff out any harsh lines and create that seamless finish. A kabuki is also the perfect tool to tone down your blush if you have been overzealous. Buff out the excess pigment using small circular motions; if you have any foundation residue left on the brush then all the better. It will help take down the color and blur the two together for a softly diffused glow.
Best for powder placement: Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush
Instead of reaching for something oversized that will deposit powder over your whole face, choose something more compact that will allow you to apply it strategically, so only where needed. The pointed tip of Charlotte Tilbury’s ergonomic brush ensures you can sweep powder specifically onto the areas where you want to set makeup or dampen down shine, such as the nasal creases, the tip of the chin and between the brows. As well as mattifying powder, you can also use the small tip to apply highlighter to your brow bones and Cupid’s bow.
Best for groomed brows: Amy Jean Brows Brow Essentials Brush Trio
Even if you’re blessed with brows that don’t need touching, a spoolie or brow comb is non-negotiable when it comes to kit essentials. If you don’t apply a tinted pencil or pomade, then consider this the only step in your daily brow regimen and use at the end of your makeup routine to comb the hairs upward. If your brows do need filling in, apply your chosen product first, then run through with the brush afterwards to blend, remove any excess pigment and accentuate the shape.
The ultimate brush set: Westman Atelier The Brush Collection
There’s something to be said for buying a kit that takes all the guesswork out of applying makeup. This comprehensive collection includes everything you need to apply foundation, eyeshadow, blush, highlighter and bronzer like a pro. We love the small, rounded lip brush because it’s perfect for softening your lip line after applying lipstick, so the finish looks more relaxed.
The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown.