- beautyblender – This technically isn’t a brush but I almost exclusively wear liquid foundations/bb creams and concealers and I’ve never found a brush that blends out better than good sponges like the beautyblender. I should mention that Casey Holmes did a video where she tried out and found a more affordable dupe! I also like the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge that is similar material but you don’t use it damp. Only complaint about the beautyblender is that it gets a little stained.
- Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour – Best brush I’ve ever used for powder blushes. The angle is perfect to get my cheekbones and blend a little onto the apples of my cheeks.
- RT Multitask (comes in Travel Essentials set) – I have two of these and use them for different things (it’s truly a multitask brush!). I use one for bronzer because I love the blended out appearance it gives to the cheekbones while still adding contour. I have to sheer out my bronzer since I’m so pale and I am able to achieve a good application with this brush and the NYC Sunny Bronzer. I also use it for applying powder to set my under-eye concealer. It is dense enough that I can really press the powder into the skin without getting too cakey of an application.
- RT Setting – I love this for a more concentrated application while setting under-eye concealer as well as setting small areas of spot-concealed blemishes.
- RT Duo-fiber Contour (comes in Duo-fiber Collection set) – This is a quite fluffy brush and is more flat than round so I love using it to achieve a nice lightweight application of powder highlighters.
- RT Contour (comes in Core Collection set) – This is a smaller, more dense, and rounder brush than the duo-fiber one I just mentioned. I use it to get the hollows of my cheek and the bronzer triangle shape on my cheek as well as the sides of my nose.
- ELF Kabuki – I use this to apply a lighter application of powder all over (usually with a pressed powder).
- RT Base Shadow (comes in Starter Set) – I have applied my lid color with this for over a year now! Not only is this a great brush, but it has lasted over a year with very frequent use. It’s super soft but still packs color on the lid well.
- RT Essential Crease (comes in Sam’s Picks Set) – Just got this and it’s the best crease brush I’ve found! I used to apply crease color with the Sigma E35 (which I will get to next) but I now that use that without any shadow on the brush to blend out crease and transition colors I’ve already put on.
- RT Accent (comes in Starter Set) – I love this tiny little brush for precise lining with eyeshadow, particularly on the inner corner and lower lash line. It’s also great for blending out pencil on the upper lash line.
- Sigma E35 Tapered Blending – Like I said, this is great for blending out crease and transition colors while clean. Also works to apply crease colors.
- Sigma E30 Pencil – Love love love this for applying darker shadow in the outer corner/outer V to add depth and dimension.
- Sigma E25 Blending – This is like the E35 but shorter and flatter. I like it for using a powder highlight under the brows and in the inner corners.
- ELF Angled Eyeliner – I use this with gel eyeliner and the bent shape makes it easier to draw lines and wings.
- RT Brow (comes in Starter Set) – This is a small angled brush but thicker and a little larger than the small angled brushes from other brands like Sigma. I like it to fill in the front of my brows up to the arch to get the thicker portion of the brow.
- Up & Up (Target generic brand) Eyeliner brush – This is smaller than the RT Brow but still thicker and bigger than the ELF Small Angled which is better for using shadow as eyeliner. I don’t use it for that, though – I use this to apply shadow on the tail end of my brows.
You can probably tell I’m a big fan of Real Techniques. Many beauty gurus on YouTube rave about Sigma brushes and Sigma brushes are really awesome, but I personally think Real Techniques brushes are the same quality and more affordable. Sigma does have a larger selection and variety of brushes, but I own all but one RT brushes (the only one I don’t have is their kabuki) and find that I have everything I need to complete a full face and eye look. I highly recommend RT brushes because they are super soft and durable (they barely shed)! They are also cruelty free and synthetic. You can buy them from Ulta and the RT website.
A side note on brush care: I clean my beautyblender and RT Complexion Sponge with the beautyblender Blender Cleanser solution. I deep clean my brushes about once a month with antibacterial dish soap and extra virgin olive oil using this technique. I spot clean them almost every day with Japonesque Professional Parian Spirit Brush Cleaner. A lot of brush cleaners I have looked at in stores have a bad or very rubbing-alcoholic scent, so I really like this one because it has a citrus scent that isn’t too overpowering. It also does a great job! I just spray it on the bristles and wipe the brush off on a towel or wash cloth and repeat until there is no more makeup wiping off onto the towel. I recommend using a towel you don’t care about for spot cleaning as some makeup stains will probably remain even after you wash it.