The ESSENTIAL Makeup Brushes

Eight Great Brushes For A Pro Perfect Finish

I love makeup brushes and the ease they bring to makeup application. They can make a tricky technique much more manageable and they can serve the very specific properties of a makeup product. In fact, there is a perfect brush for pretty much every single type of product application. However, I find that daily, there is only a small handful of brushes and tools that I use regularly.

The truth is, most of us only need a handful brushes.  Below you will find a shortlist of the essential brushes that will do the trick for 90% of us... and keeping it simple and short is what most of us want (the 'k.i.s.s.' list).

Why are there so many brushes for makeup application then?  They stem from the needs of professional makeup artists.  Professional makeup artists need the wide range of brushes and tools they do to perform their art with precision. Their 'art' gets viewed at very close range and needs to be exceptionally PRECISE.

Luckily for us, our handy work is not magnified and few people examine us with that kind of scrutiny.  If you are tidy, fairly precise and blend well, you will usually be ready to face both fans and critics.

The K.I.S.S. Makeup Brushes List

makeup brushes photoIllustration Of Essential Makeup Brushes




Precise placement hard to beat. Also, it won't pick the makeup back up, as you blend.

makeup brushes noteIdeal Features:

  • look for a flat, firm tapered square head (under eye) to tapered round (blemishes)
  • long handle, good weight
  • synthetic bristles OK for wet/ cream application

apple tip graphicMakeup Brushes Technique Tip:

  1. Use small amounts of concealer and short precise strokes, blending well. 
  2. For spots, dab and blend.



Control and precision of wet application on a variety of facial planes. Minimizes streak pitfall fingers and sponges can miss.

makeup brushes noteIdeal Features:

  • look for a fairly wide, tapered, flat head
  • synthetic bristles OK for wet/ creamy applications

apple tip graphicMakeup Brushes Technique Tip:

  1. Ideal for liquid or cream compact foundations; can dot liquid foundation with finger tips, even better a Q-tip and blend out with brush OR with compact use flat side of head, start central and brush out (towards hairline)
  2. Avoid streaks with brush strokes, altering direction of stroke to blend into skin (finger tips can smooth and blend final touches)



This is a must brush because it is the only way you can lightly, evenly distribute powder (important to setting foundation, removing shine, creating a base for other makeup).

makeup brushes noteIdeal Features:

  • look for large, full, rounded brush (dome shape) with densely packed but soft hair
  • long handle better generally (kabuki brushes for mineral makeup will be compact)
  • soft natural bristle ideal

apple tip graphicMakeup Brushes Technique Tip:

  1. Ideal for loose powder, compacts with pressed powder, and loose beads.
  2. It can also be use to brush off excess powder.
  3. Dip brush head into loose powder, sweep across pressed, tap off excess powder onto tissue.
  4. Literal dusting down technique for light weight distribution.



The design of a good blush brush allows the most natural distribution of pigment (the ones that come with the blush often are to small and pick up and place too much pigment).

makeup brushes noteIdeal Features:

  • Look for full, large head with slight tapering (not as large as powder brush) designed for even distribution and natural looking definition across the cheeks and cheekbone.
  • soft natural bristle ideal

apple tip graphicMakeup Brushes Technique Tip:

  1. Ideal for powder blush but can be used as a bronzer brush with a little strategic placement.
  2. Smiling into the mirror, place with circular brush sweep at apple of cheeks (fleshy mound produced when smiling), and then sweep along cheek to hairline (pigment reduces as you move out for a natural blend into skin tone).



This brush is designed for sweeping color across eye lids and blending. By using its edge, it can be used for defining eyelid crease.

makeup brushes noteIdeal Features:

  • Look for square head, medium to large sized (just under 1/2 an inch width), with slight taper at corners, flat, a bristle head that is firm but soft for the delicate eye area.
  • Look for soft, firm, natural bristles

apple tip graphicMakeup Brushes Technique Tip:

  1. This medium size choice will allow multi purpose function; on its side you can do the eye lid area, and with the tip you can work the crease
  2. it will also be your act to blend your shadows together (clean of brush on tissue first to get rid of remaining shadow first)



This brush is designed for MANY applications; fine lines such as close to your lash line, blending and softening color edges. It also can change thickness of line by turning the angle as you sweep (like calligraphy). It also is used for applying powder to brows.

makeup brushes noteIdeal Features:

  • look for a small, narrow, angled, flat brush head with soft but firm bristles.
  • natural bristles ideal

apple tip graphicMakeup Brushes Technique Tip:

  1. With sharp pencil point, feather tiny strokes tightly along lash line, angling them in-between each lash. Use the brush to blend and soften the line.
  2. Set the liner with shadow by press placing the brush edge along the line you made.
  3. For more drama, with the point of the angle towards the inner corner of your eye and brush edge tight to the lash line, sweep along outer third of eye, gradually turning the brush edge (point will turn down) at the outer corner of the eye for cat-like finish (experiment with the technique to figure it out).



Designed for blending lip liner and lipstick applications.

makeup brushes noteIdeal Features:

  • Look for a small, narrow, flat tapered edge brush.
  • synthetic bristles OK
  • retractable or one with lid ideal

apple tip graphicMakeup Brushes Technique Tip:

  1. Great for blending lipstick colors too
  2. Your lip brush should have a cover or be retractable so you can take it with you for touch ups



The easiest and least expensive of the makeup brushes... This brow brush is perfect for shaping the brows, separating eyelashes and removing and mascara clumps or debris.

makeup brushes noteIdeal Features:

  • a clean spool or toothbrush will not only work out clumps in your eyelashes, it will also place and style your brows
  • if you would prefer to buy a specially designed tool for these job, make sure the bristles are not too stiff. Firm, coarse but not prickly (synthetic OK)

apple tip graphicMakeup Brushes Technique Tip:

  1. Clean an old, soft bristle tooth brush or mascara wand well, with warm soapy water.
  2. Set your eyebrows with hair spray or gel by applying the substance to the wand/ brush and combing through and shaping eyebrows (clean bristles immediately afterwards).

PLUS this essential TOOL... The Eyelash Curler

This is a must have! Many do without but no amount of makeup can open the eyes and make eyelashes seem plentiful like an eyelash curler.

makeup brushes noteLook for tong style with good reviews for your best results.

apple tip graphicMakeup Brushes Technique Tip:

Look eye level into mirror, position lashes carefully between fully open tongs, then slowly close tongs, carefully gripping lashes slightly away from base, squeeze gently, open slowly and remove tongs away. Voila!

Brush Sets-The Alternative To 'Brush By Brush' Buying

An alternative to just the essentials are brush sets. This is a convenient way to go if you are starting from scratch and able to find a set with 'the essentials' makeup brushes within it.... Why? It saves you a little leg work in tracking down brush styles, and you will generally benefit from a price break when you buy in multiples.

apple tip graphicStore you makeup brushes in clean, dry, damage proof container that is user friendly.

Looking for a quick and wallet friendly way to get the essential brushes without making a big commitment? TRY Sephora Collection Perfect Ten Brush Set.

When you are ready to invest into some high quality, long lasting, professional performance brushes, TRY Bobbi Brown Makeup Brushes (I use these) or NARS Brushes.

More great suggestions for makeup brushes.

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Spring 2018

Happy Spring 2018!

I would like to let all of you know how much I appreciate your support:) Please enjoy this west coast beach sunset as you soak up the beauty info. Grab some quick makeup tips or give your look a complete overhaul.

Something beautiful is on your horizon.



Yasmin, Editor

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P.S. The mystery girl strolling the beach? My sister Sarah, who has been my "go to" model over the years. Thanks Sis!



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