Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Must-Have Blush Brushes
Must-Have Blush Brushes

For nearly a year, I’ve been broadening my brush horizons and specifically testing an array of brushes from several brands. These are the brushes that I continue to reach for even after I’ve wrapped up testing. You’ll most likely see similar shapes across the brushes I’ve pulled, as these are the shapes/sizes that I find to work best for how I apply my makeup.  I tried to keep the list to my very, very favorites–ones I reach for and will use over and over again. I have also made the hard choice of choosing between children by trying to pick my ultimate favorite out of each grouping. When there are multiple brushes that are similar in shape/quality, I’ve also included those so you can have a few brands (and price points, sometimes) to choose from.

I would LOVE to hear about your must-have face brushes, if you would be so kind as to share below!

Note, I have about 30 brush reviews I’ve yet to post, so some brushes mentioned here will eventually have fully fleshed out reviews, complete with individual photos. Stay tuned!

Blush Brushes

I like somewhat flat, lightly domed or tapered, and moderately dense brushes for most blush application. These types of brushes work well for applying cheek color and laying down good color in one go, and then they work well to blend and diffuse the color once on the skin. If I could only pick one, I’d recommend Hakuhodo J5543– the Tom Ford Cheek Brush is just as superb but it is more expensive (and they are very comparable).

  1. Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush ($78.00) is a luxurious brush that’s densely-packed with bristles and as soft as silk.
  2. Hakuhodo J5543 Blush Brush ($60.00) is very similar in shape to Tom Ford’s Cheek brush, it’s just not quite as dense. I use these two interchangeably.
  3. Sephora PRO Precision Blush (73) Brush ($32.00) is flatter than the two above, and it is slightly tapered, so it works well for really dragging and drawing color upwards towards the temples of the face. It’s also less dense (because it’s flatter), so it can work well for applying more pigmented blushes without going overboard.
  4. Honorable Mention: Hakuhodo Large Yachiyo Brush ($48.00) is a fluffier, tapered, slightly domed-shaped brush that’s not too dense but not too airy. This is a newer addition to my routine, but I had been using NARS’ Yachiyo brush previously and this is similar in use (it’s not as tapered as NARS’). It’s not as soft as the above three brushes, which makes it particularly useful for a blush that’s sheer–it tends to grab pigment really well because it dislodges the powder from the surface more readily than the other brushes.

Foundation Brushes

I typically use liquid foundation, as it tends to be the best fit for my skin type, so my choice of brushes reflects that. If I had to pick one from these four (money being no object), it would be Tom Ford Cream Foundation (02) Brush. However, knowing that it is extremely expensive, I think Real Techniques Expert Face Brush gives this a real run for its money, and at a fraction of the cost, would be my recommendation in most cases.  I would start with that one, quite honestly, and if you were happy with that, then no reason to tempt yourself further!

  1. Real Techniques Expert Face Brush ($8.99) is a synthetic brush that’s great for applying, blending, and buffing in liquid foundation. It’s incredibly affordable and works well.
  2. Hakuhodo G5556 ($69.00) is a blend of synthetic and goat hair with a round brush with an angled, flat edge. It works well for buffing and blending out foundation.
  3. Hourglass Foundation/Blush Brush No. 2 ($58.00) is a synthetic brush with a longer brush head and a rounded, slightly domed edge. This has been a go-to brush applying liquid foundation for at least year prior to trying some of my other new favorites, but I still like this one a lot. I like this one for particularly thin or watery foundations. I will note that it can be a pain in the behind to get totally clean and pristine again.
  4. Tom Ford Cream Foundation (02) Brush ($72.00) is a smaller, dense, somewhat flat and rounded brush that delivers an exceptionally streak-free, well-blended, flawless finish with ease. This brush was also the easiest to clean.

Contour Brushes

The most common type of contour brush is an angled brush, but I also like a tapered shape. If you don’t do a lot of contouring, you may find a tapered contour brush works better because it can also be used to apply blush or highlighter. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend MAC 168, as it has been a cult favorite for years, and it remains a classic in my stash.

  1. Hakuhodo J5521 ($36.00) is a small, tapered brush that works well for contouring and highlighting, so I really like that it’s a more veresatile/dual-purpose brush. It’s very soft, picks up and lays down powders well, and is easy to clean. If you want something more affordable, the Contour Brush in Real Techniques Core Collection ($17.99) is a nice alternative.
  2. Hakuhodo J511 ($33.00) is a small, angled brush with silky-soft bristles and a moderate density–it has a fluffiness to it that works well for blending and laying down natural contours. This is smaller than MAC 168, so it would be ideal for smaller faces or for more detailed/precise contours.
  3. MAC 168 ($35.00) is a classic, and it’s still a favorite for me. It’s just the right size–not too big, not too small–soft, blends powders beautifully, and fits well into the hollows of the cheek. It has a nice fluffiness that works well with contouring/sculpting powders to deposit enough color but not too much all at once.

Highlighting/Finishing Brushes

Fan brushes, in general, are superb for giving a soft, diffused coloring with minimal blending required. I really think they’re an underrated tool! I always reach for these throughout the week. I find the size, shape, and materials of the MAC 184 to make it my favorite–I like that it’s a blend of fibers, so it still works well with cream/liquid products as well as with powders.

  1. MAC 184 ($24.00) is a duo-fiber fan brush that’s not too big or too small (I really love the size), and I love that it works well with powders, liquids, and creams. I tend to use it for highlighting or finishing powders, but I also use it for applying cream blush or any intensely pigmented blush that I need to take it easy on.
  2. Sephora PRO Fan Brush #65 ($27.00) is wider and denser, so it is particularly lovely for applying an all-over highlighter or finishing powder.
  3. Hakuhodo J4004 ($26.00) is incredibly soft, so if you have more sensitive skin, it may be the best bet for you when it comes to a fan brush. It’s slightly smaller than MAC 184, but it has a nice feathery quality to it and I reach for it when applying a more frosted highlighter.

Powder Brushes

I find myself using Make Up For Ever #128 anytime I apply a setting powder–it’s really a go-to and completely made other powder brushes I’ve used in the past obsolete. The two other brushes mentioned here are nice-to-have brushes that I do use often, so for me, they’re must-haves, but I don’t think they’re necessarily as applicable for everyone.

  1. MAC 138 ($53.00) is a large, tapered brush. It’s fantastic for applying any powder all-over the face where you still want a lighter/more natural application. I often use this with Guerlain’s Meteorites.
  2. Make Up For Ever #128 ($52.00) is my new go-to for applying setting powder, because it has a nice “press” feeling due to the way the brush head is constructed (read my review, which is linked in the beginning, for a better explanation of this).
  3. Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush ($115.00) might be touted as a bronzer brush, but I like it for dusting on finishing powders or other translucent, sheer powders. It’s a massive brush, so it takes care of that task in no time.

I store my brushes in wide, cylinder vases/jars and have filled them with glass beads.  I only keep out the brushes that I use regularly (I go through a fair amount of brushes in a week span with how much I test), as you may have an issue with dust gathering on unused brushes if they’re left out and rarely used.  I find that I use mine frequently enough that I haven’t noticed this as an issue.  Brushes I don’t use or infrequently use, I store in plastic containers in my bathroom drawers.

See more photos!

Must-Have Foundation Brushes
Example of How I Store My Brushes

Must-Have Blush Brushes
Must-Have Blush Brushes: Tom Ford Cheek, Hakuhodo J5543, Sephora PRO Precision Blush

Must-Have Blush Brushes
Must-Have Blush Brushes: Hakuhodo Large Yachiyo, Sephora Pro Precision blush, Hakuhodo J5543, Tom Ford Cheek

Must-Have Foundation Brushes
Must-Have Foundation Brushes: Real Techniques Expert Face, Hakuhodo G5556, Hourglass No. 2, Tom Ford Cream Foundation

Must-Have Foundation Brushes
Must-Have Foundation Brushes: Real Techniques Expert Face, Hakuhodo G5556, Hourglass No. 2, Tom Ford Cream Foundation

Must-Have Contour Brushes
Must-Have Contour Brushes: Hakuhodo J5521, Hakuhodo J511, MAC 168

Must-Have Highlighting Brushes
Must-Have Highlighting Brushes: MAC 184, Sephora Pro Fan Brush #65, Hakuhodo J4004

Must-Have Highlighting Brushes
Must-Have Highlighting Brushes: MAC 184, Sephora Pro Fan Brush #65, Hakuhodo J4004

Must-Have Powder Brushes
Must-Have Powder Brushes: MAC 138, Make Up For Ever #128, Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush

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112 thoughts on “Must-Have Makeup Brushes for Blush, Foundation, Contouring, Highlighting, and Powder

  1. Sabrina

    Hey Christine, thank you for this!!! I’m always on the look out for new brushes and this is so helpful. I think I’ll be getting the mac 184, sounds good:)
    For blush brushes, I find that the real technique blush brush is still one of my favourites- it’s cheap and very good as building up blush. Generally, I also like the real technique powder brush and their setting brush which is actually nice to use with highlighters.
    I really like the mac contour brush as well, which I think you mentioned.

    Will you be doing a post like this with eye and lip brushes? Just wondering:) thanks for this post, I always have trouble convincing myself to buy new brushes but I trust your opinion so I think I’ll be having a make up brush shop soon:)

    • Hi Sabrina,

      The eye brush post is up – I really don’t find much difference across lip brushes, and I know that myself…just use whatever I have on hand, so there’s no lip brush post planned :)

  2. Woah, this is brushmania :-D Lovely.

  3. Wow Christine this is such a useful post to me right now. im updating my brush collection and adding contouring to my daily routine so you really helped me out so much!!!!!! thanks girl

  4. stacey

    Japanese brushes are the best…the very best. I have the Tom Fords and the Shu-Uemura and two Suqqu brushes….but one that really stands out is the Shiseido powder brushes. It is so so so soft and does not shed. It is softer than my Shu-Uemura face brush. Although is is higher than the Target or Real Technique brushes that people touts for affordability and quality, I think this Shiseido brush has is in its own league. Frankly,the quality of MAC brushes are just going down the hill.

  5. I don’t have a lot of brushes compared to you, Christine, or probably compared to some folks here though I probably have more than any of my friends do….anyway, here goes:

    Blush: a “freebie” one that I got years ago from PUR Minerals. It’s angled, like a MAC 168, but has dark bristles. It’s pretty much all I ever use as it does the job. Now and then, I’ll use the RT “multi task” (I think that’s what it’s called) brush, just for the heck of it and so it gets used.

    Foundation: the Shiseido foundation brush has to be my all-time favourite foundation brush. I also really like the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and their stippling brush. And although it’s not a “brush”, I have to mention the Beauty Blender and it’s cheaper Avon copy, which I find every bit as good. I have the Sephora Professional 55 and rarely use it at all.

    Contour Brush – again, Real Techniques. I rarely contour but when I do, I use the RT Contour brush. Another brush I find helpful for applying contour is one of those stupid (for blush) flat brushes that come with Benefit Coralista and other blushes. The flat, long rectangle is just perfect for placing contouring powder under my cheekbones, exactly in an angled “line”.

    Highlight: I usually use a MAC 130 or, again, the RT Contouring brush or a large, angled eye shadow brush I got years ago from POSH (when their brushes were available in Canada)

    Powder: again, a “freebie” (well, it was in a “Showstopper” purchase) from PUR Minerals or the Real Techniques Multi Task brush. I like both of these because, among other things, the bristles are dark so I can see how much Nars (or other) setting powder I’m picking up, which I can’t see on a white bristled brush.

  6. Avatar of Jennifer Jennifer McCandloss

    My favorite foundation brush believe it or not is the ELF Studio powder brush. Before using it I favored brushes similar to what you chose.

  7. Avatar of Karla Karla

    Hi Christine , thank you so much for this post and the great options you give all of us who are just starting our brush collection, it helps a lot! I’m looking for a good face powder brush to apply powder foundation,for reference I use the studio fix powder foundation

    • Happy to help, Karla! :)

      For more coverage, I like kabuki/buffer brushes. If you give me a price point or brand(s) you like, I can try to recommend something that would work for you! For lighter coverage, a big powder brush like Hakuhodo J104!

  8. Avatar of Emi Emi

    I love brushes! My favorite (powder) blush brush is the Hakuhodo K020, so soft and perfect for more pigmented blushes. For powder, I love the Haku J110 – it’s a meant to be a blush brush, but I prefer smaller brushes, so it’s too big for blush for me and just right for powder. For cream blush, I love the Real Techniques stipple brush – in general I use natural hair for powders & synthetic hair for creams. The Real Techniques crease brush is my go-to concealer brush. I usually apply foundation with my fingers or a beautyblender.

  9. Avatar of Kristina Kristina

    Wow, really great brushes! And im so glad you have stick to really great brushes and not went along with Youtube gurus Sigma honoring..from photos I fell in love with Tom Ford and Hakuhodo brushes. Thanks for sharing!

    • I haven’t tried Sigma in a really long time, but they definitely seem to have made a lot of changes along the way, hopefully for the better – I know many readers like their Sigma brushes!

      I love the look of the TF brushes best (my personal preference) and the handle weights!

    • Avatar of Lauren Lauren

      Have you tried Sigma? I actually had an attitude about the brand due to the way they market via YouTube, but I was actually blown away by the F80 brush for foundation. I also really like the F84 (for foundation) and F10 for blush.

  10. Avatar of SandraJT SandraJT

    The next brushes on my list are definitely the Hakuhodu & gossmakeupartist’s full set. And I’m definitely picking up that Sephora fan brush if they still carry it. I’ve yet to find a fan brush I’m completely happy with. If Sephora’s satisfies me, I’ll be buying 3 or 4 because I use them for so many purposes – super pigmented blushes, highlighters, contouring, bronzers, even certain powders. There are many instances where nothing but a fan brush will suffice.

  11. Avatar of SandraJT SandraJT

    And definitely agree with you regarding Real Techniques brushes!

  12. Avatar of Anne Anne

    Brilliant post, Christine! It’s such an excellent idea. I’m sure it’ll be useful to a lot of people, me included.
    I very recently received Nars translucent powder (the pressed version) as a birthday gift. What kind of brush do you recommend?

  13. I’m such a brush addict . I’ve created the biggest shopping list after reading your posts lol. You listed a couple of my faves but reminded me to pick up more Real Technique brushes. I’ve only tried the eye set so far but they are really nice quality for the price!

  14. Avatar of Liz Liz

    Great post. But I find tom ford blush brush just ok & sheds after cleaning :(

  15. Blacktundras

    Where do you get the cylinder and class beads. I’ve been looking all over for the both. Thanks for the post, I could always count on you for posting some worth the mention!

  16. My favorite brush to apply powder blush is the MAC 138. I have tried some others, but I keep going back to that one.

  17. Avatar of Malia Malia

    I have a lot of the same brushes, but I’ve not had as much love with the hourglass #2, I thought it was a bit floppy, longer than my other ones so I didn’t think the result was as nice as with, hakuhodo g5554,5556, etc. I also have never found a foundation brush I totally love. I have a couple of shu uemura brushes too, one for powder I wasn’t impressed with either. For powder my fave is hakuhodo k002. :)

  18. FANTASTIC and one post I would like to bookmark for lifetimeeeee and recommend to everybodyyyyy

    after reading the post I think am living in 80′s …. not shopped for face brushessss

    my fav : the oldiesss and goldiesss

    MAC 116 blush brush
    CHANEL Foundation brush which is more or less like MAC 187
    MAC 109 for highlighting
    For bronzer I may pick MAC 168 oneeee day hahhaha right now I use some random NYX i guess or Benefit slant brush
    MAC 150 for powder application
    Laura Mercier Fan brush for pigmented blushes

    • If you don’t use bronzer a lot, no need to get the MAC one if NYX/Benefit do the job ;)

      Do you prefer the Chanel brush to the 187?

      • ahhaha seee I just said , saves our money XOXO …
        yeah will not pick till I can resist

        I have not used 187 personally but in stores I did tried and you know how their condition is … scratchy , due to excess use of brush cleanser .
        I loveeee my CHANEL and it is like my most expensive one …
        more dense and much more fluffy to even out any traces of cream product .
        But again I repeat , I dont have my own MAC 187 to compare :( :(
        do I need one ?
        after reading your reviews for 130/131 , I was soooo tempted to buy one but then CONTROLLED :( :(

  19. Avatar of Jenny Jen

    I really love the Real Techniques stippling brush for cream blush as well as their blush brush. Thanks for all of the recommendations. I am def going to look into the Mac highlighter brush and all of the eye brushes you recommended. You are the best!

  20. Thanks so much for this post Christine! I have heard so many good things about Hakuhodo brushes, but have been overwhelmed when I visit their site because I just don’t know where to start. I just purchased most of their brushes that you mentioned here.

    • It is superrr overwhelming, and even though they list the sizes, I’ve definitely bought stuff that’s too small for what I’d like to use it for (and part of that is probably erring on the lower price point, lol!).

      Glad I could help! :) I hope you love your new brushes, Kandie!

      • Megan

        Christine, your blog is seriously my beauty bible. THANK YOU for this post. Last week, I did some extensiveee googling in search of a Hakuhodo brush overhaul. The Non Blonde has some really good lists, with photos, for comparison. But I also emailed the awesome people at Hakuhodo at least 8 times before making my purchase…not only were they speedy with responding, their replies were super helpful and personalized. One of their people even gave me the below list when I asked how they compare to my MAC brushes (which I will now slooowlyyy be replacing with Hakuhodo!)

        Here is a list of some MAC brushes and comparable brushes in our series. Not
        all are eye brushes though. If you are looking for anything in particular,
        please let us know.

        129 = K022
        134 = B501/J501
        150 = B206
        168 = J4003
        184 = J7011
        190 = G519
        195 = 224 or G520
        214 = G5510
        217= J5523
        219 = B533
        224 = J5533/G5533
        227 = J532/B532
        231 = B181/S181
        239 = J242G
        242 = B242
        252 = 220
        275 = J239
        316 = retractable cover lip brush round

        *Note that = does not mean they are exactly the same, but similar.

  21. Emily

    This is a great round-up of some gorgeous brushes, thanks!
    I’ve been collecting a bunch of new brushes from bdellium tools lately. They have terrific brushes at really great prices. I think their most expensive face brushes run about $25. All are cruelty-free and the Bambu brushes are vegan (synthetic). I have several of their eye and face brushes and I think they’re really excellent.

    • Thanks for sharing, Emily! I haven’t tried bdellium myself, but I have heard a few raves for at least a few of their brushes :) I might have to try some of their eye brushes – admittedly, I haven’t found a lot of synthetic eye brushes that I really LOVE more than my current brushes.

  22. Jackie

    Ahh! So many face brushes!
    Face brushes are a D-E-L-I-G-H-T-!!
    You should try Rae Morris :3

  23. Avatar of Gail Gail

    Only in the past 4 yrs have I gotten into MAC brushes and love – Always Chanel (they lasted me for years- I’m old – HA) and the new Chanel ones are great – do you have any thoughts? I also have a couple of Nars and Ecotools

  24. Ohhhhhh shuckssss …
    see how you caught me ?
    I dont use bronzers too much thats why I almostttt forgot I have been using ILLAMASQUA Blush up brush for quite some time and loving it .
    After seeing some youtube videos , I thought let me pick NARS ITA BRUSH but this ILLU baby was sitting pretty untouched and I tried it ….
    loved it but again it is phase …
    some days I use bronzer or do contouring and I feel I need good one like NARS ITA or MAC 163 or MAC 168
    but no , right now ILLAMASQUA Blush up Brush for me :)

  25. Avatar of Rachel Rachel Liane

    What is your favorite concealer brush?

  26. Thank you so much for this post! It’s incredibly helpful to see the brushes in comparison.

  27. Sabrina W

    I want the Hakuhodo blush brush. Its a beauty. Thanks for this review!

  28. I know what my next splurge is going to be ……. :-)

  29. Christine do you have any idea about the quality of it cosmetic brushes?

  30. And I really love Guerlain cream foundation brush for foundations!!!

  31. Jenny

    Hi Christine! I’ve been eyeing the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. Do you think this would work with BB cream? I know it says for liquid foundation. Thanks!

  32. Avatar of Cat CatG

    I’ve never tried any of these brushes actually haha!

    My favorite liquid foundation brush is Prescriptives Foundation Brush. It really is LOVE. I take good care of it and it’s still in great condition after a lot of use!

    For my powder foundation, I use EcoTools face brushes. I can’t really speak much on how great it is though because I haven’t tried many face powder brushes. It seems to work well though :)

  33. Jill

    I absolutely cannot live without my Real Techniques expert face brush – it can work magic on a stubborn foundation! I also love my Eco Tools powder brush (so fluffy and big) and my Sephora mineral powder brush for blush. Honorable mentions go to Crown stippling brush and Crown flat kabuki. I’m so lusting after Hakuhodo yachiyo brushes though…they are gorgeous!

  34. This a great post and super helpful. Thank you!

    My favorites are:

    Foundation: Jane Iredale The Handi (for pressed mineral foundation)

    Setting powder: Chikuhodo GS-T (dense for medium-heavy application) I like heavier application because my skin is extremely oily.

    Finishing powder: Chikuhodo MK-2 (soooo soft! you can’t even feel the bristles on your skin)

    Powder blush: Hakuhodo G5519, S110, G544 (for very pigmented/dark blush). I prefer a standard brush shape for most of my blushes.

    Cream blush: Hakuhodo G5552 (A smaller version of the G5556)

    Bronzer: MAC 134

    Contour: Hakuhodo J5521, Hakuhodo medium yachiyo (a bit scratchy, but works well)

    Highlight: Hakuhodo J4002

    Other favorites: Hakuhodo S103, G5518, J4004

  35. Donna

    My favorite face brush is the MAC 136 which, sad to say, has been discontinued. It could be held down near the base and used to contour, and it was fluffy enough for bronzer or blush without worry about being heavy handed. My favorite highlight brush is the MAC 188 which lays just enough product but never too much. I also agree with Christina about the Sephora Pro Fan brush, it’s excellent for that small touch of highlighter or if you have heavily pigmented blush, it’s perfect.

  36. Hi Christine. That Hakuhodo Yachiyo brush looks very very similar to the Nars one. Was wondering if you own the Nars one and how would they both compare?

    • I don’t love either personally but I do think it’s better than the NARS… I found the NARS Yachiyo kind of scratchy, which is why I bought the Hakuhodo one to see how they’d compare.

  37. Avatar of Corliss Corliss

    My goal is to get some of the Tom Ford brushes. specially the face brushes.

  38. Avatar of Irene Irene

    This post is amazing! Thank you so much for taking the time to write it.
    I don’t use a brush for foundation (I find I blend and apply it better with my fingers), but my favorite blush brush is by Sonia Kashuk. I’ve also been using the Sonia Kashuk powder brush for a while, but my face is small so sometimes I find it hard to set powder onto the skin, especially on the sides of the nose and other parts of my face that aren’t flat, when I use large powder brushes. The Make Up Forever one you reviewed looks lovely, although I think I’d have the same issue! I’m currently experimenting with a flatter foundation brush by ELF to set powder, and see if I get better results.

    • Yes, the MUFE brush is pretty huge so if you find most too large, I bet it will be too big for you, too! :( They might have a smaller size of it – not sure – they put out so many new brushes!

  39. Avatar of Lauren Lauren

    I’m surprised the Sigma F80 or F84 did not make the list for best foundation brushes. The Sigma F80 is the best foundation brush I have. (I also have the Sigma F84, Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, Real Techniques Buffing Brush, and Tarte Buffing Brush). I prefer the Real Techniques Buffing Brush over the Expert Face Brush. I use it whenever I wear tinted moisturizer. I only use the Expert Face Brush when it’s time for brush laundry. It works in a pinch but the (1) Sigma F80, (2) Sigma F84, and (3) Real Techniques Buffing Brush are all better.

    For blush, my favorites are (1) Sigma F10, (2) the Smashbox Blush brush, and (3) Real Techniques Multi Purpose Brush. I also like the Eco Tools Blush Brush to blend out harsh lines (if I apply too much color at first).

    For setting powder, my favorite is the Real Techniques Powder Brush. It’s big and fluffy but grabs powder well.

    For contouring, I like the Real Techniques Multi Purpose Brush. I should use my Mac 168 more. It doesn’t get enough love.

    For highlighting, I use the Real Techniques Contour Brush.

    • Hey Lauren,

      I don’t use Sigma brushes personally, so I don’t have any and haven’t tried anything from Sigma in a few years (not since I reviewed them originally). I’m glad you’ve found good brushes that work for you! :)

  40. G

    I’m a huge fan of the Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush for foundation application. It’s been my go to this year…but I’m definitely going to try the brushes on your must-have list asap!!

  41. I just heard about Real Techniques brushes, so I’m glad to see some of them on your list! One day I WILL get Tom Ford brushes, but I’m unemployed right now. But these two entries are perfect timing!

    I was wondering which concealer brushes you recommend? That category doesn’t seem to be in either entry. :)

  42. Avatar of Jenn Jenn

    Thanks so much for posting your favorite brushes!!! Lately I have too much makeup and I really want to focus on my brush game. Where did you get he little balls in the containers to make your brushes stand up? Love this idea.

  43. Yay! Such an fun post to read. There are so few people who have tried the number/range of brushes you have, so your opinion is so valuable. I’m really excited to see Real Techniques brushes included

  44. Avatar of sandy sandy

    AH!! that Tom Ford blush brush looks to die for…wish it wasn’t so pricey. Great picks!

  45. Avatar of Monica Monica

    This is such a great round-up and a useful resource! Thanks Christine!

  46. elaine

    Love this post… in time for Christmas list :) Question the mufe powder brush… does it do well with pressed powder.. I am looking to replace or repurchase Mac 134 which I use for nars pressed translucent and Laguna bronzer and sometimes blush. Does it do well enough for pressed powders and multifunctionality or am I better off getting the 134 again?

  47. Isabell

    Hi, some already mentioned
    for
    Cream blush: Hakuhodo G5552 (A smaller version of the G5556)
    Eco tools Blush Brush (for less pigmented blushes)
    and I’d like to add
    The Amazing fan brush by Louise Young, big, fluffy, but still dense enough, and it’s huge.

  48. Avatar of Jennifer Jen

    Such a helpful post! I bought the RT Expert Face Brush today and can’t wait to give it a go! xo

  49. Julie Ann

    Christine, I completely agree with you view on the Real Techniques foundation brush. It spreads the foundation easily and buffs it out to a seamless “airbrush” perfection, without sucking up a lot of the foundation, and wasting it. It could be a touch softer, but perhaps that is how it needs to be to get such great results. I have an older MAC flat synthetic foundation brush that I never liked, but this one I would highly recommend. I am make-up brush junkie, so at the price of Real Techniques brushes, I think I may give another one a try.

    Thanks for all your reviews, I depend on them to help me make good choices.

  50. Avatar of Alexandra Alexandra

    What brush would you recommend for using powder foundation- specifically Bare Minerals Powder Foundation. <3
    xx
    Alex

  51. Avatar of Jill Jill

    I have the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and I love liquid foundation application with it, however, I feel like its difficult to clean. It always has a greasy texture even after washing every other day with baby shampoo. Any suggestions or other somewhat affordable brushes to try instead? Thanks!

    • Hi Jill,

      Have you considered a different brush cleanser? I like Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap (liquid), and I have no trouble with my RT Expert Face brush!

    • Donna

      I have the same problem with my foundation brushes. I use a facial cleanser (one I’m not using because I don’t like). Apply the facial cleanser to the palm of your hand and swish the brush into the cleanser then, using the same hand, rub and work the cleanser into the brush, be sure to rinse the brush very well. I use a large bowl of warm water and running water to rinse the brush. This was taught to me by a professional makeup artist at a MAC PRO makeup demo.