Friday, November 26th, 2010

What are your must-have makeup brushes? The ones you can’t live without?

Temptalia's AnswerAll brushes are MAC… Face: 109, 116, 134; Eyes: 239, 249, 226.

Got a question idea? Submit yours here.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

50 thoughts on “What are your must-have makeup brushes?

  1. Nicole

    I love my Chanel brushes. The ‘made in France’ ones. I got the impression some Chanel brushes are made in the US too. Who knows!

    And of course the MAC 217, 239, 266, 188.

    I’m dying to try Hakuhodo brushes from Japan! I don’t have the money right now, but they’re VERY high on my wish list.

  2. MAC 217, 224, 187, 219 & 168. I also loooove the eye shadow brush @ blending brush from eyeslipsface.com ($1 each!) I buy like 5 of them at a time, especially the eyeshadow brush cuz I tend to use a lot of eyeshadow colors each day and need several brushes.

  3. K

    On the high end, my MAC 217. It’s great for both applying color in the outer corner of my eye, and for blending!

    On the low end, the Sonia Kashuk Flat Top. I love this for applying foundation!

  4. Todd

    I’d say I’d really be able to survive on these MAC brushes…

    MAC 190, 150, 168, 224, 242, 263… Yep, I could survive on six.

  5. Leenie

    Face, 168,109,187, Eyes, 209,224,239,226,even though I haven’t purchase the 226 brush yet I have tried my sisters brush and I love it can’t wait to get my own

  6. Ada

    kabuki brush and some sort of eyeshadow brush. You can’t always put on liquid/cream foundations with your fingers or sponge if you must. but it’s near impossible to apply powders without a brush applicator (powder/dry compact foundation, blush, blotting powder). If you get a flat eyeshadow brush you can use it on the eyes and crease, lips, and as highlight applicator (cupid’s bow, nose)

  7. I don’t have the budget for any “high end” brushes, so I invested in a couple EcoTool sets, and I love them. The brushes are so soft and work very well for what I need them to do!

    And one of my favorite face brushes is from Target: one of those $3 Studio Tools giant powder brush. Bargains for the win =D

  8. Iliana

    For the face I love the mac 187 and mac kabuki. For the eyes, I like the body shop’s eyeshadow brush to apply creamy shadows and bases, like mac paint pots. I have yet to find the perfect brush for applying shadow! I know MAC makes good brushes but I haven’t got enough courage to drop that much money for teeny brushes :P

  9. christinnnna

    MAC 109 168 217, Stila #33 and Inglot 4SS 31T

  10. Michelle

    Hakuhodo for sure

  11. Chloe

    If I could only use 1 brush for my face for the rest of my life, it would have to be Sonia Kashuk’s flat-top multitasking brush. It works for foundation of all types, concealer, cream blush/bronzer, powder blush/bronzer, setting powder, luminizer, and the list goes on and on! I’ve even used it to blend out eyeshadows on occasion. It’s cheap, sturdy, available in brick-and-mortar Targets, and the handle is gorgeous. It looks and feels totally high-end but is only 15 dollars! Definitely my favorite brush ever. My only gripe is that it takes forever to dry after cleaning, because it’s so densely packed.

  12. Rebecca

    I love: 217, 222, 239, 228 =)

  13. All brushes are MAC.
    For powder 129
    For blush/bronzing powder 116
    For Guerlain Meteorites 182
    For eyeshadow 217 (I have three), 225, 224, 226
    For eyeliner 231
    For brows 263, 219

  14. coco72

    For face: MAC 109, MAC 187 (I have 2 ones), MAC 168 and Coastal Scents Flat Bronzing brush

    For eyes: MAC 219 (2 ones), MAC 226 (LE), Mac 212, MAC 209 and one from Make up designory similar to MAC 239

  15. Hi Christine !
    My absolute favourite brushes are : MAC 239 and 217 for eyes – and Mufe 14S, 138 for powder, 187 for blush.

  16. Maeve

    Thanks! I know you did an essential brush list two years ago, but do you think you would revisit that? I’d love to see if they changed and what else you would recommend now.

  17. 168, 187, 210, 217, 219, 239 and 266, all MAC.

  18. vikaki

    mac 168 fro blush!!!

  19. 109, 129, 150, 187, 190, 208, 210, 217, 224, 231, 239, 252. LOL

  20. Tia Imperato

    Thats easy, my everyday must haves are MAC 217and 239 and my new Sigma F80!

  21. Eco tools blending brush
    ELF powder brush
    Studio 35 Stippling brush

  22. For the face: 190, 109, 168, & 150.
    For the eyes: 224, 239, 217, & 266.

    I actually think it’s necessary to have TWO 266′s for brows and eyeliner. Problem is, I lost my first one and I just know that the moment I buy another one, I’ll find it and be stuck with three!

  23. I love my cheap e.l.f. brushes and the other 2.99 brush I got from Target!

    • Michele

      I love some of the ELF brushes as well especially for eye shadow and Kabuki. I have a bunch of them which is great for switching colors. I like my MAC 130, 214, 219, 239, brushes but am kicking myself for spending the $ for the 187 as I hate it. Some of my favorites are good quality artist brushes bought at Michaels.

  24. Ms. Pink

    Must have a Kabuki and MAC 217!

  25. MAC 217, 224 252
    Sigma Kabuki Brush

  26. Addy

    Hakuhodo S103,S116,S133,S142,S143,S162

    I’m slowly building my collection of hakuhodo brushes. Everything but the S142 was in the 5 brush set ($230).

  27. kcrystal

    Eyes: Mac 217, 226. Face: Ecotools Powder Brush, Smashbox Liner and Mac 138.

  28. Charlene

    LOVE my Sonia Kashuk small crease brush.
    And Lowe Cornell 3/8 th inch maxines mop.

  29. t_zwiggy

    Jane Iredale Handi brush, Jane Iredale Detail brush, MAC 129, MAC 219, MAC 239, Sigma ss224, Stila #28 smudge and line brush, Anastasia duo brow brush

  30. Without a doubt, the Sigma Synthetic Flat Top Kabuki, F80. I don’t know how I applied foundation without it! I also have a set of Trish McEvoy brushes that are excellent.

  31. leesie

    My only MAC brushes: the 239 and the 217. I probably could live without the 217, but I don’t particularly want to…

  32. IDA

    The MAC 217 brush is by far my #1 favourite brush and since two weeks back another favourite is the Sigma Flat Top Synthetic Kabuki from the “Sigmax HD brush kit”. Love it!

    As another reader wrote, I would also like to try the Hakuhodo brushes. Have you tried them? If so, I would love to hear what you think about them. Thanks in advance!

  33. Amanda Enn

    I’m loving my MAC 239 & 266, but I’m planning on getting the 109 for everyday powder, and possibly the 217 or 222. For now, I’m loving my Sonia Kashuk crease brush.

  34. Abril

    All by MAC:

    Face: 190, 129, 109.
    Eyes: 239, 217, 224, 209.

  35. Kelli

    MAC 217, 239, 190
    Sigma SS252, SS239, SS219, SS217, SS224
    Coastal Scents Italian Badger Angle Blush Brush
    ELF Mineral Angle Blush Brush
    Stusio Tools (Target) Crease Brush and Blush Brush
    Eco Tools Powder Brush

  36. I wish the 226 was permanent or at least re-promote

  37. vickie

    MAC-165 217 224 212 210 239
    Sigma f80 150 275 252

  38. tara lee heather

    Well i have brushes that i got from my makeup school all are great
    but i really do love my E.L.F and ecotools
    faves: elf kabuki , elf round top brush , elf studio blending and ecotools travel kabuki.

  39. Anna

    Since I went vegan on brushes, I have been loving my Advanced Beauty Tools chrome collection and Ecotools brush set :) They are so soft and do not shed at all! Plus ABT’s face brush is so big and fluffy that it picks up color and distributes it evenly on my face. The eyeshadow brush is just small enough to apply color on the corners of my eyes for that subtle smokey feel :)

  40. Adriana

    Lol I’m a newbie so I only have 4 brushes: MAC 217 & 266, essence blush brush (not very good) and EDM baby kabuki (love it!).

  41. Mel

    I’ve been waiting for the 226 to be re-released for ages :-( Does anyone know when it might come back?

  42. Jen

    MAC 116, Ecotools powder brush,loew-cornell shadow brush (forget the number?)Sephora #55 airbrush

  43. Yumi

    Blush: 138
    Face: 182
    Eyes: 217, 219, 226, 239

    There’s some other brushes I want that I don’t own yet though – 168, 109 and 129/116!

  44. Annick Chantal L. H.

    un petit coucou de Paris (hello from Paris)
    My brushes faves a big discussion…. you’ll see below the message is long, very long…
    I love Mac brushes even though I don’t have a lot. My faves are: 150, 129, 187 (but I only these brushes for face) 217, 239 and 266 (and this is what I have for my eyes).
    Next but not least Chanel
    I also love Chanel brushes. I don’t use the “made in France” that I collect (they are beautiful) but the brushes I bought in USA ten years ago. I am so surprised that those I bought in the states are for many of them made in china, like the eyeshadow brush #2 (its French “name” is “pinceau ombre” according to the website (and the MUA who sold me with a big smile. She was so nice that we spent 2 hours discussing things and others (in French “choses et autres”) such as Make-up, chanel, etc.) which differs with the French “name”). It works perfectly even though it sheds a little bit. Comparing to the French version eyeshadow brush # 15 (petit pinceau paupière in French which is not the same French translation I found in the Chanel USA website), I may say the American version sheds, but a little bit. I nevertheless love it. I’ve two more chanel faves — American version as well as French version — #1 (which doesn’t seem to exist in France!!!), the #3 the famous blender or crease brush (French version doesn’t exist). My French chanel faves will be of course the #15 (see above), the #17 which corresponds to Mac 227 (I don’t have it… yet) and the #12 for eyeliner, brow and for smudge. Now the face, chanel has beautiful brushes, I’ve some both bought in France and in America, the kabuki one (or touch-up, or #8) (bought in the two versions) is fabulous. It buffs perfectly. It’s called in French “le petit pinceau” because of its size, I suppose and “par coqueterie”. I also have the foundation brush (#16 in America) but I don’t have the French version and according to my Chanel counter (in Paris, (42) Av. Montaigne and (31) rue cambon), if I want it only the American version is available right now. As I already have it, so… the pinceau poudre #6 (pinceau poudre plat #3 in France) is one of my fave with the Mac 150.
    Next is two Louise Young I only have: LY34 (foundation brush) and LY 14 (socket brush). Love these brushes (and of course my Shu Uemura, Nars and Bobbi Brown, but if I have to add all brushes I love…). That’s it. Now I dream to test mac 131, 188, 138, 134, 116, 109 (that I’ll ask for christmas), LY 10, 11, 12,15, 16, 18, 19, and LY 05 and LY07, and sigma one because I heard their are great… and the Hakuhodo brushes as well… salut (bye)

  45. Hannah

    All are MAC:

    Face: 187, 188, 168, 182
    Eyes: 217, 224, 239

    I couldn’t do my makeup without them!

  46. Marcela

    Mac brushes are expensive, but I’ve been slowly building up my collection of must-haves and they’re great! I love strong, bold eye makeup and these brushes work wonders for me (you just have to know the proper use for each one):

    213, 217, 219, 239