You can buy the most expensive make-up in the world, but it won't go on right if your brushes are nasty. Do you need a million make-up brushes to look your best? NO! In fact, it's amazing how little you need if you keep 'em clean and know how to get the most out of each one.
Do you need to spend a fortune? NO! Sure, expensive brushes can be AMAZING, but there's plenty of budget brands out there like Spectrum and Morphe, that are churning out quality tools.
Think logically, do you need five different brushes for your eyebrows? HELL no! Learn to use one brush correctly, and use the rest of the money on the right brushes. Spend on quality not quantity. Having said that, we have found some absolute cracking cheaper brushes that hold up against their more expensive counterparts...
Beauty Blenders are fantastic for applying liquids to the face. Think moisturisers, primers, BB/CC cream, foundation, highlighter drops and more. When using one, you'll get a sheer finish to begin with, but you can layer with it. Dampen to use and off you go.
Budget: 5 Pack of Beauty Blending Sponges* £2.85 delivered from eBay
Mid-range: Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge* £5.99 from Boots
Splurge: BeautyBlender by BeautyBlender* £17 from Beauty Bay
Foundation brushes are great for covering the whole face, but are also a good tool for the grooves of the face, like the nose. Using one with a liquid foundation will provide a medium coverage. Depending on the quality of the brush you may be left with streaks.
Budget: Revolution Pro Liquid Drop Foundation Brush* £2.10 from Revolution Beauty London
Mid-range: Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki Brush* £19.50 from Beauty Bay
Splurge: The Buffer Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush* £27 from Tarte
A kabuki brush is used in circular motions to work setting powders and mineral foundations into the skin. You are in control, and can achieve a sheer finish through to a full coverage.
Budget: Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush* now £9.55 from Perfume Click
Mid-Range: bareMinerals Full Coverage Kabuki Brush* £24 from Feel Unique
Splurge: MAC 182 Buffer Kabuki Brush* £34.50 from MAC
Angled Blush/Contour Brush
An angled brush is ideal for applying blush product or powder contour precisely. Just use a downwards sweeping motion when using bronzer on the cheeks to avoid it looking muddy at the hairline. When using for blush, more of a gentle circular motion is best. These are great when used clean to blend out both blush and contour.
Budget: Spectrum SA05 Brush* now £5.59 from Spectrum
Mid-Range: Huda Beauty Face, Buff & Blend Brush* £22 from Cult Beauty
Splurge: By Terry Blush Brush Angled 3* £51 from Space NK
Small Concealer Brush
A smaller brush is one of the most useful brushes you can have in your makeup bag. Use it to cover blemishes and pores, or for the eye area. That can be to disguise dark circles, for cutting in around your eyebrows, or to create a cut crease eyeshadow look.
Budget: Morphe M224 Oval Camouflage Brush* £3.50 from Morphe UK
Mid-Range: Zoeva Concealer Brush* £8.99 from Cult Beauty
Splurge: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Brush* £23 from John Lewis & Partners
Getting those fleeky eyebrows can be achieved with a good brow brush. You want one that's quite firm, but with a bit of movement, as you want to apply that pomade, gel or powder in brushstrokes.
Budget: Zoeva Brow Liner Brush (322)* £7.99 from Cult Beauty
Mid-Range: Anastasia Beverly Hills Angled Cut Brow Brush #15* £18 from Selfridges
Splurge: Chanel Pinceau Duo Sourcils Dual-Tip Brow Brush* £30 from Chanel
Flat Eyeshadow Brush
Get your eyes looking vibrant with the flat eyeshadow brush. These are super for going under the eye, patting on loose pigment/colour and getting right into the crease. If you like your cream shadows then this is the brush you need.
Budget: ELF Flat Eyeshadow Brush* £4.50 from ELF
Mid-Range: Urban Decay Brush Flat Eyeshadow E206 Brush* £16.50 from Debenhams
Splurge: Armani Flat Eye Brush* £49 from Armani Beauty
Eye Blending Brush
If you like to use eyeshadow, then you cannot survive without a super blending brush. Use lightly to buff out harsh edges on eyeshadow looks. |It really softens the whole look, and adds that professional touch.
Budget: Real Techniques Eye Shade & Blend* £7.50 from Fragrance Direct
Mid-Range: Sigma E25 Blending Brush* £12.50 from Beauty Bay
Splurge: Hourglass No. 4 Crease Brush* £33 from Space NK
Medium Eyeshadow Brush
The medium eyeshadow brush is great for swiping colour across the whole eyelid. These can also be used to contour the nose, successfully.
Budget: E13 Medium Oval Brush* now £8 from Morphe UK
Mid-Range: Fenty Beauty All-Over Eyeshadow Brush 200* £20 from Harvey Nichols
Splurge: Tom Ford Eyeshadow Brush* £44 from Harvey Nichols
A fine liner brush can be used with gel or liquid eyeliners and is ideal for creating precise flicks and lines.
Budget: Morphe Bent Liner Brush* now £3.50
Mid-Range: Urban Decay Brush E216 - Precise Eyeliner* £14 from Feel Unique
Splurge: Chantecaille Eye Liner Brush* £23.50 from Space NK
Fine Lip Liner Brush
Ensure your lips look their best with a fine lip liner brush. Precisely follow your natural lip line, or use the brush to go around the outside for a fuller, glamour look.
Budget: Real Techniques Luminous Lip Set* now £8.98 from Amazon
Mid-Range: Sigma L06 - Precise Lip Liner Brush* £9.36 from Feel Unique
Splurge: MAC 211 Pointed Liner Brush* £16.50 (can be used on lips or eyes)
Large Lip Brush
When applying colour to the full lip, a large lip brush is the best tool for the job. It's also great for slicking on gloss.
Budget: ELF Lip Defining Brush* £2 from ELF
Mid-Range: NYX Professional Makeup Pro Brush 20 - Lip* £8 from Boots
Splurge: NARS Precision Lip Brush #30* £23 from Harvey Nichols
Makeup Brush Sets
Budget: LyDia Professional 24pcs Natural Wooden handle Black/brown Make Up Brush Set with Case* £9.99 from Amazon
Mid-range: Morphe The Bling Fling Collection* now £47 from Morphe UK
Splurge: Sigma Essential Kit* £128 from Cult Beauty
Unicorn Makeup Brushes
If you like to be extra, then unicorn makeup brushes are the only way to go. Multicoloured, glittery, who cares, so long as they are shaped into a magical horn!
Budget: 10 Piece Unicorn Rose Spiral Make Up Brushes Set* £4.58 delivered from eBay
Mid-range: Makeup Brushes Set Colorful Unicorn 12pcs* £11.88 delivered from eBay
Splurge: Unicorn Cosmetics Unicorn Brushes Set* was £45 from Unicorn Cosmetics (currently sold out)
How often do I have to clean my Makeup Brushes?
For you to get the best from your make-up brushes you must keep them clean.
Due to the composition of foundation and concealer, it's best to clean brushes using these at least once a week.
Other brushes can be cleaned at least twice a month. This ensures that not only do they apply your make-up products properly, but they won't be transferring bacteria across your skin, causing breakouts.
It is best to remove product from brushes after each use, although it's not always practical. You can use sprays like the bareMinerals Quick Change Brush Cleaning Spray* for quick removal of product. These do not replace the full clean process though, but does make it easier.
What is the best way to clean Makeup Brushes?
A lot of people will say they use baby shampoo to clean their make-up brushes, and that is a good way to remove the product. However, as gentle as it is on the bristles, it isn't antibacterial, so won't get rid of those nasty microorganisms that accumulate on the brush over time. So, it's best to use a specialist sanitiser too like Look Good Feel Better Antibacterial Brush Sanitiser Foam*.
Foundation, and other cream based products can be a nightmare to remove from brushes, so it's worthwhile buying a Silicone Scrubber Board or Mat*. Just run your brush over the amt and swirl to remove even the most stubborn of product.
What are the Best Makeup Brush Cleaners?
The best makeup cleaners are the automatic ones that spin the brush in water (and cleaning solution) and then dry them, also by spinning. Ones like this StylPro Makeup Brush Cleaner and Dryer*.
You can get cheaper versions like this one from Amazon*.
If your makeup brushes are your babies, then you may wish to clean them by hand with a cleanser like Real Techniques Makeup Brush Cleansing Gel*.