New To Makeup Series: Makeup Brushes - Face

I love makeup brushes, and I have a lot of them.  Good makeup brushes made a HUGE difference to the quality of my makeup application.  I do rcommend that you invest in good makeup brushes, they are worth the extra price tag.  And if you take care of them, they will last you a long time.  Check out my brush cleaning tutorial
I recommend that you buy makeup brushes one at a time, instead of all at once.  Choose brushes based on what you need.  For example, summer is on its way and you got a bronzer, and now you need a good brush to apply it.  Don't just buy brushes because someone else loves them, or because they're limited edition, or because you're at the makeup counter, and the makeup artist told you they love that brush.  My best brush purchases were researched ahead of time and/or planned way in advance.

The following is a review of face brushes I recommend.  For each category, the order of the brushes is my order of preference.  I have all of these brushes, and have used them all for at least 1 year - which is the last time I bought a makeup brush.  For several reasons, most of the brushes I use daily are MAC brushes.  MAC brushes are good quality (you get what you paid for), MAC stands behind their products (I have exchanged a faulty brush once), and there are MAC counters everywhere.  Also, I learned a lot about makeup application from youtube gurus and fellow bloggers, and they all use MAC brushes.  I found that having the same brushes made it easier to replicate the looks. 

Although I think the brushes mentioned below are good quality, and recommend them to you, I realize that they are quite expensive.  There are cheaper alternatives out there that are similar in shape and performance.  I recommend the Sonia Kashuk line of brushes - good quality at much more affordable prices.  If you are vegan and want synthetic alternatives, check out Lumiere Cosmetics

Regarding Sigma brushes:
I know that Sigma Makeup makes a whole series MAC 'dupes'. I have not tried these brushes, and I have heard mixed reviews, so I am reluctant to recommend Sigma brushes to you.

A note about MAC brush numbering:
MAC brushes are numbered, which I found really confusing when I started.  I have not found much pattern in the numbering system, other than face brushes are numbered in the 100s, eye brushes are 200s, and lip brushes are 300s.
If you are a mineral makeup wearer like me, then a kabuki (such as the MAC 182) is a must.  It is the best way I found to apply minerals.  It's also great for blending out blush when I go overboard with application.  The only other all over face brush that I use regularly is the MAC 134, which is BRILLIANT for applying bronzer or loose powder.

The MAC 168 is a dense and super soft brush, and is great for applying blush, especially if the blush is very sheer.  I must warn you that if the blush is very pigmented, the 168 is likely to cause a clown effect.  It is also a great brush for contouring.  If I was to live with only one blush brush, I would choose the 168.  If I want a lighter dusting of blush, I reach for the MAC 129.  It's bigger, fluffier, and blends the blush more as it applies.  Also in the blush lineup is the MAC 109.  This brush is almost like a mini kabuki, dense and flat.  It gives a more precise application, but blending is more work.  It also sheds more than all of my other brushes combined.  The 109 only made the list because so many people love it that you will be tempted to buy it.  I would skip this one in lieu of the 168.

A good skunk brush is a great tool for applying highlighter and pigmented blush.  They're great for cream blushes and foundation as well.  These brushes are great because they cover a large area with a   MAC makes two skunk brushes, the MAC 187 and the MAC 188.  The 187 is larger than the 188.  If you plan to use your skunk brush for foundation as well as blush, then the 187 is the way to go.  However, if you want more precision and plan to use it for applying blush and highlighter, then go with the 188.

I primarily use concealer for under-eye circles.  I mostly use the MAC 224 (intended as an eye blender brush) as an under-eye concealer brush.  I dab the concealer onto my skin with my ring finger and then blend with the 224.  For the occasional blemish, I like the MAC 195.  Unlike most concealer brushes I've tried, it has a sharper tip (not just wide and oval), so it's more precise.

I am not a frequent liquid/cream foundation wearer.  When I do wear liquid foundation, I like to apply it with my fingers or with a damp sponge.  However, I have successfully applied foundation with the MAC 187 and MAC 109 - both are decent.

Check out the scoop on eye brushes in the next post in this series. 

What are your favorite brushes? 


naturalnchicmakeup said...

wow I've never thought of using the 224 as a concealer brush. Let me try that. Have a great Easter Weekend!

Girly Tomboy Extraordinaire said...

Give it a try, and let me know what you think! Enjoy your Easter weekend as well!

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