8 Game-Changing Makeup Brushes I'll Actually Use Instead of My Fingers

Some of the products around these days are actually better than my own two hands at flawless application, if you can believe it.
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Kathleen Braine
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Some of the products around these days are actually better than my own two hands at flawless application, if you can believe it.

For someone who loves makeup and beauty so much, I've never really been fastidious about the particulars of my routine. This manifests itself in many ways: I don't own an eyelash curler, my makeup organization is sorely lacking, and I though I've tried various tech-heavy beauty implements such as Clarisonic brushes and at-home hair removal lasers, nothing has really stuck as a true part of my process. Yet, the biggest example of my low-fuss-but-high-maintenance beauty routine is definitely that, for a very long time, I exclusively applied my makeup with my fingers in lieu of brushes or sponges.

I've delved into the debate surrounding this habit before, because my reasoning for my brushless application has always been two-fold. First, if I'm being completely honest, I use my fingers more because I'm lazy (don't judge me) than anything else. However, I also think it's sometimes more effective to apply makeup with my fingers, and many makeup artists agree with me. You lose less product, you have more control, and you can improve your finger dexterity — what's not to love?

Just looking at this makes me tired. 

Just looking at this makes me tired. 

Recently, I must admit that (in spite of myself) I've come across a few types of brushes that have made me deign to sing a different tune about my makeup application. Some of the products around these days are actually better than my own two hands at flawless application, if you can believe it.

Here are eight game-changing makeup brushes that I actually will use instead of my fingers.

It Cosmetics Airbrush Precision Shadow Brush #112

It Cosmetics Airbrush Precision Shadow Brush #112, $13

It Cosmetics Airbrush Precision Shadow Brush #112, $13

Eye makeup has always challenged my brushless application the most because it requires the most precision. I was so happy to discover the It Cosmetics Airbrush Shadow Brushes because they are affordable, fluffy, and don't leave your face covered with excess shimmery eyeshadow. The #112 is my favorite because I have hooded eyes and I need a bit more control on my lids even for all over shadow.

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush, $55

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush, $55

Kabuki Brushes are universal go-to brush products for powder application. Even so, I've struggled to find one I actually liked, preferring instead to apply my powders with drugstore powder puffs. That all changed when I found the NARS Yachiyo brush. It's uber-soft, doesn't shed all over your face, and the handspun handle is both ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing.

Artis Oval 3 Brush & Artis Oval 6 Brush

Artist Oval 3 Brush, $40 and Artis Fluenta Oval 6 Brush, $60

Artist Oval 3 Brush, $40 and Artis Fluenta Oval 6 Brush, $60

Everyone recently has raved about the Artis Oval brushes, so it's easy to believe that it is all hype — but I must tell you, it is with good reason. The brushes really do make it fantastically easy to apply lotion, primer, and foundation, and they feel awesome on your skin (like a mini at-home spa treatment). The two sizes I prefer are the Oval 3 and the Oval 6, as they are perfect for all-over product application as well as blush, highlighter, and concealer application.

Cailyn Cosmetics O! Wow Brush

Cailyn Cosmetics O! Wow Brush, $32

Cailyn Cosmetics O! Wow Brush, $32

If you (fairly) think that the Artis Oval brushes are a bit pricey, a lower-cost alternative that still works just as well is the Cailyn Cosmetics O! Wow Brush. Just like the Artis brushes, this brush provides an airbrushed finish while also cutting your makeup application time in half. Its tapered end also let's you apply makeup more easily in the contours and hollows of your face.

Morphe M143 Deluxe Soft Fan

Morphe M143 Deluxe Soft Fan, $8.99

Morphe M143 Deluxe Soft Fan, $8.99

I used to be sort of "Meh," about fan brushes, but this Morphe brush changed my story. It's soft and fully dimensional without any of that stiffness you might associate with a rigid traditional fan brush. It also comes at a pretty awesome price point.

Make Up Forever Precision Foundation Brush, Medium

Make Up Forever Precision Foundation Brush, Medium, $46

Make Up Forever Precision Foundation Brush, Medium, $46

I'M SO OBSESSED WITH THIS BRUSH. It has a fairly weighty wooden handle, so it's not exactly travel-friendly, but it's a perfect foundation brush for your vanity. The combination fibers in the brush allow you to create a very effortless matte finish with your foundation, and the hefty size of the head means that you can get even coverage across your entire face.

Japonesque Kumadori Contouring / Highlighting Brush

Japonesque Kumadori brushes are designed in the Kabuki theater traditions — and the hand-cut handles are light and easy for seamless application. The contouring brush is awesome for powder contouring with a delicate touch.

Becca The One Perfecting Brush

Becca The One Perfecting Brush, $49

Becca The One Perfecting Brush, $49

I was shown this Becca Brush by a Sephora salesperson about a year ago, and I was initially a little skeptical. The brush promises to replace up to 10 tools in one product, and that just (fairly enough) seemed too good to be true to me. However, after using the brush on my own at home for a while, it's safe to say it's become one of my go-to tools. It's unique handle makes it well suited for both foundation and powder application, and the finish you get with it is always perfectly blended.