These 13 Makeup Brushes Are as Essential to Me as Air, Water and Food

Some I use every day, some I use for a more done-up look, but all are precious to me.
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Publish date:
April 5, 2016
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mac, makeup brushes, morphe, It Cosmetics, Sigma Beauty

It's no secret I have a ton of makeup brushes, but there are certain brushes that I use far more frequently than others. Whether it be for my everyday makeup (which is typically pretty simple) or for a more elaborate look. Here are my must-have brushes in both cases and how I use them.

My Everyday Brushes


Sigma E-40

This is my go-to brush for eyeshadow blending. On a normal day, I keep my eye makeup pretty basic (sometimes I don't even bother with eyeshadow), but if I do wear shadow, I use this brush to sweep on a light wash of color all over the lid. If I want to use more than one shadow but don't feel like using multiple brushes, I'll use this same brush to add a darker shade to the crease and to blend out just above it. I have a few of these blending brushes because I use them so frequently!

Sigma 3DHD Kabuki Brush

I've used many different brushes or tools for blending my foundation, but as far as brushes go, this one has been my favorite. I am a big fan of kabuki-style blending brushes in general for liquid foundation, but I love the way this one is shaped. The pointed center fits perfectly in places that are harder to blend, and the flat sides are densely packed making it ideal for buffing in foundation.

MAC 217

I've talked about this baby before. It's great for blending crease shadows and even better for blending concealer under the eyes.

Real Techniques Powder Brush

I love a big, fluffy brush for setting my foundation with powder. The bristles are spread out enough that I don't feel like the powder is packed onto my face too much, and I like that it covers a wide surface area.

Sigma F30 Large Powder Brush

I use this brush to apply blush. I don't think I ever go without blush, even when I'm not wearing foundation, so this brush gets a lot of love. I don't like to spend a lot of time applying blush so I like that the brush gets the job done quickly.

It Cosmetics Soft Touch Blush Brush

The bristles on this are super-soft and loosely packed. I tried it for blush originally but I didn't feel like it gave me the look I like. I did discover that it is perfect for applying a light dusting of highlighting powder. I love it especially with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders because I think it really aids in giving that diffused glowing look.

Brushes for a More Elaborate Look

I use these in addition to the brushes above when I'm doing a full face of makeup.


Sigma E 54 Medium Sweeper

This brush is perfect for applying shadow all over the mobile lid. It's small enough that I can keep the color on the lid and not get it in the crease, and it's also perfect for dampening and applying shadows wet.

Sigma E25 Blending

This is another incarnation of the MAC 217, so to speak. It's almost identical (same shape and size) but the bristles are a lot softer. I tend to use this Sigma version for blending crease shades now that I've found how well the MAC version works for blending concealer.

Sigma E65 Angled Liner Brush

This brush is my favorite brush for applying gel liner or lining my eyes with powder eyeshadow. Sigma has another angled liner brush that is smaller that I also like, but this one is just the perfect size. I also like to use it for applying brow pomade because it allows me to make short, hair-like strokes.

Morphe M438

If I'm not in a rush, I use this brush without fail to set my under-eye concealer. It's small, pointed shape allows for me to really get in all the nooks and crannies under my eyes to make sure I have all of my concealer set.

Sigma F55 Small Duo Fibre

I have really been into cream and liquid blushes but I'm not a fan of blending them in with my fingers. I'll do it in a pinch, but I prefer to use this brush instead. the wispy ends of the brush apply just the right amount of color while the denser bristles at the base blend the blush out, leaving a soft flush.

Sigma F40 Angled Contour

There is not a lot to say about this brush; I use it for powder contouring. I like that it's not too large so it doesn't make my face look muddy, and the angle fits perfectly in the hollows of my cheeks.

Sigma F20 Large Powder Brush

This brush is huge but flatter overall than my Real Techniques brush. I use it specifically for powder bronzing because I think it gives me a nice, natural warmth all over the face without making me look like an Oompa Loompa.

  • What brushes do you use without fail?
  • What are your favorite brands?