I Whittled Down My Stupidly Large Makeup Brush Collection to Just 10

47 might have been a few too many.
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Publish date:
June 13, 2016
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bareMinerals, makeup brushes, real techniques, sigma

A few weeks ago, in a spurt of probable craziness I decided to build a double desk for my boyfriend and I to share. Having never actually made anything like this before, it was not necessarily the most thought-out thing, but whatever — sometimes you have to follow your own harebrained ideas.

So I sold off my actual desk and spent my entire Memorial Day long weekend sanding, gluing, nailing, and Snapchatting how my makeup held up through the whole desk-building process and wound up with a cute, albeit slightly wobbly desk.

Because sharing is caring, I can't keep my whole makeup collection stored in the desk anymore, so I set aside my daily used bits into a makeup bag (something I haven't done in years) and had to pare down my whole brush collection from taking up half of my work space.

My whole collection is currently 47 brushes strong and counting — slightly above overkill for someone who wears pretty minimal makeup to work. And I put on the majority of that makeup with my fingers while I'm eating oatmeal and desperately wiping cat hair off my clothes/face/hair and tripping out the door because I'm already late.

To fit the #minimal #aesthetic of this new desk, I pared down the collection to just the good guys I use on a day-to-day basis.

The whole crowd is mainly focused on eyeshadow, blending, and finishing-touch type brushes.

I keep a meager three brushes on hand for applying makeup to the face. Because I sit in front of a giant window at work, my foundation is generally a high SPF tinted moisturizer that I put on with my fingers, or a regular plain ol' SPF with a bunch of concealer that I also apply with my fingers.

I wear powder blush, which I apply with the Real Techniques Contour Brush. I find that this is the perfect size and shape for adding blush and not getting all '80s with it. You have enough control that you can place the blush exactly where you want it and enough give with the bristles that you can blend 'til the cows come home.

I'm queen of the oily-skinned people, so powdering my entire face is a must, especially during summer. I don't like a powdered look, though, so I use the BareMinerals Flawless Application Face Brush to add a light dusting of my preferred powder all over. This brush is really fluffy and not at all dense so it disperses the powder in a nice thin layer.

I like to get my bronze on, and I religiously use the Real Techniques Multi-Task Brush. This is one of my favorite brushes because you can literally do your full face with it, trust, and it blends out so well that you can pretend you went to the Bahamas or something.

Because I'm a bit of a blending perfectionist, and I literally won't leave the house if I'm wearing eyeshadow and it isn't blended well enough; I keep two brushes on hand for that very purpose.

Every eye look I do starts off with a close-to-but-not-exactly my skin tone color shadow in the crease to act as a transition shade for everything else I put on. I apply this with the Sephora #73 Classic Crease Shadow Brush. This is the biggest, fluffiest eyeshadow brush that I've gotten my little lids on, and it makes a big difference for adding a wash of color. I also use this to do any finishing-touch blending on the eyes.

To add darker crease colors or colors in the outer V of the eye, I use the Sigma E38 Diffused Crease Brush. This isn't as big and fluffy as the Sephora brush so it helps to keep shadow colors from getting muddled because you can be more precise with the blending.

To apply a color to the whole mobile lid I like a densely packed brush so it will really pick up the pigment of the shadow. Both the Sigma E57 Firm Shader and the BareMinerals Tapered Shadow Brush fill this niche. I can press the shadow onto my lids with these brushes, and I also use the tip to apply shadow under my lash line.

I've recently been wearing a really tiny, smoky kitten flick, and I've been pressing in a dark colored shadow with the Ecotools Angled Eyeliner Brush to get the effect. This is the perfect size and angle for really getting down into the lash line and giving me somewhat symmetrical flicks.

For grooming my brows, my ride or die brushes are the Real Techniques Lash-Brow Groomer and the Sigma E75 Angled Brow. Most days I use a brow powder, which I apply with the angled brush. This brush is teeny tiny so you don't end up with giant blocky brows (unless you want to) and the spoolie end is great for people who aren't me and don't get grossed out by all the dust and hair and crap that gets stuck in there and won't get out even when you wash it.

My brows are really well-behaved so I don't need to use a brow gel or anything to keep them in place. I just apply the powder and brush through my brows with the bristle end of the Lash-Brow Groomer so there are no harsh lines. The metal end I also use from time to time for get clumps of mascara out of my lashes.

I honestly think that using brushes makes a huge difference in the way that makeup looks and applies. Like really, I could keep going, I could wax lyrical about all 47 of my brushes, but we would be here till the end of the world and I would die of carpal tunnel.

  • What are your day-to-day must have brushes?
  • Anyone have more than 47?