The perfect make up needs the perfect tools so I thought I would share the make up brushes I use for an every day face or a more glamorous look. It’s worth investing in brushes – if you look after them, they last for years and £14 here and £20 there feels like less of a splurge.


Bobbi Brown Foundation Brush.
I don’t wear foundation daily, applying a tinted moisturizer (if anything) with my fingers. I do however use this brush for applying cream blusher and blending it across my skin. When I want a full coverage for a night out, I use the other side to apply liquid foundation.

Bare Minerals Max Coverage Concealer brush.
Before this brush I always applied concealer with my fingers and found the result less than satisfactory. For an airbrushed look, I now use a skin matched concealer with this brush and very lightly buff it on – almost just tickling the surface with the brush at 90 degrees to the skin, for the most immaculate coverage. It’s also great for applying foundation or concealer to small areas like the under eye area or sides of the nose, where required.

MAC 217 shadow brush
This is meant for filling in the whole lid with a base shade before your other colours or shading. On a daily basis I’m lazy and tend to just use a neutral tone to even out my eye lids, but this brush works just as well with a darker shade, blending the edges out beautifully.

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage brush
This was designed to be used with the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer. Applied in the same way I described above, it provides really full coverage without any of the caked on appearance. It also really stays put but that’s likely to be more to do with the product itself.

Ruby and Milly brow and lash tidy
I don’t think this is available anymore but most brands offer a similar brush. I use it mainly to brush through my brows in the morning (with the mascara wand-like end) and make them look a little more presentable, but it’s also useful to separate lashes before or between applications of mascara, for a really defined look.

Bare Minerals Blush Brush (Flawless Application Face brush)
Sold as a foundation brush, I use it for my blusher, or bronzer, finding it really soft and just the right shape.

Special occasions:

MAC 266 Small Angled Brush
I think this brush is my sister’s best friend and she is queen of the eye makeup. Perfect for lining the bottom lash line with a complimentary colour to your eye shadow or even using one of the shading colours to draw along the upper lash line, it allows a really precise finish.

Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush
This one is especially for BB gel liners. If I want a retro thick liquid liner look, I use this to create the perfect flick and line, either building up the thickness or using it front/side on for different widths.

Laura Mercier Flat Eye Liner brush
Another special brush, I use this with the tightline cake eyeliner for a subtle but effective lash boost. After wetting the brush, I create a liquid liner by wetting the liner cake and coating the brush then looking up or straight forwards toward the mirror, push the end of the brush into the base of the lashes (from underneath them,) to create a full, thick look to the lashes and a subtle line.

MAC 228 Mini Shader Brush
When I’m creating a party or smokey eye, this is the brush I use to define the eye socket, and particularly to create a feline eye shape. It’s small enough to not take over the eyelid with the product it distributes and soft enough to blend too.

Powder applicator.
Not quite a brush, this is what I use to apply powder and really set my base for a special occasion like a wedding where I need my make up to go the distance. I use a loose powder, applying a light sprinkle to the pad, or dipping it and knocking off the excess. Then you rub the pad together on itself by folding it over in several directions working the powder into the pad. Finally, with fingers through the back of the pad’s loop, press the pad onto the skin, rolling it on and off, first along the t-zone then outwards for the perfect finish.

I hope you found this useful – as I’ve learned how important brushes are, I always wonder what has been used for a particular effect when I see a particularly beautiful makeup look. Have you got any must have brushes you can recommend readers?


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14 thoughts on “Masterstrokes

  1. Have you not heard of Real Techniques? The only brushes for getting a perfect base. Reasonably priced as well, particularly if you’re used to paying for Bobbi Brown or Laura Mercier brushes.

      • Yes, they’re made by a make up artist called Samantha Chapman, her youtube account is Pixiewoo. They are amazing, perfect finish, no shedding. You’ll never look back!

        • I bought the Real Techniques stippling brush after reading all the hype about it and the glowing reviews on Boots website and I have to be honest, I’ve noticed absolutely no difference whatsoever so I gave it to my mum (who’s a bit of a makeup pro) and she said the same and prefers her bobbi brown foundation brush. Horses for courses and all that though! xx

          • I agree, the stippling brush is no foundation brush, it left lines. However, is awesome for cream blush. The buffing brush and The Expert Face Brush are your babies for a good base.

  2. This is a brilliant post, thanks Rebecca. New make-up brushes are on my current wish list, so will be coming back to this for inspiration when I am ready to buy 🙂

  3. Gah! I’ve had several of those Ruby and Millie brow and lash tidy tools over the years and I kept losing them. I’ve found nothing since that i love as much. Every now and again I turn up the lash comb that’s obviously snapped off and fallen somewhere and i hjave a flash of excitement thinking that i’ve finally managed to locate one of them, but to no avail. 🙁

    Can we petition them with the power of FF to bring it back?

  4. Tbh Victoria, I use the lash wand end more than the comb and if you want something similar, you can simply use a washed out old mascara brush.

    One other thing I didn’t include here was that I use clear mascara for my brows and hence the brush – to keep them tidy all day! Similar idea I guess, but with the benefit of the gel-like product. I use the cheapest I can find – usually Collection2000!

  5. I have 3 of these, the 2 bare minerals which I LOVED for ages (I still use the concealer one). I now use the Real Techniques once and really like them, I bought the Core Collection and mainly use 2 of the 5 ones but I like the blush one and the buffering one, very good price and lovely lovely quality. Boots has them 🙂 xx

  6. I’d love if you did a tutorial on how to do fresh face day make up and evening make up. I’ve seen pictures and think your make up always looks lovely! I’m really getting into learning hair and make up lately. I’ve seen some you tube turorials, but would love to see what you advice.

  7. Pixiwoo and pixi2woo are have make up channels on youtube, everything you ever need to know is on there. They also make brushes. MAC are my fave xx

  8. Thank you for this Rebecca, it’s just what I need. I haven’t got a clue when it comes to brushes, in particular for eye make-up. Like Yanthe I’ll be coming back to this post for inspiration & reference.

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