BEAUTY TOOLS: My Favorite Everyday Makeup Applicators

by - October 23, 2018

Over the weekend, I decided it was about time to wash my brushes, but I was lacking energy and motivation so I decided to only wash the brushes that I reach for most frequently and it occurred to me that it might be fun to put together a post sharing with you guys the brushes that I reach for on a daily basis to put together most of my every day makeup looks. Basically, if I could only choose 10 makeup applicators and had to get rid of the rest of my ridiculous brush collection, these are almost certainly the 10 that I would choose. 

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Admittedly, I'm not the most reliable when it comes to washing my brushes with the frequency generally recommended. In fact, I mostly use my Avon Brush Cleaner in a Tin to remove powder from my brushes between applications and occasionally spot clean with a spritz brush cleaner. For powder products, I'm not overly worried about cleaning them thoroughly after every use. That said, for cream or liquid products, I will generally clean them between each use - which is why I don't actually use brushes all that often for creams and liquids and this post is called "Makeup Applicators" instead of just "Brushes."

Complexion Base
When it comes to how I apply foundation, concealer and powder, it's pretty simple in my routine. If I wear primer (which I admittedly don't unless I'm having a rough skin day or really need my makeup to last flawlessly), I'll apply it with clean hands onto clean skin. 

Next, I pump or squeeze out foundation onto the back of my hand and dot it over my skin so I get an even application all over my face. To blend out my foundation, my absolute favorite sponge for the last several months has been the AOA Studio Paw Paw Super Soft Wonder Blender Beveled - it has completely replaced my beautyblender as my favorite. This sponge really is incredibly soft, even when dry, and really easily blends just about every formula of foundation that I own for a really smooth, even finish. I personally prefer the bevelled shape to the tear drop because I like to use the flat side for my foundation and then the pointed side to blend out concealer and get into any crevices where foundation might gather.

I don't use a lot of powder anymore, but I do use a really lightweight, translucent setting powder all over my face to set my foundation and for literally years now my favorite brush to use to do that has been the e.l.f. Powder Brush. This brush is completely different from other powder brushes in my collection because it's quite small, though it does have a good spread in the bristles, and is flat. The reason that I like this for setting my makeup is because of the softness and the shape, which allows me to buff my powder in so that I get a smoother look without disturbing the foundation underneath. 

Face Colour
When it comes to applying colour to my face, I generally tend to keep it pretty tradition. I start with bronzer to give some shape using the Real Techniques Multitask Brush. For me, I always reach for this brush because I love the shape of it - fairly narrow at the base of the bristles with a good spread and a rounded shape - and it gives me a soft, diffused bronze. Because I'm quite fair, I really need to make sure that my bronzer is blended and isn't applied too heavily or my skin starts to look muddy, and this brush is really great for applying it that way. 

I feel like the brush that I prefer for highlighter is pretty solid evidence that sometimes the brushes that we love for a certain purpose were intended for something else. The Luxie Precision Foundation Brush doesn't make any sense to me for foundation but I absolutely love it for applying highlighter with it. The shape is somewhat unique in that it's pinched at the base, so it's flat, but it's also quite soft and fluffy so I can get a really soft, directed application while still getting a nice blend. 

Finally, for blush I've been reaching for the same brush for years now and I don't see anything changing that in the near future. The Sonia Kashuk Medium Multipurpose Brush No 17 is one that's been in my collection for nearly 4 years and I literally reach for it every single day to apply my blush. It's super soft and quite small with angled bristles, which I think allows me to get a targeted application of my blush. It's also quite dense, which means I can really buff the product into the skin for a nice, smooth finish. 

This is actually the category of brushes that inspired this post most, because while I have an absolute shit ton of eye brushes I basically reach for the same five every single day and in a pretty specific order. I always, always start with the domed blending brush from the Sonia Kashuk 15th Anniversary Brush Set. I have a lot of domed brushes in my collection, but none of them have even come close to replacing this one for me. I like my transition to be quite diffused and this brush has just the right size (REALLY BIG!), shape and density to give me just the shape I want. Over the years, it has spread a little bit from where it started, but I like that about it a lot. I love this brush and it alone makes me wish I had gotten a second set of these brushes - even if it's literally the only one I still use from the collection.

Next, I generally go in to deepen up and further define my crease with the Coastal Scents Pro Blending Fluff Brush, which is a goat hair brush with a pinched ferrule and fluffy bristles. I love how this brush picks up and blends product on the eyes. Because the goat hair is a little bit rougher than a synthentic bristle brush, it definitely picks up more pigment, but I would recommend using a light hand to negate the scratchiness of the bristles. This is another brush that I have multiples of and have been using for years because I love it so much.

Once I've built up my crease, I generally pack something with some shine or shimmer onto the lid using the Japonesque Pro Eye Detailer Brush. I love this brush so much because it's quite small so I can really get into the inner corner of my lid, but is big and firm enough to really deposit a good amount of product. A lot of flat shader brushes in my collection are just too big to use on my small lid space, so when I recently picked this up it just completely replaced all of my other flat shaders. 

Once I've finished my lid, I tend to go in with a a clean blender to soften out the edges. I really like to go in with the Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush. It's similar in shape to the Coastal Scents Pro Blending Fluff Brush, though I'd say it's a little bit longer and fluffier. It also has synthetic bristles, which makes it really soft, so I can get a nice, light blend to really soften out those edges. 

Finally, for my lower lash line I like to keep things really soft, so I tend to just lightly smoke out one of my crease shades - usually the lightest one - along my lower lash line for a little bit of definition. My favorite brush for this is the Precision Crease Brush from the BH Cosmetics Rose Quartz Brush Set. Because obviously I like my domed crease brushes to be huge, this was never going to be for me for that purpose, but it does a really beautiful job of lightly applying product to the lower lash line. It's soft and whispy and I never have to worry about depositing too much product, which just never works for me. 

I feel like now that I've really settled into makeup and really started to figure out what I like, it's really no surprise that I've found a selection of specific brushes that really work for me. Most of the brushes in my collection are quite affordable - and honestly, the most expensive brush in my collection literally fell apart after less than a year - and I really feel like this is evidence that you don't have to spend a lot to get brushes that really, really work for you. Also, you don't need a huge collection of brushes when you know what you like and reach for those specific brushes all the time. In fact, I suspect I'm going to be doing a pretty significant cull on my own collection soon.

I'd love to hear what brushes you absolutely love in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

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