A big part of my week goes into makeup classes and after every class I sit down with my students and make a list of brushes they need to buy or the ones they can use from their existing collection. I believe make up is all about the brushes. Blending and a flawless finish is only achieve-able by a good set of these. Before we jump into brushes, it's good to know a few basics.
A rule of thumb before purchasing makeup brushes
Synthetic hair brushes, real hair brushes, animal hair brushes, half synthetic and half real hair brushes, duo fibre brushes...the list is never-ending and each of these brushes create a different effect. I follow a basic rule of thumb before I purchase make up brushes.
For powder based make up, my recommendation is natural hair brushes. They move easily and freely therefore making blending easy and gives you flawless finish. They are even more durable.
In contrast, synthetic hair brushes are great for cream products like foundation or gel eyeliner. The bristles of synthetic brushes tend to stick to each other resulting in precision application.
Initially, I would invest in 10 basic brushes: five for the face and five for the eyes.
Face makeup brushes
1) Stippling Brush
Also known as duo fibre brushes. This comes in different sizes. I use the bigger one to apply foundation on face and small one for hard to reach, to apply concealer under eye and to blend cream contour and highlight.
If you want to invest in just one stippling brush then I would suggest the medium size brush.
I use the Mac 187 ($68.00) Duo Fibre Face brush for foundation and MAC 130 ($68.00) Short duo fibre brush for under eye, contour and highlight.
(i) Sigma Duo Fibre F50 ($27.00) and F55 ($22.00)
(ii) Morphe Duo Fibre B5 ($7.99) and M428 ($3.99)
2) Large powder brush
This is a large fluffy brush for compact or translucent powder. Most compacts come with a sponge (that isn't great) and translucent powder gives a fantastic finish with this brush.
I use the MAC 150 ($68.00) Large powder brush.
(i)Sigma F30 ($30.00)
(ii) Morphee E41 ($22.99)
3) Contouring brush
This is a medium fluffy angled brush to contour the cheekbones and blend the powder for a flawless finish.
I use the MAC 168 ($57.00) Large angled contour brush.
(i) Sigma F40 ($23.00)
(ii) Morphe - E4 ($13.99)
4) Medium round fluffy brush
I personally don't like to use the same brush for blush and contour as there is always residue. a medium round brush is the perfect texture and pressure to give you a healthy glow.
I use the MAC 129 ($56.00) powder/blush brush
(i) Sigma F10 ($25.00)
(ii) Morphe M142 ($5.99)
5) Highlighting brush
For highlighting, I like to use a fan brush but you can even use an eyeshadow blending brush to highlight.
I use Bdellium tools 925 ($12.00)
(i) Sigma F42 ($18.00)
(ii) Morphe M310 ($4.99)
Eye makeup brushes
1) Eyeshadow application brush
This is perfect to apply eyeshadow on the eyelid.
I use the MAC 239 ($41.00) shader brush
(i) Sigma E55 ($16.00)
(ii) Zoeva 234 ($13)
2) Dense blending brush
To add colour to the crease and blend the edges seamlessly too.
I use the MAC 217 ($36.00) blending brush.
(i) Sigma E25 ($16.00)
(ii) Morphe E17 ($6.99)
3) Soft blending brush
Use this brush in windshield wiper motion on the crease to diffuse harsh lines
I use the MAC 224 ($49.00) tapered blending brush.
(i) Sigma E40 ($17.00)
(ii) Morphe B79 ($4.99)
4) Pencil brush
I love and typically use the pencil brush to add colour to the lower lash line.
I use the MAC 219 ($41.00) pencil brush.
(i) Zoeva 223 ($13.00)
(ii) Morphe M506 ($5.99)
5) Eyeliner brush
This brush is perfect to create sharp precise lines with gel eyeliner.
My favourite eyeliner brush is E06 ($15) by Sigma.
(i) Sephora Eyeliner precision 23 ($17.00)
(ii) MAC 208 ($35.00)
So thats a list of brushes I would suggest a beginner to get. Even someone with advance skills can manage to achieve looks using these brushes.