this is a very requested post up on couture and crumpets. i was a late adopter to brushes, choosing products that could largely be applied with fingers for quite a while (maybe i never grew out of the finger-painting stage), and while i still love an on-the-go product, as my make up skills have developed, so has my brush collection. if you want a truly flawless look, you need brushes. plus, some things, like a smokey eye, really can't be executed without at least two brushes. i don't stick to one just one brand - like make up or skincare, you'll never get everything you need from just one place. also, more expensive brands aren't always better - sometimes you're just paying for a brand name. cost can indicate a better quality, or cruelty-free product, but there's some seriously good numbers you can get for under £5. for me, these are the best makeup brushes. so, let's begin!
(L-R clockwise: kevyn aucoin the eyeliner/smudger brush, real techniques buffing brush, real techniques accent brush, charlotte tilbury powder and sculpt brush, smashbox fan brush, real techniques shading brush. centre: laura mercier cheek contour brush, chantecaille eye contour brush)
it's worth noting at this point that this is maybe only a quarter of what i own (gulp) - these are just the ones i use most regularly for everyday looks. firstly, y'all know i love me some black eyeliner, and the kevyn aucoin the eyeliner/smudger brush is perfect for this - the flat angled top helps me get a straight line with my gel line, and do neat flicks. the other end is spongy and great for smudging - i use it on my lower lash line for a lived-in smokey look.
the real techniques buffing brush* is such a staple - annoyingly, it only comes in the set with the other face brushes, and i basically only use this one from that set. the set is worth buying if you like using a foundation brush (i don't) or use thicker concealers - i only ever use this brush and sometimes the contour one. anyway, it's amazing and i use it to buff in everything from blush to bronze for a flawless finish.
again from real techniques, this accent brush* is great for the inner corners of the eye and using towards your brow bone with lighter coloured eye shadow for a wide-awake look. i also use it on the centre of my lid for a little pop of lighter colour. it's part of the your eyes enhanced set which i really recommend.
i've written about my love for the charlotte tilbury powder and sculpt brush before but it's just so special - the tapered end makes it perfect to sculpt your cheekbones and the fatter bit is great for highlighting. and it's SO SOFT. pricey but worth it.
the smashbox fan brush and i had a stand off for a while. i was so confused by how to use it, until i started bothering to use setting powder. this is amazing for dusting translucent powder over your face without it collecting anywhere, a la angelina jolie. also good for highlighting.
my last real techniques one for now is the eye shader. i've been playing with some zoeva brushes lately and will do a review when i've tried them properly, but this brush covers your whole lid with colour quickly and neatly. good shape, and picks up a good amount of product.
the laura mercier angled cheek contour* is SO GOOD. you could use this for bronze but i actually do my blush with it on the top of my cheekbones - it really delicately drops product and helps you get a more angled look. it's so soft and impossible to do overkill with this.
finally, and cruelly, the chantecaille eye contour brush. i say cruel because i just found out it's discontinued (!!) but this is good enough to scour eBay for. it's amazing for the crease, and i've struggled to find a good crease brush over the years. this is angled to slide right along that line easily and give you a neat look. what are your fave brushes?