Never underestimate how big a difference the right tools can have on your makeup. With the right brush, your budget foundation can look ten times more expensive, go on smoother and last longer. But the wrong tools can make even the most expensive creams and powders seem blotchy and uneven.
With hundreds of makeup brushes on the market it can be hard to know which brushes you need and what exactly you need them for, so we have rounded up the very best, for all budgets and for all uses. Need the perfect eyeshadow brush set for a smokey eye? We’ve got your back. Want a blush brush that won’t make you look like a clown? Not a problem. Need a contour brush that will give you cheeks like a Kardashian? We’re here for you.
Read on for our edit of the very best makeup brushes.
1. Best Foundation Brush; Chanel Pinceau Fond De Teint N°6 Foundation Brush, £32
2. Best Foundation Brush; Zoeva 102 Silk Finish Brush, £13
This flat-top brush with synthetic bristles that vary in length to both apply and buff liquid foundation into the skin. This will leave you with a flawless and natural finish. Pro tip: You can also use this brush to stipple a thin layer of foundation where you need more coverage.
Available at Beauty Bay | £13
3. Best Foundation Brush; Artis Elite Smoke Oval 7 Brush, £62
A great choice for powder or liquid foundation, this dense brush is made from trademarked CosmeFibre bristles which are micrscopically papered for totally even and consistent fibres. It is exactly what you need both full and light coverage foundations. Buff the product in using circular motions and see your skin transform into the perfect, smooth canvas for the rest of your make up. The ergonomic “toothbrush” design makes applying foundation easy, especially for glasses wearers who need to get closer to the mirror to see.
Available at Net-A-Porter | £62
4. Best Eyeshadow Brush; Mac 239 Eye Shader Brush, £21
The iconic Mac 239 eye shadow brush is a small, natural hair brush that is perfect for laying on your cream or powder eye shadow. It is densely packed so picks up plenty of product and lays it down on your lids with minimal fall out. It’s small, but very effective.
Available at lookfantastic | £21
5. Best Eyeshadow Brush; Mac 217 Blending Brush, £21
The blending brush that all blending brushes are based on, the Mac 217 has slightly longer hair than the 239, is fluffier and gently tapered at the end. This makes it ideal for blending out harsh lines and defining the crease. If you want to get a smokey eye, you need the 239 and the 217. It’s also great if want to apply a single wash of colour across the lid.
Available at Mac | £21
6. Best Eyeshadow Brush; Real Techniques Starter Set, £14.63
This make up brush set represents excellent value. You get a five brushes for application, blending, lining and brow grooming. Made with synthetic and cruelty free bristles, this set is all you need to create a whole set of eye looks, including a smokey eye.
Available at Real Techniques | £14.63
7. Best Contour Brush; Charlotte Tilbury Powder and Sculpt Brush, £35
8. Best Contour Brush; Laura Mercier Angled Cheek Contour Brush, £37
9. Best Blush Brush, SUQQU Cheek Brush
10. Best Blush Brush; Nars Yachio Kabuki Brush, £43
11. Best Concealer Brush; Zoeva Buffer Brush 142, £8.99
Consider this a mini version of Zoeva’s excellent Silk Finish face brush. The firm bristles and smaller shape means it fits the contours of your face perfectly. It’s great for under eye concealing and for hiding blemishes, ensuring that the product really buffs into your skin.
Available at Cult Beauty | £8.99
12. Best Eyeliner Brush; Mac 209 Eye Liner Brush, £16.50
To fill in your brows you need a stiff angled brush for drawing hair-like strokes and a spoolie to brush the hairs into place and blend out the brow powder or gel. This 2-in-1 tool from Bobbi Brown includes both allowing you to create natural looking eyebrows easily.
Available at lookfantastic | £16.50
13. Best Powder Brush; Real Techniques Bold Metals Arched Powder Brush, £17.25
This soft and stylish powder brush from beauty blogging gurus Sam Chapman and Nic Haste (nee Chapman) aka Pixiwoo, is great for makeup and all-over powder application. Made from synthetic bristles, the domed shape makes it a great multi-tasker. Use the tip for smaller areas of the face, like the nose and cheekbones or slip onto its side for larger areas like the forehead.
Available at Look Fantastic | £17.25
14. Best Bronzer Brush; Tom Ford Bronzer Brush, £82
Is it its dense, perfectly white hairs that make this brush so lovely, or the mahogany coloured polished handle and luxe gold furrell? This brush is big enough to make bronzing your whole face a breeze and the tapered edges mean you can focus application exactly where you want it.
Available at John Lewis | £82
16. Best Lip Brush; Charlotte Tilbury Rose Gold and Night Crimson Lip Brush, £18
If you want the perfect pout, you need to start with the perfect brush. This square-tipped brush offers the sharpest edge for a strong and defined application.