Top 10 Make Up Brushes

As a make up artist, this is one of the things I get asked about all the time. Whilst make up brushes aren’t nearly as exciting as make up itself, having the right tools for the job really will make a difference. It’s worth investing time into thinking about what brushes you will need and making sure you buy the right ones for you, rather than just what you think you should have. Also, invest in ones that aren’t going to shed as you will only end up having to replace them – this doesn’t necessarily mean buying the most expensive. Obviously how many you use on a daily basis will depend on what look you do each day and how many products you apply to your face, which is why I have broken this list into two; essential brushes and additional brushes. I probably have 7 brushes that I would use on a daily basis and then a few extra for other purposes such as a fine liner brush for applying gel eyeliner, as this is not something I do everyday, but maybe when I’m going out.


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Essential brushes: Expert Face Brush, C409, 239, 217, Blush Brush

Real Techniques – Expert Face Brush – There probably isn’t a make up artist or make up enthusiast that doesn’t own a Real Techniques brush in their collection. All the brushes have synthetic bristles, are 100% cruelty free, are much smoother on the skin, really reasonably priced and don’t shed bristles. This particular brush is great for using with either cream or liquid foundations and will help achieve a flawless look. You can pick up most of the Real Techniques brush range in Boots (Ireland), this one is €13.29.

Crown C409 – Angle Definer – There are a huge arrange of these style brushes on the market. I have this one as I find Crown brushes really reasonably priced and good value for money. It can be used for creating really precise lines, and in my case I use it to define and fill my eyebrows, lining the top lashline as well as creating a really fine line close to the bottom lash line, so it’s a multi tasker, which is great in a brush. If you’re looking for a few brushes to start out and don’t want to break the bank, then I would thoroughly recommend checking out This brush retails at €4.61.

MAC 239 Eye Shadow Brush – MAC used to be the ‘holy grail’ of make up brushes for me, but when new, better value brands entered the market, I realised that they were quite overpriced and I often find with some of their larger face brushes they shed quite a bit. That said, there are still a few of their brushes that I wouldn’t and couldn’t be without in my kit and personal make up collection. The 239 eye shader brush being one of them. This is a soft, dense brush that can be used with powder or emollient based products and is used to build intense colour on the eyelid. I would use this to apply my base eyeshadow and then blend using the 217 mentioned below. It’s also fab for apply cream eyeshadow to get a really good coverage.

MAC 217 Blending Brush – A blending brush is an absolutely essential brush in your collection, especially if you’re a fan of a smokey eye. Most other make up can be applied with fingers if you really wanted to, but you just can’t achieve good blending without a brush. I have tried blending brushes from a few other brands, but nothing is as good as this one. I have two in my personal collection and too many to count in my kit. Again, as with the 239, it can be used with both powder or cream products. When blending, always try to have a clean brush otherwise it will transfer product onto your eyes where you don’t want it. This one retails for €24 and is available at MAC counters in Brown Thomas.

Real Techniques Blush Brush – This is a slightly generic brush, whilst a blusher brush, it can also be used for face powder, bronzer and contouring, so is a multi tasking brush. And to be honest, you could probably obtain a similar brush from a variety of brands to do the same thing. This is just the one that I have in my collection. As with all RT’s brushes it has synthetic fibres so can be used with cream or powder products. A MAC 129 would do a similar job, but the hairs aren’t synthetic. The Blush Brush retails for €12.99 in Boots (Ireland).

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Additional brushes: CK15, 219, LY24A, 168, Contour Brush

Crownbrush CK15 Oval Fluff – This is a flat brush with natural bristles which I tend to use under the eye to smudge pencil liner or eye shadow. However, as it can also be used to place highlighter under the brow, and placing product into the crease of the eye, it’s a multi-tasker which is handy. This brush is only €2.99 from An absolute bargain!

MAC 219 Pencil Brush – As I said before about MAC brushes I do have a few key ones in my collection that I wouldn’t be without, and this is another one of them. I tend to use the 219 to put highlighter into the tear duct to brighten the eyes, to smudge liner along the lash lines for a nice smokey effect and as with the above brush it can be used to place product into the crease of the eye before it’s blended. I’m not sure of the price of this one but you can pick it up in Brown Thomas.

Louise Young LY24A Super Fine Liner – I have quite a collection of liner brushes that I use to apply my gel eyeliner to the  roots of the lashes, but this is the one I am currently using. To be honest, there is not much between them but this is the best so far. I’m going to purchase the Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush soon as I think that it will make applying liner easier.

MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush – Another multi-tasking brush, this can be used for both contouring the cheek bones and applying blusher to the apples of the cheeks and blending outwards.

Real Techniques Contour Brush – This is a fantastic contour brush and one that I use every day. I use it to apply my beloved ‘Sleek Contour Palette’ under my cheekbones and then the highlighter to above the cheekbones to give my face a little added shape to it. Unfortunately, it is only sold as part of the ‘Core Collection’, which is a bit frustrating, but if you’re starting out, probably worth investing in as you get 4 really handy brushes.

Which are your essential brushes that you couldn’t live without? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

If you’re starting out with your brush collection and are looking for some advice, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll hopefully be able to help you.

Whichever brushes you have, don’t forget to clean them regularly 😉

Thanks for reading.

Sara. x


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