The Backbones Of Your Make Up Bag (Or A Guide to Basic Brushes).

Hey, friends! When I first started dabbling into the world of make up, dipping my toe into the likes of lime green eye shadow and silver glitter liner, I didn't really understand which brushes I needed, where to buy them and what they were for. Just a mere infant in cosmetic experience years, I was naive to the fact that the sponge applicators which came complimentary with my garishly coloured no-name 'make up kits' were not the epitome of professionalism. Thankfully, some ten years have passed, and thanks to trial and hideous error, the beauty blogging world, and a YouTube tutorial or six thousand, I've learnt a thing or two.

These days, brushes are the bread and butter of my make up - I'm very passionate about the things I use to put other things on my face, and thus, to save you all the money that I invariably wasted on useless brushes in the beginning, I've created a little guide to the basic bad boys you'll need to up your face game (I'm beginning to feel like a tour guide - where are my high-rise pants?).

Let's tackle this in the order that I apply my make up, so I don't forget anything; I'm as forgetful as I am methodical. I know some people use a brush to apply primer, but I simply cannot be bothered cleaning another brush at the end of the week, so I don't. Because of this, first 'brush' I use isn't actually a brush at all, but is a truly beloved application tool nonetheless, and the secret to an airbrushed base with zero effort - the Beauty Blender. If you haven't tried the OG pink Beauty Blender, you have not lived (I'm exaggerate as frequently as I forget, which is, like 106% of the time). I swear by this baby and have not applied my foundation or concealer with anything else since - the rounded bottom is perfect for large areas, and the tapered top fits into your undereye area like a glove. If you can't buy this in store where you live, like me, you can purchase it online here!

Next comes brows, I like to get them out of the way because they intimidate me and I need to know early on in the game if they're going to be large and in charge that day so I can accommodate with the rest of my make up. If you use a brow pencil, or simply a gel then skip this part because all you really need brush wise is a good spooly. If, however, you use a dipbrow-esque product, I recommend two brushes for you, depending on the results you're looking for. If you want a softer, more feathery brow - or perhaps you are of lighter hair colouring and don't want to deposit too much product - and angled liner brush is for you. If, like me, you're brows need obscene amounts of grooming, I would recommend a dense, short eyeshadow brush -it'll pack on product precisely where you want it, perfect!

I move onto my eyes after this, and this is the area of make up brushes where I've wasted the most money - to be fair, if you're one for more intricate eye looks, you'll need more than this basic set, but this is a starting point. Like the diving board that will launch you into a pool of opportunity, if you will. Have I mentioned that I'm full of horrible analogies yet? Just so you know. Back to the brushes, I recommend a flat shader brush for packing on colour (or two, so you don't mix darker and lighter shades), a few fluffy brushes for blending (I like a product-less brush to buff out the seam of my eyeshadow, as well as the one I use to apply the colour in the first place), a thinner flat brush for undereye application and an angled liner brush for applying shadow as liner, or carving a crease. At this point I'd like to add a disclaimer; a brush collection is exactly that, collected. You do not need to go and spend a whole week's pay on new brushes, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was anyone's brush inventory. More analogies - I warned you.

Seemingly juxtaposed with my disclaimer, I'm about to tell you that I use four more brushes to complete my face. Feel free to cut out any you deem unnecessary or use the same brush for multiple purposes - sometimes I still do this when I'm feeling lazy (often). I use a big, fluffy face brush for setting powder; a smaller, fluffy brush for bronzer; a tapered/angled brush for contour (can be used for bronzer also if you want to cull my last brush recommendation) and a blush brush, for both blush and highlight.

This arsenal of brushes is enough to get me through a vast majority of looks, from my everyday stuff to my 'I'm trying really hard to look like I know about make up' ones. Don't go spending all of your hard earned cash on the most expensive brush you can get your hands on (I refuse to buy MAC, their brushes are beautiful but exorbitantly priced); however, do look for quality, affordable alternatives. A great brush can transform your face, and ultimately make your life a whole lot easier.

I hope this helped anyone who gets as overwhelmed by the world of brushes as I do! Let me know your what your favourites are!

Sophia ♡


Thank you so much for reading, have a beautiful day!


  1. Hi, this article is very helpful, like you, I think MAC's brushes are too expensive, but in the place i live my only options for brushes are MAC, Real Techniques, Sephora and KIKO Milano... Which of these brands would you recommend for eye and face brushes best? Thank you!

    1. Hi, glad you found it helpful! Out of those options I've only tried Real Techniques, but having said this I highly recommend them! I use their brushes everyday :)