Brushes 101 | Essential Face Brushes

As a follow up to a previous post discussing what I thought were the essential eye brushes every makeup lover needs, today I bring you all a post dedicated to my essential/favourite face brushes. These brushes are the ones I use on a daily basis or the ones that I reach for the most when I’m going for a specific look. Please keep in mind that some of the brushes that I will be mentioning are definitely not necessary – some can easily be duped for much less money. If you would like to know more about my essential face brushes, please keep reading.

face brushes girl & vanity

Sigma F35 brush

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This is my favourite brush to set my under eye concealer with. My concealer tends to crease no matter what I use, so I always need to apply some sort of powder to keep it in place all day long. I find that this brush has the perfect shape which fits right under my eyes, and I love how it has a tapered edge to get into the smaller parts of my face like the inner corner of my eye. A cheaper alternative is the Real Techniques Contour Brush. I used that one to set my under eyes for a while, but I prefer the Sigma brush since it isn’t as round and dense.

Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

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I’ll admit, I don’t really use foundation brushes very often ever since I got a Beauty Blender, however I still have a preference for one when I’m going for a full coverage, flawless base. The Sigma F80 is the one I reach for whenever I want my face to look perfect and photoshopped. It is a very dense brush with a flat top that makes it very easy to apply an even base. No matter which foundation I use, I always get a significant amount of coverage using the Sigma F80. I find that pressing in the foundation rather than buffing it into the skin using this brush gives me the most coverage. It’s very easy to use and gives flawless yet effortless results. I think if you’re in the market for a good quality foundation brush, this would be it.

Real Techniques Blush Brush

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Blush is my life blood, so naturally I like using big and fluffy brushes to cover as much surface area as possible. My personal favourite is the Real Techniques Blush Brush. It’s a little big on my smaller-than-average face, however I like how fluffy and wide it is. All I have to do is lightly dust some blush on my cheeks with this brush and it leaves me with the perfect flushed look. I think it would also work very well as a bronzing brush or a general powder brush. It’s fairly inexpensive for a “multi-purpose” brush.

Tarte Airbuki Bamboo Foundation Brush

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I use this brush specifically for one product: the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation. It’s one of my all-time favourite products, and it really does live up to its name – only if you use this brush. It’s is an extremely dense kabuki brush with short, yet amazingly soft, bristles. I buff the powder foundation onto my skin and it actually gives an airbrushed finish without using a ton of product. I’m sure the brush would work well with any other powder foundation, but these two products are a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, I really can’t think of any alternatives for this brush, but I will say it’s absolutely worth it if you’re in the market for a good kabuki brush.

Anastasia Beverly Hills #23 Brush

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This brush is a recent addition to my collection, however I’ve been really into a more intense highlight and found that the brushes I had just weren’t cutting it. I love how dense and soft it is, and I especially like how my highlight can range from soft and gentle to full-on disco ball glow depending on how I use this brush. Some other types of brushes you could use to highlight are fan brushes or even a brush like the Sigma F35. I like using fan brushes for a softer highlight, whereas using a more dense brush like the Sigma F35 will give a very intense highlight.

Marc Jacobs ‘The Bronzer’ Brush

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This is one of the brushes that inspired the little disclaimer I made earlier about not being completely necessary. It was definitely a splurge and I’m sure I could’ve gotten another brush that works just as well…for a fraction of the cost…but I just couldn’t resist. This is my biggest and most luxurious brush I own. I love it for bronzing and for applying powder all over the face. It’s just so soft and dense while remaining fluffy at the same time. It gives the perfect amount of ‘bronze’ all over the face – never looking heavy. I would only suggest this brush if you’re feeling like treating yourself, but some alternatives include the Sigma F20 or the Too Faced Powder Brush from the 5-piece Teddy Bear Brush Set. I believe the Too Faced brush would probably come closest in terms of softness, but the Sigma F20 may be comparable in terms of its size.

Sigma F05 Small Contour Brush

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Contour brushes are finicky little things. Because everyone has different face shapes and preferences when it comes to how dramatic of a contour they want, picking the right contour brush can be a very difficult task. I narrowed it down to 2 brushes; this one being the one I reach for when I want a more subtle contour. I like how it fits nicely into the hollows of my cheeks. It’s dense enough to deliver the right amount of product onto my face, but not too dense where the product can’t be blended out evenly. I also like how it’s a little fluffy so that it diffuses the product well. Another brush that can be used for contouring that’s similar to this one is the Real Techniques Contour Brush. The shapes aren’t exactly the same (this one being more flat while the RT brush is more rounded), however the density and width are similar.

NARS Ita Brush

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This is also another brush which I don’t think is an absolutely necessity, but I personally love it for giving a very sharp, intense contour. It’s a flat brush which is dense enough to apply a good amount of product to the face in order to deliver a harsh contour but is fluffy enough to blend out the contour slightly. There are several dupes of this brush, and quite frankly, I wish I hadn’t bought this one in particular because of its garbage quality and ridiculous price. I’ve heard that Sonia Kashuk makes a good dupe of the Ita brush, however unfortunately, Sonia Kashuk is no longer accessible in Canada. The main qualities you want to look out for, if you’re interested in a brush like this one, is to find one that isn’t too dense, otherwise the contour will just look too harsh and will be impossible to blend out.

Jessup Duo Fibre Powder/Blush Brush

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And finally, one of my absolute favourite face brushes. This brush is the best all-around tool I could ask for. I use it for practically everything; applying bronzer or blush (cream or powder), applying liquid foundation for a light coverage look, applying highlighter all over the face for an ethereal glow, you name it! I could probably use this brush alone to apply all of my face makeup (with that being said, anyone interested in seeing this go down? Let me know in the comments!). And the best part, it’s probably as cheap as a brush can get. It comes in a 12 or 15-piece brush set from Ebay for about $20 CAD including tax and shipping. I bought it over a year ago, use it non-stop, and it’s still just as soft as it was when I first got it, with no shedding! I really can’t recommend it enough. E.l.f. also makes a wonderful (and affordable) duo fibre stippling brush, but I prefer the one by Jessup since it’s much softer.

What are some of your favourite face brushes?

Do you have any recommendations?

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