The Only 8 Brushes You Need in Your Makeup Bag

Anyone who has had their makeup done by a professional makeup artist knows that our kits can be pretty intimidating. We have more brushes at our disposal than Morphe so it’s easy to assume that as a makeup enthusiast, that you also need a huge range of makeup brushes to create a lovely makeup look at home! Well, I’m here to tell you that isn’t the case.  

But using the right makeup rushes really can make a difference, even in the hands of amateurs, and can help anyone get a polished look that makes the most of both their features and their favourite products. Using the right tools not only makes our makeup look better, it means we don’t waste product.

I’ve narrowed it down to the eight must-have brushes you’ll find yourself using again and again. Trust me — it’ll help you avoid wasting time and money on brushes bound for the “I don’t even remember what that’s for” pile.

And always remember that brush maintenance/cleanliness is key. Brushes can last a really long time if you take good care of them. I’ve had some of my professional brushes for over a decade and they’re still as good as new.

At least twice a month you need to give your brushes a nice wash with shampoo and leave them out to dry. They’re going to last longer and you’re going to get better makeup application that way. See my post on how to wash your brushes without ruining them here.

All of the brushes I will be speaking about are personal favourites and are from My Kit Co however please note that I AM NOT sponsored or paid by any brand and none of the links are affiliates. They links to the brushes on the website but there are alternatives out there.

1. Buffing Foundation Brush

Using a foundation brush is one of the best ways to get a flawless, professional-looking finish. A brush allows you to apply a light, even coat that’s always streak-free, and then blend it into the skin for a barely-there look. My absolute favourite is the Flawless Foundation Brush.

The brush has a gently curved brush head made from Takelon fibers and blends cream, liquid and powder formulas to a high definition finish. The angle of this brush fits snugly into the contours of the face making this a great tool for contouring too.

My Flawless Foundation™ Brush £18.50

Alternatives that you can try:

MORPHE Pro Deluxe Buffer Brush (M439) £17.00

NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation Brush £14.50

HUDA BEAUTY Face, Buff & Blend Brush £22.00


2. Powder brush

The medium My Flawless Powder Brush is perfect for that final touch of translucent powder to set a makeup look or to naturally apply bronzer. The brush is super soft and has a large rounded Takelon fiber brush head that delivers an even blend of powder or cream formulas across the skin. Each bristle has an ultra-fine tip made for high definition skin finishing.

My Flawless Powder™ Brush £18.50

Alternatives that you can try:

MORPHE Elite Precision Pointed Powder Brush (E3) £19.00

TOO FACED Mr. Right Brush £30.00

CHARLOTTE TILBURY Powder & Sculpt Brush £35.00


03. Concealer brush

Some concealers come in a self-applying stick or pen, so this brush is one that many people skip, but that can be a mistake. Concealer brushes can get into those areas that your fingers can’t get into and blend. Especially if you’re a little older and your skin is a little crepe-y around the eye area, in those inner corners, a concealer brush is really going to evenly smooth the product out.

I also like to use concealer brushes around the nose to even out the redness. I prefer to use two different types of brush for concealing: a soft brush like My Smoothing Concealer brush which is a flat-tipped concealing brush that has been created to smooth out concealer to achieve a sheer, natural finish, or a concealer buffer brush like No142 by Zoeva. This style of concealer brush allows you to apply and blend full-coverage products flawlessly, with ultra-fine bristles to distribute the right amount of colour.

My Smoothing Concealer™ Brush £12.00

ZOEVA Concealer Buffer Brush (142) £10.00

Alternatives that you can try:

HUDA BEAUTY Face Conceal & Blend Dual-Ended Concealing Complexion Brush £22.00

HOURGLASS Vanish Seamless Finish Concealer Brush £35.00


4. Blush brush

One brush you should never be without is a blush brush. “The softer the brush, the more delicate the application is going to be. The more dense the brush is, the more colour you’re going to get. Many blush brushes have a slight angle, which follows the natural contour of the cheekbones and helps to ensure you put the right amount in just the right place.

This super soft, synthetic, tapered brush is shaped to fit the contours of the face, whether buffing in powder, applying blush, or even foundation.

The shape and texture of the brush allows for a flawless finish every time.

My Flawless Face™ – Medium  £18.50

Alternatives that you can try:

MORPHE Elite Precision Pointed Powder Brush (E3) £19.00


5. Eye shadow brush

You don’t need a handful of brushes to create lovely blended eyeshadow. Just 3 brushes; an eyeshadow brush for packing on the colour, a bullet brush for precise colour application and a blending brush to blend the colour out.

You need to look for a brush with flat, rounded bristles and My Shade & Shadow™ brush is your perfect multipurpose eyeshadow brush. This super soft yet densely packed brush picks up product without any fallout and lays colour down beautifully. This simple brush is ideal for applying a powder eye shadow smoothly and evenly over the entire eyelid.

My Shade & Shadow £13.50

Alternatives that you can try:

HUDA BEAUTY Build & Blend Dual-Ended Eyeshadow Blending Brush £14.00

ZOEVA Luxe Classic Shader Brush (232) £10.00


6. Blending brush

My Blending Shadow™ Brush is a must-have in my kit and for those who like to blend shades at the crease of the eyelid for those softly smoky eye looks.

My Blending Shadow™ has a soft full rounded brush head made from natural fiber and is essential when creating natural and more dramatic eye looks and works well with both powder and cream formulas. This is one of those brushes that I always have in both my personal and professional eye makeup brush kits. It is ideal for blending eyeshadow and applying highlighter to make your makeup pop.

Pro – My Blending Shadow™ £16.00

Alternatives that you can try:

ZOEVA Luxe Crease Brush (228) £10.00

URBAN DECAY Pro Tapered Blending Brush E209 £16.50


7. Detailing eye shadow brush

The Pro – My Detailing Crease is one of the brushes that my clients are surprised that I recommend in my top 8 must have brushes My Detailing Crease™ has a gently pointed brush head made from plush natural fibers. The silky fibers allow for exceptional product pick up and dispersion while the crafted tip fits snugly into the crease of the eye, helping to achieve an expertly defined finish. Great for precise application of shadow under the eyes for a blown out smokey look too!

Pro – My Detailing Crease™ £16.50


8. Angled brush

A lot of people think of this as a brush for the brows, but it is incredibly versatile, and is great for applying cream or gel eye liner, or even applying a powder eye shadow as a liner. It can be used for everything, not just the brows. It’s one of those brushes where I sanitise it and I do something else with it. Ideally you want to look for hair that is short and quite firm to get precise results such as detailed brows and winged eyeliner such as My Sharp Angle Brush.

My Sharp Angle™ £13.00

Alternatives that you can try:

ZOEVA Screen Queen Wing Liner Brush (317) £9.00

CHANTECAILLE Eye Liner Brush £23.50

HOURGLASS No.10 Angled Liner Brush £31.00

With these 8 brushes in your makeup bag you can apply almost any makeup product. Just remember that you can apply cheap makeup with a good brush but you will always run into problems when using bad brushes. That’s now to say that they must break the bank as there are many great brushes out there and the ones mentioned in my post today are some of my favourites ranging from affordable to luxury.

Let me know which are your favourite brushes and tag me in photos of your brushes on Instagram @makeupbyclaire01


If you have any other useful tips on brushes that I can add to this post, please post a comment or comment on this post on my Instagram. All additions will be credited.
Follow this blog for more tips on makeup, hair and beauty, info and tutorials. If you have any ideas on what you want me to write about or give step by step tutorials on, please email me at claire@makeup-byclaire.co.uk


Don’t forget to check out my website – http://www.makeup-byclaire.co.uk.
Claire xx

Note: This blog post DOES NOT contain affiliate links.


If you enjoyed this post, please check out some of my others:

My everyday makeup brushes & where to buy them

As with all my blog posts this is my opinion  and is not sponsored or paid by any brand. The brushes I will be speaking about today are all in use in my personal makeup and not used professionally. Some are affordable and some are inexpensive and ill let you know why I find them the best for the job and also what I use them for as I don’t always use brushes for what they were intended for!

Primer:  MAC 130 short duo fibre (£34.50 maccosmetics.co.uk)

The MAC 130 is a short, round, flat-topped duo fibre brush ideal for the smooth, easy application of foundations and creams. This brush is just the right size to work primer into the areas where it is most needed, mainly my T-zone, cheeks & under eyes and chin. The duo fibre bristles don’t pick up too much product and disperses  the primer evenly on my skin.

MAC 130 Duo Fibre Brush

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on your brushes then Zoeva have a dupe, the 122 petit stippling brush which is £10.99 at Feelunique.com


Concealer: Real Techniques 300 deluxe crease brush, (from the Everyday Essentials Set £19.99 at superdrug.co.uk)

The RT deluxe crease brush is ideal for covering blemishes and getting into creases etc. The domed small soft head of the brush is great at blending in the product and soft enough not to drag the concealer over your skin. The brush is soft enough to disperse the under eye concealer as the brush is so soft that again it gently blends the product with out moving it around your face. I bought the Everyday Essentials kit from Superdrug as I use 3 of the 4 brushes and also the beauty blender.


Foundation: Tarte Cosmetics the buffer™ airbrush finish foundation brush (£27 tartecosmetics.com)

The Tarte Cosmetics brush is my current favourite brush as it evenly distributes the foundation over your skin and does actually give you a flawless finish. It flawlessly blends and buffs your foundation that does actually give you an airbrushes finish. It also looks cute with its floral handle. Before I purchased this brush my go to foundation brush was my Zoeva 102 silk finish brush in rose gold. I still use this brush occasionally and it still sits in my brush pot however I do prefer the Tarte brush at the moment. The Zoeva brush is £12.99 from cultbeauty.com.


Powder: Real Techniques 400 Blush Brush (Everyday Essentials Set £19.99 at superdrug.co.uk )

I bought the Everyday Essentials brush set just after Christmas as I loved the look of the brushes and my favourite brush out of the set is the Blush brush. It has long super soft bristles for applying powder to large areas of the face without it caking.


Setting Under Eyes:  RT 402 Setting Brush (Everyday Essentials Set £19.99 at superdrug.co.uk )

I know many people like to bake their under eyes and use a beauty blender to apply the powder however I am a bit older now (in my 40’s (shhhhhhhhhh) and I find that baking leaves my under eyes to dry and the product sticks to and accentuates my fine lines. I therefore like to set my under eyes with a small fluffy brush which doesn’t add too much powder to my under eye area but also deposits enough powder to set the concealer in place so it stays where it was put!


Highlight: Zoeva 105 Luxe Highlight in Rose Gold (£13 Beautybay.com)

This brush is gorgeous and comes in different colours. I have the rose gold however if you prefer your brushes to look professional then it also comes in black. This is the most gorgous shaped brush and picks up just the right amount of highlighter. It has a slight taper at the top for finer application and when used on its side, is perfect for the tops of your cheekbones. As an older woman with a round face, big enough nose etc., I don’t highlight my nose or forehead but you can use a smaller version of this brush for those areas.


Contour: Zoeva 126 Luxe cheek finish brush (£14.99 feelunique.com) and Royal & Langnickel Chique Pro Highlighter Brush (£1.75 Redcarpetfx.com)

I personally prefer a powder contour as it is more subtle and suits my style of makeup and the brush I use is intended for use with powder products. I use the Zoeva cheek finish brush for contouring my cheekbones, forehead and double chin! For contouring my nose I prefer a smaller brush and so use the extra soft Royal & Langnickel Chique Pro Highlighter Brush which is perfect fro smaller areas and a softer finish.


Blush: Zoeva luxe sheer cheek brush(£12.99 feelunique.com)

As you can see from the photo at the bottom of this post, I have been using this brush for quite a while and I actually prefer it now that the bristles have splayed a little as I get a softer application of product rather than when it was new, which deposited a bit more blusher. I prefer to build blusher rather than loading on too much and looking like a doll !!!!


Eyeliner: My Kit Co 1.22 My Feliner (£12.50 Mykitco.co.uk)

Depending upon what look I am going for I use one of 3 brushes for eyeliner. The My Kit Co feliner is perfect for a fine line, and a wing, and also for powder liner and tight lining my upper lash line. This is probably my all time favourite eyeliner brush.


Brows: My Kit Co, 2.4 My Tight Brow (£12.50 Mykitco.co.uk)

I love both of these brushes to apply both powder and pomade to my brows. The brushes are fine enough that you can create individual hair strokes but soft enough that the lines don’t look too harsh.


“It’s sharply angled with just the right amount of flex allowing for the best application of both cream and powder product”.


Eye Shadow: 1.23 My all over shadow (£12.50), 1.19 My fluff and buff small (£12.50), 1.18 My fluff and buff large (£14.50), & 1.1 My mini shade and shadow (£10.50) (Mykitco.co.uk)

I only need to use these 4 brushes for my eye makeup and these are the 4 that I always go to and are my current favourites. Each brush is designed to apply the shadow in the areas which it is designed for and create a beautiful result.


Breakdown of the cost of my brushes and where to buy them

Primer:  MAC 130 short duo fibre (£34.50 maccosmetics.co.uk)

Concealer: Real Techniques 300 deluxe crease brush (from the Everyday Essentials Set £19.99 at superdrug.co.uk)

Foundation: Tarte Cosmetics the buffer™ airbrush finish foundation brush (£27 tartecosmetics.com)

Powder: Real Techniques 400 Blush Brush (Everyday Essentials Set £19.99 at superdrug.co.uk )

Setting Under Eyes:  RT 402 Setting Brush (Everyday Essentials Set £19.99 at superdrug.co.uk )

Highlight: Zoeva 105 Luxe Highlight in Rose Gold (£13 Beautybay.com)

Contour: Zoeva 126 Luxe cheek finish brush (£14.99 feelunique.com) and Royal & Langnickel Chique Pro Highlighter Brush (£1.75 Redcarpetfx.com)

Blush: Zoeva luxe sheer cheek brush(£12.99 feelunique.com)

Eyeliner: My Kit Co 1.22 My Feliner (£12.50 Mykitco.co.uk)

Brows: My Kit Co, 2.4 My Tight Brow (£12.50 Mykitco.co.uk)

Eye Shadow: 1.23 My all over shadow (£12.50), 1.19 My fluff and buff small (£12.50), 1.18 My fluff and buff large (£14.50), & 1.1 My mini shade and shadow (£10.50) (Mykitco.co.uk)

The total cost for my makeup brushes is £199.22 (I do have Pro Makeup Artist discounts for some of the brushes and so the amount stated is the retail value) however if you look after your brushes you will have them for many many years and they will just get better and better with use.

Please excuse my brushes as they are getting a clean this afternoon!

Once I decide that I love a brush for a certain purpose it becomes my personal favourite and is also replicated in my professional makeup kit however some of the brushes may be different brands or professional brands.

If you have any favourite makeup brushes, please let me know about them in the comments as I love makeup brushes and may even invest/swap it for one which I use currently.


As with all my blog posts this is my opinion and is not sponsored or paid by any brand.

Follow my blog for more tips and tutorials on makeup, hair and beauty. If you have any ideas on what you want me to write about or give tutorials on, please post a comment

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Thank you for reading 💋

Claire xx