Let's Talk... Brushes
Ok everyone, it's time for another installment of my Let's Talk series. If you'd like to check out any of my other posts, I've already done Mascaras, Eyeliners, and Lipsticks. It may seem like a weird jump to go from those to brushes, but I feel really happy with my brush situation right now, so I'm just going with it. Let me know if you have any requests on what category to do next. It will probably be either foundation or blushes/bronzers.
Brushes are such an essential part of the makeup application process, I'm actually surprised at how little people talk about them. The thing about brushes is that they aren't really fun to buy. They can be absurdly expensive, but they can make a huge difference with how the end results look. My collection has all the basics- it's pretty small, but contains everything I need to complete any look that I'm going for.
Foundation can be a little finicky in terms of how it likes to be applied to one's face. Some are best applied with a sponge, some with a brush, and others may be best using your hands. It really depends on the product and how it interacts with your skin. Personally, I like to apply my foundation with a brush and then buff it in with a sponge. The two brushes that I love for foundation are the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and the Zoeva Silk Finish brush(102). They are really similar in how they apply product and the finishes they give. However, I prefer the Zoeva one because it's more round and covers more area (see above photo). Also, the bristles on Zoeva brush are softer, which helps to leave you with a flawless, streak-free application. For my foundation routine, I apply foundation with one of these brushes (whichever is clean), buff it in, and then use my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge to finish it off. I like the look this gives. It looks really natural and more like it's your own skin, instead of makeup.
Powder Products --
I only have a few brushes that I use for powder, blush, and bronzer, and 2 are pretty much the same brush. First, for setting powder I use the Zoeva Powder Brush(106). It's big enough that you can do a light dusting all over your face, but it's small enough that I can use it for setting my under eye concealer as well. This works just fine for me, but in the future I might get a smaller brush for under the eyes.
For blush and bronzer I really like using these angled contour brushes. They are nice to get product exactly where you want it and you can turn it to blend it in. I bought the MAC 168 and it is a bit fluffier than the Zoeva Sheer Cheek brush(127), but they are essentially the same brush. I keep one dedicated to blush and one for bronzer.
Multitasking/blending brushes-- MAC 217 is probably the most talked about brush and that is for a good reason. You could do almost your whole eye look with just this one brush. The Zoeva 227 Soft Definer brush is almost an exact dupe for 217. It's almost the same size, and it functions identically to 217 for me. I use these interchangeably. The biggest difference is just the price. MAC's 217 costs $24 and Zoeva's 227 costs $9.50.
I don't even know how I applied crease colors before I owned my Zoeva Petit Crease brush(231). It is just SO good. It's slightly tapered so you can get color right in the crease and yet still fluffy enough that you can blend it out. To me, it's perfect. If I need to blow out the color even more, I always grab my Too Faced Crease/Blender brush. It has longer, fluffier bristles and is perfect for some major blending action. Also, that teddy bear hair they use is so incredibly soft, it's amazing at blending shadows (and how cute is that little bear on the handle?).
Flat Shader Brushes --
I have two favorites here. Again, Too Faced and Real Techniques have me covered here. I use these type of brushes to pack color on my eyelid. If I want it to be really concentrated, I use the Too Faced Lid/Smoker brush because it's more stubby and has stiffer bristles than the Real Techniques one. The base shadow brush from Real Techniques is what I grab when I just want all over color on my lid. I tend to grab this for those days when I just want to throw something on and get out the door. It's soft enough to blend the edges a little bit, then I can just put on mascara and head out.
Detail Brushes --
MAC's pencil brush (219)- I love this brush! I wish I had two- one for dark colors, and one for light colors. I use this to smudge out eyeliner, apply dark colors to my outer V, and for inner corner highlight. I remember almost not buying this brush and I'm so glad I did.
Zoeva's Wing Liner (317)- This is exactly what it sounds like, but it's so much better than any other liner brush I've used. It's skinny enough that you can get a really precise thin line. Also, the bristles are super soft so it's easy to apply the product exactly where you want it. I have not used this with a gel liner, but I use it with shadow all the time.
Last up, the smudge brush from Too Faced is the one that I always use to apply color to my lower lash line. It's just perfect. I don't know why it's better than the Real Techniques smudge brush, but it just is.
To sum up-- Real Techniques has some real winners, they are definitely the best drugstore brand out there for brushes. Zoeva is all around great as well. Their brushes rival MAC and Sigma, but at drugstore prices. The set of 8 that I bought was only $78, which makes each brush under $10. Too Faced is a big more pricey, but has really nice quality and everything is cruelty free. The set of 3 eye brushes from Too Faced is $39. Last, MAC brushes are super nice, but definitely be picky with which ones you choose to spend your money on. I think it's worth investing in the brushes that you will use the most, but you don't need every one of your brushes to say MAC on them.