The 11 Essential Brushes That Belong in Your Makeup Bag


You don’t need to stock your bag like a makeup artist to have a strong brush arsenal. However, a good range of brushes can take any of your favorite beauty products to the next level by ensuring you’re blending and painting like a pro. The next time you’re ready to shell out part of your beauty budget for a new product, consider if that money might be better spent on adding a tool to your bag that can professionalize the application of all the makeup you already have!

Crease Blending Brush

Without this brush you’re missing out on one of the single most important tools for that expertly blown out makeup artist eye. Start almost any look with this brush and a slightly darker than nude-to-you color in the crease as a perfect base to get creative.

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Number 3 Done Shading Brush

A smaller dome shape and slightly soft but still dense bristles give you the perfect resistance for packing shadow on the lid. Spritz this brush with a little setting spray before diving into your favorite shimmer to make the color really pop and last all night.

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Bronze & Glow Contour Brush

Contour fans have softened up in recent years, but the technique is here to stay. Makeup artists vary on their favorite shape but most of us mere mortals will do best with one that softly buffs some dimension in the hollows of our cheeks.

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Anastasia Beverly Hills
Dual-Ended Firm Brush

A dual-sided brow brush amps up your technique by making it easy to flip back and forth between filling in and blending out. Tight dense bristles work best with cream products, and powder-loving girls can get away with a slightly larger, softer brush end.

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Pencil Brush

The under-appreciated pencil brush is the way to add those pro details or a smokey eye into your arsenal. Think: a dab of shimmer at the tear duct, a drag under the lower lashes for depth, or for precisely placing color in the outer v before blending. Expect to be color switching this heavy weight regularly!

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Sigma Beauty
Flat Kabuki Brush

The gold standard shape for foundation brushes, a flat top kabuki covers quickly and keeps product from building up. It can also make a comeback in later stages of your makeup routine to help pick up any extra blush or bronzer you may need to tone down.

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Tapered Powder Brush

A quality powder brush sets foundation and gives that airbrushed finished when paired with the setting powder that’s right for your skin type. A sizable brush head also makes it easy to blend down your neck and avoid any harsh foundation lines.

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Marc Jacobs Beauty
Bronzer Brush

If you currently apply all of your face product with a single brush, a dedicated bronzer brush is an important addition to your arsenal. Bronzer can look muddy when applied haphazardly, and because some bronzers have shimmer, you’ll want to give it its own tool.

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Beauty Junkees
Gel Eyeliner Brush Fine Angled

Whether you love an angle or a tiny, slim point, the eyeliner brush gives you maximum control for powders or gels. This one’s performance is highly dependent on its cleanliness, so be sure you’re washing these brushes regularly!

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It Cosmetics
Heavenly Luxe Dual Airbrush Concealer Brush

While a concealer brush is a little extra, it truly does make the difference in a flawless application. This dual-sided brush gives you a flat, dense end for targeted blemish and spot coverage and a fluffier counterpart for softer finishes around the delicate eye area.

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Deluxe Soft Fan

You may already have this brush’s flimsy sparse sister in your arsenal, but upgrading to this version changes the game when applying highlighter. For a truly blended glow, after dusting your favorite sheen on with this brush, bounce a damp beauty blender over the top.

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Which of these is your favorite? Any other makeup  brush essentials in your bag?