Friday, 6 November 2015

The best makeup brushes and sets - from 'designer' to 'high street' prices

Laura Mercier brush collectionMakeup brushes are a girl’s best friend (other than diamonds) but which do you really need?  Looking at some of the makeup brush sets around anyone would think you need about 20….or more.  But really you don’t. 

Whether you’re buying makeup brushes as a gift, to top up your own collection, for travelling or for your handbag the essentials are always the same. 

Underplayed makeup brushes are a concealer brush, which will give you much better coverage than trying to apply your concealer with your fingers, and a smudge brush, which is essential for a smoky eye effect.  Having said that some eye pencils come with a smudge tool on the end, and some eyebrow pencils have a brow tool as well.

These are the ones you need:Foundation brush (unless you use compact foundation, in which case it probably came with a sponge and you can use that instead of a brush)
Concealer brush
Powder brush (which you can also use for bronzer provided you clean it off)
Blusher brush (ditto above)
Eye shadow brush
Angled eye liner brush
Smudge brush

And you can go from there, adding in a foundation brush when you change to liquid foundation, an eye crease brush for eye definition, a bronzer brush so you have one of each.

Individual ‘designer’ brushes and sets are usually very high quality and cost a fortune.  Here are some of my favourites – in each case I’ve shown you one from the range, but you’ll click through to the complete selection.

Charlotte Tilbury Make-up brushesGeorgio Armani Make-up brushesNars Make-up brushesKevin Aucoin makeup brushesLaura Mercier makeup brushesHourglass makeup brushesBobbi Brown makeup brushes
Then there are the makeup brush sets – expensive by a designer brand, but usually better value than buying individual brushes provided you get the ones you need.  Don’t go for a set unless you see at the very least two large brushes (powder and blusher/bronzer, eye liner and eye shadow brush).  Makeup brush sets make excellent gifts as well.
Bobbi Brown travel brush setCharlotte Tilbury complete makeup brush setTrish McEvoy makeup brush collectionDior makeup brush set and pouch
The best in terms of price of the sets above is the Dior set, from there the price skyrockets but these are perfect for treats and for special Christmas gifts.

Makeup brushes for less.
There are a lot of cheaper brands offering makeup brushes for less.  The problem is that the really cheap ones often won’t do the job properly or won’t last, the brushes can be too soft, can fall apart or the fibres start coming loose.  But there are a lot of very good less expensive makeup brush brands out there, including Real Techniques, Sigma, Japonesque and Nude by Nature.
Sigma makeup brush travel kitMac Enchanted Eve basic brush kitReal Techniques brush setJaponesque essential mini brush set
If you just want to add one or two brushes into your collection from a less expensive range look at Urban Decay, Bare Minerals and Sigma.

Double ended brushes – I almost always don’t buy these, as I like to stand my brushes in a cup or brush holder even when travelling and inevitably one end will be both invisible and squashed.

Where to buy if you’re abroad:  If you’re in the US or Europe you may like to look at Sonia Kashuk at Target in the US, who has some very good individual makeup brushes and sets and Sephora in both the US and Europe.