Monday, October 20, 2014

ALL About Makeup Brushes!

YES! It's finally here. This is my most requested post and it's been in the making for a very long time because I've wanted it to be perfect by sharing the most and best knowledge possible. First of all I want everyone to know 4 things:
(Suomenkielinen postaus löytyy tästä)

1) A good makeup application cannot be done without (good) makeup brushes. Period.
2) Invest in good quality brushes rather than good quality makeup. Why? Because good quality brushes can make any makeup go on well and look good.
3) Makeup brushes can be used as wished. If it says it's meant for the eyes, it can be used for foundation. It's all about what feels the best for you. I'm currently using a lip brush as my eyeliner brush.
4) Good brushes are investments that are gradually bought and will last a lifetime when properly taken care of. I have been building my collection for several years. No-one is expecting you to walk into MAC and purchase 5 different brushes retailing at 60€ a pop.

All brushes

In this post I'm going give recommendations for beginners, share my personal favorites and give tips on brush care and travelling. I will glady answer any questions on the comments field at the end of the post. All text in pink contain a link to where the brush can be purchased.

I swear by Sigma Beauty, MAC and Real Techniques makeup brushes.

- Sigma Beauty products can be ordered online and are shipped worldwide. Sigma has a store in the Mall of America in Minnesota, USA.
- MAC products can be ordered online in certain countries. Most big department stores have MAC counters. MAC also has their own pro and regular stores in certain countries and cities.
- Real Techniques products can be ordered online and are shipped worldwide on several platforms. Certain countries sell their products via retailers such Ulta and Boots.

Most of my brushes are from Sigma Beauty because in my opinion their brushes, price point and customer service is excellent. If you're a beginner and you want to get started with brushes, I would highly recommend on purchasing a brush kit from Sigma such as the one below:

Sigma Essential Kit

This is the Essential Kit and it retails for $159.

For all the beauty lovers in the Euro zone; let's not forget that the prices mentioned are in $ (USD). Due to the Dollar being weaker, the prices in Euros are lower, for ex the above is ~125 Euros.

Here are some of my all time favorite brushes that I use in almost all of my makeup applications:

Foundation Brushes

This is the amazing trio for foundation that everyone should own. I actually have several ones of each because I love them so much. The F80 is the best foundation brush on the market, it gives a flawless finish. The F86 is great for undereye concealer blending and the P86 for blending out hard-to-reach areas such as around the nose.

Sigma Beauty's customer service is impeccible. They reply quickly to any enquiries and last time when a ferrule of a brush that I had bought over a year ago, came off the handle, they sent me a new one. This kind of customer service is very rare nowadays.

Concealer Brushes

These I use for concealer application. MAC's 195 for cleaning up eyeshadow on the outer corners of the eyes and the Detailer Brush by Real Techniques to spot conceal any blemishes. 

I would like to note, that the prices within MAC products vary depending on the country. I recall paying 25 euros for this concealer brush in Finland.

Powder Brushes

The F25 is the softest and most pleasant feeling brush I've ever come across. I use it for powdering my face.

The F35 is perfect for setting undereye concealer with powder or placing a powder a highlight there.

Face Brushes

These are the brushes that I use for powder product applications.

- MAC's 129 for an all over bronzer application.
- NARS' Ita Kabuki is the best brush for contouring the cheekbones. It just makes it so easy.
- Sigma's F05 is perfect for blending those contours.
- MAC's 217 is my favorite for contouring the nose; it blends the contour out at the same time.
- Sigma's F40 is the best blush brush I have used. Due to its dense and precise shape it distributes the perfect amount of product onto the cheeks. I find many blush brushes on the market to be oversized and therefore they end up making the whole cheek area blushed.
- Real Techinique's Setting Brush is perfect for applying highlighting powders ontop of the cheekbones, bridge of the nose and the cupid's bow. It places just the right amount of product, whereas other brushes may place too much and then it just end up looking like there's a bunch of glitter on the face. No thanks.

Real Techniques Powder Brush

And finally I'll blend everything out with this big fluffy powder brush. It feels like heaven on my face.

Eyeshadow Brushes

These brushes I use for eyeshadow placement, not blending!

- Sigma's E60 is perfect for a quick eyeshadow application all over the eyelid due to its big size.
- MAC's 239 is my favorite shader because it picks up so much eyeshadow that the placement is super pigmented.
- Sigma's E55 is my favorite for highlighting the brow bone.
- Sigma's E30 is perfect for doing more precise work with eyeshadow such as defining the crease or the outer V. It's also great for smudging eyeliner to make it smokey.

(As you can see the text on some of my MAC brushes is starting to wear off. I find this to be a bit not cool due to their price range. To avoid this, coat the text with clear nailpolish.)

Blending Brushes

As for blending:

- Sigma's E40 is a must for everyone! It's so soft and fluffy, it blends any eyeshadow really well.
- MAC's 224 is like the above but smaller so you can get into smaller areas, it's also a bit denser so the blending intensity is stronger.
- Sigma's E45 is smaller than the 224, so it's great for blending more precise detailing such as the outer Vs or cut creases.
- Sigma's E36 is a tiny blending brush that can blend out really small areas. It's a must for hooded eye lids!

Lower Lashline Brushes

The 219 is very similar to the mentioned above Sigma E30. I use it for placement of eyeshadow on the lower lashline.

ELF's C Brush is my favorite for smoking out or blending the eyeshadow on the lower lashline.

Eyeliner Brush

For the inner corners I like to use a foam sponge applicator. However, I really dislike them for any other applications though. I can't understand why they're still given with some palettes.

As for an eyeliner brush; these bent brushes are the best and make it so easy to line the eyes. There's no point in investing in one that costs a lot because they all go bad after a few months of usage.

Eyebrow Brushes

I love this brow comb for blending out my eyebrows. I got it from a set from Coastal Scents years ago and unfortunately they don't sell it anymore. The provided link will land on a similar product. However, almost all makeup lines make combs like this.

I couldn't do my eyebrows without both of these great angled brushes from Sigma.

Sigma Beauty also makes amazing eyebrow products and palettes, which I'll be talking about in upcoming posts.


It's very important to take good care of brushes. If they're not well looked after they will break or brittle, no matter how good the brush is. Brushes that are especially used with liquid products gather a lot of bacteria and can easily be the cause of blemishes.

Depending on the usage of my brushes, I will deep clean them aka wash them with water and a foaming cleansing fluid around a few times a month. During those middle days I will use a spot cleanser such as the MAC Cleansing Fluid with a cotton pad to sanitize and wipe off makeup. It's also important to remember to wipe the handles with a sanitizing fluid because they gather a lot of bacteria aswell from constantly being touched.

Don't ever wet the makeup brush past the metal ferrule because this will soften up the glue and cause the handle to possibly detach from the brush. Same applies for when drying brushes; make sure to lay them flat or facing down whilst drying, because otherwise the water will start to loosen up the glue that's up there.


I love using a lip brush when with darker colors. Trying to apply a dark lip color without a brush is a big no-no for me. The L05 by Sigma is my favorite and it's great to throw in the purse or a pocket due to its protective cover and slick shape.


Handwashes, soaps, shampoos, dishwashers are all good for cleansing brushes. When the bristles are synthetic it really doesn't matter how rough the cleansers are, so normally I'll just use a dish washing fluid. When the bristles are made from real hair they should be treated like real hair, so shampoos are an appropriate alternative. However, avoid using shampoos that're too hydrating because this can leave a greasy film on the bristles. If the bristles start feeling a bit rough, use a bit of conditioner on them.

Tip: MAC's Brush Cleanser is also great for cleaning up makeup stains on makeup bags, brush cases/rolls, and those black rubbery palettes that like to capture every single finger print.

Sigma Brush Roll Set

When travelling, it's very important to store brushes safely and well because letting them hang around in spacious makeup bags can be very damaging for the bristles. I have used this brush wrap for years and I love it. It's great quality, it holds all the brushes I need for travelling, it's durable and most importantly - it takes up very little space.

Unfortunately it's currently not in stock but a great alternative is the Extravaganza Brush Case ($29). I do not own it but I've seen and admired it several times and it's definitely on my to-buy list.

DISCLAIMER: This post contains advertisement links

XOXO, Ella


  1. Heippa! Mitä ihonhoitosarjaa suosittelet käytettäväksi joka sopii arkeen? Meikit otan yleensä meikinpoistolapuilla koska omistan ripsienpidennykset ja meikkien peseminen veden kanssa on aina yhtä rasittavaa.. :D oon kokeillut ihan perus markettien ja kalliimpiakin merkkejä, mutta tuntuu että ei vieläkään ole löytynyt sitä oikeaa sarjaa! Hakusessa ois kasvovesi, tykkään läträtä sitä :D sekä naamarasva ja silmänympärysvoide :) ihoni on t-alueelta rasvainen ja talven tullen muuten se kuivuu. :( kiitos jo etukäteen jos pystyt suosittelemaan jotain tuotteita!

  2. Moikka Sanna! Tässä postaus asiasta :)

  3. Best beauty blog ever! <3 Keep going X

  4. Wow buddy such a very attractive and interesting blog
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  5. Makeup brushes. They're the bedrock of your makeup routine — unless you're one of the talented few that can put your cosmetics on with just your fingers. This is a great post! Thanks for this!

  6. So thankful that I found this wonderful blog and it is very informative. I got every part of it. thanks :)

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Please leave a comment. I'd love to hear what you think, receive suggestions, or answer any questions.