Flawless makeup is always the goal—that’s why it takes the best tools to make it happen. Specifically, how seamless your makeup ends up looking depends a lot on the makeup brushes you use, which is why it helps to know a thing or two about the best makeup brushes out there.
Meet Our Experts: Elisa Flowers, New York City-based makeup artist, Nick Lujan, global director of artistry & education for Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, Jamie Greenberg, celebrity makeup artist, Kate Synnott, celebrity makeup artist and beauty creative director of RÓEN
“Makeup brushes are absolutely vital for applying, buffing, and blending makeup or even facial moisturizing products,” explains New York City-based makeup artist Elisa Flowers. “They finesse the look of makeup and help apply the product in the way that it was intended to look. The correct makeup brush is going to aid the user in the application process,” she adds.
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Makeup brushes come in all shapes and sizes. They also have specific functions that each performs. You can stock up your beauty collection with foundation, eyeshadow, and concealer brushes, to name a few. So does that mean you should break up with your other tools? According to Flowers, in some cases, it’s better to use a foundation brush over a sponge. “It’s better to use a foundation brush over a beauty blender if there’s a lot of unevenness and texture on the skin,” she says. Let’s say there’s a breakout or bumps, or even super dry skin, “the correct foundation brush will allow the foundation to glide over the skin and leave a more traceless appearance. Sponges are great for shearing out makeup or spot concealing,” Flowers explains.
“A brush is more helpful than other makeup tools because it is a tool that gives makeup an overall blended effect,” Flowers tells WH. The function of these tools is to either highlight, blend, or sculpt. “Some looks would be more difficult to achieve with just fingers or a sponge. Fingers aside, the bonus of using a makeup brush is that it doesn’t soak up extra product, and it distributes the makeup evenly,” she adds.
Ahead, see the best makeup brushes, according to the experts.
1: Bdellium Tools Golden Triangle 988 BDHD Phase I
Flowers recommends this brush for applying cream and liquid foundations. “The rounded, angled tip and soft, dense bristles hug the contours of the face giving a flawless finish with a minimal product used,” she says. “I also like to use this brush after spraying a setting spray to ensure an evenly distributed coverage.”
2: Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Brush
The thicker handle on this brush makes blending foundation into the skin a quick and seamless process. It’s also great for smoothing out those hard-to-reach areas like around the hairline.
3: BDellium Tools Golden Triangle 788 BDHD Phase III
This little brush packs a powerful application. According to Flowers, it’s perfect for applying concealer to tiny creases like the hollows of the eyes, and around the edges of the nose. You can also use the brush to smooth out fine powders and eye shadows.
4: Kevyn Aucoin Beauty The Duet Concealer Brush
“I keep multiples of this brush in my kit. I have at least one for concealer use, one for eyeshadow application, and one for lip application,” says Nick Lujan, global director of artistry & education for Kevyn Aucoin Beauty. “The best feature of this brush is that it has two ends: one to apply with precision and the other to blend, buff, and diffuse product. It works with creams and powders.”
5: Smith Cosmetics 214 Spoolie Brush
When it comes to taming eyebrow hairs, this brush is a must-have in your collection. The spoolie brush has an extra-long tubular design that makes it easy to get every hair. It also works products through your brows without getting stuck.
6: Artís Elite Oval 7
“This brush is excellent for smoothing liquid and cream foundations over imperfections like bumpy blemishes or dry skin,” Flowers explains. The dense brush bristles are soft and easily create an airbrushed-like surface that is streak free. “Another bonus is that you can pamper yourself with this brush with a lovely facial and neck massage,” Flowers continues. “It’s wonderful for applying moisturizers and serums.”
7: Younique Kabuki Brush
This kabuki brush is one of celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg’s favorites. “It can be paired with cream, liquid, or powder, and allows for a detailed application that leaves the skin looking airbrushed and flawless,” she says. “You can also use it to add cream contour. It’s so multifunctional!”
8: Shiseido Naname Fude Multi Eye Brush
This eye makeup brush is another favorite of Flowers. It has a soft, angeled, domed shape that works best with cream and baked eyeshadows. It effortlessly blends the pigments into the skin and creates a smooth finish.
9: Kevyn Aucoin Beauty The Base Shadow Brush
According to Nick, this brush works well with creams and powders. “I love to apply my concealer as a shadow base, then I wipe the brush on a tissue and load it with loose powder to set,” Nick says. “After that, I use the same brush to apply soft washes of color with powder eyeshadows.”
10: RÓEN Beauty All Over Eyeshadow Brush
“I love this so much for creating a smokey eye. It holds the pigment in the eyeshadow without any drop-down. I also use it for concealer as well—it works beautifully to blend delicate places like under the eye,” says Kate Synnott, celebrity makeup artist and beauty creative director of RÓEN.
11: Artís Elite Oval 7 Elite Linear 1
“I find myself grabbing this brush for so many intricate tasks, such as filling in the gaps of eyebrows or smudging eyeliner perfectly next to the lash line,” Flowers explains. Even when the brush has product on it, the bristles still hold their shape without being too rough on delicate skin near the eyes.
12: Morphe M443 Pointed Liner Detail Brush
A great eyeliner brush doesn’t have to break the bank. This one from Morphe is under $10, and it has a brush head that makes applying your favorite eyeliner quick and precise. The brush also has soft synthetic bristles that don’t irritate the skin.
Powder & Blush Brushes
13: PÜR Cosmetics Blurring Powder Brush
The smaller size is what makes this powder brush so effective. Greenberg explains that it’s best for applying blush and other powders. It also contours, highlights, and blends out your makeup for a flawless and soft finish.
14: Cozzette Beauty S120 Diamond Blender
“This is the perfect shape to hug the curves of your features,” Nick says. “Because it is pointed, you are able to get really close to the perimeter of the eyes or lips for precise placement of setting powder.”
15: Róen Beauty Blush + Blend
According to Synnott, this is the best blush brush ever. “The sculpted head makes it easy for picking up blush to build coverage and to diffuse easily, giving cheeks a natural-looking glow,” she says.
16: Tom Ford Cheek Brush
For an insanely natural brush application, reach for this brush, which is crafted with soft, synthetic hairs that provide effortless, even color.
17: Fenty Beauty Cheek Hugging Highlight Brush 120
This brush offers a highlight like no other, thanks to its asymmetrical, curved shape. The innovative design chisels and defines curves where you want them.
Taylor Lane is a former New Yorker, now based out of Baltimore, where she writes about beauty and wellness. When she’s not writing about the newest product launches and time-saving tips, Taylor teaches barre at her local studio. Follow her on Instagram