Most Reached for Brushes


Something occurred to me this morning as I fished around the little clay pots I use to hold my brushes–I use the same 4-5 brushes most days. I really need to put them in  their own pot. The next thing that occurred to me is that my least expensive brushes see the most use (with my powder brush being the exception). I almost feel bad about collecting all those Wayne Goss brushes. Almost. I still reach for the fancy brushes when I have time to do more with makeup. So I’ll hold on to those beauties too. But for weekdays when time is of the essence? These are the go to brushes.

The Real Techniques Buffing Brush
This is part of the Real Techniques Core Collection. For about $10 you get this brush, the contour brush (more on that next), the pointed foundation brush (haven’t found a use for this one), and the detailer brush (this tiny baby is perfect for inner corner highlighting and smoothing concealer caught under the lower lashes). If you don’t have this set—wait, does anyone NOT have this set? Anyway if you don’t, you should get it for the buffing brush alone. This is perfect for the job: dense, but not too dense; soft, but not too soft; never sheds a hair; and is easy to wash. It buffs cream and liquid foundations perfectly and is also great for buffing in a little pressed or loose powder to blend together and soften bronzer, blush, and highlighter. It is a must have.

The Real Techniques Contour Brush
This brush is perfect for doing a quick, simple combination contouring/bronzing. The the tapered shape  and size are perfect for carving out cheek bones and shading along the jaw line. I use it with powder products, but being a synthetic brush this would probably be even better with cream products. When I got the set, I was so focused on the buffing brush that I didn’t give this much attention. Now I use it every day.

EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush
This brush costs $6.99 and is more than worth every penny. I love this thing. You can pat, pat, pat your way to perfectly blushed cheeks. When I went on a little fancy brush binge I bought a beautiful Japanese blush brush. Do I use it? Hardly ever. I have a whole post dedicated to this little lovely.

Sigma E25 Blending Brush
This brush is a well-known dupe for the famous MAC 217. It’s fluffy, has a rounded top, and synthetic hairs. It is made for blending the crease, but I like to use it for a quick swipe of sheer, matte color all over the lids, then I dip it into a shimmery shade for the inner corner. One and done. Another steal at $14.

Chikuhodo Passion Series PS1 Powder Brush
This brush was a Christmas present to myself last year. As my first Beautylish purchase, it was ten bucks off. It costs $64, and that is splurgey–though make no mistake, this series is entry-level for Chikuhodo brushes. It gets more expensive from here! Nothing about this brush feels low end. It is light-weight, beautifully crafted of soft goat hairs, and a complete pleasure to use. And damn, it’s pretty. It picks up and applies pressed powder perfectly. Invisibly. This is where I see the difference between synthetic and natural hairs. I don’t have an inexpensive brush to recommend. For me, it’s either this or setting powder with a flocked sponge.


Finding the Perfect Foundation Brush


I think I am beginning to become a beauty product collector. Either that, or I am channeling Goldilocks, endlessly looking for the one that is “just right.”  I am currently hunting foundation brushes. I also am trying to keep the hunt inexpensive and cruelty-free. You’ll notice there there aren’t any paint brush or flat style brushes in my collection. I think brushes shaped for a buffing motion better keep the foundation from being visible in pores. My current collection from left to right above:

Shiseido Foundation Brush ($30): This was my first. It has near perfect ratings and an Allure Best of Beauty award. It opened my eyes to how much better foundation can look when applied with a brush. I resisted brushes for the longest–duh! Now, I never apply base with my fingers. This brush does apply product very, very well. Yet, I never pick it up unless my other brushes are dirty. It’s a good brush. The bristles are soft and very densely packed. The surface area is small. I feel it drags on the skin a bit when working in a small amount of product or thinning out product because it’s so dense. Lastly, the handle doesn’t feel quite right–a bit too short. (I am not sure what the bristles are made of, but I am pretty sure it’s not synthetic.)

Ecotools Domed Bronzer Brush ($9.99). I got this lovely, fat baby to use as a foundation brush after seeing lots of convincing posts calling it a dupe of the Tarte Airbrush Finish Foundation Brush. The Ecotools is a third of the price! I have several Ecotools brushes. They are soft, sturdy, and never shed (big pet peeve). My fave is their tapered blush brush. I got the domed bronzer brush to use with the Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation. The brush was a good match for the thick consistency of the Tarte. Unfortunately, the foundation made me break out. Since I am not using any thick foundations these days, I now use this brush for it’s intended purpose–bronzing.

Sephora Large Domed Stippling Brush ($36). Here is the one that is nearly perfect on paper: a large surface area; stippling bristles that work beautifully for buffing; a handle that is comfy–long enough and not too thin or too thick. But this brush is the only “oh hell no” of the bunch. Why? It sheds like crazy when applying makeup and even more when washing. It sheds a shameful amount considering the price and the fact that it’s part of the so-called pro collection. And it is harder to clean than the other brushes on this list. It is the only one I have had to use oil cleanser on before my usual cleanser (Dr. Bronner’s). It is going back. BTW, no other brush on this list has ever shed a single hair on my face during application.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush ($9) If there is one brush here that  I think most people would like, this is it. It works beautifully. Comfy handle; easy to clean; mid-size surface area; tapered edges that make buffing quick and easy;  washes easily. I think that of all the brushes on the list, this one can best handle a variety of textures of liquid or cream products. If I were to do anything to tweak this, it would only be to make it a tad softer and a tad bigger. However, it cannot be beat considering the price. RT is an amazing brand in terms of quality and affordability. I really like RT brushes for applying liquid and cream products.

 Sigma Angled Kabuki ($24) I just got this brush as an answer to what I thought was missing from the Real Techniques brush. It is softer and has a bigger surface area. I went with the angled one to help with working around the the eyes. (I think if you’re getting your a Sigma for buffing in foundation, you should probably get the rounded or flat kabuki to start. Both of those have a huge fan base.) I like this brush a lot and have been alternating using it with the RT expert Face Brush. I have the Sigma eyeshadow blending brush and like that a lot too. I think this is another quality brand.

So is the search over? Probably not! Especially since I have a Sephora store credit coming my way!

Cheap Thrills Raffle!


I am excited to announce my first-ever raffle. I will be accepting entries through noon on Friday, March 14th. I am using Rafflecopter for the first time, so bear with me! The contest is open to readers who live in the U.S. Once the reader is selected on March 14, I will make the announcement and the winner has 48 hours to respond with an address. Otherwise, a new winner will be selected. Here’s what one lucky winner will receive:

-The Ecotools concealer brush and tapered blush brush (reviewed here)
-A Dew Puff kojac sponge (not pictured above; reviewed here)
-A tube of Waxelene (reviewed here)

Enter today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway