A Beginner’s Guide to Makeup: Brushes

Ahhh…makeup.  Where does one even begin?

There are various types of primers for the face, eyes, lashes and lips.  Then there are different types of liners—from gel to liquid to pencil.  They come in various colors, from the darkest of blacks to as bright as teal and even as far and eccentric as glitter gold.

Think of the various face powders and foundations out there to choose from, depending on one’s complexion and undertones.  Then there are the darkest of purples, the brightest of pinks, richest of nudes and sexiest of reds for lipsticks.  And this is just the absolute beginning!

However, before I scare you off, let’s start in a place far away from everything I have already mentioned.  Brushes are very simple tools, and when used properly, they can make any beginner’s makeup look flawless.  Here is a list of essential brushes—both budget friendly and splurge-worthy—for any beginner to try.

Eyeshadow Brush


This brush is perfect and, I think, the most essential in any girl’s set of makeup tools.  It is efficient at not only applying shadow to the mobile lid but packing on your shadow so that you are able to get the best color payoff.

I’d recommend…

e.l.f. Eyeshadow Brush - $1.00 at Target

Classic Precision Powder Shadow Brush #61 form Sephora Collection - $13.00 at Sephora

Classic Must Have Powder Shadow Brush #60 from the Sephora Collection- $15.00 at Sephora

Dome Brush (or “Blending Brush”)

This brush is named after what it is best used for: blending!  Get in that crease and blend your shadows so that you have a smooth transition from your lid to your crease and then further up into your brow bone.  For a seamless transition, use the brush in a windshield-wiper motion or in tiny circles in the area where the two colors meet.

I’d recommend…

e.l.f. Essential Blending Eye Brush - $1.00 at e.l.f.

Large Tapered Blending Brush - $6.95 at BH Cosmetics

Contour Blending Brush – $3.36 at BH Cosmetics

Blending Brush - $3.95 at BH Cosmetics

Bent Liner Brush

This brush is great for applying gel or liquid liner.  The thinness and sleekness of such a brush allows for more precision and cleaner lines.  Furthermore, you will able to recreate your version of the best-winged eyeliner look.  Another great thing about this brush is that you can build up the thickness of your liner—just in case you start off thin and decide for a bolder look.

A great alternative to the bent liner brush is the angled brush.  It is a just as small with a bit more structure and is a great brush to work with; it’s all about personal preference.

Stippling Brush

This brush is great for applying foundation all over the face.  The best part is that the shape of the brush allows you to utilize the brush to distribute your foundation or powder evenly, and the circular shape allows you to blend it into the skin seamlessly.

Furthermore, the versatility of the brush allows a girl to build up on coverage, so have no fear: your imperfections can and will be seamless buffed away with this brush.

I’d recommend…

Duo Fiber Stippling Brush - $5.95 at BHCosmetics

Pro Stippling Brush #44 from the Sephora Collection - $35.00 at Sephora

Powder Brush

Do your best to avoid mixing the tools that you use for wet and dry products by investing in this brush.  A powder brush is great for applying powder foundation and translucent powder for a matte finish on your face.  The best way to utilize this brush is to lightly apply the product in circular motions to allow for even distribution.  If applied in a tapping motion all over the face, you will end up with hideous blobs all over your face that will not transfer well in photography.

I’d recommend…

e.l.f. Powder Brush - $3.00 at Target

Classic Multitasker Brush #45 from the Sephora Collection - $24.00 at Sephora

Beauty Blender

This tool is phenomenal for applying foundation and concealer, as its shape allows you to get into those hard-to-reach corners around the eyes while pressing your makeup into your pores for a seamless finish.

Since the inception of the original Beauty Blender, there have been various dupes that have been just as effective; you can scavenge YouTube and find even the most beloved beauty gurus utilizing the affordable versions.

This is best used when dampened.

I’d recommend…

Miracle Complexion Sponge - $5.99 at Ulta

The Original Beauty Blender - $19.99 at Sephora

Angled Face Brush

This brush is great for contouring, as well as applying bronzer and blush.  The construction of this brush works just as well for the application of other powder products.  When using it, I recommend the longer side point towards your nose and you use gentle sweeping motions so that you are able to distribute the product evenly across the high points of your cheek bones (with blush) or into the hollows of your cheeks (with contouring bronzer.)

I’d recommend…

e.l.f. Angled Blush Brush - $2.99 at Walgreens

Angled Face Brush - $20.00 at BareMinerals

Pro Angled Blush Brush #49 from the Sephora Collection - $32.00 at Sephora

Depending on your needs and budget, selecting individual brushes may be better for you.  If you are someone who does not mind an extra brush here or there, then perhaps a brush set may be best for you.  Always remember that just because a brush is described for a said purpose does not mean that you will not find another use for it; experiment and have fun!

Check out these great starter kits and look around these brands’ websites for individual brushes, if those are a better suit for you.


e.l.f. Essential Professional Complete Set of 12 Brushes - $12.00 at e.l.f.

e.l.f. Studio 11 Piece Brush Collection - $30.00 at e.l.f.

Real Techniques

Mini Trio Brush Set – 9.99 at Ulta

Starter Kit - $17.99 at Ulta

BH Cosmetics

Boho Chic Dual Brush Set - $9.95 at BH Cosmetics

12 pc Berry Brush Set - $15.95 at BH Cosmetics

10 pc Pop Art Brush Set - $17.95 at BH Cosmetics

36 pc Ultimate Brush Set - $32.95 at BH Cosmetics

Coastal Scents

22 Piece Brush Set - $34.95 at Coastal Scents


NOTE: This is the priciest of all the brands that I have suggested.  However, there is no harm in going in this direction if your funds allow you to.  I suggest doing some comparison research, utilizing YouTube, and most importantly, doing what you feel most comfortable with.  If a kit is not within your budget, then feel free to purchase a single brush that you will use a lot.

Basic Eyes Kit -  $79.00

Travel Kit – Make Me Blush – $86.00

Basic Face Kit - $87.00

Essential Kit - $159.00

Sigmax Essential Kit 10 Brushes - $159.00

In the end, it is your money and your face that you are trying to make look flawless on a budget.  This is the first part of a three-part series for any beginner to start his or her makeup collection at the collegiate level.  If you are not a beginner, there is nothing wrong with retracing your steps and picking up a few tips here and there to revamp your current collection.

Ciao for now collegiates!