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12 Makeup Brushes for Every Step of Your Beauty Routine


No makeup routine is ever truly complete without a customized collection of quality brushes. From blush brushes to concealer brushes to eyeliner brushes, these tools allow for precise application that provides professional-looking results every time.

One primary brush feature you'll want to pay special attention to is bristles. Typically, brushes will feature natural bristles or synthetic bristles. "Natural bristles are best for powder-based products," says makeup artist Angela Boswell. "The bristles are soft enough to pick up powder products easily and blend smoothly." On the other hand, she says, synthetic brushes tend to work best for cream-based products like foundation, cream blushes, and cream eyeshadows. "The synthetic bristles are not as porous, so they don’t pick up too much product and can blend smoothly with no streaks."

Ready to complete your beauty kit? Below, we've highlighted 12 brushes that deserve a spot in your makeup bag. Whether you need something for foundation, your brows, or your eyes, these brushes will help your makeup look better than ever.

About the Expert:

Angela Boswell is a beauty professional who does hair and makeup for television, film, weddings, editorial photoshoots, and more.

REALHER Nothing is Impossible Foundation Brush

REALHER Nothing is Impossible Foundation Brush

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Best Foundation Brush

If you apply liquid foundation daily, this essential brush will be a total go-to in your collection. Its slightly tapered tip allows for seamless application of primer, liquid foundation, and even concealer—making it a versatile multitasker. And with synthetic nylon bristles, it's also completely vegan and shed-free (an added bonus!).

"I love this brush," says Ipster bergado11. "Perfect for foundation or setting powder under eyes. Now a permanent addition to my growing set of go-to’s."

BEAU GÂCHIS Limited-Edition Powder Brush

BEAU GÂCHIS Limited-Edition Powder Brush

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Best Powder Brush

While tapered foundation brushes can help to create that coveted dewy finish, fluffy powder brushes are the best tool to use with a powder foundation to create a matte, velvety-smooth complexion. This BEAU GÂCHIS brush has loosely packed, ultra-soft vegan bristles that feel great on the skin and sweep up powders flawlessly. For all you makeup minimalists, this multitasking tool can also be used to blend powder blush, bronzer, and even finishing powders. It’s one brush you’ll always look forward to using.

One Ipster writes, "Soft-bristled brush, seamless application of powders, no blotchy patches or brush hairs left on the face." Another adds, "You don't have to use much of the product for it to look good with this brush!"

COMPLEX CULTURE Precision Concealer Brush

COMPLEX CULTURE Precision Concealer Brush

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Best Concealer Brush

With a densely packed brush head, vegan bristles, and an angled tip, this brush allows for the precisest of precise concealer coverage. Those hard-to-reach inner corners of the eyes? Considered them covered. Stubborn spot? No problem. It's even perfect for under the eyes and any other areas where you experience blemishes or redness, and it really excels when you need a touch of coverage in super tiny areas. Ipster Steelerchic82 can attest to that. She writes, "Such a great brush for around the eyes especially the inner corner area of the eye."



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Best Blush Brush

Not only will this luxe rose gold blush brush become a daily fave, but it will also make for a great front-row addition to your vanity. The stunning handle is built to be extra durable and waterproof while the tightly secured vegan bristles are designed to transfer blush from the pan to the skin without a hint of patchiness.

"This is the softest brush I've ever used and it really transfers blush well," writes Ipster cjhowze15.

LUXIE BEAUTY 1010 Small Contour

LUXIE 1010 Small Contour

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Best Contour + Highlight Brush

Picking out the perfect contouring brush doesn't have to be intimidating. Because the art of contouring is all about precise application, you'll just want to look for an angled brush with dense bristles that make for easy control when you apply your products. This LUXIE BEAUTY brush is the perfect example, and it also happens to be a bit smaller than the standard contour brush, so it’s able to effortlessly apply product to the smaller areas of the face. Want even more use out of this brush? Once your contour is complete, tap off the excess product from the bristles, then use the brush to apply your highlight with the same amount of precision.

"This is quite possibly one of my favorite brushes ever," says Ipster PRuss92. "The shape is lovely and it’s the perfect size for contouring with control."

Best Kabuki Brush

Since kabuki brushes have shorter bristles and a larger surface area, Boswell says she typically uses them for applying loose powder and setting powder to large areas. Kabuki brushes can also be used with pressed powders, bronzers, and even blushes.

And get this: This high-tech kabuki brush features an electric spinning head that's also interchangeable. This particular compact head is ideal for evenly buffing loose or pressed powder into the skin, giving it an even, natural look. This interchangeable brush head is also antimicrobial and designed to be safe for even the most sensitive skin.

Best Makeup Brushes for Eye Makeup

INMO Eye Shadow Brush

INMO Eye Shadow Brush

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Best Makeup Brush for Applying Your Eyeshadow Base

Repeat after us: Stamp, then blend. Before you start blending your smoky eye, you'll want to use a densely packed eyeshadow brush like this to effectively transfer pigment from the eyeshadow pan onto your lid. This brush features soft but strong bristles and a compact shape that's perfect for picking up and packing on an all-over lid color.

"My second favorite brush in my bag of makeup brushes," says Ipster vickaykayy. "Super soft and picks up eyeshadow well!"

TETRIS™ X IPSY Blending Brush

TETRIS™ X IPSY Blending Brush

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Best Makeup Brush for Blending Eyeshadow

To ensure that your base, crease, and highlight colors all flow into each other seamlessly with no harsh lines, you'll want to use a blending brush. This fluffy, limited-edition brush features soft bristles that are designed specifically to blend and spread out color evenly.

"A small tapered fluffy blending brush is multifunctional," says Boswell. "It easily blends undereye concealer, it’s great for covering blemishes and is also the perfect size to blend shadow in the eye crease. It even works for contouring and defining areas like the nose."

EM COSMETICS Angled Eyeliner Brush

EM COSMETICS angled eyeliner brush

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Best Eyeliner Brush

For Boswell, a flat angled eyeliner brush like this is essential for applying gel, liquid, and powder liner. "This firm and flat small brush is perfect for creating a cat-eye or a tight, defined liner," she says. "The angled shape makes it so easy to be precise compared to a typical pointed eyeliner brush."

This eyeliner brush is made from a mix of synthetic fibers with bristles that are firm enough to create shape but soft enough to be gentle on your eyes. Pro tip: You can also wet this brush and dip it into eyeshadow powder formulas to instantly transform any eyeshadow into an eyeliner.



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Best Eyebrow Brush

If you prefer gel or pomade brow products over eyebrow pencils, you can reach for a trusty eyebrow brush to fill in and craft those strong, defined brows. This multitasking eyebrow brush is dual-ended: One side has firm angled bristles that you can use to fill in your brows while the other has a spoolie that helps to both blend out the product and style the hairs. The bristles are also infused with antimicrobial charcoal which helps to keep them clean and bacteria-free for longer.

F.A.R.A.H 5-Piece Eye Perfection Set

F.A.R.A.H 5-Piece Eye Perfection Set

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Best Makeup Brush Set for Eyes

If you're building your brush collection from scratch, one easy way to make sure you have everything you need is to invest in a set. This eye-centric set features five essentials you can use to complete every type of eye makeup look or need, whether you’re using an eye brush to blend, buff, shade, stamp, or line. The high-quality soft bristles are extra gentle on your delicate eye area and are also completely vegan.

"These brushes work like magic! Smooth and simple, very nice," one Ipster writes. Another says, "Lovely set of brushes, I am quite pleased with how well they work. Made me realize how awful my old brushes are."

F.A.R.A.H Midnight Pro Trio

F.A.R.A.H Midnight Pro Trio

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Best Makeup Brush Set for Face Makeup

This three-piece set comes with all the essential face brushes for creating a flawless complexion. The flat-topped stippling brush is your answer to getting an airbrushed foundation finish; the smaller soft-touch brush is ideal for applying foundation or concealer in those hard-to-reach places; and the fluffy face brush is perfect for blush, bronzer, contour, or highlighting.

Don't be surprised if you find yourself captivated by the deep midnight-blue tint of these bristles. Not only are they totally gorgeous, but they're also made from soft synthetic fibers that are cruelty-free and vegan. 

"These brushes are so soft not only on the bristles but the grip," one Ipster writes. "I love that they have notches for you to hold them sturdier!"

Want in on all the IPSY Glam Bag fun? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated January 18, 2021 12:00 AM