My Favorite Makeup Brushes

favorite makeup brushes mac sigma everyday minerals julep

It wasn’t until college that I made my first real investment in makeup brushes – starting with the MAC 187.  (Back then, the 187 was the go-to brush for foundation on YouTube.)  But as the trends changed (and still do), I began experimenting with different brushes, techniques, and brands, always narrowing them down to the ones that worked best for me.  Now that my go-to brush collection has stayed pretty consistent over the past years, I thought I’d share the real winners that have withstood the test of time (along with a few upgrades and new additions along the way…).  Let’s get started with the face brushes.

favorite makeup brushes mac sigma everyday minerals julep

From left to right:

Everyday Minerals Plush Mineral BrushThis is actually a recent addition to my makeup brush collection. I picked up this brush to go along with my Everyday Minerals Foundation and absolutely love it.  It’s super soft and makes for a super quick and even foundation application.  It’s also great for applying setting powder all over the face.

Everyday Minerals Tapered Sculpting Face BrushThis is another recent purchase from Everyday Minerals.  I’ve been using this to apply my mineral concealers, blush, and color correctors – it’s extremely versatile.  It’s also the perfect size and rounded shape for hitting targeted areas, while still maintaining even and natural coverage.

Julep BronzerI’ve been using this for over a year now, since first picking it up through a Julep Maven subscription box.  It’s amazingly high quality and super soft.  The large and fluffy domed shape makes for a super quick bronzer and blush application.  The coverage always looks natural without any harsh edges.

Terre Mere Blush BrushI got this brush in a Vegan Cuts box, and it has since replaced my previous favorite – the Sigma F40 Contour brush.  I particularly like its smaller size and softer, more flexible bristles, which provides even yet more precise coverage.   Plus it feels amazingly soft on the skin!

favorite makeup brushes mac sigma everyday minerals julep

From left to right:

e.l.f Powder BrushThis is a little diamond in the rough, and is only $4!  The bristles are dense yet soft and meet at a flat top, making it perfect for gentle, all-over blending of powders (I use it to blend my blush and bronzer).  I’ve had it for 5+ years and it’s still in perfect shape!

MAC 130This is a medium sized duo fibre brush.  I believe it was initially designed to work with MAC’s Mineralize Foundations, but I love it for applying cream blushes and concealers.  It blends everything out extremely well because it’s so dense (much denser in fact than the MAC 188).  I also use it occasionally for concealer when I want it to cover a larger area (i.e. the full upside-down triangle shape) under the eyes.  Another long-time favorite.

Sigma Angled Kabuki F84This is my go-to brush for applying liquid foundation.  Its angled, slightly curved shape fits comfortably all around all areas of my face, and it’s large enough to get the job done quickly.  The bristles are dense enough for blending everything out while still feeling super soft on the skin.  They also don’t soak up too much product.  Also great for applying cream blushes! (I featured this in my 2013 makeup routine post!)

Sigma Precision Tapered P86 I love this for concealer.  It applies liquids and creams evenly and blends everything out for streak-free coverage.  The size and shape make it perfect for getting around the nose and corners of the eyes.

MAKE-UP FOR YOU Kabuki BrushThis is a handy multi-tasking travel brush that I sometimes use for foundation, blush, and bronzer when I’m in a pinch.  It’s super soft and I love the twist up case design for when I’m on-the-go (it comes with a cap too, which isn’t shown in the photos).

favorite makeup brushes mac sigma everyday minerals julep

eyeshadow brushes mac sigma luxie

From left to right:

Sigma Tapered Blending Brush E40 (previously SS224)A great dupe for the MAC 224 blending brush.  I use this for blending out the crease, and even applying shadow to the crease for a more diffused look.

Sigma Domed Utility E34 This is a small and very dense domed brush with soft bristles.  It’s great for applying and blending shadow under the eye for a smoky look, and also for super precise application in the outer V area.

Luxie Onyx Noir Blending Eye Brush 227 – A great multi-tasking brush.  I use it for quick all over the lid application, crease work, and blending.  This easily replaced my MAC 217 as it’s so much softer.

Laura Mercier Crease BrushMy favorite brush for getting a slightly more defined crease (as opposed to sweeping the E40 back and forth). This is actually the travel sized/short handle version, which I find to be a bit more ergonomic, especially for crease work.

What are some of your favorite makeup brushes at the moment?

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  • Allison @neversaydiebeauty

    So interesting to read about brands I’m not familiar with like Everyday Minerals, Terra Mere, and Makeup for You. I still haven’t tried Sigma, but I know I should. I use Luxie, Beauty Junkees and IT Cosmetics most often as well as a set from Sonia Kaschuk. I don’t spend a ton on brushes.

    • Everyday Minerals brushes are by far my favorite and also the softest – they’re great if you use a lot of powder products. Sigma brushes on the other hand are worth checking out if you use a lot of liquid products (foundation, concealer).
      I’ve heard IT Cosmetics makes some amazing brushes! Every time I visit Sephora or Ulta, I check out there selection – they look so luxurious! I’ve was only recently introduced to Luxie, but I’m loving their eye brushes so far! Any recommendations from either of these brands?

  • Asja Anderson

    I think everyone loves the ELF Powder Brush. I usually have 2 at a time lol
    The MAC 130 looks tempting and I have a brush like the Sigma E40 and it is by far my favorite eye brush.
    Most of my brushes are ELF, BH Cosmetics, and Real Techniques. This was a great post idea and they look so clean.

    • Haha, yeah I just did a VERY thorough cleaning before snapping this photos. 😉

      That’s a good idea – I might ended up picking up another e.l.f. brush – they’re so inexpensive and that one in particular does get a lot of use!
      The MAC 130 is definitely worth grabbing if you use a lot of cream products, especially blushes.

      I’ve actually been wanting to try a few Real Techniques brushes – any recommendations?