After achieving VIB or VIB Rouge status at Sephora for the serious cash you’ve dropped on foundations, concealers, powders, primers, eyeshadows, contour palettes, mascaras, setting sprays, and all sorts of other magical makeup wizardry, somehow it feels painful to drop even more cash on makeup brushes to make the most out of all that maquillage. Or is it just me?
I started taking a real interest in makeup at age 17 or 18. Not having an older sister or anyone who was enthusiastic about fashion or makeup growing up, I had no idea why I should “waste” my pennies on brushes when I could just buy tons of crazy-colored 50- or 80-count cheapie eyeshadow palettes, haha. And use some kind of rough brushes that felt like sandpaper on my face and barely picked up product, let alone applied it smoothly.
To each their own, though; those purchases brought me joy at the time, but now that I’m dangerously close to the big 3-0, I see the value in some good, basic makeup brushes.
So why do you need a set of decent makeup brushes?
You’re tired of being poked in the face with rough, spiky bristles
Bristles left on your cheeks or forehead weren’t exactly part of your #MOTD inspiration
“Blend, blend, blend” shouldn’t take 5 minutes per eyelid
You want makeup application to be smoother with more control
You want to improve your technique and confidence in doing your own makeup
Basically, you want all that good makeup you’ve invested in to perform as intended. And maybe even get better at doing makeup! Seriously, your tools matter, and makeup brushes are no exception.
I’ve tried everything from cheapie makeup brushes from drugstores to fancy ones from department stores. Obviously there’s a world of a difference, but it’s not impossible to find a middle ground in price range and quality.
Of course, there are softer and even nicer brushes out there with price tags in the hundreds (just like there’s a $325 hair brush and a $239 eyeshadow palette), but I’ve been very happy with the ones I have now and can recommend them to almost anyone.
And if I somehow lost all of my makeup brushes, I would purchase a Sigma set in a heartbeat. I got their Essential Kit last year (plus the 3DHD Kabuki for contouring and 3DHD Precision for the crease), and that’s what inspired me to write this post.
What I love about Sigma is that it’s similar to MAC in quality yet slightly more affordable while still looking chic. And, if I’m not mistaken, most or all of their brushes are synthetic, so they don’t absorb/waste product and tend to last a lot longer than my natural bristle brushes.
Before I discovered Sigma, I was smitten with Sonia Kashuk brushes at Target — the classic black full-size ones — and the super-affordable Real Techniques that all the YouTube beauty gurus rave about. I actually heard about Sigma on YouTube as well; honestly everything I know about makeup is thanks to YouTube!
Have you seen my curated Shops? I regularly update the Women’s, Men’s, Baby, Maternity, & Home sections with items I either currently use or would love to try and think my Bond Girls would enjoy as well!
And here are the main ones I use on the daily:
These are my bigger face brushes for foundation, concealer, powder, and contour:
And here are my smaller brushes for eyeshadow, eyeliner, lip liner, etc.:
From L to R below, we have my trusty Chanel that I use for blush, my most-used Sigma face and eye brushes, my trusty Sonia Kashuk foundation brush that I actually prefer to use with concealer, two Real Techniques brushes for my eyelid primer and concentrated cheekbone contouring, and my Anastasia brow brush.
Yes, I could probably cut this down to even less than these 13 as my essentials, but I like having options. 🙂
I change things up depending on the foundation I’m using that day (I have some bareMinerals brushes that pair really well with their serum foundation/complexion rescue counterparts), but for the most part, the 13 brushes above get the most use.
I hope that sharing my mid-range makeup brush faves was helpful in some way, and I can’t wait to share more beauty content this year!