I own a lot of makeup brushes. I find makeup brushes pretty hard to resist; I'm not one for using my fingers when it comes to applying makeup, so brushes are a pretty big must-have in my routine. When I was younger I had but a handful of makeup brushes, in the days when I didn't even know yet alone appreciate the importance of keeping brushes clean and washed regularly, hand-me-downs from my mum's brush collection. Over the past three years or so I've slowly built up quite the collection, forever adding more to my stash. For me, a good makeup brush is just as - if not more - important as good makeup; for me, without a good brush it doesn't matter how expensive my makeup might be, if you don't apply it with the right tools, it'll never look how I want it to.
After sharing how I storage my makeup brushes, by upcycling pretty candles to make the perfect brush holders (see here), I decided it was about time to share a run-down of my favourite brushes, too. Over the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing my top brushes by use; bases, eyes, and today the brushes I turn to for cheeks.
When it comes to highlight, no matter how bold the shade itself, I need something which will apply lightly and subtly. Although a lot of highlighters in my stash just leave a pretty glow or sheen, a few in my stash like my MAC MSF's (see here) have quite a shimmer or glitter filled finish. I need brushes that will give me the look I want, without the overload of shimmer and glitter.
A budget brush which does the job perfectly is the Real Techniques Setting Brush, £6.99. By the name it isn't hard to guess that it's been designed as a setting brush, but for me it's just not big enough for setting my makeup. I find using it as a highlight brush along my brow bone and the top of my cheek bones works amazingly well, and the bristles tapered and light enough to pick up the perfect amount of product without going over the top.
When I want more of an all-over-glow, particularly when using my highlighters which can double up perfectly as a blush, there's one brush and one brush only I reach for - the Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour, £17.50. As far as brands go, Sigma is easily my favourite for makeup brushes and the large angled contour brush is great for contouring, but I find it applies the perfect amount of highlight in exactly all the right places in one easy sweep. You can check out my full review alongside a few other Sigma brushes here.
No matter what blush I'm reaching for, if it's powder or loose mineral, then my beloved EcoTools Blush Brush, £7.99, is the brush for me! It's been a favourite of mine for a few years now and it's honestly the best blush brush I have ever used. It's crazy how much I love this brush!
If we're talking cream blush, then the Real Techniques Contour Brush is an easy winner. Part of the Real Techniques Core Collection Kit £18.89, it was a brush I liked for contouring for quite a while, but when it comes to cream blushes there's nothing like it. It picks up the perfect amount of product and blends to a gorgeous finish, regardless of formula. It's also the perfect size for cream blushes because unlike the larger brushes I use for powder blush, the smaller, tapered round bristles make sure that whilst blending the cream formula, it doesn't go over the top and leave me looking like a clown! You can check out my full review of the Core Collection here.
When it comes to cream bronzers and contours, I find the Real Techniques Foundation Brush, £8.99, is perfect. I'm hopeless at applying foundation with it, I just can't get it to work for me when it comes to bases, but cream contours? Heavenly. It's just the right shape that I can apply the contour for chiselled cheekbones with ease, a swipe down either side of my nose on those few days when I can be bothered to contour everything, along my jaw line. It's just perfect, and with a dense enough shape and bristles to make sure product only goes where I want it to go. I then follow up with the Contour Brush to blend, job done!
When it comes to bronzer, there's only one brush for me. It was love at first use with the Bobbi Brown Bronzer Brush, £38, and ever since I added it to my collection it has been the only brush I'll use for bronzer. Great for powder bronzers, but also pretty darn good with a cream bronze, it's just utterly heavenly. It can contour, it can provide an all-over glow, it can apply subtly with a light hand or for a bit more oomph, using with a touch more intensity. I just adore it!
What are your favourite cheek brushes?