beauty secrets | essential makeup brushes for the everyday face

kimberlyloc makeup brushes

Let’s just make one thing clear: I’m not a makeup artist, nor do I claim to be a makeup expert.

That said, I’m revealing my “beauty secrets” for the person who needs a simple guide to the wonderful world of makeup brushes.

kimberlyloc makeup brushes

Above is my humble collection of makeup brushes, sorted by blush (left), powder and concealer (center) and eye (right) brushes.

I store my brushes in these cute little Kerr jars and keep them on my bathroom vanity.

kimberlyloc powder and concealer brushes

When I break it down to the powder and concealer brushes I absolutely cannot be without, these five brushes come out of the jar (starting clockwise from far left):

  1. Kabuki Brush (brand unknown): I use a Kabuki brush to buff out any harsh blush or contouring lines that I may have created during application. The short, stiff bristles are perfect for smoothing out thicker makeup applications (I tend to be heavy-handed).
  2. Sigma F30 Large Powder Brush: I reserve this soft, fluffy brush for loose setting powder. While I don’t use setting powder every day (I’m not a morning person, so this is a product I cut if I’m running late), when I do, I love this brush for applying the powder. You can easily swirl loose minerals into it without getting too much and lightly dust it across large portions of your face thanks to the grand size of this baby.
  3. EcoTools Pointed Concealer Brush: For masking blemishes with the precise amount of coverage, this concealer brush is critical. Hopefully you won’t have to use it often, but when pesky pimples do crop up, this is the go-to brush for covering them with ease — and not attracting even more attention to them with globs of concealer!
  4. EcoTools Mineral Powder Brush: If you wear mineral foundation, I highly recommend this brush! The head is compact enough for a good swirl in the minerals, allowing it to pick up enough product, yet it disperses the minerals evenly onto your skin.
  5. EcoTools Concealer BrushI like this flat, traditional concealer brush for covering my undereye area. I don’t use it all the time, alternating between using a brush and using a finger, but if you’re concerned about contaminating your concealer with dirty fingers, this is the brush to have!

kimberlyloc blush brushes

Blush brushes are a little simpler for me. I own five, but these three (from top to bottom) see the most action on my cheeks. Here’s why:

  1. Cream Blush Brush (brand unknown): I like this flat-top blush brush for applying cream blush because that flat top gets an even amount of product and makes it easy to press it into the skin. I’ve had this brush for a while, but can’t place the brand — sorry!
  2. Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour Blush Brush: This brush is great for subtle blush application. Again, I tend to be heavy-handed, so I like to use this brush when I’m playing with brighter cheek colors. It helps me keep the amount of product in check, and it allows me to be more deliberate in how I contour the color onto my cheekbones.
  3. EcoTools Bamboo Blush Brush: With a tapered head, this blush brush works will with tapping color directly onto the apples of your cheeks. It’s truly an everyday staple for me.

kimberlyloc eye makeup brushes

As for eye-area brushes, these (from top to bottom) serve such distinct purposes that I don’t feel too bad for calling out seven different essentials:

  1. E.L.F Fan Brush: I used to never “get” fan brushes, but I’m a convert now: These brushes are a MUST if you wear mineral eye makeup and tend to get a bit messy — a.k.a. you have minerals on your undereyes. Even when I don’t wear mineral eye makeup, I find that little bit of eye shadow drops into the undereye area anyway, and instead of smearing it in, a fan brush is perfect for dusting it away without leaving behind a trail.
  2. Sonia Kashuk Eyelash/Eyebrow Brush: I use this every day to groom my brows, especially now that I’m a regular with brow powder. If I’ve applied to much (again, heavy handed!), this brush helps even out the color and keep my brows in line. I don’t typically use the lash-defining side of this brush unless I’m combing through mascara on my bottom lashes, but it’s quite rare that I wear mascara on them.
  3. Sephora Professional All-Over Shadow Brush: This brush has been in my collection for years, and I believe Sephora has redesigned its All-Over Shadow Brush since I got mine, but it truly is a versatile brush. For the longest time, this was the only eye shadow brush I used! I love it because the bristles are a generous height and width, yet it is still stiff enough to offer precise application.
  4. EcoTools Stay-There Shadow Brush: Competing heavily for the title of new favorite shadow brush, this one differs from the above because the bristles are longer and slightly tapered, giving it a nice point to dot on color to my lower lash line as well as have a better point for defining my crease with darker color.
  5. EcoTools Large Eye Brush: I like this chubby brush on days when I’m simply sweeping on a neutral shadow and getting out the door. The large brush head covers the majority of my eyelid, meaning I can brush the color on in two strokes and be finished. Simple makeup girls, you will love this brush!
  6. EcoTools Eye Shading Brush: When I’m truly defining my eyes and blending layers of color, this brush is wonderful for helping you avoid that “paint by numbers” look in your color blends — think smooth colors that mix easily and feather into each other instead of stopping at hard lines. This is the brush that makes that happen!
  7. Anastasia Eyebrow Powder Brush: This brush came in my Anastasia brow kit, and when I do trade it in for a cleaner kit, I will be keeping this brush! The short, stiff, angled brushes allow for feathery strokes on the brows, but also enable you to create the appearance of short hairs in the sparse areas of your brows.

What are your favorite makeup brushes for your everyday face? Tell me your recommendations in the comments section!


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  • Anne W

    I think you mentioned the mason jars in an earlier post, and I went out and bought one for myself! I only have one so far, which makes me think I need to buy more makeup brushes :)

  • Great post and I love your picks for brushes. I have recently fallen back in love with the Beauty Blender – at first I didn’t understand the hype surrounding it but now I use it every day! It is amazing for applying cream products, especially RMS products and cream blushes, it makes them go on like a dream!

    For mineral and liquid foundations my favorite brushes are a toss up between Tarte’s Buffer Airbrush Finish Bamboo foundation brush and the Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki.

    My favorite concealer brushes are the Sigma P80 Precision Flat and the Eco Tools concealer brush that comes in this pack: http://www.ecotools.com/bamboo-6-piece-brush-set

    I really love any brushes from Tarte, Sigma and Eco Tools. I mainly use MAC brushes for my eyes as I collected a lot of them back in the day but plan to invest in an Eco tools brush collection soon. The funny thing is I feel like I have so many brushes but when it comes down to it, I really only use like five!

  • @anne lol well when you come to kc we can go do a little makeup brush shopping!

  • @britanie i am so curious about the beautyblender! looks like i need to get one, esp for mt RMS stuff too. thanks for the recommendation! i am going to check out your other brush recs — i LOVE pretty much anything sigma & ecotools makes

  • I’m like you… I love my brushes but have a *humble* collection in comparison to many makeup buffs. Great post!