Ask A Makeup Artist: What Makeup Brushes Do I REALLY Need?

makeup brushes makeup brushes
When it comes to beauty I’m no expert, but I am curious, so I thought it would be fun to start a column called, “Ask A Makeup Artist.” In this column we (as in you and I) will be asking makeup artists for their best tips, products, applications, DIY ideas, and more.

This is where you come in. Please let me know what questions you want answered or topics you want covered! Simply leave a comment below or on Instagram here.

To start, I asked my friend and LA-based makeup artist Meghan Nguy (pictured after the jump, isn’t she the cutest?!) about the basics: BRUSHES. What are the 5 makeup brushes every girl REALLY needs? Here’s her answer:

My philosophy of brushes and all of makeup in general is “minimize to maximize.” I believe that you can purchase a few key products to achieve a variety of looks. The brushes that I picked can be used for multiple purposes, and they will be the only five brushes you’ll ever really need:

1. Foundation Brush

Pick a synthetic brush for liquid foundations.  I like the MAC 193 Foundation Brush because it’s slightly narrow to allow you to use it for under eye concealer. The angle also allows you to precisely conceal spots.

2. Powder Brush
My favorite powder brush is the NARS Yachiyo Brush. It is a great brush to apply powder, blush, and/or bronzer. Pinch the base of the bristles to create the perfect shape for highlighter too.

3. Eyeshadow Brush
Unless you’re using multiple colors on your eyes, you won’t need any eyeshadow brush other than Smith Cosmetics 232 Large Crease Brush. Sweep a wash of color all over your eyes or define your eye shape by applying color in the crease.

4. Eyebrow/Eyeliner Brush
MAC’s 266 Angle Brush is great for both eyebrow shading and eyeliner. Fill in your eyebrows with your favorite product whether it’s a powder or gel. This brush also doubles as an eyeliner brush for a perfect cat eye or diffused liner along your lashes.

5. All around fluffy-brush (Concealer/blending)
Laura Mercier’s Finishing Eye Brush is my favorite brush for it’s versatility. What I like to use it for the most is blending concealer under the eyes or on spots. It has duo fibers which means its a mix of synthetic and natural hairs that blend all streaks of makeup, giving you a really seamless finish.What are your favorite brushes?




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  1. Thank you so much for sharing these lovely tips! Haha there was a while that I bought a lot of brushes, just for the sake of having them, but I realized I only ever reach for the same few 🙂 The ones you mentioned are definitely the essentials in a makeup bag/dresser!

    XO, Elizabeth

  2. I’ve been having tonnes of make-up brushes, kinda fasinatic with them. But over time I’d realise that I only use the same few. Thanks for sharing these informative tips. Guess I better invest in the right brushes to use instead of having to many unnecessary ones. Awesome post. . Sharon Elsie |

  3. Having a fluffy brush to use all over your face has been a life-saver for me a couple of times. It’s great for brushing away excess powder or blending out your makeup. I’ll have to give that eye shadow brush a try! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I’ve been looking for some new makeup brushes, so I’ll definitely have to look into the ones on this list, they look great! Thank you for sharing the tips.

  5. AND whatever brushes you own remember to clean them often. Our faces are the most important piece of real estate we own! I keep makeup wipes handy and at the very least wipe the brushes down everyday them let them air dry upright in a glass jar that was my fathers burma shave jar. Clean brushes and a nice memory every day.-Laurel Bledsoe

  6. Great descriptions for what each brush is used for! I love my IT Cosmetics makeup brushes from b-glowing and just got them as a gift for a new to makeup friend, I will have to have her read this article.

  7. Ohh nice. This is actual question I have from past many years. As I’m crazy about make up stuff and always get confused at the time of selecting brushes as many of them get remain unused after few days. Your article is really very nice guide. thanks for sharing.

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