The 7 Makeup Brushes You Actually Need

Leah Faye Cooper
makeup brushes

Photo: Getty Images

This is how things often go when you set out to buy makeup brushes: You arrive at a beauty store intending to purchase one or two brushes. You see that there are hundreds to choose from and say to yourself, “I must need them all!” You proceed to spend a lot of money. Months pass and you’ve yet to use ninety percent of what you bought. Burn. The truth is, unless you’re a professional makeup artist or studying to be one, you can get away owning far fewer brushes than you may think. With this in mind, we tapped Sephora Senior Artist Brandy Gomez-Duplessis to note the seven makeup brushes you need. She kindly shared her favorite brands, too. Whether you’re opting for a basic look or a glam one, these brushes should have you covered.

Foundation brush
A buffing and foundation brush that makes foundation and concealer easy to apply, such as the Stila One Step Complexion Brush ($32,

Lash line brush
These long, thin brushes are used to apply makeup precisely to the crease and lash line. Gomez-Duplessis prefers the Make Up For Ever 232 Medium Precision Crease Brush ($28,

Eyeliner brush
A brush that has an elbow-shaped ferrule to easily draw on cream or liquid liner, such as the Sephora Collection Pro Bent Liner Brush ($17,

Eyeshadow brush
Gomez-Duplessis suggests opting for one that mimics a fingertip for precise shadow application on the lower lid and into the crease. Her pick is by Bobbi Brown ($32,

Contour and bronzer brush 
A flat and versatile, kabuki-inspired design easily sweeps on allover cheek color. When tilted down at an angle, these brushes, such as the Tarte Swirl Power Contour & Bronzer Brush ($34,, sculpt and slim the contours of the face.

Eyebrow brush
A dual-sided brush is the essential tool for precise application of brow products. Like many makeup artists, Gomez-Duplessis swears by the Anastasia Beverly Hills Duo Brush #12 ($18,

Finishing Powder Brush
For a near-flawless, airbrushed finish, look for a long-bristled handled brush, like the Bésame Cosmetics Boudoir Long Hair Finishing Powder Brush ($50,

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