If I had to rank my makeup brushes in order of importance, here’s how I’d rank them:
After upgrading some of my makeup brushes this year, I’m sharing my most used ones and how they’ve performed:
Foundation: Koyudo Fu-Pa Series FU-PA03
With synthetic fibres that are densely packed into the ferrule (area holding the bristles) creating a flat-top, this brush makes laying down cream and liquid foundation an easy feat. It can also be used for mineral foundation but that’s not something I’ve tried it with. I tend to pump out my foundation onto the back of my hand then pick up what’s needed with the brush then rotate it into my skin.
This brush feels very comfortable in the hand and it fits perfectly with my middle finger, index finger and thumb when applying foundation. The length of the entire brush is about 4.1 inches, so it’s a breeze to go over my skin and spread the foundation over where it’s needed. Most importantly is that it leaves a streak-free finish, feels soft against the skin and is non-irritating.
Concealer: Hakuhodo I 6451 and Mikasa E220
I’ve tried so many concealer brushes over the years and have narrowed it down to one main one, the Hakuhodo I6451 which is an odd choice as it’s listed as an eyeshadow brush. But hear me out, I like to gently tap and buff my concealer into the somewhat triangular area beneath the inner corner of my eyes. From there I lightly tap over the rest of the area with whatever is left on my brush. This method is so easy to pull off because the synthetic bristles are angled and tightly packed together yet feel comfortable on that thin-skinned area.
I also use it to apply concealer at the sides of my nose and over the lines at the sides of my mouth.
On this brush, the ferrule is made from nickel-plated brass while the handle is made from wood. Measuring 5.8 inches in length, this also feels very good in the hand and makes application easier.
On the flip side is my Mikasa E220 brush that I use for concealing the outer corners of my eyes and the lower quarter of my orbital bone; the area right where you feel the bone beneath the softness of the undereye. Plus, on the off day I have to conceal a little spot, the Mikasa brush is brilliant for that. It’s also made from synthetic fibres that are packed in a dome shape and it comes in under the 20 dollar mark.
Powder: Chikuhodo GSN-2
I’ve collected a few powder brushes over the years and the Chikuhodo GSN-2 really made me recognise that choosing a powder brush should be given as much thought as choosing a foundation brush. This one has goat hair bristles that are densely packed into a subtle dome shape. Picking up loose powder is a breeze with this and it also works well with pressed powders especially those that are hard-packed into their compacts. With a good in-the-hand feel, I really rate this brush highly for its durability and for how it helps the powder to go on.
Blush: Chikuhodo Takumi Series T2
This is the softest brush I have owned, ever. I love it, I love how soft it is, how it feels on my skin, how easily it makes sweeping on blush. Made from undyed goat hair that’s been packed into the ferrule at an angle and supported by a sturdy handle, this brush is an excellent investment.
The undyed goat hair has since taken on the colour of my blushes but that comes out easily once it’s been washed. While the hairs are densely packed, the brush has maximum flexibility so it glides over skin and helps the final look of my blush to be more diffused or skin like which I mostly prefer for everyday looks.
Bronzer: Koyudo BP Series BPO26
For bronzer, I’ve always prefered a smaller head brush. While the Koyudo BPO26 is listed as a highlighter brush, I love that I can be very specific in where I’m placing bronzer because of its smaller size. Prior to this I was using Charlotte Tilbury’s powder and sculpt brush, with that one being more stiff and scratchy, but I still use it from time to time.
This Koyudo’s bristles are also made from goat hair and feels much nicer than the CT brush. Also, as this is angled, I feel my bronzer application is far more precise and it does a better job of blending in product.
Highlighter: Sonia G Sculpt Three
Initially, I bought this brush for bronzer but ultimately I felt it was a bit too soft for that purpose. It took me a while to come around to liking this brush and even now, after having it for a while I couldn’t say that I’m madly in love with it. It’s goat hair and the maple wood handle boasts four coats of lacquer for a shiny finish that feels good in the hand and looks nice too.
While it does a decent job in applying highlighter, I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for something more effective in the future or maybe you can offer up suggestions in the comments?
Brows: Rae Morris Brow Definer
It only took more than three decades for me to realise brow powders are better for me than brow pencils. You’ll see the last brow pencil I used up completely in my next empties post but brow powder is the future and that requires a precise brush. Enter Rae Morris Brow Definer, a sleek little brush with the subtlest angle for precise application.
With synthetic fibres and a handle crafted from hard maple wood, this has been picking up my brow powder easily. I can also wet the bristles if I want a more intense look but otherwise, it creates a natural-looking brow. The brow powder I’m currently using is a generic online find and while I like it, I’m also open to any suggestions.
It’s so possible to lose control with buying makeup brushes especially because there are so many of them around now in a variety of shapes and sizes plus plenty of psychedelic colours and unexpected shapes. So many look like a total gimmick but one can’t entirely fault the game I suppose. After foundation, if ever there’s a place to channel your money for a better makeup finish, let it be on your brushes and I hope this helps.