Adeola Gboyega, Make-Up Artist & SheerLuxe Beauty Contributor
Multi-Use Cream/Liquid/Powder Face Brush, £14 | Joy Adenuga
This brush is brilliant as it’s so multi-purpose. Use it to apply creams, liquids and powder products – it works with every single formula. The bristles feel really soft against the skin, too – you’ll find yourself just stroking the hairs around your skin.
Magnetic Brush Set 01, £28 | Ruby Hammer
A genius set of three soft synthetic brushes, which allow for application on the lips, brows and eyes. It’s a brilliant set for travel, too, and the handy magnetic lids keep the bristles clean at all times. If you only buy one brush off my list, it’s got to be this set for the ease of use.
Beauty Sponge, £5.99 | Remsco Creations
I also love beauty sponges as they allow for a more seamless application of product. They are really good if you want your make-up to look natural and breathable. I also recommend using them as a way to take down make-up if you’ve applied too much. The Remsco Creation sponges are some of the softest I’ve ever tried, which means they’re great for delicate mature skin.
Kenneth Soh, Make-Up Artist
Hybrid Cream Brush, £30.50 | Monika Blunder
Named a hybrid for good reason, this works with foundation, concealer, blusher and highlighter for a natural, finish every time. Use it in circular motions for the best effect and keep going until your formula is fully worked in. The super-soft synthetic fibres are great for all skin types, but especially those with mature, sensitive skin who are seeking something quite gentle.
Face Designing Brush, £90 | SUQQU
Chunky and easy-to-use, this multi-purpose brush can be used to apply powders, bronzers or blushers. The bristles are quite firm and dense, meaning they latch onto product well for better coverage. It serves a multitude of uses and, for good reason, is often referred to as the ‘crème de la crème’ of versatile brushes. I’ve always got one in my kit.
402 Setting Brush, £6.39 | Real Techniques
Practical and compact, this is great for on-the-go and can be used to buff in foundation and primers, but also as a setting brush for powder. The long, thin handle is incredibly lightweight so you can hold it loosely to really work everything into the skin. Extra points for the 100% cruelty-free bristles that are soft and fluffy. At just £7.99, this is a real bargain.
Mira Parmar, Make-Up Artist & Beauty Expert
Brow Brush | Westbarn & Co , £15
Brow groomers are essential in my opinion, especially if you want to give a bit of lift to more mature skin. This one from Westbarn & Co is brilliant as it’s sturdy with a firm brush head that sculpt hairs into place. Ideal to use with a wax for better hold, or simply to groom hairs into place before you apply any product on top.
25 Piece Brush Set, £160 | Spectrum X Katie Jane Hughes
These are some of the highest-quality brushes I’ve ever used with soft, fluffy bristles that make application a breeze. The Duofibre Buffing Brush is a firm favourite of mine – it blends flawlessly and leaves skin looking like skin, and never caked or overdone.
Cosmetics Veil Powder Brush, £63 | Hourglass
A finishing brush is a must for applying a touch of powder under the eye area or to any shiny zones that are prone to slip. This one from Hourglass is double-ended – one smaller end and one larger one – giving you more for your money, but also ease of application. It allows you to reach everywhere on your face with no tugging or pulling.
Mary Greenwell, A-List Make-Up Artist & Beauty Expert
Luxe Highlight Brush 105, £18.50 | Zoeva
Zoeva’s 105 Brush is brilliant for highlighting the cheekbones and high points of the face, but it also does so much more. It has delicate, feathery light bristles that never tug the skin, while the tapered head is great for precision. You can use it to blend eyeshadows out and, as it’s so soft, it’s great for a soft-focus finish, or when you want your eye make-up to look more diffused and smudged.
Bronzer Brush, £84 | Tom Ford
This is expensive, but the synthetic bristles don’t ever drop and are easy to clean. It’s just the right size and bristle length for blending bronzers and blushes – and all textures and formulations. The wide head means you can cover larger surface areas, and it’s great for accentuating cheekbones with cream or powder highlighters as well.
Ruby Hammer MBE, Make-Up Artist
Luxe Crease Brush 228, £13.50 | Zoeva
It’s important to note that effective tools and brushes aren’t age-related. However, as you get older you want better quality. For instance, when a brush is cheap and scratchy it will irritate a thinner eyelid, so you need a softer, more flexible brush, like this one from Zoeva. The 228 Luxe Crease Brush is a firm favourite of mine. It’s soft and ideal for blending out powder shadows.
Face Brush, £34 | Ruby Hammer
Gentle on the skin, the new Ruby Hammer Face Brush can be used in a variety of ways. Use it flat to apply your blusher, angled for contour, or tilted to sweep on your highlighter. It can also be used straight if you’re looking to sweep on some powder.
Spot Concealer Brush, £49 | Giorgio Armani
Less is more when it comes to concealer and this brush from Giorgio Armani is brilliant for giving you strategic placement that’s never too heavy. It’s great for blending, too, so you get a more even, smooth finish.
Zoe Taylor, Make-Up Artist & SheerLuxe Beauty Contributor
Pinceau Duo Paupières Rétractable Dual-Ended Eyeshadow Brush, £42 | Chanel
The hair on this brush is so soft and makes blending so easy, plus its dual-ended with caps to keep everything clean and hygienic. Use the smaller flatter end for applying powder and the fluffy brush to blend cream or powder shadows.
Angled Foundation Brush, £7.99 (was £9.99) | Real Techniques
This is great at buffing foundation/tinted moisturiser into the skin so that your product doesn't sit on top. The angled part is so good for getting around the nose and under your eyes, too.
0.27 My Soft Powder, £18.50 | MYKITCO
In my opinion, this is the softest brush ever created. It’s perfect for applying setting powder as it's not too big, so you can apply it where you need it without disturbing what's underneath.
Caroline Barnes, Celebrity Make-Up Artist
Although this is meant to be used for highlighting, it’s perfect for blush and contouring because it’s not too big – which means you really get your money’s worth. The slanted edge helps you achieve even results, while the soft and flexible bristles mean you never deposit too much pigment in once place.
These are brilliant to use with concealer, blush and powder, as the bristle heads are densely packed and really hold onto product. Plus, the brush doesn’t fray fast like others on the market. It’s also small and easy to use – which is key because it helps create detail and a more refined complexion.
This would be my pick if you can only afford one brush. It’s super lightweight and distributes bronzer and blusher (and most formulas for that matter) directly onto the skin with a soft, airbrushed finish. It’s a great price point and cruelty free too.