I was doing some brush laundry yesterday and decided it was about time I did a post on my favourite face brushes when they were clean enough to photograph! Whilst there's nothing wrong with using your fingers to apply foundation, concealer, cream blushes or highlighters, I prefer to use a brush. I've tried lots of different brushes, particularly for foundation, in the past so I know what I like. I've done a good spring clean of my brush collection and I'm really happy with all of the face brushes I currently own.
Illamasqua Highlighter Brush (link)
I bought this brush because Cami raved about it several times and I have to say, I'm so glad I listened to her. I've used it for foundation, powder blush, cream blush and highlighter but I have it on her good authority that it's excellent for contouring too. It is quite small so it takes a while to apply your foundation with but the finish is worth it. I love using this with my Daniel Sandler Watercolour blush too. I've not experienced any shedding with this one.
E.L.F. Powder Brush (link)
The £3.50 wonder brush! This is the first non-traditional foundation brush I ever tried and as you can see, I've not looked back. I like this one so much that I have two. Admittedly I no longer use it for foundation but it is great if you're just starting out. I find that it provides quite heavy coverage so it's nice to use with tinted moisturisers to get a bit more coverage from them. I do actually use this as a powder brush - I expect most people who own this don't use it for that purpose! I like using this with a light finishing powder when I want my base to stay in place all day. It can get a bit cakey though, so be light handed! This brush is also great for using with a bit of MAC Fix+ to dab away excess powder. I use it to buff out the edges of my blush sometimes if I've gone a bit overboard but it's also nice to apply cream blush with (imagine a sort of stamping action followed by a lot of buffing). This is a great all rounder and if you don't already own it, you should! The only downside is that it can be a pain to clean because it's so dense.
Real Techniques Stippling Brush (link)
Since the day I bought this brush and until I picked up the Illamasqua Highlighter and Real Techniques Buffing brushes, this was the only thing I would use for foundation. At the time I was religiously using Neutrogena Healthy Skin foundation which has a thicker consistency (quite like NARS Sheer Glow). I really liked that foundation but found it was easy to overdo so this brush was perfect for that. I probably use the Buffing brush more for foundation now because it's quicker than using this one. This brush is excellent for applying cream blush, especially ones which have a drier consistency, like the Topshop cream blushes. I like that this one is sold individually, too.
Real Techniques Powder Brush (link)
I didn't have a decent powder brush so I picked this one up at the same time as the Stippling brush. It's just okay but then a large powder brush is never going to be that exciting, is it? I like using this with heavier coverage powders if I'm just using them as a setting powder. I've actually done a full review of all the Real Techniques brushes I had a while back if you want to check that out for more information about the brushes in general. This one is also sold individually.
Real Techniques Buffing Brush (link)
I reluctantly paid £21 for the Core collection just for this brush. I probably wouldn't have bothered if I hadn't already tried other Real Techniques brushes and liked them. It's really annoying that this comes in a set - I've since gotten rid of all the other Core collection brushes and I think £21 is pretty steep compared to the £12 I paid for the Stippling brush. Anyway, it's a lovely brush. I can use this with almost any foundation I own. I still prefer the Stippling brush for any of my thicker foundations, though. This gets the job done in two minutes flat which I appreciate. I've not tried using this for anything else but I'd imagine that it would work well with any cream blushes, highlighters or bronzers.
Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush (link)
See my rant about the brush sets above! This is yet another brush I paid £21 for. I rarely use any of the other brushes in the set which is unfortunate. However, this is a really nice brush to use with concealer. I find it works best with thicker concealers because it just buffs away anything which only offers light coverage. I've never tried using this as an eye brush and to be honest, I don't think I ever will as I think it would deposit far too much colour in the crease and then blend it to the point of looking muddy. I kind of wish this was called a concealer brush and that it had been included in the Core collection.
MAC 224 (link)
If I'm not using my Real Techniques Deluxe Crease brush for my concealer, I'll be using this one. I particularly like using the 224 on my under eye area with a liquid concealer as I find it blends it out beautifully without rubbing it all away. Again, I've never tried using this as an eye brush. I've not experienced any shedding with this one either and I've had it for over 18 months.
MAC 188 (link)
I use my 188 with powder highlighters, very pigmented blushes (hello, NARS Taj Mahal!) and sometimes with cream blushes. I use it most often with powder highlighters just along the tops of my cheekbones. I really like the effect and can't imagine reaching for anything else when applying those sorts of products. I realise that this is a more expensive brush but I tried Sigma's version of it and it just didn't compare in terms of softness and the way in which it applied the product. Again, I've not experienced any shedding.
MAC 168 (link)
This is my all time favourite brush for powder blushes. I pretty much use this one every day unless I'm wearing a cream blush. I know this is meant to be a contour brush but I don't do any contouring so I can't comment on how great it is for that. I just like the way I can sort of bounce this on my cheeks to deposit the colour and then blend it out. This is one of those brushes that just never lets me down. If I can't apply a blush nicely with this one, I blame the blush! Again I've not had any problems with this brush and have had it for almost two years.
I hope that was helpful to some of you and I (sort of) apologise if you've been cringing at my crazy love for brushes.