My Favorite Brushes – Face Edition

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Favorite Brushes - Face

Hi all! First, a quick note about the blog – I’ve been unusually swamped at work, which means less time for posting. I do apologize for scarcity of posts lately – hopefully everything will be back to normal soon!

Today, I’m going to talk about my favorite face brushes (favorite eyes, brows, and lip brushes are here). I think of my face brushes as being in two separate categories – brushes for powders, and brushes for creams.  For powder products, I generally prefer natural hair, as I feel like it picks up product better and distributes it more easily. For cream products, I prefer synthetic hairs, as they’re easier to clean (yet still soft).

Let’s start with the brushes I use for powder products. My favorite face brushes are my squirrel hair brushes – they’re so soft that they are just a pleasure to use.

Brushes - squirrel

Top down:
Hakuhodo K020 // Suqqu Cheek // Wayne Goss 02 // Hakuhodo Kokutan Eyeshadow L

The Suqqu cheek brush has achieved cult status, and this is one product I believe does live up to the hype.  It is insanely soft and quite airy, and thus is ideal for very pigmented blush.  I also use it for moderately pigmented blush, but do be aware that it takes a little longer to build up color with this brush, though you save time since it applies with blended out edges. This is also an excellent brush for powder or bronzer.

Given the price of the Suqqu cheek, my recommendation for those looking for a soft, squirrel hair brush would actually be the Hakuhodo K020. It’s a totally different shape than the Suqqu, but also excels at applying highly pigmented blush.

Next, we have the Wayne Goss 02 brush.  The shape of this tapered brush doesn’t work well for blush for me, but I love it for contouring, highlighting, and setting the undereye area with powder. Highly recommended for those purposes! It’s also very reasonably priced for the quality and hair type.

Another favorite squirrel hair brush is the Hakuhodo Eyeshadow Brush L. This is billed as an eyeshadow brush, but is too large for me to use in the eye area – I purchased it intending to use it as a face brush. It’s quite dense, so it’s great for less pigmented products – lately I’ve been using it with NYX Taupe to contour.

Hakuhodo J110

Hakuhodo J110 (dirty, sorry!)

Rounding out the natural hair favorites is Hakuhodo J110 Blush Brush, which I find too large for blush, but perfect for setting powder.  I do find the hair just a touch less soft than I prefer for the face – it’s not exactly rough, but does occasionally irritate my skin if I buff with it.

ELF Complexion Blush brushes

Top down: ELF Complexion // ELF Blush

I also have a few synthetic brushes I use with powders.  ELF’s Studio Complexion Brush is very soft and fluffy, and great for a light dusting of power all over.  I also have a lot of love for the ELF Studio Blush Brush, which is a fantastic size and shape – I use it for power blush and occasionally for liquid highlighter.

Moving on to synthetic brushes for cream products, Real Techniques is my clear favorite brand.

Real Techniques Sponge vs BeautyBlender

Left: Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

It’s obviously not a brush, but I highly recommend the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, which I find very similar to the BeautyBlender (comparison here).

Real Techniques brushes-2

Top Down:
Contour  // Stippling  // Deluxe Crease

The Real Techniques Core Collection of face brushes contains four brushes, one of which is a favorites – the contour brush, which I use to contour with creams.  Although the other three brushes aren’t my top favorites, I do regularly use the buffing brush for foundation.

The Real Techniques Stippling Brush is my favorite cream blush brush. If I don’t use my fingers, I’m using this brush! I love it enough that I have two of them.

It’s hard for me to recommend the five-piece Real Techniques Starter Kit, because I only really use one of the brushes. However, the Deluxe Crease Brush is a truely excellent brush for applying thin, even layers of cream products – I love it for concealer and also use it for eyeshadow primer. I really want a second, but haven’t yet convinced myself to buy another kit.

What are your favorite brushes? Do you share any of my favorites?

*I purchased the product(s) featured in this post. This post contains one or more affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

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  • Hey Emi, thanks for the post! I’ve been thinking I need a new blush brush, and I’ll definitely look into the ones you recommended!

  • Such a great selection! I soo want the Suqqu Cheek Brush (have seen Lisa Eldridge raving about it too) and I’m a huge sucker for RT face brushes. Also love the Body Shop’s powder brush and Shu Uemura’s blush brush 🙂

  • Icequeen81

    want to try those sponges

  • Alley

    Have you tried the Bella Beauty sponges? You can find them at TJ Maxx and they’re an awesome dupe too, they have more of a figure 8 tear drop shape. I love them and they cost around $2.99-3.99!!

    • I haven’t seen them, but I’ll give them a try when I do – thanks for the rec!