Forget ‘it’ bags; makeup brushes are the real status symbol. Check out Kevyn Aucoin’s Essential Brush Set (and the eye-popping price) and you’ll get my drift. I remember the days when makeup application consisted of a flimsy flat circular or wedge sponge (or my clumsy fingers) – none sadly were up to the job. Not all of us can invest in the best i.e. expensive makeup tools, but frankly that doesn’t matter nowadays. Budget brushes are doing a pretty good job of picking up product and buffing up a beautiful base. So bin those awful free brushes that come with your palettes and start wielding some proper tools. No excuses.

beauty brushes

Mac 217 Blending Brush

Talk to a makeup pro or watch a YouTube beauty tutorial and nine times out of ten they’ll reach for a MAC 217 – the mother of all eyeshadow brushes. This fluffy-topped wonder is a magical wand for creating intense colour, packing on pigments and gliding it seamlessly into the crease for added depth. What’s better than a MAC 217? Two apparently – one to apply colour, the other to blend. Go knock yourselves out.

Real Techniques Stippling Brush

A tough one, but I’ve chosen the Stippling Brush over the much-loved Buffing Brush in the Real Techniques range. Controversial, I know. Like many beauty experts, I’ve made room in my crammed brush collection for these extremely affordable tools. The duo fibre head, which uses synthetic taklon bristles (100% cruelty free), does the job when I’m after a lightweight but smooth finish and, unlike some cheap brushes, it doesn’t shed or scratch.

Louise Young LY34 Super Foundation Brush

Louise Young brushes sit mid-range in price but they’re top-of-the-range when it comes to quality – and the Super Foundation Brush is the hero. The gorgeous softness and density means it’s hard not to want to curl up and sleep with it. The weighty handle provides excellent control while the large rounded head swirls foundation on with aplomb. It’s big, which can put some people off, but it makes short work of my small face.

Japonesque Retractable Lip Brush

Having recently forayed into the world of lipsticks and powders, Japonesque brushes are already found stacking the pots of countless makeup junkies thanks to their wonderfully dense fibres and ability to live on and on. The Powder Brush is a classic but the Retractable Lip Brush stands out for drawing precision-perfect pouts. Fine synthetic hairs – which are easy to clean – paint on colour right into the crevices and fill out lines. Lip-smackingly good.

Nars Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

Cheekbones at the ready! With its elegant black hand-spun wisteria handle and domed top, Nars’ Yachiyo Kabuki Brush will have you at hello. Made with goat hair, the brush is like a vacuum for powders and allows you to blend effortlessly without a streak in sight. Make this one part of your brush collection – even if it’s just to display it on your dresser and stare at it all day…