Dastardly Dilemmas: You Can Only Have One Makeup Brush for the Rest of Your Life. Which Brush Is It?

Published in: Just For Fun

Dastardly Dilemmas: You Can Only Have One Makeup Brush for the Rest of Your Life. Which Brush Is It?

Asking the tough questions…

Good grief, this one was hard! I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s bordering on cruel.

I use so many different brushes, and I can think of good reasons to use each and every one of them, too, like, could you even imagine having to do your eye makeup without an angled brush?


Well, I’m sure you can imagine it because you’ve probably done it before, but doesn’t an angled brush make it easier? I use them for so much of my eye makeup heavy lifting, like tightlining, filling in my brows and creating the little flicks at the end of my cat liner.

Straight up, without an angled brush, my makeup life would be a colder, harder, more desolate place. Picture rocky, storm-battered canyons with me huddled on an empty plateau under angry clouds shouting “WHY?!” at the sky as thunder roared and black mascara streaked down my face.

Yeah, bad place.

Buuut, since we’re doing this anyway, let’s see… 🙂

If I were forced to pare down to just one brush (GOOD LORD!), I guess it would be something versatile, like a domed blending brush. Like the MAC 217. I use mine to…

  • Apply cream shadows on my lids
  • Buff and blend out any edges
  • Sweep color into the crease
  • Dust highlighter on the tops of my cheekbones
  • Apply and blend under-eye concealer
  • Pat loose and pressed powders on my face and cheeks

And I’m sure (I’d hope) as time went on I’d discover more ways to use it and more makeup hacks, like maybe bundling a bunch of them together like sticks with a rubber band and using that as a powder or bronzing brush.

OK…I dunno about that one, LOL!

Dastardly dilemmas: You can only have one makeup brush for the rest of your life. Which brush is it?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 29 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. I’m actually surprised by this. I never really thought about it. But if I could only keep one brush… it would have to be my Sigma E55 eyeshadow brush. Sorry MAC!
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … A fierce safari look with the new Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting EyeShadow 5-Color Palette

  2. Jen says:

    My first thought after just reading the title was Mac 217! Although I didn’t think about bundling some together because I only own one and I love it 🙂

  3. Bertha says:

    Yup, MAC 217 for sure. It’s the only brush I have multiples of (2 at home, 1 at work, 1 in my bag…what?) and I use it more than any other brush. I can apply foundation, cream blush, and cream bronzer with my fingers. Blending my shadow effectively is a different story!

  4. Estefania says:

    MAC 217 for SURE. I can’t even consider any others. That is probably the only brush I would ever need. And I would totally make it into some giant army of 217’s to apply blush and powder! Haha

  5. Divya says:

    Real Techniques Contour brush! I can do a lot of things with that one! 🙂
    Divya recently posted … The Top Shelf

  6. Rachel P. says:

    Probably any fluffy crease brush, bordering on the larger side. Anything else, I could pretty much use my hands/fingers!

  7. Kwmechelle says:

    MAC 217 is what came to mind when I saw this question. In fact, it’s on my wish list to purchase another one. This brush is a total workhorse!

  8. Kelly B. says:

    I actually rarely use brushes-I always just apply everything with my fingers! I guess if I had to choose it would be a stippling brush. I have one from elf that I use to apply powders & blushes.
    Kelly B. recently posted … How I Keep My Skin Clear(er)

  9. Jordan says:

    It’s so hard to even think about! But I don’t know what I’d do without my Tarte airbrush foundation brush.

  10. Agata says:

    Geez Karen, that’s a tough question. I think I’d go with my dual UD brush from Naked 3 palette. The fluffy brush is big enough for eyeshadows and probably could apply blush and highlighter and concealer with it. And the other flat side is perfect for eyeliners.
    Agata recently posted … Fall (in Love) With Matte Makeup

  11. Ruchita says:

    Definitely a domed blending brush! I have one from Sonia Kashuk that I really like.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruchita!

      SK’s brushes are lovely for the price. Great choice! Oh, random kitty tidbit — Tabs loooooves them, too. He likes it when I pet his cheeks with them. 🙂

      I hope you and the cats are doing well! How’s the weather out there?

  12. MonicaP says:

    I’d pick a Sonia Kashuk‎ tapered blending brush because it’s slightly stiffer than a Mac 217 and could pack on color on the eyelid, blend in the crease and is stiff enough to add color to the outer V.


  13. Eleine says:

    I hear the cheaper hakuhodo 5223 (may be the wrong number) is not a dupe for the 217 (my favorite brush, I own 4), but better! The hakuhodo doesn’t cut the hairs like Mac does, so the brush is much softer but the same shape and performance. Beats out the Tom Ford “217” by a long shot.

    If I could only have one though, it’d definitely be fresh, fluffy 239’s.

  14. Kelly says:

    Definitely my kabuki brush from Sephora collection! I have pretty cooperative skin so I only use a heavy powder in my regular day to day. I couldn’t survive without that thing in my purse.

  15. Kylie says:

    Definitely my fat Tarte air brush foundation brush. I could use it for concealer, blush, bronzer, and foundation (duh). I’d try to get really adept at using my fingers for eyeshadow haha.

  16. Fancie says:

    This is totally cruel! Especially since I use gel liners lol. So wrong! I would go with my Sephora Pro Concealer Brush though. I like to use it for concealer, highlighting and contouring. So I guess if it would be pretty handy if I could only have one.
    Fancie recently posted … Milani Bedazzled Collection Haul & Swatches

  17. Kim says:

    Oh, superdee duperdee easy. Sonia Kashuk #17. It’s basically my only brush. HAHA!

  18. Trude says:

    I think I’d have to agree on a good domed crease brush. In a pinch I can apply foundation with my fingers, press on powder with a sponge, blend out eyeliner with a pointy q-tip, use cream blush, etc. But like you pointed out, a small domed brush can do so much! 🙂

  19. breyerchic04 says:

    MAC 217 is perfect, I can use pencils and cream formuaas for blush and eyeliner, plus I do my foundation with my fingers. So I only need 217! Though 224 is also kind of awesome and 239 is my dream application brush, it doesn’t blend.

  20. Katherine M says:

    This one is a no-brainer for me – a big fluffy blending brush. I am loving ones by Bare Minerals and E.L.F. right now. I can use my fingers to blend/apply eyeshadow and blush, but the big fluffy brush really puts it all together for me. It smooths out harsh lines and makes any eye makeup look more natural. I can’t believe I discovered this only a few years ago! I look back at some pics of myself and cringe at how I hadn’t quite mastered the science of “natural and blended…”

  21. Erin says:

    A fluffy eye shadow brush for sure!
    Erin recently posted … Nate Berkus Fall 2014 Collection

  22. Sylirael says:

    Hmm. If ‘my fingers’ goes without saying, then I’d probably go with s really fine, sharp (in shape not texture) eyeliner brush. That’s the one thing that’s really hard to do with fingers…

    …which I know because I only own that little one that comes with the Maybelline pot eyeliner. 😛
    Sylirael recently posted … Ooly’s Back From the Dior Vernis Frontier with Shiny Collection Swatches and A Review of #853 Massai!

  23. Icequeen81 says:

    My eyebrow brush, the rest can be done with the fingers

  24. Laarni says:

    MAC 239 for me!!!!
    Laarni recently posted … Do you wear makeup to the grocery store?

  25. I love my MAC 217s too! (I keep two of them – one for powders and one for creams).
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … Winner of L’Oreal Chocolate Personality Contest!

  26. Majick says:

    whichever one has the sharpest end so I can put it right through my heart – what’s UP with these head exploding questions? LMAO

    Thanks for everyone’s answers – I took notes. LOL

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