What Are Your 5 Favorite Makeup Brushes Right Now?

Published in: Just For Fun, Makeup Tools

Happy Tuesday, beautiful brush lover. 🙂 What are your five favorite makeup brushes right meow? Here are mine…

1. NARS #42 Blending Brush

NARS #42 Blending Eyeshadow Brush
Last year NARS completely revamped their brush line, and this brush, the NARS #42, is already one my favorite brushes of all time. I love it even more than my beloved MAC 224 (I KNOW!)…


I mean, I still love the 224 (both brushes have similarly shaped heads), but the 42’s bristles are wider and fuller, and I think it actually is better at diffusing and blending color, especially in the crease.

It’s my go-to brush for blending transition colors together, and if I ever reach for it and find that it’s dirty because I forgot to clean it, I freak out a little…

OK, I freak out A LOT. Available now for $32 at NARS counters and online.

2. NARS #47 Angled Eyeliner Brush

NARS #47 Angled Eyeliner Brush
I don’t think I could, or at least would want to, line my eyes with anything other than this brush. The NARS #47 draws crisp, precise edges and defined cat eye flicks like an architect draws plans, and it deftly handles lines of varying width, from thin to thick to semi-skinny — whatev.

You get supreme control over whatever product you’re using it with, and it also diffuses pencil, gel and eye powders perfectly. Works great as a brow filler, too. Available now for $28 at NARS counters and online.

3. Laura Mercier Pony Tail Brush

Laura Mercier Pony Tail Brush
I am trying very hard to write about this brush without quoting that Ginuwine Pony song right now.

It’s so hard, though!

Ride it, my pony…

Anyways, Laura’s Pony Tail Brush is another fantastic transition shade/crease tool. Like the NARS #42, which has a slightly shorter brush head and a less tapered tip, it’s fluffy and full, so any powders you’re scooting around with it in your crease or on your lids blend together beautifully.

I like Laura’s version better for applying transition colors in the lower part of the crease, and I also use it all the time for buffing out under-eye concealer because the tapered tip allows me to really get into those hard-to-reach areas in the inner corners and lower lash line. Available now for $29 at Laura Mercier counters and online.

4. Sephora Pro Angled Shadow Brush #13

Sephora Pro Angled Shadow Brush #13
On one hand, I feel like I really need to stop stress-shopping at Sephora…but on the other I’m like, “How else would I find gems like the Pro Angled Shadow Brush?”

Dude! What a great stress-shopping find. It’s so easy to perfectly place shadow into the outer corners and lower crease thanks to this brush’s angled shape. At the same time, it doesn’t lay down so much product that I end up having to spend forever and a day buffing. Available now for $20 at Sephora and online.

5. Sonia Kashuk Lash & Brow Comb

Sonia Kashuk Lash & Brow Comb
For me, the largest measure of success for this brow/lash comb combo is the fact that I have yet to poke my eye out with it.

Knocks on wood! 🙂

Seriously, though, this collapsable contraption is great. It’s kinda like a pocketknife, which makes it nice and portable, but most importantly it gets the job done right. Plus, it costs less than a fancy cup of coffee. Available now for $4.99 at Target and online.

How about you, babe? What are your five favorite makeup brushes right meow?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 30 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Estefania says:

    I’m sure if this post is about just eye brushes, but heeey.

    1. MAC 217.
    No one should EVER be without a 217. I feel like it should be the first thing they throw in your standard-issue bomb survival pack (still reeling from re-watching Mockingjay with the boyfriend). It blends eyeshadow, concealer, highlighter, even lipstick! I love this thing.

    2. MAC 239.
    I used to think this brush was totally overrated, but I’ve fallen in love with it. Nothing packs on color better than my 239!

    3. Real Techniques Contour brush.
    The small dome-shaped one with an orange handle. I actually use it to apply highlighter or blend out my concealer, but it also works amazingly on contour color.

    4. MAC 168.

    5. Real Techniques Duo Fibre Face Brush.
    My current favorite for all-over powder. It’s super soft, pretty, and applies my Studio Fix Powder lightly, so I avoid looking overdone!

    Happy Tuesday, Karen!

  2. MonicaP says:

    I agree with Estafania, Mac 217 is a must have! I also like Mac 109 contour brush.

    MonicaP recently posted … Easy Spirit Pedrina Heeled Booties

  3. Trisha says:

    This might be an unpopular choice, but e.l.f. brushes are always tops to me. Specifically the eye shadow brush and blending brush. They’re so good, and only a dollar.

    I’m also really liking the Laura Mercier Pony Tail Brush. That’s one you can’t really find a lot of dupes for.
    Trisha recently posted … Enter to Win the Pixi Beauty Giveaway!

  4. tirurit says:

    This type of post is so not fair! I am in love with my Wayne Goss brush collection and my Laura Mercier Travel brush kit.

    However, if I were forced to choose, I would say Wayne Goss Holiday Brush, Wayne Goss brushes 03 and 06, Laura Mercier Smudge and Crease brushes and Kanebo cheek brush (I am cheating that is six brushes!)
    tirurit recently posted … Spotlight on: Chanel Les Beiges

    • Sun says:

      I love Wayne Goss brushes, too! I have 2, 6, 8, 11, and 14. Have you tried Chikuhodo? The Z-10 is the softest pencil brush, ever, softer than Wayne Goss’s #20, which felt a bit poke-y.

      • tirurit says:

        To be honest Wayne Goss brushes have been my first jump onto the truly nice handcrafted brushes, and I couldn’t be happier!

        But I would be lying if I said that I have not been eyeing the z series!
        tirurit recently posted … Bazaar findings

  5. Debra says:

    I’m liking the look of that NARS #47 angled eyeliner brush. My Sephora Professional one is looking old and tired! I use it to apply powdered stuff — but the MAC 231 is my favorite for applying eyeshadow along the lower eyelid.

    For gel eyeliner along/into the top lashes, I use a Sonia Kashuk 105 – a smaller version of MAC 231. It gets the product right into the lash line. I can also smudge it out with the same brush. I use it so much I need to get another one soon.

    I have a Sonia Kashuk Tools No. 26 wedge angled shadow brush that is great for outer lid shadow application.

    Bobbi Brown Eye Sweep and Angled Shadow brushes are also among my favorites.

    That Sephora Pro Angled #13 is calling me!

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Debra for the information on the Sonia Kashuk Tools No 26, I’ve not tried this brush yet. I have used several Angled eyeliner brushes (MAC and Laura Geller). I like the Laura Geller one but it is a bit too thick, so I’ll look into this one.

  6. RM says:

    Hi Karen, do the metal bristles in the sonia kashuk lash comb fall out? I have been using the similar tweezerman version and individual metal bristles eventually fall out. So annoying.

    a few of my faves are

    crown ss021 deluxe blending fluff – this is my perfect crease brush
    crown c433 pro blending fluff
    sephora collection smoky liner brush 24 – mine is the older silver version

  7. Joan B. in S. C. says:

    This post came just in time. For January birthdays, Ulta is giving you an eye shadow palette. I’m determined to use this! so I need to get a couple of brushes. The Sephora Pro Angled #13 looks good to me. Thanks for the info.

  8. Deanna says:

    Oh, wow! Your 224 has been dethroned? Now I really MUST try the NARS 42 brush.

    My top 5 brushes are:

    1) MAC 224. I’ve tried other blending brushes, including brushes that were more expensive, but this is the brush I reach for whenever I’m blending shadow in my crease.

    2) MAC 168. I have to agree with another reader’s comment who touted this brush as the best blush brush ever. I’ve tried others, but this one picks up just the right amount of blush every. single. time.

    3) Hourglass #1 Powder Brush: Is there a softer brush in existence? I think not. A lot of makeup brushes feel rough on my face, but this one never does. It also applies setting powder like a dream.

    4) NARS Ita brush: So far, this is my favorite brush for contouring. Although, the brush is quite stiff, and it feels scratchy against the skin. I tough it out, though, because this brush is boss.

    5) MAC 239 shadow brush: I love this brush for applying shadow and pigments all over my eye lid. I seriously need to buy several of these, because I pout every time mine is dirty.

  9. Tulipthecat says:

    This is kind of hard. But I will go with the following 5 brushes:

    1) My Makeup Geek face buffer brush for foundation
    2) I have a fluffy Benefit brush for powders
    3) My ELF blush brush for blush and contour
    4) My Sigma winged liner brush for gel liner
    5) My Anastasia brow spoolie/ brush

  10. Divya says:

    I don’t have 5 favorites but yes MAC 217, and Real Techniques Multi Task are my jam right now! 🙂
    Divya recently posted … Oh! The Places I’ll Go!

  11. I have a confession to make:

    I actually don’t own an elaborate brush collection. Shocking, I know! When I first started getting into makeup, I bought a Zoeva Holiday kit and have been using it ever since.
    Which means, the quality isn’t too bad. But overall, these brushes are just okay, nothing to rave about, so I´ll pass on this question.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Favorite Face of December

  12. Brianna says:

    I could go on and on about the MAC 159 brush. It. is. all. I. need.

    I can do my whole face (& my customers faces) ALL USING THIS BRUSH! Eyes excluded. But forreal, I can blend foundation flawlessly then brush it off on a towel real quick before blending concealer under the eyes (it is a flat duo-fibre brush so the flat longer tip allows it to get right to the lash line!) then turn around and blend my contour /blush. I am obsessed!

  13. Komal says:

    Nice review karen. I’m loving the NARS #47 Angled Eyeliner Brush.

    Here goes my list of 5 favourite brushes at the moment:

    1. MAC 217- So agree with Estefania above. MAC 217 is the most versatile brush I have ever used. I use it for my crease, highlighting, blending eyeshadows and applying my under eye concealer. BEST brush ever!

    2. Real Techniques Buffing Brush- I use it to apply my L’oreal true match foundation. LOVE the result!

    3. MAC 219- Use it for smudging my eye pencil.

    4.The Body Shop Nature’s Minerals Kabuki Brush- very underrated brush and one of my favourite ones. I use it to apply my MAC studio fix powder. Its densly packed bristles give flawless results everytime. Plus its so easy to carry in your handbag.

    5. The Real Techniques Contour Brush- Works great for applying my blush and because of its small head, doubles up as a contour brush too.
    Komal recently posted … Forest Essentials Velvet Silk Body Cream Vitamin E Review

  14. CatG says:

    1) It Cosmetics All Over Powder Brush #211. It’s just so beautiful, soft and effective.

    2) Ecotools Large Powder Brush. I use this brush when I’m wearing mineral foundation, it’s lasted me years without any shedding and still applies my loose foundation smoothly. It’s still soft as ever too!

    3) Sigma E45. This is my favorite for applying the darkest of colors into my outer crease / v area. I use it for both applying the color and blending it out a bit.

    4) Coastal Scents Pro Blending Fluff Brush. My favorite blending brush so I have a bunch of these.

    5) Ecotools Tapered Brush blush. This is my first tapered blush brush and I’m crazy about it because it’s not too large for my face but still works well for sweeping blush upwards from my apples of my cheeks. Super soft too!

  15. Erin says:

    I love all my RT brushes. My Sonia Kashuk flat top brush is a good multitasker. I don’t own it yet but I’m planning on getting a Chanel Duo Fiber brush.
    Erin recently posted … Best Makeup Products of 2014

  16. Kwmechelle says:

    Great question! I have a Sephora #15 flat angled brush but if it ever dies, then that NARS #47 is coming home with me 🙂

    1. MAC 217- I have THREE of them- ’nuff said ☺️
    2. MAC #252- again, I have TWO of these! Luv patting on color with this brush.
    3. MAC #212- This brush! Can’t live without this brush for lining concealer under my brows when I sculpt them.
    4. Sephora #15- love how this brush lets me line my top lash line. Leaves no spaces in between the gel & my lash line.
    5. Sonia Kashuk brow/lash comb you referenced above. Again, I have TWO of these. One for my purse & one for my vanity. To answer one of the followers above, I’ve never experienced the metal “bristles” falling out.

    Of course, I have other favorites and this was a great (but hard) makeup quiz. ☺️

  17. Alison M says:

    1) The NARS #40 is amazing with their eyeshadows.
    2) Real Techniques Blush Brush for my winter bronzer…you know, that really light one we all have that puts just enough color on our skin to look healthy again.
    3) NARS Yachiyo. Highlight those cheekbones!
    4) OCC Powder Brush. Don’t be intimidated by its size. That beast hugs all the right curves.
    5) Senna Cosmetics Brow Pro #40 = best angled brow brush ever.
    Alison M recently posted … Cover FX Natural Finish Oil Free Foundation Review, Swatches, and Demo

  18. Susan says:

    Despite an ever-expanding collection of brushes, I find myself grabbing the same old faves out of habit. They are:

    1. Sonia Kashuk Small Eyeshadow Brush (black handle). Should’ve bought a backup. This gets used every day, sometimes twice a day.
    2. Laura Mercier All Over Eye Colour Brush, a busy girl’s best friend. One sweep and you’re done.
    3. Studio Gear #35 (crease/contour brush). A true workhorse. It takes a beating, washes like a dream and holds its shape. Love it.
    4. Sonia Kashuk Angled Blush Brush (black handle). Good for blush, good for bronzer, good for contour, and the tip can be used to sweep on highlighter.
    5. A tie (can I do that?) between Japonesque #340 Professional Angled Eyeliner Brush (a precision instrument) and Real Techniques Expert Face Brush (or, as I like to call her, Buffy the Imperfection Slayer). 🙂

  19. Sun says:

    In the last few years, I have discovered handmade Japanese brushes: Hakuhodo, Chikuhodo, Wayne Goss, and it’s impossible to go back to anything else. Geez, it was hard narrowing it down to my top five, but here goes:

    1) Chikuhodo Z-10: the softest pencil eye brush, EVER! This brush was a revelation and made me realize that I had been putting up with coarse, scratchy eye brushes for years. Absolutely no scratchiness or coarseness., even when using it to smudge eyeliner.

    2) Chikuhodo Z-3: this looks like a tiny flat-top buffing brush, but what it’s brilliant for is applying contour. Applies and blends contour brilliantly. You can also use it to buff out under eye concealer.

    3) Wayne Goss #14: I find this brush indispensable for applying blusher, particularly highly-pigmented blusher. It’s not a dense brush so it picks up the perfect amount of product, and the small size makes precise placement easy. Super super silky all-natural hair.

    4) Wayne Goss #11: This is my all-purpose face brush. It works well for applying finishing powder, but is so soft that it doesn’t disturb anything underneath.

    5) Wayne Goss #6: This is a dupe of MAC’s 217, except it’s WAY softer than the 217. I know because I have both; the 217 feels downright scratchy in comparison.

    Honorable mention:

    Chikuhodo Passion Series Powder Brush: my daughters got this for me for Christmas and I LOVE IT! I didn’t want to spend the $$$ for the Z series powder brush and the Passion series is Chikuhodo’s “budget” line, but the brush is still super soft.

    Karen, I know that you also live in the Bay Area, and I highly recommend that you make an appointment with Beautylish in SF (their office is just off Union Square) and check out their available makeup brush lines. They carry Chikuhodo, Wayne Goss, Kevyn Aucoin, Charlotte Tilbury, Billy B, and more. All I can say is that it was a revelation for me to be able to sit down and feel and touch these brushes first-hand, run them over my hand and the inside of my wrist. Some of the brushes felt downright coarse. And Beautylish’s customer service is outstanding. (No, I don’t work there, and this is in no way sponsored.)

  20. fancie says:

    I need some NARS brushes in my life! Lol had to get that off my chest. My 5 fave brushes are:

    1. ELF Studio Powder Brush – I have multiples of this brush I love it so much! It applies and blends foundation and powders so well

    2. MAC 159 – All around awesome cheek brush. I like to use it for highlighting and applying blush

    3. Sephora Pro Concealer Brush – Probably the most dense and best concealer brush ever. It blends liquids and creams like a champ

    4. ELF Studio Small Stipple Brush – My favorite brush for contouring. The tiny brush head is great for my small face

    5. Sedona Lace EB13 Brush – This is actually an eyeshadow brush but I prefer to use it for concealer. It’s like a smaller, less fluffy version of my Sephora concealer brush so it’s great for contouring the nose
    fancie recently posted … Get that Gorgeous Glow with Physicians Formula Bronze Booster

  21. Loving ur favorites list.. 0other tan NArs I am really looking forward to Sephora pro blending brush and sonia kashuk eye brow brush they look like a must have..

    My favorites include Sigma Eye makeup brushes..eyeshadow blending, angled liner, tapered ones 🙂
    Poo@beautyandmakeupmatters recently posted … Doubts Discussion: Skin Care Routine for Teenage Girl

  22. Fran says:

    Only five favorites? Oh, dear! I *love* brushes, and am in the process of trying to switch to all cruelty-free brushes, so I’ve got quite an assortment at the moment. But some stars are:

    The Hourglass foundation/blush brush No. 2. I use it to apply and blend blush/bronzer, and it blends absolutely beautifully without disturbing any products underneath. Since I have rosacea, I’m a fanatic about subtle and well-blended blush, and this does the blending job better than anything. And did I mention that this brush is the softest I’ve ever felt? Very pricey, but worth it.

    For applying an intensely pigmented blush, my Wayne Goss #14 brush is perfection. Wayne says that these goat-hair brushes are cruelty-free, and it should be possible to make brushes from goat hair while being kind to the goats, and I believe Wayne. His brushes are also priced very reasonably for hand-made Japanese brushes.

    The Hourglass No. 3 all-over shadow brush is a fantastic laydown brush, but it’s a bit too large to get into the inner corner of my eye accurately. To my surprise, the IT Brushes for ULTA ‘live beautifully’ No. 220 small shadow brush works like a dream for this. It doesn’t look like it should, but a MUA at my local ULTA raved about it until I tried it, and I’m so glad I did. It beats my MAC 239 at laying down intense color, hands down.

    The best brush I’ve ever found for tightlining comes from the Make Up For Ever travel brush set. The angled liner brush from that set is the perfect combination of softness and firmness for lining in that sensitive area under the lashes accurately and without any irritation. I love the other brushes in the set, too, and plan on buying more brushes from the brand.

    For last place, two brushes that ride in my bag and get daily use for touch-ups are the MAC Masterclass Oval 3 brush, which instantly banishes any eyeshadow that’s fallen under my eye or face products that have started to collect in my no-longer-so-fine lines, and the IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe retractable Dual Airbrush Concealer #2 — I use the flat end to touch up foundation after blowing my nose while walking in cold weather, and the fluffy end to set that with powder, then re-cap it and go.

    I guess that’s seven brushes, but I wanted to give a shout-out to some of the great cruelty-free options I’ve found. Hourglass, MUFE, Wayne Goss, IT Cosmetics and IT for ULTA (I like the ‘live beautifully’ line the best) all make some great brushes, and I hope they continue to make more. It’s nice to see other brands like MAC coming out with cruelty-free options, too.

  23. IRockFaces says:

    Top 5 brushes is pretty easy. Here goes:

    1. Marc Jacobs Face II brush: This brush blends out any cream products on the face like a dream. Flawless foundation, concealer, and anything else finish every. single. time. lol Like for real.

    2. Mac 168 brush: Perfect brush for powders, blush, and even bronzer. Best part is it gets even softer after every wash and it never sheds. Cray cray good.

    3. Real Techniques blush brush: I loooove that brush for soft powder application and blush if I’m in a pinch. And the price? Can’t beat it.

    4. Hourglass Blending Brush: It is the softest eye brush I own and it does errrything.
    I seriously don’t even need another eye brush b/c this is a one stop shop.

    5. Anastasia #18 Brow Brush: It’s awesomeness in a brush. Makes eyebrows take two minutes or less from start to finish and it gets it right every single time. It’s a must have.

  24. astou says:

    1.The TARTE Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush.
    I love big brushes and that one is Just amazing !!!
    Absolutly flawless : perfect combo with the YSL teint éclat,

    2.The COZZETTE P340 foundation brush for a full coverage,

    3.The MAC 197,
    4.The MUFE 122 great for the powder or blush,
    5.The MUFE kabuki 110 perfect for foundation.

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