21 pro-approved make-up brushes to keep in your kit

Ever wondered which make-up brushes you really need? We tapped Nina Park, who works with Bella Hadid and Olivia Palermo; editorial make-up artist Christopher Ardoff; Robert Sesneck, who counts Kendall Jenner and Adriana Lima as clients; Nick Barose, who has worked on future royal Meghan Markle, Lupita Nyong’o, and Priyanka Chopra; Elaine Offers, the woman behind Dakota Johnson and Julianne Moore’s flawless looks; and Julianne Kaye, the make-up artist to Dove Cameron and Karimah Westbrook for expert-approved recommendations. Read on for 21 make-up brushes the pros really use.

Tom Ford Eye Shadow Blend Brush 13

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“The bristles are soft enough to blend a wash of color but have [the] density to pack on pigment,” Park says. “The slightly tapered shape distributes shadow evenly, hugging perfectly along the crease.”

Tom Ford Eye Shadow Blend Brush 13, Rs, 3,670, nordstrom.com



Shu Uemura Kolinsky Brush 5R

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Park uses this versatile brush everything: powders, concealers for spot treatment, liquid eyeshadows, to blend out eyeliners. “It works wonders for blending out and depositing pigment.”

Shu Uemura Kolinsky Brush 5R, Rs, 6,117 , shuuemura-usa.com


Laura Mercier Flat Eye Liner Brush

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Park recommends this brush for tight-lining with cream, gel, or cake liner. “It’s perfect for stippling on products as close to the lash line as possible,” she says. It also does double-duty to create “sharp edges around the mouth for a clean, perfect lipstick pout.”

Laura Mercier Flat Eye Liner Brush, Rs, 1,674, sephora.com


Morphe M310 Large Soft Fan


Park uses “this brush to dust off any excess powder” and to “strategically place [a] pop of color at the apples of the cheek.” The natural “goat bristles are perfect to create a diffused, natural-looking highlight along the top of the cheekbones, bridge of [the] nose, and collarbone.”

Morphe M310 Large Soft Fan, Rs, 321, ulta.com


Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush 02

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Sesneck uses this natural hair brush “to buff any type of foundation [… to] flawlessly blend into a seamless finish.” If the hefty price tag is cause for concern, consider his tip: “If you wash and care for your brushes, they will last a lifetime.”

Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush 02, Rs, 4,700, nordstrom.com


Bobbi Brown Concealer Brush

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For the lips, Sesneck uses Bobbi Brown’s concealer brush: “I think it’s the perfect size and its synthetic bristles make for crisp red lips.”

Bobbi Brown Concealer Brush, Rs, 2,189, sephora.com


Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush

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He calls this brush a “must have” because it “can be used for powder, contour and blush- great for multitasking!”

Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush, Rs, 3,154, charlottetilbury.com


BareMinerals Full Flawless Face Brush

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“This one is great for loose and pressed powder applications,” says Ardoff. On set, he uses it for touch-ups because, “it fans out products evenly and flawlessly.”

BareMinerals Full Flawless Face Brush, Rs, 1,545, nordstrom.com


Nars Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

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“It is great for blending and diffusing color around the eyes and cheeks,” Ardoff says.

Nars Yachiyo Kabuki Brush, Rs, 3,541, sephora.com


Sigma Beauty E25 Blending Brush

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“This brush is great for blending in the crease or socket of the eye,” Ardoff says. It “helps to distribute product densely and evenly” and is “great for softening and blending in areas where you would require a smaller brush.”

Sigma Beauty E25 Blending Brush, Rs, 1030, amazon.com


Sigma Beauty Sigma E30 Pencil Brush

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Ardoff uses this brush “for buffing and softening either cream or pencil eyeliner” and “for applying shadow on top” of liner for an even bolder look.

Sigma Beauty Sigma E30 Pencil Brush, Rs, 902, nordstrom.com


Sonia Kashuk Kashuk Tools Domed Blusher Brush No 29

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“The domed bristles are a perfect shape and you get maximum application when applying blush to the apples of the cheeks,” Ardoff says.

Sonia Kashuk Kashuk Tools Domed Blusher Brush No 29, Rs, 1,159, target.com


Artis Brush Elite Smoke Oval 6

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This “brush is tapered, dense and is excellent for blending” and “for applying foundation wet or dry.” Ardoff suggests using this for blush and contouring as well.

Artis Brush Elite Smoke Oval 6, Rs, 3,670, net-a-porter.com


Claudio Riaz Instant Brow Brush

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If you’re in a hurry but still want the ultimate boy brow, grab this brush. “I have literally never seen any other make-up line do a brush like this one,” says Kaye. “It’s thick and coarse so it’s able to do your eyebrows in one fell swoop.”

Claudio Riaz Instant Brow Brush, Rs, 6,116, dermstore.com


Sigma Beauty F25 Tapered Face Brush

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“I love the tapered shape of this brush,” says Kaye. “I can use it for highlighting, setting powder, under the eyes, and contouring.”

Sigma Beauty F25 Tapered Face Brush, Rs, 2,189, nordstrom.com


Make Up Forever Small Paint Brush

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The perfect paint brush for contouring. “I like to use this brush with a darker shade to find the hollows of the cheeks and carve out the jawline,” says Kaye.

Make Up Forever 408 Small Paint Brush, Rs, 2,511, sephora.com


Chanel Angled Lip Brush

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This is the only lip brush Nick Barose will use. “It cuts in an angle so it makes the shape easy to fit any hard to reach areas of the lips,” explains Barose. “It helps me to be precise without doing too much of the work. “

Chanel Pinceau Levres Biseaute Angled Lip Brush, Rs, 2,253, harrods.com


Artis Brush Elite Smoke Oval 8

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This foundation brush is a favorite of both make-up artists and their clients. “This is hands down my favorite brush for applying foundation,” says Kaye. “I have never had a client not ask me about this brush because it just buffs in the make-up so flawlessly and feels dreamy on the client’s skin.”

Artis Oval 8 Brush, Rs, 4,313, anthropologie.com


M.A.C. Small Angle Brush

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“I use this for filling in brows and lining eyes because it has the right small shape and angle to easily line,” says Barose. “The bristles are perfect for both cream and powder formulas.”

M.A.C. 263 Small Angle Brush, 1,287, maccosmetics.com


Lancome Dual-Ended Cheek & Contour Brush

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If you’re looking for one brush to do it all, this might be it. “This dual, multi-purpose brush is great for blush, bronzer, defining contour,” says Barose. “It’s one of my kit’s favorites.”

Lancome Dual-Ended Cheek & Contour Brush, Rs, 2,575, ulta.com


Hakuhodo 10 Piece Brush Set

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Hakuhodo offers the ultimate set of brushes. The bristles are exquisitely cut to give an artist complete control over the makeup application process. “My favorite brushes are by Hakuhodo,” says Offer. “An extremely talented make-up artist named Vivian Baker told me about them 10 years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since.”

Hakuhodo 10 Piece Brush Set, Rs, 21,505, hakuhodo.com



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