Hey guys, it's Amanda!
We recently received a request to do a post on makeup brushes. So this post is about which brushes are for what, which ones you should have, and some suggested brands. There are dozens of different kinds of brushes out there, and it can get confusing, especially if you just want the basics. Hopefully this helps.
MAC's 190 Foundation Brush is a good (although pricey) option, but if you want something less expensive, try stila's #27 foundation brush.
Another option for foundation is a stippling brush. Stippling brushes can be used to apply foundations, creams, and powders by dotting or patting them onto your face. I actually prefer them to foundation brushes, but that's just me. MAC's 130 is amazing (I use it every day), or try Ulta's Stippling Brush.
Next is the concealer brush. This is another brush you should have, and it is used for applying concealer. This is pretty basic, so there's no need to splurge on a super expensive one. Check out Revlon's Concealer Brush or even e.l.f.'s Studio Concealer Brush.
The last face brush you should know about is the blush/powder brush. There are blush brushes (for applying blush) and powder brushes (slightly larger than blush brushes and for applying powder), but they are so similar in shape and size, you may as well just buy one. If you're not sure what size to get, opt for a slightly larger one, or a powder brush, as larger brushes hug the cheeks and actually apply blush better. As usual, MAC has a good one (129 Powder/Blush Brush), and you could also try Sonia Kashuk's Powder Brush.
Now let's look at some eye brushes. First, you should have a basic eyeshadow brush, to apply eyeshadow. These come in different sizes and shapes, but you'll probably want something with slightly rounded edges and firm bristles, like MAC's 239 Eye Shader Brush or e.l.f. professional's Eye Shadow Brush.
Another good brush to have is a blending brush. Blending brushes are used to blend eyeshadows on the eye and create a softer look, and they're usually longer than an eyeshadow brush with softer bristles. Try Sephora's Classic Blending Eye Brush or e.l.f.'s Mineral Blending Eye Brush.
You might also like a smudge brush. These are usually short and curved, with dense bristles to deposit more concentrated color. You usually use a smudge brush when doing a smoky eye, smudging color, and softening lines. Check out Japonesque's Mineral Smudger Brush or as always e.l.f. has a cheaper alternative, the Essential Smudge Brush.
If you use liquid or cream eyeliners, you'll want an eyeliner brush. These can either be long and pointed or angled; use whichever you're more comfortable with. These are stiff, designed to apply the liner smoothly and give you control over the line. A good angled brush would be Sephora's #15 Classic Angled Brush, and if you prefer a straight brush, try MAC's 209 Eye Liner Brush.
There are many more different kinds of brushes out there, but these are the basics. Try different brush shapes and brand to find the ones that work for you. And don't feel like you have to pay an arm and a leg just for some brushes. A lot of times the cheaper ones work just fine (e.l.f.'s brushes are great to start with and to get used to the different kinds). When you're buying, just tug gently at the bristles to make sure they're not going to fall out. And of course clean your brushes regularly with water and gentle soap.
Hope this helped! As always, feel to free to let us know if you have any questions or any more requests. We're more than happy to help. :)